I think most Senators fans were in agreement before last night that Mika Zibanejad should be sent back to Sweden. Paul MacLean hinted that he felt Zibanejad was NHL ready, but that they will do what is best for Mika. However, last night, Peter Regin left the game after just two shifts with an apparent shoulder injury. We don't know the severity of the injury, though Bruce Garrioch mentioned that Regin didn't practice today.
If Peter Regin is out long term, what does this mean for Zibanejad? The Senators have two more games before making a decision that just became a little bit harder. Now, I don't think either Zibanejad or Stéphane Da Costa are ready to be second line centres this year. But if Regin is out, one of them has to be. After the first couple of games, Da Costa was far better, but since then he has been very disappointing. Zibanejad for his part, was very quiet as well, but he was being used on the wing. Last night, Zibanejad returned to centre and had a better game than Da Costa who was languishing on the fourth line. Zibanejad would have had his first goal were it not for a very nice save.
Having said that, if I was making the decision, I would still send Zibanejad back and keep Da Costa. I don't think Zibanejad is going to get overpowered in the NHL, but he's only 18 years old and another year in Elitserien wouldn't hurt. I see no compelling reasons to keep him over Da Costa. Da Costa is going to have his entry level contract count regardless, while Zibanejad can have his slide to next year.
On hockey play, I would say this is a toss-up. In which case, I feel the contract situation and Zibanejad's age should be the deciding factor in sending him back. If Regin can't go, I would give Zibanejad two more games, call up Filatov and either keep Da Costa on the fourth line for two more games or scratch him. Though, if the Senators choose to keep Zibanejad for the season, I won't be too upset.
- Game recap. (Silver Seven, Ottawa Sun, Ottawa Citizen)
- Stats from NHL.com. [Boxscore], [Game summary], [Event summary], [Face-offs], [Play by play], [Shifts], [Shot report]
- Other stats from TimeOnIce.com. Things that surprised me were, Milan Michalek had a team worst -16 Corsi rating (tied with Sergei Gonchar) and Jared Cowen was -11. Da Costa was actually a team best +3. The Jets missed the net with 14 shots compared to only 3 by Ottawa. There were 44 even strength face-offs, and only six were in the Winnipeg end and sixteen in the Ottawa end. [Corsi], [Head-to-head match-ups], [Zone starts]
- This was something I noticed in the first period yesterday, that Erik Karlsson and Filip Kuba played a majority of the time when Jason Spezza's line was on the ice. This changed later in the game though. Wayne Scanlan writes that it was the early Soviet teams that changed lines as five man units instead of the three forwards or the two defencemen. So, are the Senators defensive problems more than just the defencemen? (Ottawa Citizen)
- More on the Zibanejad decision, with the player himself modest as always, and he isn't sure if he deserves to stay or not. (Ottawa Citizen)
- Also, The 6th Sens with their view on Zibanejad, before the Regin injury. (The 6th Sens)
- Don Brennan is liking what he has seen from Colin Greening, and as you would expect from Brennan, didn't like Zenon Konopka being scratched. Lastly, one big hit by David Rundblad last night reminded him of Anton Volchenkov. (Ottawa Sun)
- Jason Spezza hit Ian Mendes in the head during the pre-game, and then scored three points. Ian would prefer that not to become a routine. (Ian Mendes)
- A great fan post from spez_dispenser looking into every player on the Senators roster and how likely they are to be traded at the deadline. (Silver Seven Fan Post)