Senators News & Notes

I watched the beginning of Ottawa’s 4-3 loss to Arizona–Ross A provides the blow-by-blow.  Having watched a ton of AHL (and ECHL) games this year it’s much more striking how structured and crisp even mediocre NHL teams are in comparison.  Patrick Wiercioch was a healthy scratch because reasons–maybe Cameron has a crush on the man-bun?  As was said today (different context but it applies), who knows with this org?

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With Evansville in Alaska the shorthanded BSens signed Darian Dziurzynski (David‘s younger brother) to a PTO.  Darian was a 5th-round pick by Arizona back in 2011, but was released by the team when his ELC expired and wasn’t able to make an AHL roster this fall–he’s been plying his trade in the ECHL, having been traded by Tulsa to Greenville already (16-3-7-10; his career AHL stats 181-26-17-43).  He’s basically a warm body so I don’t think there’s a need to deep-dive on his abilities, but he’s essentially a less talented version of his older brother.

Coming off the team’s worst loss not just of the season but in franchise history, Richardson jumbled the lines, putting talented Tobias Lindberg on the fourth line (for those who haven’t figured it out, Richardson isn’t a fan of the Swede–I thought Tyler Ray had a great line comparing him to the way Mike Hoffman was treated), lining up the younger Dziurzynski with his brother, and pushing Schneider to the second line and elevating McCormick to the first and Robinson to the second–this is all extremely random.  Inexplicably the same D-combinations were kept, although in-game Richardson finally changed things up as the expected disaster unfolded (Carlisle wound up playing almost exclusively as a defensemen).  The play-by-play:
-great chance for Dzingel on the doorstep off a nice turnover by McCormick
-Paul with a nice chance at the top of the circle via Schneider
A rush for the fourth line is ended by Lepine deciding to have a pointless fight behind the play
Darian was hit in the face with a puck so Lindberg took his spot while repairs were going on (he missed about ten minutes of game action)
-Great chance for Puempel in close
1. Tuzzolino is deked out of the play and Paul can’t catch his check off a bad line change; Greenham is beat up high
-BSens took a penalty on the next shift with a pointless interference call via Harpur
2. Greenham is beat up high on a point shot (on the PP)
McCormick takes a dumb holding call while on the PP
3. Off the ensuing faceoff (scrambled) neither Lindberg nor Harpur are able to block the shot from just above the hashmarks
Lindberg turns it over leading to a 2-on-1 which is foiled by Carlisle
Second
4. Dziurzynski passes to the wrong team and Greenham is beaten by a howitzer
Mullen with a great shot block in front
McCormick picks up a dumb penalty in a shoving match
5. Sens give up a 2-on-1 and Lepine takes neither the shot nor the pass and Rochester bangs in the rebound off the post
Stortini turns it over requiring a nice stop by Greenham
-O’Connor comes into the net
-Nice little play by Lindberg leading to an Ewanyk wraparound attempt
6. Tuzzolino and a flat-footed Lepine both go for hits leading to a 2-0 against with the puck wobbling through O’Connor‘s legs
7. Mullen steals the puck and makes a slap-pass to a wide open Stortini in the slot
-Nice offensive sequence by the second line, but no quality scoring chance from it
Third
-Both Tuzzolino and Harpur sat this period with Carlisle getting the lions share of their ice time
8. Dzingel steals the puck and Puempel scores from the goal line
9. Lindberg flubs his pass but it somehow it gets to Dzingel who passes on a 2-on-1 and Darian scores (for some reason Mullen was given the assist instead of the Swede)
10. Carlisle bangs in Lindberg‘s rebound on the PP
11. Lindberg makes a nice backhand saucer pass in front and Robinson makes no mistake
Carlisle makes the save with the net empty

Don’t let the 6-5 score or the five-goal comeback fool you–Binghamton was not very good (Grady Whittenburg said on the broadcast that the blueline and goaltending hasn’t been good all season–I think the latter isn’t fair to Chris Driedger, but you can’t argue with the former).  If you’re wondering how the BSens suddenly played so much better in the third, putting aside that Rochester is an awful team and that they thought the game is over, it’s because Richardson benched a pair of terrible players (Tuzzolino and Harpur) and gave more ice time to productive players.  This is something he should be doing all the time, not just when his back is against the wall.  Chris Carlisle isn’t Bobby Orr, but compared to the dead weight on the blueline he should be a regular there instead of the fourth line.  Richardson needs to stop jerking Lindberg around, put Stortini on the fourth line (and take him off the powerplay), and so on.  Where’s the accountability?  I like Nick Paul, but he hasn’t had a point in 7-games and hasn’t scored all season–why is he permanently on the second line?  Slide him to the third to take the pressure off, or try him on the wing–something.  Stable lines would help as well, but they need to be intelligently put together (the same goes for defensive pairings).  I’m sympathetic to the plight of a team that’s dressing five ECHL-caliber defensemen, but there are smarter ways to pick and choose where and when they play.

EvansvilleIceMenCHL

Evansville lost their first of back-to-back games against Alaska 4-1 (yes they play them three times in a row), making only one roster change (putting the lamentable Himelson back in and pulling Dieude-Fauvel).  They were badly out shot again (46-27).  A look at the goals:
1. Humphries passes to the wrong team and while Reichard stops the initial rush to the net he’s beaten on the ensuing sequence off a rebound
2. Just after their PP expires Reichard is beat up high through a fantastic screen (Penny took a really dumb tripping call)
3. Soft call on Zay and on the PP Reichard is beat high on a weak wrist shot from the top of the circles (it’s a bad goal)
4. On the PP Fawcett scores on a backhand spinorama
5. Reichard is beat off a weak wrist shot from the point through the legs (another bad goal)

I have to wonder how tempted the coaching staff will be to put Reichard in net again given how abysmal Asmundsen has been–we shall see tonight.  On the Sens side of things Dunn was a healthy scratch.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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