Senators News: January 19th; Binghamton 4, Toronto 2

Paul MacLean talked about Jakob Silfverberg:

One thing about Jakob, he’s a very consistent player. Coming here, to be the best player in Sweden, you have to be a good player, so he’s a consistent player there. He’s a little bit older than most rookies, so coming here, the lockout helped him by going to Binghamton and being able to get adjusted to the small rink. And Binghamton’s rink is even smaller than most NHL rinks, so he’s got that adjustment out of the way. We feel that he’s going to able to come in and contribute. Our expectations for him are to just be himself, get himself comfortable, get playing in the league and we feel with the guys that he’s with, he’s going to contribute for us offensively. But we’re not depending on him to have to come in and do everything for us. We have a pretty good veteran group with Jason, Alfie and Milan that are expected to lead that thing offensively, so we just want him to come in and contribute and continue to work hard.

MacLean also referred to the blueline without saying anything new, but Nichols (same link) looks at the stats of the Phillips-Gonchar pairing from last season:

As I tweeted out earlier today, Gonchar actually had better on the surface numbers while playing with Chris Phillips last season at even strength than Jared Cowen. Given these differentials in goals for versus goals against while on the ice, one would assume that this pairing was relatively effective. Delving a little deeper into the sabermetric analysis, I found that this Phillips/Gonchar pairing actually got killed in the puck possession game. Gonchar was actually a more complete defenceman playing with Cowen and it’s safe to assume that the positive Goals For to Goals Against ratio that Sarge experienced with Phillips is left to random chance and good fortune.

Neither player has good footspeed and Gonchar can’t bail Phillips out on his mental errors the way other players can.  Still, given his choices I think MacLean has to start with the combination.

MacLean then talked about his third and fourth lines:

The bottom six has got some good depth. They have a lot of different abilities. They can play physical. They can play with the puck. They can hang onto pucks. They can contribute offensively; they’re not just out there just to kill the clock until we can get the other guys back out there, the expectation is that they can come  out and play. I think what they really allow us to do is push the pace of the game because of their abilities to skate and their conditioning level. We should be able to keep a pretty good pace to our game and those guys are expected to contribute as well.

Nichols has concerns over the Greening-Smith-Neil line’s puck possession numbers (nothing surprising in that as none of its members are known for distributing or carrying the puck), but I see these lines as very fluid–the pieces can be moved around.

-Last night I posed my predictions for the Sens this season.  You can see how my predictions faired last year.

James wisely dismisses the goaltender controversy talk, but I think he mistakes why Robin Lehner is serving as a backup tonight: it’s essentially a pat on the back for his great AHL-season.  Soon enough, assuming Craig Anderson avoids late night ice picking incidents, Lehner will be back in Binghamton and Bishop will be backing-up.

-Various folk predict the result of tonight’s game.

-Binghamton defeated Toronto 4-2 last night that featured an undisciplined B-Sen squad.  Nathan Lawson made 36 saves for the win while Stephane Da Costa, Mika Zibanejad, Mike Hoffman, and Derek Grant (empty-net) provided the offense.  Here’s the box score and the highlights.

-Binghamton faces Bridgeport (18-16-4) tonight; the Sound Tigers are lead by Nino Niederreiter (36 points) and backstopped by Kevin Poulin (11-8-2 3.18 .905).

-Elmira lost 8-5 to Trenton last night, with Louie Caporusso and Dustin Gazley picking up two points each.

Wade Redden found a home in St. Louis and I’ll take his performance as a litmus test for the league.  If a broken down, unmotivated Redden can play useful minutes for the Blues than the league has slowed down and obstruction is beginning to rule the day again.  If, as I’d expect, Redden is awful, then there’s hope that the league is moving in the right direction.

Ken Campbell believes the Devils re-signing of Travis Zajac and the Caps agreeing to let Alex Ovechkin play in the Olympics means the players are winning the new CBA.  Uh…what?  Ovechkin (just like the NHL) was going to go anyway, so why create a problem?  And were the Devils not supposed to sign Zajac long term after they lost Parise?  Ken needs to switch to decaf before he writes a column.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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