Senators News: January 3rd

-I watched this morning’s disappointing Canada-US WJC game (5-1 for the States), featuring a tentative Canadian team that created virtually no offensive pressure.  Would I have pulled Malcolm Subban after the third goal?  I would have pulled him after the second or at least after the first period–it’s something that might have changed the momentum of the game.  At 4-0 the game was already over and there’s nothing Jordan Binnington can do about.  I don’t blame Subban for the result–in a single game elimination anything can happen and I think the time off hurt Canada–they will be much better in the bronze medal game.  The final is set-up very well for the Americans who are coming off two easy wins and will face a Swedish team which just finished winning a tough extra frame game against Russia.

-The Sweden-Russia (3-2 Swedes) game saw the Swedes on top of the hosts at the start (it took 25 minutes of game play for Russia to get a shot on goal), although the Russians received much stronger goaltending from Vasilevski than Canada did against the States.  Like most Sens fans I have a soft spot for the Swedes and they were absolutely dynamite mid-way through.  I thought the Russians played with whole tournament with poor structure, relying on skill, and that lack of structure hurt them early.  Unlike Canada, the Russians were able to claw their way back into the game and take it to OT where the Swedes struggled with the 4-on-4 in OT, but were able to hold on to win in the shootout.

-The game was my first viewing of prospect Mikael Wikstrand (Vikstrand) outside a development camp context.  Plays that stood out: he did a great job defensively one-on-one against Yakupov in the first period, along with a nice pass intercept on the PK in the second, but got stripped by Yakupov for a scoring chance late in the second and then burned by him on a deke late in the third.  There was a final nice defensive strip of Slepyshev late in the game.  He failed to score in the shootout.

-I decided to find out what happened to Elmira’s first cuts from this season:
Players without a team include Yegor Bezugly (forward),  Tim D’Orazio (forward), Charles Vaillancourt (forward), Jon Vaillancourt (forward), Ivan Lyaskevich (blueliner), Kyle Pelke (blueliner), Nicolas Lareau (goaltender retired after being cut)
Players with a team:
Matt Harrington – forward has played both for the Bluefins (FHL) and the Mississippi Riverkings (SPHL)
Luke Frey – blueliner is playing for the New York Bluefins in the FHL
Artem Gumenyuk – defenseman is also playing for the Bluefins in the FHL
Jeremy Narducci – blueliner is on the Bluefins (FHL) roster

-Does anyone remember the hype surrounding Luca Caputi when the Leafs traded for him in 2010?  Today he was sent back to Fort Wayne in the ECHL as he struggles to stick with Norfolk.  I bring this up just to show how easy it is for organisations to over evaluate (and over hype) talent.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)