Archive for February 18th, 2013

What’s up with Michalek?

- February 18th, 2013

Remember when you would read the above headline and think this is a post about the Senators top marksman having trouble hitting the target?
Milan Michalek is tied for seventh on the team’s goal scoring list. With two, he is behind guys like Chris Phillips, Chris Neil and Jim O’Brien.
The Senators might have another win or two had he been lighting it up the way he usually does through the first quarter of the schedule. Generally a fast starter, Michalek scored the first goal of the season for Ottawa but has basically done nothing since.
Part of the problem is the absence of Jason Spezza, of course, but the Michalek who returned from the lockout is not the Michalek who led the team with 35 goals last season, was second on the list the year before that and third highest scorer in 2009-10.
The 2112-13 version doesn’t drive the net the way he used to, for whatever reason.
Anyway, Michalek is not driving anywhere these days, as a mysterious injury is about to keep him out of his third straight game this afternoon in New Jersey. That, more than his slump or the reasons for it, should be most concerning.
What happened to him? Paul MacLean has not been very enlightening on the situation. Michalek was on the ice for the pre-game warmup in Pittsburgh, then just like that he was a late scratch. He didn’t even accompany the team on its two-game road trip to Toronto and New Jersey.
We have learned that he had some swelling in his knee, but little else. We don’t know how it happened or how severe it is. And we have no idea of how long he will be out.
The way the season is going, you half expect MacLean to soon announce that Michalek is going to need surgery but should be 100 percent by next October.
Meanwhile, I do think the Senators are going to score against the Devils. They may even wind up with more than the home team, if Ben Bishop plays like he did against the Jets on Hockey Day in Canada.
The reason for your optimism is the return of Peter Regin, who was actually starting to get some good chances in the two games before his chest injury, and the re-insertion into the lineup of Colin Greening. After the wake up call of being a healthy scratch in Toronto, I expect Greening will have a little more fire and passion in his game.
If I was asked for a prediction, I’d only say this Senators-Devils showdown will end in a shootout.