Thoughts on the Senators Rookie Tournament

applause

Ottawa’s rookies won their first game 8-2 against Montreal’s rookies. Incredibly the game had no coverage at all–no TV, no radio, no stream. While it’s understandable that LeafsTV had no interest in broadcasting the contest, it would have been a simple matter to use the arena feed and stream it (on SensTV or wherever)–I can’t imagine LeafsTV would have denied Ottawa if they’d asked–the Sens are contributing a third of the talent for the tournament. I call it a failed marketing opportunity, particularly as it’s the only game Thomas Chabot and Colin White played in.

In the absence of video we are left with reports, the best of which comes from Colin who was there (Ary was also live tweeting, but with restraint–his most complete statement coming here; very brief video highlights were posted by RDS). Before getting into the results it’s worth keeping in mind: 1) Montreal was playing for a second straight night, 2) the Habs started their ATO goaltender (an unremarkable QMJHLer), who gave up 5 goals on 28 shots. Here’s the Sens lineup for the game:
Goaltenders: Hogberg-Bailie
Defense: Chabot-Jaros, Murray-Erkamps, Lajoie-Beaudoin-England
Forwards: Perron-Brown-Rodewald, Formenton-White-Gagne, Gennaro-Chlapik-Batherson, Kelly-Suter-Dow-Topping

I haven’t found a scoresheet for the game, but can piece the basics together from Colin’s piece and the RDS highlights:
First
1. Rodewald (Brown, Perron)
2. Montreal (Mete)
3. Gennaro (Lajoie, White)
4. Gagne (unknown)
Shots 16-13 Ottawa
Second
5. Kelly (unknown)
6. Jaros (Perron, Chabot) (pp)
Shots 18-9 Ottawa
Third
7. Chlapik (Chabot, unknown)
8. Topping (unassisted)
9. Montreal (Ebbing)
10. Brown (Rodewald, unknown)
Shots 14-11 for Montreal

Both Colin and Ary praised Gagne, but I did see someone talk about his footspeed as a problem (something noted when he was drafted)–the same attendee made the same complaint about Englund. These footspeed complaints seemed on point in the first period of the next game, but faded away as the game went on (at least at this level of play).

Game number two was actually broadcast on LeafsTV, with highlights here, so I can offer my own thoughts on it (a 4-3 shootout win by Ottawa). First, the roster:
Goalies: Bailie, Hogberg
Defence: Lajoie-Jaros,  Murray-Beaudoin, Englund-Erkamps-Donaghey
Forwards: Perron-Brown-Rodewald, Formenton-Chlapik-Gagne, Kelly-Suter-Batherson, Topping-Gennaro-Dow

Notes: Chabot and White weren’t dressed; Beaudoin did not get second pairing ice time (Englund did, playing mostly with Jaros); Suter spent part of the second and third period on the second line (Formenton sliding down), with Gagne moving up to the first (Perron sliding down). Dow played the least.

Summary (again nothing official–Bob McGill kept yammering during the broadcast so I couldn’t hear the announcer for the assists on the goals):
First
1. Leafs (bad angle shot Bailie should have had; lazy backcheck by Chlapik)
2. Leafs (rebound opportunity; Murray looked for the puck instead of taking the man and that’s the goal scorer)
3. Leafs on the PP (bad coverage down low–Batherson didn’t collapse down)
Shots: 10-10
Second
No scoring
Shots: 13-9 Ottawa
Third
4. Englund (floater hit a Leaf and went in)
5. Gennaro finishes a 2-on-1 with Topping (created by a turnover generated by Jaros)
6. Chlapik bangs in a great pass by Batherson (Lajoie was key as well, keeping the puck in)
Shots: 9-7 Ottawa
OT
No Scoring
Shootout
Lajoie scores 5-hole (the 6th Sens shooter)

General observations
The Sens were slow to start the game (Gagne in particular looked like he was stuck in neutral); teammates did not trust Bailie in the net which had them playing defensively. The Sens spent most of the first period in their own end and had few if any scoring chances. The second was a much better period, with better skating (including Gagne), more aggressive play once Hogberg came in, and they were particularly dominant during a 4-on-4 (as they would in the same situation in the third). They had the best chances in the third and earned the tie and the win.

Player observations
Bailie: looked exactly like what he is–an emergency replacement from the Canadian University system–albeit only one of the three goals he gave up was truly bad
Hogberg: excellent, stopping all shots (including during the shootout); the Sens style of play changed dramatically once he was in the crease, taking far more chances and dominating the game; he was calm in the net with good movement
Beaudoin: almost completely invisible (I forgot he was in the game for awhile); the only play he made that I noted was him making an unpressured pass to the wrong team in the third
Murray: more bad than good: got puck-watching on the Leafs second goal; threw a big hit in the first, then took a bad penalty (which the refs gave to Gagne); made a good and bad defensive play in the second, along with a brutal giveaway in the third that Hogberg bailed him out on
Erkamps: largely invisible, with two plays standing out–getting undressed in the second period; throwing a good hit (separating the player from the puck) in the third
Donaghey: didn’t play much in the first, but gradually joined the regular rotation; had two plays of note: a scoring chance off a great pass from Gagne in the second, then a giveaway in his own zone in the third
Englund: played a quiet, safe game, and he scored
Jaros: played a lot and most of it was good–huge hit early, but got beat badly on a inside-outside deke in the first; made a hit to create the turnover that lead to the Genarro goal; also made a good defensive play early in OT
Lajoie: fantastic game from him–showing both speed and finesse; at this level of competition he was very good; among the many things he did well he was very good at keeping the puck in at the blueline (one of those instances leading to the Chlapik goal); he also won the game in the shootout
Dow: outside of getting matching roughing penalties nothing he did sticks out
Perron: while Ary liked his game, I did not–he was mostly invisible through the first two periods, negating a powerplay in the third along with fumbling an opportunity set-up by Suter that period; for someone whose meant to generate offense he was a non-factor
Formenton: didn’t accomplish much other than being on the ice for Englund’s goal (Ary was happier with his play); a lot of speed, but for me he didn’t drive the play
Kelly: a very active player in terms of being involved, with two plays of note: drawing a penalty in the first and a scoring chance in the second
Topping: largely invisible, but made one big play: the pass on the 2-on-1 for the Sens second goal
Rodewald: a pretty quiet game, particularly in the second half–he had a good scoring chance in the second, but his most notable play was making a terrible pass to Perron on a 2-on-1
Suter: had a good game despite not appearing on the scoresheet; notable plays–making a great pass in the second that came to nothing, then a scoring chance on a deflection; in the third he made a nice drop pass to Perron in the slot which came to nothing; a 3-on-2 he generated later was shoveled to the goaltender by Gennaro; he also drew a penalty the Sens frittered away
Brown: had a solid if unremarkable game–a few scoring chances (one in the slot just before the Englund goal), some good passes, but not dominant
Gagne: a very slow first period, but was better afterwards–most notably with a scoring chance and a great pass to Donaghey for another (both in the second)
Batherson: had a slow start and wears the goat horns on the third Toronto goal as he failed to collapse down low; other notable moments–two great scoring chances (early third and in OT), setting up the tying goal, and then taking a dumb penalty in OT
Gennaro: came to the fore once the Sens opened up, first with a great scoring chance early and then scoring Ottawa’s second goal
Chlapik: it took him awhile to get going (a lackadaisical backcheck contributing to Toronto’s first goal), but he scored to tie the game and had a good chance in OT

In the end the primary standout was Lajoie, followed by Hogberg. As a group the Sens were tenacious, but I think the goaltender switch was the primary factor in them making the comeback, as the players felt like they could take chances and push the play.

Only three players on the roster were looking for contracts (Suter, Gennaro, and Beaudoin). I’m not sure Suter did enough to earn himself a contract (assuming that’s what he’s attempting), but such a small sample size makes him hard to judge. He was more present, in this game, than the other two, but Gennaro put himself on the scoresheet and the Sens tend to sway that direction. Beaudoin, who was invisible, should have no shot whatsoever. Given that the Sens don’t need to feed an ECHL affiliate, there’s no reason for them to load up on AHL-contracts, so I wouldn’t be surprised if none of them were signed.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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  1. […] Thoughts on the Senators Rookie Tournament […]


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