Silfverberg, Zibanejad Adjusting to North America

SensChirp November 28, 2012 0

Luke Richardson has the Binghamton Senators on a heck of a run lately.  Winners of six straight, the BSens have caught the attention of fans around the AHL and in hockey-starved Ottawa.

While the team continues to rely on lights out goaltending from Robin Lehner, and the occasional gem from his back up Ben Bishop, the offence has shown signs of improvement of late, as the team has been able to roll four lines that can all contribute in the attacking end.

A huge part of that offensive surge has been the play of the young Swedes in Jakob Silfverberg and Mika Zibanejad. 

While there are a number of players that Sens fans have been watching closely during the lockout, these two primarily (and maybe Mark Stone) are the players that fans remain the most excited about.

If the NHL season ever does start up, these three guys are all expected to push for a spot on the big club, which makes this Bingo audition that much more important.

Through 16 games, Jakob Silfverberg is second on the team in points with nine.  He takes a regular shift on the team’s power play and is a key piece to the team’s offence.  Mika Zibanejad has seven points, including his first goal Nov. 16th against Adirondack.  While the goals haven’t been there for Zibanejad, he sits fourth on the team in shots with 39 and he is generating chances.

Neither player has blown anyone away with their offensive output to date, but that is to be expected.

You really can’t understate the importance of the adjustment period for young European players when they come to North America.  The smaller ice, combined with a more physical style of game, take some getting used to.  Both Silfverberg and Zibanejad have talked about the adjustment required and recently, seem to be showing signs of being more comfortable.

The Senators organization knows just how tricky the process can be for young players trying to transition to life in Binghamton, both on and off the ice.  Last year, Andre Petersson and Robin Lehner both had issues adjusting and it led to some off ice distraction that the club wasn’t happy with.  In a chalk talk session I attended last season, Binghamton Assistant Coach Steve Stirling talked about just how delicate a process it is and how closely the team works with these guys to make sure they stay on track.

The recent improvement in the game of both these young guys is a great sign for the Binghamton Senators this year, and for the Ottawa Senators down the road.

The BSens are in Adirondack on Friday night and host the Syracuse Crunch on Sunday.

  • I’ve decided my new approach to CBA coverage will be only sharing the good news or things seen as progress.  Not only will that substantially cut down on the amount of CBA talk, it may give things a little more positive spin around here.  John Buccigross, who covers the NHL for ESPN, said that according to people he has spoken to, the NHL is preparing for a shortened 48 game season that would begin in January.  Still significant work to do to make that happen.
  • Interesting article from Don Brennan, where he talks about Daniel Alfredsson’s plans for the lockout. Alfie says that if the season is cancelled, he’ll likely head to Europe, and not to Sweden or Russia. For Sens fans worried we may be missing Alfredsson’s last season, he also wasn’t ready to rule out playing next season, if a full year is lost.