Senators News: April 22nd

-Ottawa plays Pittsburgh (34-10-0) tonight; the Penguins are lead by Chris Kunitz (49 points) and backstopped by Tomas Vokoun (12-4-0 2.54 .915).  No lineup changes are expected for the Sens.

Ken Campbell writes a glowing assessment of the Senators:

If the Ottawa Senators can hold on for one more week and make the playoffs this season, it will be almost impossible not to vote for Sens coach Paul MacLean for the Jack Adams Award. But more importantly, it will mess things up from now on for teams who use injuries as a crutch. Come to think of it, if the Senators don’t buckle, no team will ever be able to use injuries as an excuse ever again. As the Senators have displayed this season, an organization can insulate itself against the effect of devastating injuries by having three things in place – an elite coach, superior goaltending and organizational depth. The Senators have used 13 skaters this season who fit the rookie criteria, a number that would be one higher if first-year defenseman Andre Benoit were not 29 years old. Of those 13 players, nine were original Senator draft picks, two were signed as free agents and two were acquired in trades.

If I were to pick one factor that made the most difference for Ottawa it has to be goaltending.  Excellence between the pipes hides a lot of mistakes which allows young players to grow.

Mark Parisi provides his ups and downs for the week that was and his opinions are sound (although it’s interesting reading his comments on Chris Neil in light of those from Varada below).

Scott has the scoring chances in the Toronto game 19/11.

WTYKY guys have an entertaining and look at Ottawa’s season.  It’s hard to encapsulate the entire discussion, but James’ wondering about Jason Spezza‘s health going forward and how it impacts the center position along with Varada’s Chris Neil thoughts are the most interesting (I’ll quote the latter):

Can I take a moment to hate on Chris Neil? [He] is just driving me crazy out there – should we really be giving him those 14 minutes a night? Are they really not better served by an enthusiastic prospect who doesn’t take more penalties than he draws and have mediocre possession numbers against other teams’ third line? His numbers aren’t bad for a pest (credit where it’s due: 3 of his whopping 4 goals are game winners) but at this point I feel like the guy gets a pass for always outperforming terrible expectations.

I’ve been critical of Neil for lacklustre defensive play before and in an ideal world he would not be seeing the ice time that he is, but he’s not someone who gets frequently criticised.

-Here’s a look at Binghamton’s final six games.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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