Archive for December 4th, 2012

Cry me a river

- December 4th, 2012

Sure the Senators want to maintain a good relationship with the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation. But just as sure as Christmas will come and go, so will any bitter feelings the Swedes have over Ottawa’s decision to keep Mika Zibanejad from going to the world championship.
Ottawa is good for Sweden, just as Sweden is good for Ottawa. Swedes love it here. They love to play here. They love to live here. The officials in Sweden can’t keep the Senators from drafting players in their country. They can’t keep them from reporting to the Senators. So they’re disappointed in Bryan Murray’s decision. So what?
All that aside, the Swedes are being just as selfish as they believe the Senators are for leaving Zibanejad in Binghamton over the holiday season. They’re not at all thinking about what’s best for the kid, the player. They’re only thinking of themselves.
Fact is, even Zibanejad knows remaining in the AHL for those two or three weeks is best for his development. Even he wants to stay and continue to learn the North American game.
Going to Russia for two or three weeks, he’d miss about a dozen B-Sens games. That’s a big chunk of the season. And I’m not sure who it was….I think former player turned radio guy Jason York…who pointed out that the fatigue factor in crossing time zones for such a high intensity tournament, then jetting back, would increase the likelihood of injury for the player. His body would be more susceptible to potential damage. I agree. Missing 12 games is one thing, but missing a month or two…or a season, that would be a huge setback for Zibanejad.
Anyway, even if you don’t, it’s hard to argue that Zibanejad wouldn’t be a better player now had he been able to play major junior hockey last season. He’d be more familiar with a game that is quite different from that played on the wide open ice surfaces of Europe. The Senators know it. Zibanejad knows it.
He needs to play with men on the small surface more than he needs to skate in another world championship, even if it meant winning another gold medal for Sweden.
The Senators have and will continue to invest a lot of money in Zibanejad, the purpose being to get him ready for the NHL and give their team a better chance at one day winning a championship of their own. Missing a dozen games further slows a process that was already delayed by the fact he had to play in Sweden last year.
Also, the Senators should have more loyalty to the fans in Binghamton than the fans in Sweden. Because of the lockout, the Binghamton fans are getting an opportunity to see players now that they won’t see much of in the future. They shouldn’t be deprived of watching Zibanejad – even if it is for three weeks – and they shouldn’t be deprived of this golden opportunity their team has at taking a run at another Calder Trophy. That’s the kind of championship hockey that will most help Zibanejad’s development.
Zibanejad makes Binghamton better now. He’ll make it even better in the weeks and months ahead, because he’ll be better, because the Senators made the decision to keep him in North America now.