Archive for January, 2013

An update from the AM skate

- January 29th, 2013

Thought our friends here might find this interesting. Don’t usually just post an online update here but this is worth repeating.

Jason Spezza will be a spectator Tuesday night.
The Senators centre wasn’t on the ice for the second straight day and won’t be in the lineup against the Washington Capitals with what the coach Paul MacLean is describing as an upper body injury.
The good news is captain Daniel Alfredsson will return to the lineup after missing one game with the flu.
“Spezza is out,” said MacLean. “He’s just being further evaluated so he needs to take some time to do that.”
MacLean said he isn’t sure about Wednesday’s visit by the Montreal Canadiens either. MacLean confirmed Spezza was hurt in Sunday’s 2-1 shootout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins but didn’t give any further information.
“At this point, I don’t know,” said MacLean. “We expect that he would play (Wednesday) but we’ll have to see how the evaluation goes.”
Centre Peter Regin has been promoted to play on the top line in place of Spezza with Milan Michalek and Jakob Silfverberg.
“I’m not going to be Jason Spezza so I’ll just try to play the way I can and the way I’ll play,” said Regin. “That’s what I’m focusing on.
“You have to make the most of the opportunity because you don’t get too many of them. I’m going to try to make the most of this.”
Top pick Mika Zibanejad is also drawing into the lineup. The healthy scratches are going to be defenceman Andre Benoit and winger Kaspars Daugavins. Here’s an updated looked at the club’s lines and defensive pairings:

Forwards
Milan Michalek-Peter Regin-Jakob Silfverberg
Guillaume Latendresse-Kyle Turris-Daniel Alfredsson
Colin Greening-Zack Smith-Chris Neil
Jim O’Brien-Mika Zibanejad-Erik Condra

Defence
Erik Karlsson-Marc Methot
Sergei Gonchar-Mark Borowiecki
Patrick Wiercioch-Chris Phillips

Goaltenders
Craig Anderson (will start)
Ben Bishop

Back home

- January 26th, 2013

Walked through the door of my home at 3 a.m. after a quick visit to Florida. The Senators performance was only so-so in the split in the Sunshine State.
There was hope the Senators could showcase backup goalie Ben Bishop by giving him the start against the Tampa Bay Lightning Friday night. That didn’t work out. He didn’t look good.
He allowed five goals on 30 shots in a 6-4 loss. At some point _ or another _ Bishop is going to be the odd man out here. He is going to be dealt. The Senators feel they’ve got a good situation in net, but they don’t want to keep three goalies either.
Why is that? Plain and simple: Robin Lehner.
He has been better than expected.
More importantly he has matured quicker than expected.
The Senators knew they were getitng a good one when they selected Lehner. They may not have projected it would be this good. The guy has been outstanding. He has been the best goalie outside the NHL this season.
The Senators see the goaltending situation as Craig Anderson being the No. 1 and Lehner can be the No. 1A. If Anderson gets hurt _ and all he does is win _ then they’ve got Lehner ready to step in as the backup.
Bishop was brought here with a purpose. He was brought here to push Lehner to make him better and help him mature. The mission has been accomplished. Lehner won’t be in the AHL all season. He won’t be there much longer.

Cats meow

- January 21st, 2013

Just finishing up at the first morning skate of the season – and a good one it was.
Now, you probably realize that to a reporter, a “good” anything at the rink means he picked up some decent fodder to write. My best bits came out of the Florida Panthers room.
Details will follow up in the Cheapseats, but Alex Kovalev will probably dominate a chunk of the 900 word column. The ex-Senator spoke at length about his problems with former coach Cory Clouston. Everyone knew there was a rift, but this was the first time Kovalev explained his side of the story.
Also chatted with Filip Kuba, who will be paired on the blue line tonight with Brian Campbell. It’s no fluke that Florida coach Kevin Dineen has come up with that tandem, after the success Kuba had with a similar type player in Ottawa.
George Parros, one of the toughest guys in the NHL, was telling me about how different this Ottawa team looks than last season’s, when Matt Carkner and Zenon Konopka and Nick Foligno and Jared Cowen were here. I hope Parros plays tonight, but without a heavyweight to go up against, I’m doubtful.
Anyway, Senators will have their hands full with a well-coach bunch of Panthers, but I’m thinking the atmosphere at Scotiabank Place is going to work in their favor. I’m going go with aa 4-3 Ottawa victory

My 2012-13 Short Season Picks

- January 19th, 2013

I won’t remind anyone at this time that I am the only person on the planet to pick the Senators to make the playoffs last year. Oh, sorry, I guess I just did.
At 2:45 p.m, on Saturday Jan. 19, here’s my predictions for what should be a very entertaining 48 game schedule.

Eastern Conference
1. New York Rangers
2. Boston Bruins
3. Washington Capitals
4. Pittsburgh Penguins
5. Carolina Hurricanes
6. Ottawa Senators
7. Montreal Canadiens
8. Toronto Maple Leafs
9. Buffalo Sabres
10. Winnipeg Jets
11. Tampa Bay Lightning
12. Philadelphia Flyers
13. New York Islanders
14. New Jersey Devils
15. Florida Panthers

Western Conference
1. St. Louis Blues
2. Los Angeles Kings
3. Edmonton Oilers
4. Minnesota Wild
5. Vancouver Canucks
6. Chicago Blackhawks
7. Dallas Stars
8. Nashville Predators
9. San Jose Sharks
10. Colorado Avalanche
11. Calgary Flames
12. Detroit Red Wings
13. Columbus Blue Jackets
14. Anaheim Ducks
15. Phoenix Coyotes

Greetings from Winnipeg

- January 17th, 2013

WINNIPEG _ Just landed. It is cold here. Just like it is cold in Ottawa but colder so I’m not complaining.
Good to be on the road and not standing on a sidewalk in New York.
Interesting decision to be made in the net. I do think Craig Anderson will start. I really do. There wasn’t a lot of drama on cutdown day because there weren’t many cuts to make.
So, who do you go with Anderson, Ben Bishop or Robin Lehner.
I think they owe Anderson the first start.
Lehner is the popular choice. I don’t think he gets the start.
I’m sure Anderson will be rusty. So will about 20 other goalies in the league. Here’s a look at the roster.
I will update after they skate tomorrow. Will try to spend more time here:

Ottawa

Milan Michalek-Jason Spezza-Jakob Silfverberg
Guillaume Latendresse-Kyle Turris-Daniel Alfredsson
Colin Greening-Zack Smith-Chris Neil
Peter Regin-Jim O’Brien-Erik Condra

Defence
Erik Karlsson-Marc Methot
Sergei Gonchar-Chris Phillips
Andre Benoit-Patrick Wiercioch

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