Senators News & Notes

pierre dorion

Pierre Dorion spoke to the media and Nichols provides the transcript, but he had virtually nothing to say–just stating the obvious that the team gives up too many shots and that he likes Shane Prince.

prospects

I don’t find Randy Lee‘s comments about prospects particularly interesting anymore, but they do serve to provide insight in what the organisation (publicly) thinks.  For those interested he talks about Andreas Englund (strong, no puck skills), Marcus Hogberg (he’s good), Filip Ahl (nothing interesting), Colin White (he’s good), and finally about Binghamton call-ups.  What he says about Max McCormick is worth fully digesting:

But then we try to really reward the right guy and that’s why Max McCormick, who we went and saw in St John’s play 2 games and his numbers weren’t great. He had a couple of points and was a -4 but he was the best, most competitive guy out there. He deserved the call-up and I think he did a really good job here. People started to understand that Max McCormick can take that energy and competitiveness and play at the NHL level.

This is pretty stupid–being competitive doesn’t make you an effective hockey player–its required, but it’s right up there with “giving 110%” and all the other useless cliches–every pro tries.  What it does illustrate is the organisation’s obsession with physicality–being “good in the corners” as opposed to actually controlling the play and having good puck skills.  I like McCormick, but he wasn’t the most deserving call-up and the move hasn’t noticeably improved his play in Binghamton.  Lee referencing the plus/minus isn’t a great sign either–no one takes those numbers seriously anymore (at best, a huge variation from your teammates might mean something).

Binghamton_Senators_svg

I had a few things written before Binghamton’s game against Albany but before I get to that I have to say their 4-0 loss is the worst performance in a professional game of hockey I’ve ever seen (before the game Luke Richardson talked about the team having too many passengers–this seems to have been their reaction to that).  Richardson needs to go–being out shot 32-6 and continuing to play his brand of garbage hockey is unacceptable.  Back to my pre-game comments: I’m never sure how many fans realize why teams that take a lot of penalties are bad teams–its not about style of play, it simply reflects that the penalized team never has the puck.  What genius puts Lepine and Tuzzolino together as a pairing?  And why Hobbs on the third line instead of Robinson?  Onto the play-by-play:
1. Harpur pinches, loses the battle, and Ewanyk doesn’t skate hard enough to stop the pass to a wide open Devil in front
-Another Harpur special as, unpressured, he tosses a grenade to Lepine in his own zone and the puck bounces out to center ice to the Devils
Lepine takes a stupid tripping call
Schneider has a 2-on-1 shorthanded but loses the puck without shooting or passing
McCormick takes an unnecessary crosschecking call in the offensive zone
-14 minutes before the BSens had a shot on goal (from outside the blueline)
Stortini passes to the wrong team giving the Devils a 3-on-2
-Nice defensive play by Carlisle lifting the stick of a Devil in front
-Fourth line spends their shift running around in their own zone and when they finally get the puck Ewanyk shoots it over the glass
2. Tuzzolino can’t stop the pass and Claesson has no idea someone is behind him to take it
Harpur, unpressured, throws a backhand pass 15-feet wide of Dzingel forcing a scramble to defend the net
Second
-Brutal turnover by Mullen behind the net gives the Devils a great chance in front
McCormick decides to go for a hit instead of the puck in his own zone leading to a long Devils sequence with three quality scoring chances
3. O’Connor gives up a juicy rebound and Lepine has neither the man nor the puck giving the Devils get a tap-in
4. No one takes the trailing Devil and Ewanyk provides a great screen in front
Dziurzynski takes an unforced delay of game penalty
-Great chance for McCormick as Schneider saucers him the pass on a 2-on-1
Scott Greenham comes in
Lindberg with a bad neutral zone turnover, but the defense bails him out
-For some reason Lepine turns to watch Tuzzolino instead of the puck as Dzingel loses a puck-battle and the Devils have a chance right in front
-Great little deflection by Lindberg to set Stortini up in front on the PP, but his shot is blocked
-Fourth line spends another shift running around in their own end
-Goaltending coach Rick Wamsley was on during the second intermission and he wasn’t impressed by O’Connor‘s performance in the game; he also said the first period of the game was one of the worst he’s ever seen in professional hockey (amen Rick)
Third
Robinson had replaced Hobbs on the third line (the latter did not play in the period–he may have missed the second as well [turns out he’s injured])
Fraser takes a dumb boarding penalty (injuring the Devil player); Richardson put no one in the box to serve the penalty and should have been called for illegal substitution when it expired, but the officials had  mercy
Greenham with a couple of great saves in two different sequences
Nice defensive play by Claesson to break up a rush
Schneider takes a dumb penalty
-15 minutes in and the BSens have 3 shot attempts and none on goal
Carlisle was put back on the blueline for the final five minutes
-Nice little sequence with Puempel and Dzingel both having chances off a rush

This was a truly terrible game–unwatchable and with no silver lining for Binghamton.  O’Connor was subpar (which is better than his normal awful), the team took too many penalties (as usual), the fourth line was abysmal, the ECHL pairing (Lepine-Tuzzolino) was awful, Harpur was awful, Matt Puempel was invisible despite playing with the two best BSens forwards in the game (Dzingel and Schneider), etc.  To me it looked like the team quit after going down 2-0 and nothing Richardson tried changed that.  There’s a multitude of reasons why Richardson needs to go, but losing the room is yet another one.  Can the organisation give up on one of its favourites?  I have my doubts.

EvansvilleIceMenCHL

The IceMen won their second game in a row for the first time this season, beating the Alaska Aces 4-2 behind 38-stops by Cody Reichard.  Before celebrating a turnaround to their season, Evansville was out shot 40-21.  There were a number of lineup changes as Dieude-FauvelLukin, and Zay returned from injury (pushing out StrandbergHimelson, and Anthoine).  A look at the goals:
1. One-timer down low beats Reichard five-hole on the PP
2. MacDonald steals the puck and scores on the backhand high on a wraparound
3. Rumble has his pocket picked behind the net and Reichard is beaten on the wraparound
4. Penny scores on a wrist shot from the top of the circle
5. Moon makes a nice cross-crease pass gives Sims a tap-in
6. Leveille tips in Rumble‘s shot on the PP

The team benefited from two bad goals and survived via great goaltending.  The blueline is still pretty bad (Humphries in particular), but scratching Himelson helps.  Both Zay and Lukin help balance out the offence, although I would have liked Strandberg to stay in the lineup.  Incidentally, Dunn was a healthy scratch again.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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