Senators News & Notes

Ottawa beat Boston 3-1 on the weekend in a game that wasn’t that exciting and featured yet more of Dave Cameron’s lack of imagination/incompetence with the lineup (Ross A provides a breakdown).  You can see the organisation’s philosophy in player usage, as Max McCormick nearly played 10 minutes versus Ryan Dzingel getting barely 5 in the last game–“grit” over skill every time.

Travis Yost reminds me of a great Dave Tippett comment:

We had a player that was supposed to be a great, shut-down defenseman.  He was supposedly the be-all, end-all of defenseman.  But when you did a 10-game analysis of him, you found out he was defending all the time because he can’t move the puck.

Amen.

Binghamton_Senators_svg

I posted a breakdown of the team’s performance prior to their weekend games.  Speaking of the team, at long last Troy Rutkowski was been recalled (replacing the suspended Mark Fraser).  From watching Rutkowski at this level I can see his primary issue: his skating.  He’s not fleet of foot, although there’s always room to improve that.  Now with Fraser back from suspension Rutkowski is out.

On Saturday Binghamton faced punchless Hartford (the lowest scoring team in the conference), winning the game 4-2 on the strength of their powerplay (3 goals).  O’Connor got the start and the team played the same forward lines as their last game, with Rutkowski and Carlisle filling in for injured/suspended players.  Prior to the game Luke Richardson actually praised Tobias Lindberg.  Highlights:
-Nice defensive play by Robinson stealing a pass to the point
1. BSens get a turnover off the linseman and an innocent point shot by Lepine deflects in off a defenders stick
O’Connor stops a breakaway (Mullen was pokechecked at the blueline)
-“Stortini couldn’t get to it” should be a meme
2. Robinson hooked as the trigger man on a 2-on-1 and on the PP O’Dell picks up the garbage off a Schneider deflection
Flanagan gets an incredibly rare faceoff violation call which results in one great save by O’Connor during the PK (Schneider late on the backcheck for the man alone in front)
-Neither Paul nor Schneider can capitalize on a loose puck in front
3. BSens take a too-many-men call and on the PK O’Connor is beat through a screen
Second
4. On a 5-on-3 PP Schneider cleans-up the garbage in front of the net
Mullen with a brutal giveaway straight up the gut, but O’Connor bails him out (in fairness, the pass was to Stortini so perhaps a real hockey player would receives it before it gets to the opposition)
5. Lepine passes to the wrong team and on the rebound of the initial shot Hartford cashes in (Kostka had no idea there was a player behind him)
Mullen with a great defensive interception
Claesson gets yet another clipping penalty
-Nice little scramble in front with Robinson and O’Dell having chances
-Great save by O’Connor off a one-timer
Third
Lindberg all alone in front but backhands it wide on the PP
6. On the PP a nice little backhand pass to a wide open O’Dell through the crease

Without Harpur and Fraser in the lineup there were fewer defensive gaffes and a better offensive flow for the team.  O’Connor didn’t have to be the hero to earn the win.

On Sunday Binghamton faced Hershey (the fifth best team in the conference), this time with Driedger in net.  The only other change was Hobbs returning to the lineup with McCormick‘s inexplicable NHL call-up.  The play-by-play:
-Nice D from Claesson sweeping the puck out of harms way on a centering pass
1. Fantastic give-and-go between Lindberg and Paul with the latter scoring on a deke
O’Dell drops the gloves after a clean hit on Rutkowski–pretty silly, but I’m sure Richardson loved it
-Great save by Driedger on the PK off a re-direct
Lindberg steals the puck and sets up Paul for a one-timer
O’Dell picks up an errant pass and gets the puck to Dzingel for a great chance in the slot
2. Just moments after that play Dzingel gets caught in no-man’s land and Driedger is beat far side off the post from just inside the circle
Mullen loses the puck at the blueline leading to a 2-on-1
Claesson makes a great shot block in the slot
Second
-Great save by Driedger on the PK from a shot in the slot
Lepine turns the puck over right in front of his net, but Driedger is there
Mullen‘s backhand pass bounces off the side of the net (intended for a Lepine who was nowhere near the net) and goes to a Hershey player who is stoned by Driedger
-Paul turns it over on the same sequence forcing yet another save from Driedger right in front
-Sens 5-on-3 features Stortini who is unable to either make a pass or carry the puck resulting in an easy out on the only entry the BSens had into the zone
3. With the PP now 5-on-4 Puempel finishes off a pretty three-way passing play
4. Flanagan with a brutal turnover in the slot and Hershey makes no mistake
Stortini-line is stuck in its own end for an eternity with a near miss right in front of Driedger
5. Lindberg steals the puck and passes on a 2-on-0 to Robinson
-Claesson turns it over leading to a breakaway and save by Driedger; he proceeds to turn it over immediately after the save requiring another great save from a shot in the slot
Third
6. Flanagan picks up a Hershey turnover, drops it to Puempel who scores top-shelf, far side from just inside the circle
Stortini-line hemmed in again with turnovers from Rutkowski and the captain (a shot going off the post during the sequence)
Lindberg with a steal in the offensive zone but Paul can’t quite get the tip on his high shot
Dzingel hustles back to break up a 3-on-2
-An exhausted Rutkowski nearly had a breakaway after a steal (he managed a shot, but couldn’t create separation)
-Nice save from Driedger from in tight (both Paul and Kostka were caught chasing the same player behind the net, leaving the Hershey forward wide open)
7. BSens lose the draw and Driedger is beat as Kostka is used as a screen
-Great save by Driedger on a spinorama in front
8. Greening scores on the empty net

Driedger deserves full credit for the win as against a good team the BSens returned to being a sloppy turnover machine.  Offensively it was a great night for the Paul-line and ultimately it was the team’s ability to capitalize on third-string goaltender Dekanich that maximized their superior goaltending.

While it’s great that the BSens are on a winning streak, fans have to be realistic and understand they are beating backup (or third-string) goaltenders and mostly poor teams (Leigh Valley and Hartford).  Even after three-straight wins the team is still six points behind the next worst team in the conference (Springfield).

EvansvilleIceMenCHL

Evansville won its only game of the holidays on Saturday, beating Cincinnati 4-2 in a game they dominated (outshooting the Cyclones 51-19).  Zenzola picked up the win.  The goals:
1. Humphries throws the puck away and Zenzola is beaten at a bad angle short side
2. Cyclones score off a high backhand in the slot
3. Moon steals the puck and on the ensuing possession Zay scores with a backhand in the slot
4. Leveille scores on a breakaway
5. Sims scores off a rebound
4. Duco scores on an empty net

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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