Senators News: March 10th; Binghamton 4, Rochester 3

The Raaymaker jumps into Don Brennan/Jeremy Milks territory:

I think [a lack of an enforcer] ignores some realities of the team’s roster today, the modern-day NHL

Oh, the one where the enforcer is a dying breed?

the personnel currently employed in Ottawa’s Northeast Division. In my mind, those realities make it reasonable–perhaps even necessary–for Murray to seek out and acquire an enforcer for the Sens.

The Toronto Maple Leafs do fight a lot (they lead the NHL with 25 majors, although they traded 5 of those away with Mike Brown recently), but then again so do the Columbus Blue Jackets.  If enforcers=wins shouldn’t Steve McIntyre still be in the league?  The Oilers have tried repeatedly to add fighters to their lineup and it has made no difference whatsoever.

[if] Ottawa had a more established fighter in the lineup, McLaren would have chucked knuckles with that guy

Really?  Chris Neil and his 92 career fighting majors isn’t established?  He was on the ice.  I’m not sure why Raaymaker (or Jeremy Milks for that matter) can’t connect the dots that McLaren preferred to fight the less experienced fighter.

Neither Chris Neil nor Zack Smith are in that category; they’re not in McLaren’s weight class. And they’re valuable, useful players who actually provide much-needed offence for the team, so it’s not ideal to have them fighting in the first place.

They provide much needed offence?  Really?  That’s why they were drafted and brought into the lineup, for their offence?  If neither player is providing enough toughness then they need to be moved, but the entire argument is massively flawed.  There’s no evidence that fighting per se means anything in terms of wins, so people throw around vague terms like “toughness” which can’t be defined.  Losing David Dziurzynski (who is not surprisingly still suffering concussion symptoms) in a fight had nothing to do with the Sens losing to Toronto, nor was anyone talking about this as an issue until that fight.  Raaymaker dynamites his own suggestion by later saying the addition wouldn’t be necessary if Karlsson and Spezza were in the lineup–so enforcers only help bad teams?  Where’s the evidence for that?  Fortunately, the organisation isn’t going to do anything radical picking up a one-dimensional pugilist (or, more than likely, making any player moves at all).  I think a different argument can be made about whether the Sens would benefit from having more Matt Cooke-like agitators on their team, but that’s an entirely different argument that has nothing to do with fighting.

-Binghamton defeated Rochester 4-3 last night; Nathan Lawson made 41 saves to earn the win while Shane Prince and Corey Cowick notched two goals each.  Here’s the boxscore.

-Binghamton plays Hershey (28-23-8) this afternoon; the Bears are lead by Jeff Taffe (53 points) and backstopped by Philipp Grubauer (8-4-1 1.99 .930).  The B-Sens have signed Kyle Bushee to a PTO and he’ll presumably play, while I’d expect Marc Cheverie to get the start.

Sylvain St-Laurent writes a nice piece (in French) about Jean-Gabriel Pageau and his development:

In the fall, when [Pageau] was not even 20 years, he was a rather limited role in the center the fourth line. Recently, the director of player development Randy Lee told me that this was perhaps the best thing that could happen to him then. Pageau was forced to develop new skills to play more regularly. For the first time in his life, he became a specialist in digital inferiority. Lee said that the leadership of Senators was both proud and relieved to see very quickly assimilate his new responsibilities. Small forwards who refuse to do so, those who stubbornly remain one-dimensional players often end up pursuing a career in the American League.

This is great insight into how the organisation tests to see the capabilities of their prospects and what they are willing to do.  Pageau was stapled to the checking line for much of the season and clearly performed quite well; now he’s getting the chance to flex his offensive muscles.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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