It’s a game night versus our expansion brethren Tampa Bay Lightning. As much as I’m looking forward to the prospect of watching the now-infamous 1-3-1 system, I’m half-hoping that the Senators can work in some footage from their expansion draft so fans can raise reflective questions like, “Why didn’t we draft Brian Bradley?”
Ah well, here are today’s news and notes…
Putting Milan on the Map
In case you haven’t noticed, Milan Michalek’s killing it. Every time I bring up how unsustainable his 21.1-percent shooting percentage is, he manages to chip in with another goal. His 16 goals are tied for the NHL lead with Steven Stamkos and the oldest looking 24-year old in the world.
To Milan’s credit, he’s getting it done in crunch time. Of his 16 goals, 10 have come when there’s been a goal margin of 1 or the score has been tied. Of these 10 goals, 4 have come in the third period. He has two game winners and is 3 for 4 in his shootout attempts. The man has been clutch for the Senators.
More Derick Brassard Insight
In today’s 30 Thoughts blog, HNIC’s Elliotte Friedman states that a number of GMs pointed out that, sometimes, the toughest thing about making deals is not what's owed on a contract in future seasons, it's what owed this season. ("If you want, you can dump a contract in the summer," one GM said). So many teams are at their budgets -- or over -- because of injuries. Carolina might have to wait a little bit before it can move either player. There is interest in Ruutu. Rutherford seems confident he can trade Kaberle in a month or two as long as the defenceman starts playing better.
Same rule goes for Derick Brassard, who has two more years at $7 million in cash. There is a belief Columbus can move him because he's got skill and could blossom in a different situation. But interested teams need to wait to fit him under this year’s budget (I would guess, for example, that's Ottawa's issue).
Ugh. The possibility that the Senators are hesitant to acquire a player because they need to fit him into their budget is a kick to the groin. Mostly because it would conflict with Eugene Melnyk’s statement at the beginning of the year that if the Senators need to load up for a playoff run and tack onto the payroll, it would be done.
Or from an optimistic perspective, maybe this is some kind of sign that the Senators are allocating more of its revenue stream towards updating that eyesore of a scoreboard. One can hope, right?
Line Combinations from Practice:
Per CKOI’s Nicolas St-Pierre, it looks like Nikita Filatov’s a healthy scratch for tonight’s game. Here are the line combinations being used at today’s practice:
I don’t want to make to get into too big of a debate about whether Filatov warrants an extended look on the team’s top line, however, I’m starting to lean towards the opinion that I’d rather see the organization give him a long look so that any questions of whether he can get the job done are resolved once and for all.
Paul MacLean said in a media scrum, “The possibility (of going back to Filatov) is there, yes,” said MacLean. “He’s played fine. We’d like to see production. He’s a skilled player and he’s playing with our skilled people, and he has one point to show for the time he’s played. If you count the exhibitions it’s even longer, and he’s got three points there, so we’d like to see some production.
Sometimes it’s unfair to put that kind of production on a young player, but that’s the dimension he brings and that’s the dimension that made him what he is. So that’s what we need from him.”
Meanwhile, the two players flanking Jason Spezza, Colin Greening and Bobby Butler haven’t done much offensively of late. Greening has just 3 points in his last 14 games (also a minus 4) while Butler has just 1 assist in his last 6 games. Obviously Greening has a more complete game and is able to contribute in other facets of the game, but with players like this struggling to produce, wouldn’t this be the perfect opportunity to play Filatov regularly and gauge what he can or cannot do?
Other Random Notes
- If you want to check out the SenatorsExtra.com Prediction Panel, you can do so by following this link.
- In his two games down in Binghamton on the weekend, Matt Carkner picked up an assist and a fighting major. He squared of against the Connecticut Whales’ Stu Bickel but sadly, there’s no HockeyFights.com footage available of it.
- Sticking with the Bingo theme, the newly acquired and awesomely named Rob Klinkhammer picked up a goal and assist in his first two games. The recently demoted Stephane Da Costa also has 4 assists in his first 3 games.
- The U-20 Swedish World Junior Hockey Championship roster has been officially named. Mika Zibanejad and Fredrik Claesson have made the team. For those wondering, Mark Stone and the rest of the Team Canada invitees start their team camp this Sunday in Calgary.
- Don Brennan outlines five reasons why the Senators can make the playoffs.
- @Sportsnetmag is looking for the most hardcore, dedicated, obsessed Sens fan out there. If you have anyone in mind, float them a tweet.
- After the practice today, Paul MacLean indicated that Peter Regin could rejoin the team in practices this week. You can listen to the audio of MacLean's comments below: