Senators News: May 22nd

-The biggest news of the morning is that Mark Stone will play tonight (not yet confirmed by MacLean, but apparently he’ll replace Cory Conacher if it happens).  Stone enjoyed a strong end to his season in Binghamton (19 points in his final 20 games along with a point-per-game performance in the B-Sens brief playoff series against Wilkes-Barre).  The change would mean the Sens lose some speed, but replace it with size.  In terms of skill-level it’s probably a draw, although Stone is more of a passer than Conacher.  The plan would be for Stone to play with Spezza.

-Also on the roster side of things, Chris Neil will be able to play tonight despite the injury suffered via Brooks Orpik in game three.  Jussi Jokinen may be added to the lineup for the Pens.

Scott had the scoring chances for game three 25/28.

Scott Burnside interviewed Paul MacLean who talked about his approach:

What I wanted to be as a coach was: If a player played for me … he knew what was expected of him. And if I had to make him do it, I would make him do it. Because when I played, they didn’t always make me do things. They didn’t always make me be a backchecker. As long you scored goals, everything was fine. I didn’t want a player to leave and say, ‘Well, he didn’t ask me to do that. That wasn’t expected of me.’ That’s kind of the credo I had. When I first started to coach, I yelled and screamed like every fool. And I can still do that a little bit now if I have to.  But to me, some of the best things you do is just having conversations. This is what an Ottawa Senator is. There’s not a whole bunch of things; there’s one picture. That’s what I think my biggest job is to do, is to keep everyone focused on that one picture.

Travis Yost looks more at Jean-Gabriel Pageau‘s surprising contribution (again) which served as a reminder that I’ve never taken a full look at his time in Binghamton (where he finished eighth in team scoring).  As Yost mentions (and is now well known with the fanbase), Pageau was a borderline roster player to start the season in Binghamton and he began it as the fourthline, checking center (he beat out Jakub Culek who would have had that role otherwise).  He was only scratched once, very early in the season, which is a sign of confidence from Luke Richardson (who talked about him a couple of weeks ago).  Offensively, through his first 39 games (roughly half way through the season) he had 13 points.  With the return of the NHL season he moved up to the scoring lines and his production increased with it, albeit not exponentially (16 points in 30 games).  There’s nothing about his bare numbers in the AHL that screams out at the kind of impact he’s had with Ottawa, and even his recall was largely a result of injuries to more well-known prospects.  Clearly, the pace of the NHL and the talent around him in Ottawa has given him a boost (offensively) that he wasn’t getting in Binghamton.

The Raaymaker examines how the Sens have scored against Tomas Vokoun this series looking for weaknesses.  It’s a fun exercise, although a more comprehensive job would be to look at him over this season and his career.

Marc Brassard points out that Craig Anderson‘s performance in game three crushes any goaltender controversy there could have been (although, an oddity for Ottawa, there was none after game two).  He also points out that Anderson has learned in his time in Ottawa to not blame his teammates for goals allowed (something he was well-known for previously).

Wayne Scanlan thinks the game three win was emblematic of the Sens season.

Nichols transcribes Daniel Alfredsson‘s interview on Jim Rome and two things stuck out to me:

But, I’ve been here so long that it felt, ‘If I’m going to win the Cup, I want to do it here.’ That’s the relationship that I have with the city and the fans, and it didn’t really feel right. And I’m happy I made that decision as well.

And (on former teammates)

There’s a few. Zdeno Chara, who is now the captain of the Bruins, I admire him. He’s a guy who works extremely hard and Marian Hossa, same thing in Chicago – great work ethic. To go back to Chara though, I can’t really say that I enjoy going back to battle with him, but I admire him. There’s also a few other guys. Dany Heatley was here for a while. We had some great success – me, him and Spezza as well. There are quite a few guys that have been here and you look back and it’s fun to have been a part of their careers. I’ve learned a lot from them and hopefully I’ve been able to help them out as well. And then, you mentioned Roy (Mlakar) as well, to go back, one of the things that I’m really liked (for) is the charity work I do. And Roy was one of those guys who really taught me how I could give back to the community and he was instrumental to that and if he listens to this, thanks Roy.

Varada thinks Ottawa should embrace being hated rather than trying to be more loved by other hockey fans.  I don’t accept his premise–do other Canadian fans really hate the Sens?  A few, maybe, but on the whole I expect the feeling is indifference.  The only consistent “hate” I see comes from the old crowd at the CBC which makes watching the national channel painful, but that’s a very specific group that isn’t going to be impacted by the role the Sens fanbase embraces.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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