Senators News & Notes

It has been a busy week for me that’s interfered with my usual hockey watching, but that said, there lot’s to talk about, so we’ll start with some articles of note (not forgetting that the Sens lost 3-2 to Carolina on Saturday, beat Winnipeg 3-2 on Thursday, and beat Montreal 2-1 on Wednesday since I last posted).

Callum Fraser looks into just how good (or bad) Dave Cameron has been as a coach this year and he sums it up perfectly:

one month in, Cameron hasn’t exactly impressed.

He hasn’t.  As Nichols (and others) surmised at the end of last season, so many of the roster and line changes fans were hoping for truly do seem accidental–the results of fortuitous injuries and suspensions.  Despite enormous evidence to the contrary Cameron continues to dress both Jared Cowen and Mark Borowiecki; he plays Curtis Lazar on scoring lines; he ineffectively uses callups (with the exception of Max McCormick); was clueless about Chris Wideman (it remains uncertain if his goal against Carolina will change that).  Despite his flaws Ottawa has a decent record, although fans need to keep in mind that more often than not they are regularly facing teams backup goalies (which tells you what the league thinks of the team).

The aforementioned Nichols hones in on the blueline, specifically looking at the middling starts of both Cody Ceci and Patrick Wiercioch and proposing that Methot play with the former and Karlsson with the latter (with the obvious scratching of one of the two anchors on the third pairing and adding Wideman).  It’s an interesting read and while I think he’s largely on the money I see no evidence Cameron will go there (he’s more likely to move Cowen up and Wiercioch down in the pairings).

Speaking of Nichols, he and other blogging luminaries were invited to join Ian Mendes for a TSN 1200 show called Advanced Chats.  I haven’t listened to them yet, but intend too.  It’s good on Mendes to reach out to the blogosphere and a good move for radio to try to appeal to a younger fans (for those that don’t know, radio has an elderly and failing audience).

Binghamton_Senators_svg

Before I talk about the games, let’s mention the highway robbery Mark Fraser and Zack Stortini are getting with their AHL salaries–I’d say it’s hard to believe, but the long suffering fans in Bingo are used to overpaid AHL vets.  Since both players are “tough in the corners” there are fans who are happy to have them, but I’d rather spend that money (and veteran roster spots) on guys who will help the team win.  Moving on.

The B-Sens lost 3-1 to Rochester on Friday, with some interesting changes to the roster: Ben Harpur and Nick Tuzzolino were scratched on defense, in part because Michael Kostka returned from injury, but also to make room for the recalled Chris Carlisle–overall I liked the move since Binghamton struggles to move the puck from the back end.  However, Eric O’Dell was saddled with the dead weight that Colin Greening is on the first line (Zack Stortini, back from suspension, was happily on the fourth line).  Chris Driedger had the start in goal and here’s a look at the goals:
1. Kostka took a really stupid holding penalty and on the PP a nice cross crease feed results in a goal (no chance for Driedger)
2. the fourth line gets broken down on the cycle and Driedger is beaten from just above the dot
3. Dziurzynski creates a turnover on the PK and a hustling McCormick and Mullen create a 2-on-1 that gets the latter a goal
4. terrible turnover by Fraser in his own zone leads to a big rebound and goal

On Saturday Luke Richardson lost his mind in scratching Tobias Lindberg and Nick Paul, an incredibly stupid decision that resulted in an atrocious 6-1 loss to Toronto that’s not even worth recapping* (Matt O’Connor‘s struggles continued incidentally; Jeff Ulmer offers very brief thoughts on it–I have more on Richardson in a forthcoming post).

[* I decided to take a quick look at the goals at least:
1. Harpur throws the puck away and Nylander beats O’Connor short side with a bullet wrister
2. Robinson loses his stick so can’t defend the high slot where O’Connor is beat through a Greening screen
3. Lepine took an utterly stupid penalty (inexplicably throwing his elbow into the face of the Marlie player) and shortly after the PP Fraser throws the puck away and Panik scores on the 2-on-1
4. O’Dell/Kostka lose the puck battle in the corner and O’Connor somehow gives up a weak backhander right in front
5. Dzingel scores on a sharp angle off a rebound
6. Marlies win the draw and O’Connor is beat cleanly off a weak wrist shot
7. Ewanyk takes a pointless penalty and on the PP O’Connor is beat by the one-timer]

Some sanity returned last night against Leigh Valley as Richardson brought back the two players (randomly scratching Buddy Robison along with the moribund Alex Guptill) and reunited the top line from the start of the season; he also dressed seven defensemen which, given Binghamton’s deficiencies on the blueline, makes some sense.  I was able to watch the bulk of this game, so here are the goals and then a few comments:
1. O’Dell scores off his own rebound on the PP through a screen
2. Really dumb penalties to start the second period (particularly by Travis Ewanyk) lead to the tying goal (a nice cross-crease pass 5-on-3)
3. Stortini has an empty net as Greening beats LaBarbera but hits the underside of the crossbar
4. Dziurzynski wins the draw cleanly and redirects Lepine‘s shot in
5. Stortini scores on the PP as O’Dell‘s pass is redirected to him by a Leigh Valley defenseman
Stortini knocked out in an opening faceoff fight–he missed about half the first period because of it–I’m a bit lost on why Jeff thought this fight was good for the team
-it wasn’t a great night for Kostka, particularly with some terrible decisions on the PP
Dzingel saved a goal when it was 1-1 in the 2nd with a hook that prevented a goal into a wide open net

Despite the score Binghamton was outplayed and were fortunate to come out with a win.  As nice as it was for Stortini to pick up a couple of goals, he wasn’t the best player on the ice for Bingo (Driedger was by far) and anyone who expects that production to continue was probably KO’d by Tyrell Goulbourne (Jeff’s reaction is exactly the kind of thing I feared–hockey fans love a tough guy so he can get away with being useless for 10 games so long as he’s okay in just one).  For those who don’t follow the AHL, Leigh Valley is a terrible team but they heavily outplayed Binghamton (both teams were at the end of 3-in-3, so there’s no excuses there).  Binghamton continues to take too many penalties, aren’t very good on the PK, and struggle to move the puck out of their end–I’m happy about the win, but the underlying problems are not being solved.

EvansvilleIceMenCHL

After the IceMen’s 3-0 loss (see below) they traded Joe Zarbo for former IceMan star Nathan Moon.  A former Pittsburgh draft pick (4-102/08), Moon has been a productive forward in the ECHL for years now and should help the talent-thin team going forward.  Besides his acquisition Jordan Sims (son of the coach) entered the lineup now that he’s recovered from injury.

On Wednesday a largely lifeless Evansville lost 3-0 to Indy–Bengtsberg took the loss–a quick look at the goals:
1. A nice tip in front
2. Noreau gets turned into a pylon and Bengtsberg gets deked for the goal
3. PP goal off a rebound (poor defensive coverage in front, particularly by Trebish)

On Friday the IceMen had their revenge with a 4-2 win.  Bengtsberg played again (with Greenham taking the week off for a probable groin pull in his last start; Dieude-Fauvel was also hurt in that game).  A look at the goals:
1. Strandberg creates a turnover and his pass to the point is ripped in by Rutkowski for the first Evansville goal in the first period this year
2. After back-to-back saves on the PK Bengtsberg can’t stop the third while on his belly
3. No one picks up Ben Marshall who walks into the slot and rifles the puck passed Bengtsberg
4. Penny springs Fawcett all alone who makes a great move for the goal
5. Strandberg makes a nice little pass to Leveille in the slot who dekes for the goal
6. 2-on-1 Wideman keeps and scores with a knuckleball

On Saturday Evansville lost 2-1 Cincinnati (Noreau was scratched in favour of Rumble).  A look at the goals:
1. Bengstberg beat far side on a 2-on-1
2. 3-on-2 shot through a screen beats Bengtsberg far side
3. Leveille scores a powerplay goal all alone in front with just 17 seconds left

The problem of scoring remains for Evansville and it’s difficult to see how that can be remedied except internally (Moon is a better player than Zarbo, but I’m not sure there are many other bullets in the trade gun for the team).  Evansville’s blueline is awful and it’s their goaltending that’s kept so many of these games close.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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2 Comments

  1. Interesting run for the Sens. Losing to poorer teams that getting It up for a great game against Montreal. Hopefully they can now keep that up and win a few games.

  2. […] Senators News & Notes […]


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