Senators News: January 10th; Binghamton 3, Wilkes-Barre 1

-Despite being outshot by a two to one margin (32-16), Binghamton defeated Wilkes-Barre 3-1 last night.  Robin Lehner picked up the win while Stephane Da Costa, Eric Gryba, and Mike Hoffman (into an empty net) provided the offence. Mark Borowiecki crashed into the boards in the third (courtesy of Riley Holzapfel) and injured his leg (he did stay in the game).  I also saw an illustration of why Corey Cowick is not yet ready for prime time when it comes to fighting.  Here’s the box score and the highlights.

Tim Murray had a lot to say and behind obvious things like Cody Ceci is in tough to make the NHL roster (which is a nice way to say he won’t), he offered this in Mika Zibanejad:

He’s on the ice everyday. He’s been monitored everyday. When you’re working out in the gym and then when you’re skating on the ice that can all go very well, and than it’s how you feel after. Since Tueday he’s had no issues, and felt very good after. Luke feels he’s getting in better shape….we feel he could play this weekend. Well there are a lot of factors [in why we’ve been cautious with his bringing him back]. One, he’s a high pick and he’s a young guy. Two is, in Binghamton we’re winning every night. So you don’t have to do in quotations ‘stupid things’, and we didn’t have to. So I just said to Luke here, we just have to shut him down, and I talked to Randy Lee about, let’s just shut him down, let’s just get him right. Fortunately we were in a position, where we didn’t have to rush him, we were still winning. I think when you you’re winning great things happen, byproduct of winning are many things, but in one of them you don’t have to rush a guy back, you can take your time, you can sure that you don’t make a mistake with them. Glen down there has done a great job with him, he came up to Ottawa and worked with our people up here a little bit and did a great job with him. I think now actually he’s been out so long that he felt he could play before we allowed him to play, so I think that’s a good situation.

The organisation has been cautious with virtually all their players this season and I think that’s been to the benefit of the individuals and the team.  Tim then talked about making a trade for a blueliner:

I was on the phone a lot yesterday at home, and Bryan here in the office. Certainly agents are calling us for the lesser guys, you know “my guy’s ready, he’s available he’s in great shape” that’s the message you get from them all. And some of those guys wouldn’t be your first choice, but that’s not to say they wouldn’t be useful defenceman. I think that the phones with the other GM’s are heating up, so Bryan is certainly…we’re gonna find out what’s available, what the price is , and then that’s the decision you have to make. Would I be surprised if we traded for one defenseman? No. Obviously you guys can see it, everybody in the league can see it, when you look at our depth chart that’s where we’re a litlte bit short right now because of injuries. But in saying that you do have to give your kids a chance at some point too, to find out if they’re ready. You know, we’ve seen these kids for three years, none of them are first year players; Benoit‘s a veteran, I would call Patrick a veteran in the AHL, I’d call Gryba a veteran in the AHL, I’d call Borowiecki a veteran in the AHL. They’re inexperienced NHL players, but everybody was at one time. So, we’ll work the phones and if can get better than them then we will, but I think we’re pretty confident that one or two out of this group of four will do a tremendous job for us.

This intention to try things out with Binghamton blueliners before making a move is exactly what I expected.  Finally he talked about goaltending:

It’s a position that takes time. You can draft four or five goalies over a four, five, or six year period and come out with nothing. And that is no disrepct to your scouting staff, it’s attrition. We’ve seen lots of goalies picked very high that didn’t turn out, and we’ve seen goalies picked in the mid-rounds that now are players. Robin‘s in his third year, he’s had a tremendous year, we know he’s a #1 goalie in the league…eventually, and we’re quite confident him. And you trade a second for Bishop, and what he’s done. They’re probably the biggest twosome or tandem in hockey as far as that goes, they’ve both played great down there. Everybody saw what Anderson did here last year, he got us to the playoffs, he was great against the Rangers. So we’re quite confident in our goaltending. And uh, the two guys we drafted last year are farther along the line but now we have depth here, we got guys coming, and I think that’s the kind of progression you want. If Paul tells us that Lehner should be his guy, then we’ll listen. But the way the other two guys can play the game…we’re confident in those two guys in the net too, so if it’s Bishop and Anderson or Anderson and Bishop, that’s what it was last year or for part of last year and we were a playoff team. Anderson played great so if he comes in here and gets going right off the bat…and the other two guys have been playing. I don’t know if I’m answering your question, but I”m confident in all three guys. I mean if you told me Robin Lehner was our starter tomorrow, I’d be happy with that. If you told me Bishop and Anderson would be the two guys, I’m happy with that. I think they’re all quite capable of being top ten or so goalies in the league…and um, the contract may come into play.

That “eventually” and reference to Bishop‘s contract is yet another sign that Lehner will be back in Binghamton when camp is done.

-Here the latest prospect update (for players with more than 10 games played I’ve indicated where they are in scoring; for blueliners they are compared to other defensemen on the team):

CHL
Cody Ceci (OHL Ottawa/Owen Sound) 43-11-30-41 (1st)
Matt Puempel (OHL Kitchener) 26-21-7-28 (1st) (injured)
Stefan Noesen (OHL Plymouth) 26-17-9-26 (6th) (suspended)
Jordan Fransoo (WHL Victoria) 34-3-7-10 (2nd)
Jakub Culek (QMJHL Cape Breton) 8-4-3-7 (10th) (injured)
Jarrod Maidens (OHL Owen Sound) (injured)
Chris Driedger (WHL Calgary) 23-7-32.17 .924
Francois Brassard (QMJHL Quebec) 19-11-32.62 .909

Allsvenskan (Swe)
Mikael Wikstrand (Mora) 29-9-9-18 (1st) WJC 6-0-4-4 (1st)

KHL
Nikita Filatov (Salavat) 38-8-11-19 (t-2nd)

NCAA
Ryan Dzingel (Ohio) – 20-9-8-17 (1st)
Jeff Costello (Notre Dame) – 16-6-9-15 (2nd)
Bryce Aneloski (Nebraska-Omaha) – 22-4-11-15 (t-1st)
Max McCormick (Ohio) – 20-6-4-10 (3rd)
Michael Sdao (Princeton) – 16-5-4-9 (1st)
Tim Boyle (Union) – 10-0-2-2 (t-6th)

USHL
Robbie Baillargeon (Indiana/Omaha) – 31-10-13-23 (1st)

D. J. Powers looks at the NCAA in December, but other than a passing reference to Ryan Dzingel doesn’t offer anything up on the Sens side of things.

-The Maple Leafs did the NHL a favour by firing Brian Burke in the aftermath of their deal, taking the focus away from the lockout and shifting it to the big blue team.  There have been innumerable theories and comments about the move, most of which boil down to accepting the many reasons he deserved to be fired but questioning the timing (from my reading it seems to have hinged on the change in ownership).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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