Senators News: April 25th

-Ottawa plays Washington (26-18-2) tonight; the Caps are lead by Alexander Ovechkin (53 points) and backstopped by Michal Neuvirth (4-5-1 2.81 .905).  The focus, however, is on Erik Karlsson playing tonight (more on that below).  EK‘s return apparently knocks Patrick Wiercioch out of the lineup (more on that below), but no other changes are expected (I still think Robin Lehner should start instead of Craig Anderson).  Here’s a shout out to Andrew Tupper whose game preview I quite like.

Nichols contemplates the Karlsson return and dislikes the choice to keep Eric Gryba in the lineup over Wiercioch and it’s a sentiment I agree with–I wonders if the reason for picking Gryba is that MacLean wants someone he trusts defensively to play with Chris Phillips.

Michael Aubry tries to pour cold water on Karlsson‘s return by talking to athletic therapist Richard Gregory who says:

I would say he still has a few more hurdles to jump over before he gets in game-ready state. I don’t think we’ll see him playing next week. 10 weeks is fast to be game-ready. But it’s no miracle. He had a healthy Achilles and a healthy foot, so he’s going to be a faster recovery than it would in a tear. Usually it’s six months and it’s a very progressive return. When it comes to the Achilles, conservative is better than aggressive because if you over-stretch the tendon, you lose strength. The health care team isn’t going to take a risk in the first round to maybe ruin his career and tear his tendon. But the more often that he skates with the team, the better for his brain, the better for his body.

Given that Karlsson‘s return is official Gregory’s speculation has to be put aside unless there’s a setback.

Wayne Scanlan looks at the Sens potential opponents (Pittsburgh, Boston, Washington, Montreal, and Toronto) and doesn’t offer any conclusions other than Not Pittsburgh.  I like Scanlan, but you’d think he could have included the team’s record against each opponent (something like this), along with a look at the various scenarios (like what I did yesterday or this).  Regardless, clearly the best opponent for the Sens is Washington–they have the least established goaltending among the five teams and have a history of playoff failures.  Regardless, being in the post-season is reason enough for fans to celebrate.

Adrian Dater offers up his final power rankings of the season and has Ottawa 18th, saying:

These guys could still blow it. The odds do favor them making the postseason,  which would still be a great accomplishment for a team with so many injuries.  And there seems to be real hope that Norris Trophy-winner Erik Karlsson could be  back even before the playoffs. He’s been practicing lately. The Sens lost a  chance at gaining satisfaction over Matt Cooke and the Penguins with a loss at  home on Monday. Cooke bailed out of a chance to fight Chris Neil at the start of  the game, which was probably a smart decision on the smaller Cooke‘s part. He  even got an assist on Tyler Kennedy‘s insurance goal at the end. “We have to get  back to basics,” goalie Craig Anderson said.

The odds of blowing it are extremely slim, but Dater is right that the Sens have been slipping of late.

-Here’s a look at Binghamton’s regular season.

Nathan Lawson was again absent from Binghamton’s practice.  I have to wonder if the B-Sens can beat Wilkes-Barre with Marc Cheverie as the starter.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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