Jason Spezza has informed Hockey Canada he is willing to participate in the Spengler Cup and to put it succinctly, it sickens me.
On one hand, here is a player who has historically gone to considerable lengths to ingratiate himself to the fans, the organization, the media and his teammates. And we can add Hockey Canada to this growing list.
Look, I understand this need to politick and make a favorable impression on HC brass as they do value loyalty and rewarding players who continue to answer the call.no comments
Through 13GP Binghamton is 7-4-2, good for 5th place in their conference - that in spite of only scoring 34 goals. Their leading goal-scorer is Derek Grant, who's a swell prospect to be sure, but fans are clamoring for more from those prefixed as "highly-touted".
Hopefully this post can ease concerns.
While Silf and Zibanejad are sitting on three goals between them, they have at least continued to generate shots consistently (which is good). In that vein I got to wondering how they stacked up against their prospect brethern. Below is a list sorted by shots per game of the top-30 AHL forwards who were under-23 at season's opening. (minimum 9GP, B-Sens in red):
Three players in the top-30 seems pretty positive to me, especially as two are more or less rookies in North America.
- Hoffman sits second on the list, he's boosted his rate from 2.49 last season to 3.62 today. No small feat.
- Silfverberg is producing at a higher rate than he was with Brynas (3.14) last year.
- Zibanejad shot 2.16 last year with Djurgarden, and through 13 games is shooting 2.69.
- Among B-Sens who didn't make the list, but are creating at a decent clip: Petersson 2.00, Grant 1.92, Pageau 1.92.
And the top-20 defenseman:
Plenty of quality players on his list so it's nice to see Wiercioch ensconced in the middle. I wondered prior to the season if this was the year he'd be able to take another step offensively. And while the points aren't showing it yet, his shot rate is the highest it's been since his freshman year at Denver when he put up an impressive 2.94 per game. This is an aspect he's clearly tried to focus on, telling Ken Warren "...i'm making a conscious effort to shoot more this year".
Now seven weeks of games isn't a great sample, but it is a snapshot if nothing. I'll be doing this again at the 30 game mark, so we can all see who's falling off and vice versa. Maybe by that time, a couple more shots (by the guys in red) will have found the back of the net too.
*Eyes On The Prize has a great post on AHL shot-rates and how they translate to the NHL.no comments
Another weekly radio appearance by Binghamton Senators head coach Luke Richardson and another weekly transcription for you here at The 6th Sens. Richardson touched upon a number of points that I couldn’t be bothered writing about – Hugh Jessiman, Tyler Eckford, the non-existent Toronto/Ottawa rivalry at the AHL-level (caused by the fact that Toronto and Bingo are not divisional rivals) – but I did snag some quotes others may find useful.
For those of you who want to listen to the full interview, you can do so here, or you can listen on the embed below.
As always, my thoughts will be in bold.no comments
Unless the NHL lockout has completely turned you off on the prospect of following the sport, in which case I would question why you are here reading this blog in the first place, you have inevitably noticed that through his first 13 games, Mika Zibanejad is off to an underwhelming start in the AHL.
Mercifully, he tallied his first goal on Friday, but with that one goal, five points and a -4 to his name, the highest Senators draft pick since Jason Spezza, is not exactly instilling confidence in a fan base that is counting heavily upon Mika and the rest of the organization’s ballyhooed pipeline.
If there was NHL hockey to divert our attention or had the lack of production occurred during any other stretch of games that did not coincide with the start of the season (when his boxcar numbers remain small), it's likely these "struggles" would be a lot less significant or at the very least, would not lend themselves to the short-sighted revisionism that some are sure to engage in.no comments
Being on the power-play is a big advantage - teams obviously create scoring chances at a much higher rate than at even-strength. Even if you're not scoring, opponents rarely ever get a goal, or even a quality chance. Every team would tell you they're aiming to draw more than they take...
Last season the Ottawa Senators were short-handed 310 times, good enough for 3rd worst in the league. This wouldn't have been a problem if a) their penalty kill hadn't of sucked and b) if they had drawn more than just 270 penalties. So when it comes to drawing and taking penalties, how do they compare to the rest of the league?no comments
In the wake of Cowen going under the knife to repair a torn labrum in his hip – the procedure itself is scheduled for this Saturday – I, like many others, alluded to the immense pressure that will be placed on the team’s veteran defencemen.
I neglected to mention Mike Lundin’s name.
Signed as an unrestricted free agent during the summer, this James Gordon doppelganger has maintained an incredibly low profile during this lockout.
Relative to the recently acquired Marc Methot, it is understandable to see Lundin’s story not garner the same kind of attention as the return of a homegrown talent. Of course it helps that Methot maintains his public profile by engaging fans on Twitter and generally making himself available to the local media.
With the exception of a charity game appearance in Chicago, Lundin has essentially been out of sight and out of mind.no comments
According to the very credible www.mrmadhawk.se blog, Mikael Wikstrand has reached a verbal agreement to join Frölunda at the end of the year. This does not come as a surprise as rumours have been circulating ever since Wikstrand’s hot start, that he’d follow the path of a certain someone on the Ottawa Senators blueline.
This also bodes well for Wikstrand’s chances to spend Christmas and New Year’s in everyone’s favourite holiday destination Ufa. Frölunda have been courting a lot of young players from the Swedish junior national team, with Wikstrand being one of them, first-round projected André Burakowsky is another. Strangely enough, the Swedish U20 coach, Roger Rönnberg, is soon expected to be announced as the head coach of Frölunda. They still have another coach under contract for the remainder of the year and Rönnberg has a tournament to coach and a gold medal to defend, but his next destination is the worst kept secret since the first overall pick of 2005.
So, short-term, what does this mean for Wikstrand? Not very much, he’ll most likely get the WJC ticket he would’ve gotten anyway, but we can rest assured that he will be taking a step upwards on the hockey ladder next season, coached by a man who hand-picked him nine months before the puck will drop for the 2013/14 season.
Currently, Wikstrand is quarterbacking power plays for both Mora of the SEL-2 where he's on pace to break goalscoring records for junior defenseman, as well as one of the units during the U20 tournament in Sundsvall this past weekend.
Oh, and it's worth noting that a few other Frölunda alumni have turned out pretty well for the organization. (You be quiet, John Wikner!)
This just in...
Jared Cowen is having "surgical procedure" for "lower body" injury.— Ken Warren (@Citizenkwarren) November 12, 2012
Garrioch pours some salt in the wound:
Jared Cowen need surgery on his leg: Does he get his NHL or AHL salary while he is out? AHL folks.— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) November 12, 2012
Et pour les Francophones:
Jared Cowen, qui est blessé au "bas du corps" depuis quelques semaines, subira une intervention chirurgicale dans les prochains jours. #Sens— Sylvain St-Laurent (@Syl_St_Laurent) November 12, 2012
Cowen, who has been out of action for the past 8 Binghamton games, will miss some undisclosed amount of time with a lower body injury that Don Brennan indicated was a hip flexor issue. In an interview with the Team 1200, Luke Richardson was less specific about the diagnosis.
In comments to Ken Warren Friday, Tim Murray had this to say:
“He’s a big part of our organization, whether he’s 70 per cent or 60 per cent or 80 per cent, we’re not going to rush him. We feel we have enough players down there that can play, and he has already proven that he’s an NHL player. We’re not going to jeopardize him long-term by playing him right now.”
Mckenzie pipes in with some good/bad news:
OTT says Jared Cowen to have surgery for lower body inj. Good news: hear it's not ACL (previous injury). Bad news: hear it's season ending.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) November 12, 2012
And Jo Innes (The Score's 'NHL injury smartass') adds this context:
With the expectation that Cowen would slot within Ottawa's top-four this season, his absence puts an overwhelming amount of pressure on Marc Methot and incumbent veterans like Sergei Gonchar and Chris Phillips. Whether it was on the podcast or on the blog, I have gone at lengths about how I believed Phillips had a bit of a resurgence playing sheltered minutes on the third pairing away from the opposition's top line - a departure from the days under Cory Clouston and something that Paul MacLean does not get enough credit for.
When insulated, Phillips is still a capable defenceman who can handle defensive zone and penalty kill match ups. Nevertheless, it's difficult to ignore, that from a puck possession standpoint, Phillips was Ottawa's worst defensive regular.
At least in Gonchar's case, he is staying active and playing in competitive games. The greatest competition Phillips has faced the past few months stems from the burgeoning microbrewery industry in the nation's capital. The longer this lockout drags on, the more one wonders what kind of game shape #4 is in should the season get going.
Cowen and Methot, were considered the most likely candidates to till the left-side on the top-pair. Without any internal competition, for better or worse, Methot essentially stands as Karlsson's de facto partner. Hopefully there's chemistry...no comments
Much like their NHL counterparts, a pair of Senators third-round picks are still waiting the start of the 2012/13 season to begin.
For Jarrod Maidens and Jakub Culek, these are some very trying times; albeit, for entirely different reasons.
It has been almost one full calendar year since Maidens stumbled into the boards and an opposing Colts, who intended to finish his check, inadvertently struck him in the head with his knee.
He has not played in a game since.
A Sunday report indicates he spent, "last week in Ottawa receiving post-concussion treatment from Senators’ doctors and trainers. He’s expected to spend the next week there as well."
In some ways it is reminiscent of the Antoine Vermette situation that unfurled in the summer of 2000. Months after being drafted by the Senators in the second round (55th overall), Vermette was invited to Team Canada’s World Junior summer camp. During one of the scrimmages, Vermette absorbed a hit from Jay Bouwmeester, that caused him to miss the next, "seven months that season with a mysterious neck injury that was misdiagnosed as post-concussion symptoms".
Although it is far too premature to speculate that Maidens’ career could be in jeopardy, any time a prospect misses this much time, you have to wonder how much it is going to affect them and their development.
Jakub Culek’s development has stalled but in a completely different fashion.
After being reassigned to the QMJHL at the conclusion of the Binghamton Senators’ training camp, the 20-year old Czech forward was caught in a numbers game. The team that owned his junior rights, the Rimouski Oceanic, had already reached their import quota of two. Now I’m not entirely certain why Culek was never assigned to Elmira in the ECHL, but like Maidens, he has yet to play in a game this season. Recently, rumours have surfaced on the weekend that the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles had acquired his rights in exchange for a 2014 fourth round draft selection, but to this point, no formal announcement has been made; although, one new report suggests that the QMJHL will make one today.no comments