While the long off season is underway here in Ottawa the fun is just getting started down in Binghamton, New York where the Binghamton Senators are preparing for another long post season run. They’ll begin their quest for the Calder Cup with a best of five series against the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins. Game 1 of that series is set for Friday night in Binghamton.
The BSens head into their first round match up as the favourites against the farm team of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Binghamton locked up third place in the Eastern Conference and first place in the East Division, four points clear of the Penguins. The two teams met 8 times this season with the BSens taking five of those contests. Their last meeting came on April 18th- a 5-4 win for the Senators in which Jean Gabriel Pageau scored three times and added an assist.
Luke Richardson had his team on the ice for practice on Monday in preparation for Friday’s season opener. For those of you that haven’t followed Binghamton closely this season, you’ll notice a number of familiar faces in their line up. They got a huge boost from the return of Jean Gabriel Pageau. Mark Stone and Cody Ceci at the end of Ottawa’s season, which gives them a pretty good looking line up.
One player to keep an eye on in Round 1 is first line left winger, Matt Puempel. He is coming off an incredible rookie season in which he scored 30 times, showing exactly why Ottawa grabbed him in the first round in the 2011 draft. Depending on what kind of moves Ottawa makes this off season, he is someone that could push for a spot with the team as early as next year. On defence, Freddy Claesson has been turning heads all season. He had 29 points in 75 games and was a team best +37 in a season where Bingo struggled defensively at times. Claesson was recently named the team’s top defender. Here’s how Coach Luke had them lined up on Monday.
During the BSens Calder Cup run a few years back, SensChirp and the Red Scarf Union paired up for a fun road trip down to Binghamton to catch a game. Anybody that hopped on the Bingo Bus will tell you what a great time it was. It’s unlikely we’ll be able to put something together for Round 1 (although I think they have their own trip planned) but if the BSens can advance past Wilkes Barrie, we’ll look to do something for the next round. Stay tuned for details on that trip.
I’ll do my best to keep everyone updated on the Calder Cup playoffs but if you’re on Twitter, @PSBSens, @PuckJoy and @BSens_Hockey are all must follows.