Some pundits believe that Craig Anderson is playing too deep in his crease. Don Brennan believes that he has looked unsteady at times. Everyone else blames the small sample size or Ottawa’s underwhelming defensive corps for hanging Anderson out to dry.
After Chris Neil cued the comeback by scoring Ottawa’s second goal in the third period, amidst the post-goal confusion, Milan Michalek got in a wrestling match with Cal Clutterbuck. In the ensuing melee in which each of the other skaters on the ice partnered off, my eyes immediately went to Peter Regin who was entangled with and had his helmet aggressively removed by one Brett Bulmer. Having just returned from an injury to the shoulder that he had surgically repaired in the offseason, the last thing Regin needed was to re-aggravate his injury by sparring with some inconsequential third line meathead.
Even if I disregard his hit on Dany Heatley, this was easily the best game that I’ve seen Chris Neil play in at least three years.
One more game and you can put another -1 in their respective plus/minus statistics. While goal scoring for the Senators hasn’t been hard to come by, the team’s ability to defend at even strength has been problematic. According to Yahoo!, their team plus/minus of -26 is the worst in the NHL and as Ian Mendes noted, the team has played 185 minutes of hockey and have not held a lead. Amazingly, they have a chance to attain a .500 record with a win against the Colorado Avalanche tomorrow night.
Unfortunately for players like Daniel Alfredsson and Stephane Da Costa, their respective plus/minus numbers are being negatively inflated by circumstance and bad luck. One look at the goaltender’s save percentage while each of these of these players is on the ice at even strength, will help paint a better picture. For example, Da Costa’s the beneficiary of playing in front of a .647 SV% while Alfie’s is only slightly better at .714%.
Erik Karlsson is on pace for 136.67 points. Even if he produces at half of that rate, this could very well be the year that Norm MacIver’s 63-point record by a Senators defenceman falls.
Quick Wednesday Afternoon News and Notes
- Jesse Winchester skated today at practice and looks to be about 10-14 days away from returning to the Senators lineup.
- Now if that JW18 news isn't stimulating enough for you, word has it that Eugene Melnyk's Trimel pharmaceutical company has developed a nasal spray to treat women affected by Anorgasmia.
- According to the The Hockey News' Adam Proteau, Sergei Gonchar has the second most untradeable contract in the NHL trailing only the New York Islanders' Rick DiPietro.
- From yesterday's events commemorating the inaugural 1992-93 Senators team, Bruce Firestone conducted a series of short YouTube interviews with former GM Randy Sexton, Senators President Cyril Leeder and the man who scored the first goal in modern franchise history, Neil Brady.