Stephane’s turn

- February 4th, 2013

Stephane Da Costa is in town. He will suit up against the Buffalo Sabres. The Senators need scoring. They will turn to him for help.
He hasn’t gotten it done in the past.
Yes, he has played well in the minors.
It is worth a shot to give him a chance.
He might be able to help the power play.
Losing Jason Spezza has turned out to be a big task for the Senators. You don’t just lose the player, you lose his minutes and you lose the attention that he gets.
Spezza gets plenty of attention.
He is one of the top _ and most consistent _ forwards in the NHL.
Now, we will see what Da Costa can do.
This is a big week for the Senators. Three home games vs. Buffalo, Carolina and Winnipeg. These would all put in the category of games that they should and need to win.
They don’t need to clinch a playoff spot with Spezza out but they do need to hang onto one.
The Sabres are ripe. They are struggling and inconsistent.

Categories: Hockey

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15 comments

  1. Visitor - Pierre D. says:

    Adam Oates could and should help any team! I welcome him to our line-up.

    My question is…this blown call by Pochmara, is it the end ot the Ottawa Senators franchise as we know it?
    Teams are supposed to ovecome adversity in the couse of a season, but ours can’t do that? It doesn’t augur well that the team completel lost confidence after that call. Aren’t the Senators past all that with the veteran core being seasoned enough after the finals run and MacLean being quite the veteran coach? Mysteries abound!

    I agree Bruce that the mediocre Buffalo, Carolin and WInnipeg should be points in the bag, but Anderson is wearing down (as predicted here) and is now allowing two goals a game instead of one.Alfredsson is also looking quite his age and that long hair isn’t helping any, time for a trip to the barber mon ami suédois!

    They’ll win tomorrow or there will be questions for sure!

  2. Bobby Goodman says:

    Bruce, the Sens should bring someone up from the manures and DaOats-like Costa is a reasonable choice but why not bring up Hoffman (if not instead of Stefan consider bringing him up as well). What has Zibandehad done in the manures to justify his promotion besides being a a member of the Swedish mafia and therefor deserving of preferential treatment? What is the Daug doing for the big club besides padding his minus stats? I think the 6-3, 205 lb Grant would be far better and do much more, don’t you?! He has 13 goals and 19 points in 43 games in Bingo! What does Greening bring to the table besides winning speed skating competitions in skills competitions? Wouldn’t the 6-5, 235 lb Jessiman be far better with Gums and Knuckles? He has 20 points and 111 penalty minutes in 43 games!

    Back to Hoffman, he is the same size as DaOates-like Costa (5-11, 177lb) but he has more points this year, had more last year, is a faster skater with a big league shot, has far more courage and he is a Canadian boy! Dave, who watches many of these games has witnessed Stefan taking nights/shifts off.

    I will never understand why some decisions are made here in Ottawa, most likey because the questions wont be asked and the answers would never make any sense anyway.

    I think on paper you are right Bruce, Ottawa should win the next 3 games but things have changed dramatically in the last week or so. Spezza out makes the team at least 20% weaker. Carolina is playing much better in spite of some losses. Eric has found his game. Skinner is on the cusp of recovering his scoring touch and they have someone they didn’t expect playing very well ‘tween the pipes. Buffalo is playing great hockey, have the hottest player in the league, but haven’t been blessed with goaltending. Their 27 goals scored is fabulous but the 33 allowed is the worst in the entire league! Just like Anderson is the reason for Ottawa’s successes to date, Miller has been the reason for Buffalo’s losses. Miller will not be bad forever, he is far too good. The same can be said of the “Peg. The team has scored one less goal than Ottawa (24 to Ottawa’s 25) but their goaltending has been awful. 32 goals have been scored against them. They will not be without their best skater but this time Ottawa will.

    So we will happen in the next 3 games. Some questions will be answered. Will the “young guns” perform? Will the team continue suffering from Spezza withdrawl? Will Stefan make a difference? Can Anderson continue bailing the team out. Will Greening continue simply skating around or will he be a participant and engage? Who will play with who. Will the team continue playing a soft game like they did in Montreal? And, should the team lose 2 or 3 out of 3…what next?

    I’m all for trading players for draft picks (but not as convinced as many here that the Murrays are great judges of talent). I’d move Sly, Zibby, Greening, Bishop, Lehner or Anderson. I would pursue Deschene and/or O’Reilly!

  3. OD99 says:

    Bobby I am excited for Da Costa to play – I have liked his hands and hockey IQ since he got his first few games in the NHL and I think with a little time in the A under his belt he will surprise you. He isn’t coming in to replace Spezza but I am confident he will provide more offensive upside than Regin right now and should do well with Sifl and whoever else ends up on the 2nd line.

    Hoffman has a broken collar bone so will be out another 4-6 weeks or so…Stone has a broken finger and is on the same timetable I believe.

    That was one of the worst calls I have seen in a long time yesterday and when playing the Habs in their own barn and with Price between the pipes (and minus Spezza) it hurts even more. Thought the Sens put pressure on and got some decent chances (oh how I wish Silf had wired one instead of passing to JOB) but they just couldn’t win.

    So they are now 2-2 without Spezza, both loses coming on the road and both wins at home…let’s see how they do at home this week. Certainly getting to see the depth this team has and I think in the long run it will help by giving some people a lot more ice than they would have expected.

    Think Regin has been invisible, Alfie is showing how much the lay off hurt him (he isn’t bad but he just can’t win a race, his quickness is gone – clearly not the same player at all) and that Michalek needs to find a way to get the puck on his stick with speed through the neutral zone and fight his way to the net.

    JOB has been much better than expected in all aspects of his game IMO and Condra has been what I expected…Silf hasn’t hit the net as much as I would like but I have no problem with his game so far – he is getting shots, back checks and has the puck a fair bit…he needs to work on his quickness though, takes him a while to get going and he is thinking the game too much.

    Zibby has been OK and has fought to the net a few times, I like him on the 4th line right now.

    Wiercioch has been very good and so has Benoit – both look just fine out there for the most part.

    Anderson is amazing and I see no reason he can’t keep it up.

    Greening has been terrible – not sure what the issue is but when the puck hits his stick the play just dies…he need to remember to move his feet at all times.

    I don’t think this is the time to do anything with draft picks or young players – this wasn’t a win or bust season so let the guys get some experience and if they fight through it and can win as a team fantastic but if they slide while playing hard and learning I am fine with that – an early pick this year would be excellent.

    Overall I still think this team is surprising and has room to improve…lots of players who can still be better but I like the mix.

    Z. Smith has been OK in spurts but he needs to find his way to the net and find a way to contribute on the score sheet…I knew his start last year was smoke and mirrors, he just isn’t a scorer.

  4. Mike8888 says:

    Yes Bobby. Lets write off all of the Sen’s prospects. Just like you wrote off Karlsson and Wiercoch in the past. According to you, every other NHL teams prospects are better than Ottawa’s, everything the Murray’s do is bad, and we need more former NHLers in the organization, because if you haven’t played in the NHL, you can’t be competent. Oh, and everyone the Sen’s call up is the wrong move. But, I guess you now seem to have climbed aboard the Karlsson bandwagon.

  5. Bobby Goodman says:

    Well Mikey, you tell me what you like about Silfverberg and Zibanejad? Who are all the Sens prospects btw? I know Dave like DaOates-like Costa but I truly believe he is a Corey Locke and will never do diddly in the NHL. Zibby doesn’t show me a thing. Do very high first rounders play on the 4th line? You tell me Mikey, what do you expect he will do this year and next (because in spite of doing nothing in the last two leagues he is rewarded by a roster spot in the NHL). What do you expect from Silfverberg? What would be acceptable from these players? Would you not perfer to have an O’Reilly or Deschene?

    Am I jumping on the band waggon by conceding Karly is talented? I think I said that a million times last year; did I not. I will always favor a guy like a Letang, Subban or the kid in LA who will carry the puck, make plays, popssess a big shot, but block shots, go into the corners and punish the opposition. No bandwagon Mkey!

    Wiercioch has been playing OK but he has been outplayed by the 29 year old rookie on the point who goes ignored; don’t you think?

    Do you like the way Greening is playing? The fact is Anderson has been the reason for the Sens success. That is reality. I say trade Zibby and Sly now before their stock takes a huge tumble.

  6. Mike8888 says:

    Bobby,
    Should we write off Silfverberg and Zibanejad after they’ve played only a handful of NHL games? I’m glad you’re not the GM.

  7. OD99 says:

    Bobby I understand where you are coming from and quite frankly if we could trade either Zib or Silf straight up for O’Reilly I would do it but many other teams would trade their prospects too.

    I get that you don’t believe in some of the prospects but I don’t understand why you always bring up other players to compare them too. Every day I could say it is great to have Spezza but he isn’t any Crosby or Malkin, etc…it doesn’t serve any purpose to compare players to guys that are obviously more talented. Plus the system just doesn’t work that way.

    If Silf had come over from Sweden and hadn’t been built up like he was would you think he looks OK for a second round pick? Just because people put unrealistic expectations on a player doesn’t mean he should have to live up to them. Silf as an example has a pro shot+ and is very well aware defensively – I think he needs more time to find space on the NHL ice just like it took him time to find space on the AHL ice – and then we will see the points start to come.

    Anyway, Zib had a good game against Buffalo, was all over the ice and set up Alfie for his goal…so he has points in 3 of 4 games I think? Not bad at all so let’s see how he progresses.

    As for Karlsson he is showing he is by far the class of the NHL on the blueline…that kid is making plays like crazy in every zone – he leads the league in take-aways (Letand leads the league in give aways) and could have 5 or 6 more points if the guys could finish for him (Spezza is missed).

    Anderson remains on fire and I will apologize to nobody if a goalie carries this team – there is no asterisk that goes with a record and many teams have been good for a looong time based on the goalie they have. Should we use the excuse of scoring too many goals some times too?

    I think the reality is that the Sens have a pretty good t-e-a-m. They can get contributions from each line on any given night, they play tough enough and they are getting great goal tending – what more could any of us want right now? No one line is carrying the team and I would say that a few people are under-performing (Alfie, Silf, Guy, Regin, Smith – even Spezza before the surgery) so the fact we can continue to win is a testament to the team culture.

    Let’s just enjoy for now and if we fall out of the play-offs it will still be a successful year because experience is being gained and maybe the new rule snags us a top pick.

  8. Bobby Goodman says:

    So Mikey, where is Rundblad playing today? Where is Butler? Was I too quick to comment of them? I will ask you again, what do you expect from Sly and Zibby? Can we put a number on it, afterall, this is the 2nd of the 3 year “rebuild”! I really like that they work hard, but I don’t see all the skill that was promoted. Sly has a rocket that he can let go in hurry, but so did Butler! Goal scorers will find the holes and put themselves in position to receive a pass to get a good shot away and they will go hard to the net like the diminutive Gallager does in Montreal (and he small). Zibby plays with enthusiasm but I don’t see any skill and why ignore what he has or hasn’t accompished? Are you simply on board because they wear an Ottawa uniform?

    No one wants them to succeed more than me. I will offer praise when I see something that is worthy. Benoit has been outstanding but he came with little fan fare (maybe there is a corelation).

    You are not alone being glad I am not the GM. I wouldn’t have had all the old bums Murray signed early on. I wouldn’t have traded all those draft choices for old folks who didn’t want to stay. I would never have hired Paddock, Hartsburg or “the Little General”. Is he coaching anywere in the world of hockey? I wouldn’t have traded Lee for someone who isn’t playing in the NHL and never will again. I wouldn’t have ever offered a one-way contract to Daisey the Air Rifle and then reward him with another. I would never have paid Kovalev 10m to “Holdiay on Ice” for two years. I wouldn’t have signed Gonchar for 5m/yr, or Bulter 2.4m then buy him out. I would never have given “the Big Rig another contract valued at 4m annually! I would have the 20 year old Tarasenko in an Otawa Senator uniform. I wouldn’t have drafted Zibanejad so high or Silfverberg and then promote them as the cornerstones of the franchise for the next umpteen years. I wouldn’t have made Obrien my first round pick. I would never have hired Cam-moron or all the other assistants who are not to be found in the NHL anymore. I would have a management team who, like Montreal and most teams in the NHL are comprised of those who have played the game and been successful. No job creation or nepotism under my watch.

    The team would look a hell of a lot different had I been with the team. They would have won a Stanley Cup because I would have had players in the lineup who would have stood up to players like: May, Thornton, Parros, Getzlaf, Perry and Pronger!

    Tell me what your impression is of Da Costa? Are you writing him off or do you think he is part of the future in this organization? If you are really excited about the new product we will have, I ask you to remember what the team looked like and how they performed before Murray arrived. Murray’s teams haven’t come close! The Management, media and fans are so desperate for something to celebrate the standards have been lowered. No one wants to set expectations for fear they wont be met.

  9. Mike8888 says:

    Well Bobby, I guess if you write off every single prospect and criticize every single trade or move the GM makes, you will be right sometimes. The team is playing well Bobby, but hey, why not continue to stress any possible negative you can find.

  10. Bobby Goodman says:

    Dave, you are absolutely right; my point of view(s) are, in part, based on the hype that came from everyone in the organization! But isn’t that just standard fair? Silfverberg was described as another Alfredsson, he doesn’t come close. I thought it odd from the get go (again, this is just my thoughts) that he didn’t want to stay and play some EXHIBITION games against NHL players last year. If I was a 21 year old, I would have loved the opportunity, afterall, younger kids like Zibby, Stone stayed and played! His decision made no sense but did tell me something. He accumulated only 2 penalty minutes in the A, the lowest on the team and that too tells me something. A professioal hockey player will accumulate penalties simply playing the game the way it is meant to be played, fighting for the puck. I look at Greening he doesn’t engage at all and he hasn’t incurred one penalty this year! Perhaps you are right and I will have to reset my expectations but Dave, like Butler isn’t he in the lineup to bring some offence? If he doesn’t, what is his contribution (afterall, he plays on one of the top two lines most of the time).

    Again, you are probably right and it may not be fair to compare (BTW: Spezza did come in 4th in scoring with a bum on the right wing all year!). Is it fair to compare Zibby and Silfverberg to Galchenyikov and Gallager who play for Montreal. I thinks so, one is 20 years old, small the other is 18 and bigger and both are rookies. But what I see from them is their willingness to get involved, wanting the puck, doing something good with it and courage to go into the corners and in front of the net with abandon! I do not see that with the Sens two. Zibby has courage but was he really worth 6th in first round pick when Coutourier was available?

    Listen, I have nothing at all against any player and wish most of them the very best, I just offer my thoughts that is all.

    Mikey makes reference to my claim that the management team (most of them) should have played in the NHL. If that premise is wrong why do 29 of the 30 share that view? Compare the Habs to Ottawa! Any team! I really don’t know why some defend Bryan Murray’s work. This will be Murray’s 7th year with the organization and we celebrate making the post season?! After 7 years does the team even come close to what it did before his arrival? He can hang his hat on Karlsson to be sure, he is extremely talented but there are others I would take over him. He is indeed the class of the league based on how he is allowed to play. He is a rover and the only one in the league! We did see how he performs when it gets really tough like last year in the playoffs (perhaps that will change). There are some great defencemen in the NHL who carry the puck, make plays, possess a big shots but will also do other things – go into the corners and punish the opposition! Pietrangelo and Letang both have more points than Karly but they will crash and bang and drop the gloves.

  11. OD99 says:

    Bobby you and I have discussed the pre-Murray teams and the post-Murray teams in the past so I won’t get into the whole thing again but I think Murray took over an aging team with zero top level prospects, heck hardly and prospects at all (because Muckler traded all the draft picks away and used the ones he did have on chumps).

    The Senators are in a rebuild, re-tool, whatever you want to call it and it may take a few years yet before some of the good work by this current regime comes to pass but I see this team being built to be good for many, many years and if they keep drafting like they have certainly some top end talent will surface.

    I am not saying Zibby or Silf have arrived by any means and there is potential that either or both might never become impact players – but I also think it is far too early to tell.

    Just as an aside, because hindsight is 20/20 – Magnus Paajarvi has 0 points in 7 games and is -4 this year…Zib has a goal and 2 assists while being even after 5 games. The fact you have liked Magnus Paajarvi so much for so long makes me wonder why you won’t give Zib much of a chance because to me Zib is a bigger, more competitive, faster player with a much better shot….and Magnus Paajarvi was taken 10th overall ( we all know you would prefer to have him than Cowen).

    I don’t know if DaCosta will be an NHL player although I am quite sure he won’t be with the Senators as a consistent NHL player simply due to the centers ahead of him but I do think he will continue to improve while playing up here and I expect some points to come very soon.

  12. Bobby Goodman says:

    Dave, if indeed Murray inherited an aging hockey club (the year before he “officially” became general manager) the had the best team in the league that should have won the Stanley Cup! Once he officially took over he immediately started signing tired, old have-beens, He then went on a spree of trading away draft picks for tired old men who didn’t want to stay longer than one year. He continued down this path signing more tired old have beens in Kovalev, Gonchar and Philips! He is rebuilding a team he built! But that is just my opinion c’est ca mon ami.

    As for Paarjarvi., I would still take him over Cowen. I know Cowen is well liked by many but to me is a big, slow, soft giant who can be victimized because of his slow feet. He may have registered many hits but rarely did I witness him punish anyone (but, that is just me). He will have gone through 2 major injuries and who knows what he will be like next year! I watched the Oiler game last night and the 6-2, 204 lb player can really skate and has a lot of courage! Lets not forget, he scored 15 goals as an 18 year old…how many goals do you think Zibanejad will score this year? I would love to see Magnus in an Ottawa uni playing for Maclean! Mac would resurrect his confidence he would be a phenominal 3rd winger!

    As far as DaOats-like Costa is concerned, indeed he was minus1 the game he played and he didn’t register a single shot in the entire game! I am not just being negative, I didn’t see him do anything worthy and I just don’t see him as an NHLer at all!

    I like that we can share our views even if some may be poles apart. I would really enjoy it over a cold one!

    BTW Dave, I find it fascinating to listen the “panel” discuss the 2014 Olympic team and never mention Spezza. If he had Neal or Stamkos on his line in the NHL they would score 75 goals! He had 84 points with Michalek and Greening! Jordan Staal was selected over the Spez!? On anther note, Marc Staal was a selection!!!??? I like the Staals but Eric is deserving, not the other two. They even had Coburn on the team! They had Jamie Benn over the Spez.

    As John Hurd said to Tom Hanks in “Big: “…I don’t get it, I don’t get it…”

  13. KevinF says:

    Criminal that Spezza is making no ones list and hopefully that’s only because of the injury. That these guys don’t recognize what he could do with Nash, Neal or Stamkos is astounding. I expect that this is a post that will make it through the wonderful world of Sun moderation, maybe not plenty seem to disappear, gossip great, questions or commentary that make anyone uncomfortable not so good, so goes the Sun.

  14. OD99 says:

    I think if Spezza comes out strong next year and plays like he can he will get a mention but I also think that he may not be quick enough on the big ice?

    There are a ton of young, talented players…tough decisions all around. Of course would love to see Spezza on the team.

    Also Bobby, to me it isn’t how many Ziby score this year, it is how many will score in 2 or 3 years…we agree to disagree on how Murray managed a team after he became GM – I certainly don’t think it was perfect but I don’t think he had as many options as you think.

    I am still down with a beer and discussion – any time I am in town I am glad to head out and catch a game and a bevy. I am on the QC side so downtown is easiest for me but I could go to Nepean or somewhere too…Orleans and Kanata are a bit of a haul.

  15. Bobby Goodman says:

    Perhaps you are right Dave, but, do you really think he will get better playing in the NHL? I am of the school of thought that you earn a promotion, that there are building blocks and milestones to success. Zibanejad hasn’t performed in his 3rd league in 2 years but that is acceptable. You suggest he will be better in 2 or 3 years and of course he will be better in 2 o3 years as he matures physically and mentally, but by how much? Will the 6th player chosen be on a first or second line like he is as a 19 year old? What is expected of him or Silfverberg? If Murray is GM Zibby will be on the 1st or 2nd line (he and Silfverberg are going to be successful whether they are successful or not!). I thought next year was the milestone for the rebuild? Will we have to wait until Murray has been here 10 years for the team to be successful?

    Why did/does Dog play? Why does Lundin play and he is better than Lee? If the team is willing to allow some find a game with no success anywhere else why not allow Boro the same opportunity? What is going on with Petersson (the guy who “will be Spezza’s winger for the next ten years”). Why doesn’t Hoffman get a chance (last year and this year before he was hurt?). Why not give Grant a chance or Jessiman when they play the “big boys”? It will get ugly and there are no rookies with the courage of the diminutive 20 year old Gallagher with Montreal!

    Bruce points out that the team has lost 6 of the last 9 and 4 of the last 5. He points out that Turris hasn’t scored in the last 8 games. That Michalek is lost without Spezza and has only 2 goals so far this year. Alfie has but 3. Da Costa, Condra, Obrien, Daugavins, Greening, Silfverberg, Zibbanejad are all soft and do not score goals. Smith has no goals but has points and is very physical but he is not a centerman for guys who should score goals. That is 8 forwards who are not scoring goals and Turris is now 8 games without a goal! With Karlsson the team has a bona fide star and with Methot, the team has acquired a good fit for Karlsson
    (but wasn’t Kuba a great fit for Karlsson?). Wiercioch has played far better than I expected and is certainly beter than Lundin but he will be a soft journeyman at best and Benoit is better (why he sat for Lundin makes little sense) but again, he is a small, soft, nifty defenceman. The Big Rig and Gonchar are awful. So those who are so optimistic and believe Murray is doing a fabulous job please tell why the optimism!

    How long were the GMs here who made Ottawa one of the best teams in the NHL year after year? Certainly not longer that Brian Murray and his hand picked management team of guys who never laced up a skate in the NHL. The Sens had many who played during the lock out and may have had a head start but now other teams are catching up. It will bet much worse before it gets better.

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