Senators Prepare for the Week Ahead

SensChirp November 11, 2013 83
Senators Prepare for the Week Ahead

The Ottawa Senators are back on the ice for practice this morning ahead of tomorrow night’s match up with the Philadelphia Flyers at the Canadian Tire Centre.

After stumbling out of the gate, the Sens are heating up a little bit as of late, reeling off three straight victories including a 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers on Saturday afternoon.  The Senators are now 7-6-4 on the season, which has them just a single point behind the Montreal Canadiens for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.  It’s obviously pretty early for scoreboard watching but the stats show that teams that get in too big of a hole early in the season usually have a hard time playing their way back into contention.

Safe to say this three game winning streak could not have come at a better time for the Ottawa Senators.

A fairly light week ahead for the Sens as they’ll take on the Flyers on Tuesday, the Bruins on Friday before closing out the five game home stand with a Sunday afternoon match up against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

It will be interesting to see how Paul MacLean handles his goalies over that three game stretch.  When asked about who is starter would be on Tuesday night, MacLean said he would take a couple days to think it over but emphasized that Craig Anderson is this team’s number one goalie and if he’s ready to return, he’ll be in the net.  Certainly not easy to take Robin Lehner out right now as he has been one of the primary reasons for the team’s recent turnaround.

Lehner has posted  an outstanding 2.13 goals against average and an incredible .945 save percentage in his 8 games this season.  Even if Anderson does get back in the net on Tuesday, I would expect that we see Lehner again before the week is out.  The Senators are on the ice for practice at 11:00 AM this morning so we’ll see if MacLean tips his hand about who gets the nod against the Flyers tomorrow.

While the NHL team has managed to right the ship over the last few games, the AHL’s Binghamton Senators have also enjoyed some success as of late.  The BSens went 3-0 this weekend, winning back to back games against the Rochester Americans before closing out the weekend with a 5-4 win over Hershey last night.  Binghamton is now 9-4-0 on the season and sit just a point back of the Division leading Syracuse Crunch.

Mike Hoffman continues to pace the attack in Bingo and now has 16 points through 13 games this season.  The next time the Senators look to the farm, it would not be at all surprising to see Hoffman get the call.

-On Remembrance Day, I wanted to take the time to remember, thank and acknowledge the brave men and women that have fought and continue to fight in the name of our Freedom. In particular, those that made the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives in support of this great country we live in.  We are eternally grateful and today, we remember.

  • Jacques

    I was really impressed with Gudbranson on Saturday – this guy is a beast who can skate really well! If it is at all a possiblity, I think Murray has to look into it! This guy could make the SENS a scary team to play in the EAST! I think that Lehner time is approaching faster than everybody thinks right now. You can tell that he’s taking more of a leadership role. You can tell this by his actions on the ice and by his tweets!

    • RUSH RLZ

      I didn’t think he stood out too much other than the delay of game and mini-tilt with Zack.

      • Jacques

        Glad you aren’t a scout , when I look at a guy play – I look at how much ice he covers, his speed, his combativeness, etc etc . for a 21 year old defenseman he has it all, a much better skater than Cowen. I’d love to have both on our team. Gudbranson will evolve into a complete player.

        • RUSH RLZ

          Listen, let’s get one thing straight. I am no scout!

          • Jacques

            Haha

          • RUSH RLZ

            I was thinking the same thing, thus keeping half an eye on him during the game to see how he would react as he may very well be aware of the rumors…

      • spezzerman

        he was the worst player on the ice in that game

  • SenaWalrus

    @SensChirp – the Bruins game is Friday, not Thursday

    • SensChirp

      Thank ya

  • SensChirp

    From this morning’s practice…

    MacArthur-Turris-Ryan
    Michalek-Spezza-Conacher
    Greening-Smith-Neil
    Kassian-Grant-Zibanejad

    Cowen-Karlsson
    Phillips-Wiercioch
    Borowiecki-Methot

    • Jacques

      Looking at those lines – there is room for Hoffman for sure.

    • aegiszx

      Why is Zibby down there…

      • laffin681021

        Good question..since he seemed to play some solid minutes in the last game and came away with a goal and IMO looked pretty good, and for god’s sake can we please not dress Kassian? Hopefully we see Hoffman in the near future. I’d like to see what he can bring to the big team since he seems to be having a pretty good year in Bingo so far.

        • 0101010111101111010101111

          Philly is the next opponent – Kassian WILL play

        • SensChirp

          Yea it would be interesting to see Hoffman on the left side on that line with Grant and Zibanejad.

          • boom

            I really hope that is what the Sens management is thinking, too.

            If Hoffman subbed in for Kassian, I really think that line could play 10 minutes a night, and provide some balance. You could swap Conacher for Zibanejad if Conacher doesn’t gel with Spezza’s line, although I think he (Conacher) has played very well, given that he doesn’t get much ice time.

            Or, they could try this:

            MacArthur-Turris-Ryan
            Hoffman-Spezza-Conacher
            Michalek-Smith-Neil
            Greening-Grant-Zibanejad

            You will notice that I don’t have Condra in wither scenario. I don’t want to beat a dead horse here (sick expression), but I don’t see where he fits in.

          • Hax

            Love Grant’s play and all but I think our team is a bit better if Zibanejad plays 3C and Grant goes down:

            MacArthur-Turris-Ryan
            Hoffman-Spezza-Conacher
            Greening-Zibanejad-Michalek
            Condra-Smith-Neil

          • sprucesens

            like these lines, except i’d prefer grant to condra. At least get some size and faceoff ability. As i said from the start, condra and greening need to watch their play, because there are many more talented forwards in the system licking their lips a chance to prove themselves. Grant is only the first of many, and he certainly wasn’t considered a top forward prospect. Might be a time to sell on underachieving players and get back some later picks, or B level prospects.

            I guess in future, i’d put stone in greening’s spot, and grant in condra’s. Eventually would like to see robinson on the 4th. But time will tell for all of the above. Nice to have players that we would like to see on our big team. Not all organizations have that kind of depth…thanks murrays!

          • Hax

            Great depth and great competition for sure and I’m totally cool with anyone from Bingo taking someone’s spot by playing so well.

            However I keep thinking back to the idea that we’re still “building” in a way. Today Greening looks expendable and he may end up losing his spot, but I think the org wants Greening to focus on improving and developing into a long-term solution in our top 6. Slow start this year for sure but plenty of time to get back on track.

            Heck, right now I’d be tempted to dress 7 D so that you can have Corvo or Wiercioch for the power play without having to sit Borowiecki.

          • boom

            Good points, all. I really think that Condra and Greening are the two most easily replaced players on this team. Grant has already shown he can do whatever Condra can, as a defensive presence – and he is bigger, stronger, faster, and plays in the middle!

            As far as Greening is concerned, what does he bring this team?

  • SensChirp

    Robin Lehner named the NHL’s first star this week. 3-0-0 record, 1.33 GAA and a .958 save percentage.

  • MikeS

    Im not sure how MacLean can sit lehner until he has a bad game

  • A-Train

    so many great storylines emerging this season:

    - the return to form of Karlsson
    - bobby ryan living up to the hype and more
    - kyle turris grabbing the #1 centre job

    and now….the possible emergence of Lehner as a star.

    pretty thrilling stuff to be honest.

  • MethotToMyMadness

    Happy for this 3 win ride we’ve all been able to experience of late. Like Chirp said, it came at the right time. Keep the pedal to the metal and drive on.

    Lehner deserves all the playing time he can get, but I do agree that Andy is the #1 so when he’s ready, he’ll play. Good odds Andy plays against Philly if he’s ready and Lehner gets the Boston start, just as a way to get Andy’s feet wet again. And Sunday is a toss up. It’s actually nice to have two great options, so we shouldn’t complain.

    it’s crazy how our top lines has changed, hard to picture Spezza as a 2nd C, but I guess that is only on paper, as they do continue to swap and get very even minutes. Did anyone see this happening before the season started.

    Philly is heating up, this will be a test for sure. And Boston, well we all know how those games can be. Looking forward to this week.

  • SensChirp

    Craig Anderson will start tomorrow against the Flyers.

    • MikeS

      What happened to “we dont sit the number 1 star “

    • A-Train

      Gutsy call and I’m sure there will be criticism. That said, there’s the unwritten rule: you don’t lose your job because you got injured. Anderson already missed one start he was ready for…and Team USA staff were in town to scout that games. He needs a start. But if he loses….? That’ll be the interesting call.

    • MethotToMyMadness

      It’s the right call, no argument. And Lehner will easily have PMac’s back on that, if he is asked about it, which I’m sure he will be. There was a common concern that Lehner wouldn’t be happy with a whole lot of things, but I think we’ve all seen him grow up in front of our eyes. Yes he’s competitive, it’s only going to push him harder when he starts in Boston on Friday. Because I do believe he will get that start.

      • Hax

        Totally agree. In many ways, Lehner has one of the best attitudes on the team. Fiery and competitive but also a true teammate and loyal soldier.

    • spezzerman

      If they win its a good call, if they lose its a bad call. ;)

  • Robert Cyr

    Sens are now in 6th place in Eastern Conference, and if they win the next 3 home games,
    they could have 24 points, and with some luck could be as high as 2nd place.

    Not bad for a team who went as low as 13th place, in 5 game losing streak, just a few days ago.

    GO SENS GO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Snoopy Senior

    • Sandy

      If the Sens had not gift-wrapped a win to the Leafs & Kings (taking all of those penalties which resulted in game winning goals on the PP for the opponents) and not played so terribly against the Oilers.. they would now have 4 more points and tied with the Leafs & the Wings..

      • sprucesens

        coulda woulda shoulda

  • Deadly

    It was interesting to see that Hammond started 2 of 3 games this weekend. BM knows what he has with Lawson but he needs to find out what else he has in goaltending.
    Looking to the time when we can really benefit by making a move he will need to be clear abut the back up situation and the Bingo roster. Winning in Bingo is extremely important to the culture of the organization.

  • sprucesens

    completely off topic subject that i want to debate. Something i’ve disliked for years, and would like to see changed is the negation of a delayed minor penalty being called because of a goal. To clarify, right now the rules are, if the ref is calling a delayed penalty, and the other team scores before the offending team touches the puck, no penalty is called. I want to see this change. I see no reason for a team not to receive a penalty still.

    1. the penalized team has 6 players on the ice, as does the team that is to get the PP. Yes teams will pull their goalie, so they can have 6 skaters, but they can pull the goalie at any time during any game, or play the entire game without a goalie if they really felt like it. Its just a smart move since the other team basically can’t score.

    2. With or without the goalie pulled, if a goal is scored, before a delayed penalty is called, a penalty should still occur because the offending team hasn’t yet been penalized!

    3. Already in effect penalties can still be cancelled when a goal is scored, because the team was already at a disadvantage(penalized). Basically all other rules stay the same.

    Does anyone else agree/disagree with this? The only argument against would be that if a ref makes a bad call, its more of a disadvantage if 2 goals could get scored. But again, if the first goal is scored before a team is actually penalized down to 5 total players, its just good play by other team to get a goal before the other team can touch it. And i feel they should still be awarded a powerplay.

    • Hax

      I think there’s room to change this rule but I think it would require some thought. If someone hooks a player but they score a second later anyway I’m not sure there needs to be a power play still. Or if one team has too many players on the ice and are still scored on. But if it’s a high stick or slash or something or if the infraction happens and it’s 10 or more seconds later that the goal comes I’d be okay with the player still having to go off.

      Or maybe some mid-way solution where the player still goes off but there’s no man advantage?

      Definitely think there are times where it seems unfair that there’s no power play while other times it seems fair.

      • sprucesens

        yeah, i can see the argument, say if a player is on a breakaway and still scores even though he is hooked. But then again, it basically says, might as well hook the guy, if he scores, it doesn’t matter what i do. At least if i hook him and he doesn’t score, we have a chance to kill the penalty. And if i hook him and get away with it, even better!
        I think it would have to be black and white though. No more judgment or timing (10 second count) calls. If the refs deem it a penalty initially, then i feel a penalty should be assessed, only once the other team gets possession. Only exception is for a penalty shot. Then the whistle is blown immediately after the play. If a penalty shot was going to be awarded, and the player still somehow scores, it should just be a minor penalty still awarded, not a Pshot. Obviously, this would have all been done in the ref’s mind (determing Pshot vs PP as the initial call) so we wouldn’t know the difference anyways.
        Anyways, i feel its something the NHL should really look at, as its something that has never really made sense to me.

    • senate19

      I definitely agree with this – it doesn’t make sense to me the way it currently is. If there’s a delayed penalty, it means as soon as the other team touches the puck, the whistle blows – the whole point of that is to not break the action from the team not penalized.

      If that team pulls the goalie for a 6th man, and scores a goal, the penalty is negated. I can kind of understand that, because you basically started your power play early. Fine.

      If they score a goal with the goalie in net at 5 on 5, (correct me if I’m wrong), the penalty is still negated right? It doesn’t make sense.

  • NickofTime

    Lest We Forget
    Wouldn’t mind seeing Hoffman in a game this week in Ottawa replacing Conacher who seems to be struggling scoring goals. I would prefer Stone but he may still not be quite ready since he is just returning from injury. Hoffman has been hot in Bingo & Ottawa could always use more scorers, he deserves a shot & maybe it will help Conacher to watch from the press box for a while.

    • Hax

      Not that I disagree with any of that, but I would suggest that our problem isn’t scoring goals at this point but with our play in our own end.

      I’d much rather see changes to help that end of the ice. Borowiecki has been a big help so far.

      Maybe dress 7 D?

      • Jacques

        You can only put 2 D on the ice at once – what will having 7 dressed do? You can’t roll 4 lines that’s what!

        • Hax

          Well first of all, MacLean changes the line combos during the game all the time, so having 11 forwards skating is not going to slow us down. We’d essentially lose the 5 minutes Kassian plays.

          And 7 D allows us to either have one guy only play PP (Corvo/Wiercioch) and three regular pairs or mix in the 7th guy throughout the game to keep them all fresh.

          Not saying by any extent that it solves our D problems. But does allow MacLean to choose from 7 guys to protect a lead instead of 6.

      • MethotToMyMadness

        I agree with Hax that goal scoring hasn’t been our issue, we are right among the leaders in that dept. It’s our defensive coverage, turn overs and a new stat, short handed shots against. Shots in general, but we have done very poorly in giving up short handed chances. If Hoffman is a better two way player, giving less chances then Conacher, then I don’t mind.

  • Hax

    Off Topic:

    I think the Sens should really be changing the in-game experience to cater more to younger/louder crowds. I have the utmost respect for the 60+ fans that have supported the team for years as well as for the families with young kids that want to attend games and I’m not suggesting anything radical here. It doesn’t need to be like a night club.

    But get rid of Cotton-Eyed Joe and the other dinosaur music. Keep the mood loud and upbeat and exciting. For every ticket sale lost to people who find it too noisy etc you’ll gain three more sold to fans who find it thrilling to be there.

    • RUSH RLZ

      Hax – if you only knew how much I agree with your sentiments. The tunage at least seems a BIT rowdier this year, but yeah it should be a cooler, more cutting edge, even hostile environment for opposing teams. LOUD. *mosh*

    • T K

      I have been advocating this same thing through multiple channels directly to the team for years. The message just falls on deaf ears, apparently. Start by canning the organist. Dump the cheesy redneck music. Mix some pop and rock and turn up the bass

  • Dr Sens

    All exciting for the Sens. But what happens if Anderson loses. Do you automattically put Lehner in the next game. Coach is playing with fire. He is going to have to play anderson 2 times in a row not to ruin his “1# status”

    Lehner is a beast.

    BTW. dont mean to brag but I’ve been in 1st place in the SensChirp pool for 5 weeks

  • MethotToMyMadness

    I have to ask this none Sens question, what is Edmonton thinking trading away Smid and picking up Bryzgalov? Let me rephrase, I can understand picking up Bryz, he’s free, you don’t need to lose a star player for an NHL caliber goalie. Worst case, it’s a failure and you are no further off. But moving Smid and moving him inner conference like that?

    One of Edmonton’s glaring holes is Defense and if I’m not mistaken, he’s one of the bigger minute eaters on the team, is he not? For a team that everyone keeps saying NEEDs defense, why trade one away for prospects?

    It just seems the Oil fully believe in what they’ve done at the draft table and fully believe in the D corps they have, and put the entire issues on the Goalies. Again, I can’t ague that Dub’s hasn’t been the best, but he’s not the only reason. If Bryz comes in and gets lite up, maybe they will finally open their eyes. Ok, rant over.

    Oh man, Stamkos went down in Boston, left on a stretcher, injury to his leg. Wow, that’s going to hurt Tampa.

    • aegiszx

      See, Bryz, like Marty, relies heavily on a strong D presence. But they’re both still better than Dubnyk IMO.

      I think he’s a solid upgrade and should give them a good chance to win every night. Not saying this will turn them around… but it’s a step up for sure.

    • sprucesens

      broken tibia according to tsn. scary crap. play didn’t even look that bad. we know the pain of losing a star to a play gone wrong.

  • MikeS

    Anyone know what stamkos injury was? That leg is not supposed to go that way

    • MethotToMyMadness

      I watched it, wow. It looks like his shin hit the bar and it really bent his leg inward, in the normal bend position, but it went further than normal. His heel kicked himself in the arse. It’s not good news, he was in serious pain.

      • MikeS

        His reaction reminded me of karlsson, went down, got up and tried to skate, but collapsed again. Serious props for getting back up again though

    • RUSH RLZ

      That’s gotta be a broken leg if I ever saw one… not a little ‘fracture’ either. Hope I’m wrong.

  • http://www.Merchaholic.ca Merchaholic

    Looks bad for sure.

    • RUSH RLZ

      Broken tibia…. yikes!

      • http://www.Merchaholic.ca Merchaholic

        I’m hearing 6 months recovery. Damn that’s bad.

        • RUSH RLZ

          Sad thing is, this still probably doesn’t open up a sliver of a chance for Spezz at the Olympics.

          • MikeS

            With giroux playing soo badly it might.

  • http://www.Merchaholic.ca Merchaholic

    Nice!

    • MikeS

      whats nice?

    • Hax

      LOL @ “Roll”. It’s a role first of all and a bit of a stretch to paint it like Lehner is getting screwed. He did his job as asked while Anderson was hurt. Playing Andy against Philly is not a slap in the face.

      • http://www.Merchaholic.ca Merchaholic

        It’s a role he’s rolling back into haha. Not saying he’s getting screwed, We’ll see tonight if Andy pulls off what should be a guaranteed win now wont we :)

        • Hax

          I think even if MacLean was of the opinion that Lehner was #1 and Anderson #2 at this point he’d start Andy tonight and save Lehner for the divisional game against the Bruins.

  • Robert Cyr

    This will no doubt be a tremendous loss for the Lightning, and I can foresee them
    having difficulties in staying in top 4 of Eastern Conference.
    Unless they have a young prospect, in their stable to pick up the slack, they will
    start to fall down in the standings.

    Stamkos will be gone for most of this season and not honestly replaceable.

    Snoopy Senior

    • my2sens

      All I can say about is the Stamkos injury, is that I wish him the best. He was in some kind of pain and as someone mentioned, kudos for trying to get up.

      Unlike the Boston announcer, it is not a bad bruise. Players like him are rare. That being said, I do hope he takes his time to recover 100%.

      Further, seeing Salo there like a brother… that’s nice to see!

      Wish we still had him on our team.

      • Hax

        Yeah Stammer is one of the elite players in the league I like the most. Even when we play against TB I’m not usually yelling at him. Wish him well.

  • Sandy

    Broken tibia.. requires surgery. Yeah he is out long-term. Terrible for the Lightening and also for Team Canada..
    If Spezza hopes to make Team Canada he needs to get his butt in gear and just play.. Simple hockey.. no fancy stuff… He can do it… so he just has to do it..

  • Aaron 2.0

    Bad ‘break’ for Stamkos. TB will have to dig deep to keep up anything remotely close to their early success.

  • timwrx

    Congrats to Stephane Da Costa for being named AHL player of the week.

  • Floridasensfan

    Terrible to see something happen like that to anyone, sure wish him the best and 100% recovery.

  • NickofTime

    Lest we Forget.

    Would love to see Hoffman in soon for Conacher but would still prefer to see Stone especially against the Broadstreet Bullies & the Big Bad Bruins. Maybe against Columbus on Sunday would be a good game to bring in Hoffman.

  • A-Train

    Here’s one I’ll throw out there:

    How early would/should the Ottawa Senators start talking extension with Bobby Ryan?

    This early in a penultimate contract year would seem to be too early, but then again does anybody doubt this guy’s ability to flourish at this point? Having him locked up long term would go a long way toward clarifying a busy couple of years on the contract front.

    • JBL11

      I could see the Murrays locking him up long-term either late this season, or early in the offseason. I’d be pretty surprised if it isn’t for 8 years. Something similar to Kessel’s contract, likely (assuming Ryan puts up 30+ this season).

      • A-Train

        Doing it sooner rather than later would be a good PR move as well. I’m not in Ottawa , so I’m not really all that connected to the ticket-buying fan as some other people on this board must be. But I have to think at some level the “we couldn’t even pay Alfie” narrative has set in and is partly (mostly?) to blame for some of the smaller crowds.

        • The Apostle

          seems pretty stupid behaviour to think well we couldn’t pay Alfie, so i’ll show my displeasure by not providing them with any business.

          I think it’s more to do with the numbers were always inflated because of the free tickets that were given out. Without that happening we are seeing the crowds that have always bought their own.

        • JBL11

          Long road trip, poor performance, no Alfie…a few factors I’m sure. All I know is that a Casino isn’t what’s going to fill up the barn every night. Better public transit and a solid team on the ice will.

    • SenaWalrus

      I thought teams couldn’t talk extension until the player was in the last year of their contract… which means they couldn’t even talk to him about this until after July 1st, 2014…

      But, yeah, they should do it… more than just the goal scoring, he brings grit, speed, effort, character and all the other things you want from your top players.

    • thepez

      As we know the Sens will have 3 huge UFA’s at the end of next season. Anderson, Spezza and Ryan. My guess is that Anderson will be moved in the summer at the draft, handing the number 1 job to Lehner. Spezza will be 32 years old. I think the Sens should not go more than 3 years at about 6 million per year. If Spezza wants longer then there is a good chance they trade him next year some time. Bobby Ryan will be 28 at the end of next year. If the Sens can get a discount, 7 million per, great but he will probably get the 8 year 64 million deal. I’ve been very impressed at his leadership role he has taken with this team so early into his Sens career. Would not be surprised if he gets an A as early as this year if Phillips or Neil are out of the lineup.

  • Sensnation

    Red Robin keeps putting up great game after great game! Love everything about this kid and at some point he’s going to force the team’s hand, that’s all there is to it!

    • Tooks

      Eventually sure, but for now its Andy’s ship, possibly his last go at it so they will give Andy all the freedom in the world. Lehner is back up, our #1 went down, his job is to come in until #1 is back.

      • Sensnation

        Oh Tookie, such a pointless post. You just reiterated what I said, but tried to pretend you’re disagreeing. Maybe next you can post about how 4th lines get less ice time then 1st lines, no one understands why and I’m sure you have the clarity the rest of the world lacks.

  • Sandy

    Is there a new post up? I don’t see them anymore on the home page. I have a Disqus ID.. so haven’t registered on SensChirp.. Does that make a difference?
    Is there a game day post?