It would not seem misplaced to suggest that the campaign of "why is [player] still in Binghamton?" may gradually move on from Nikita Filatov (who made his NHL salary in the press box on Saturday night) to Stephane Da Costa. Indeed, Da Costa has four points after playing his first three AHL games in triple-header fashion this weekend. The only concerning number on his stat line is the '1' under shots on goal. Three games is a little early to get on somebody for not getting it on net, but he needs to get it on net, point-per-game or not. Matt Carkner made his return to the Binghamton lineup, playing on Friday and Sunday, and earned his keep- Carkner had an assist and 11 penalty minutes over the course of the two games.
The injection of some NHL-level talent into the Binghamton roster, as well as the addition of a fellow named Klinkhammer, have quickly paid dividends for the struggling B-Sens. Going 2-1 on the weekend, Bingo still sits in last (fifth) in the AHL's East Division of the Eastern Conference. In the East. They trail the Syracuse Crunch by three points, and have also played three more games. Hardly ideal. Still, they will get a chance at working their way back into the picture this week, taking on Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Wednesday (expected to be Carkner's last game in the Bingo lineup before he joins the overflowing defensive corps in Ottawa) before back-to-back home games against the Norfolk Admirals, who currently sit second in the East, of the East. The next few games are going to be important ones for the B-Sens, and a real chance to properly right the floundering ship. Look out! It's the jump!
Binghamton Senators 4, Manchester Monarchs 1
In a faceoff against (one of) the team(s) they embarrassed in last year's playoffs, Binghamton took the Kings' affiliate to task. Da Costa's two assists were on goals by Andre Petersson and Mike Hoffman. Petersson, as I noted last week, has been surging lately, after getting off to a pretty slow start. In his transition to the North American game, Petersson is becoming a difference maker for the B-Sens, in the absence of AHL MVP Corey Locke. Robin Lehner looked particularly strong in this one- it's been a bit of an up-and-down season for Lehner, which is quite likely one of the symptoms of Binghamton being outshot in the majority of their games. Gryba added one to the empty net, and the BoroCop threw down with one of the Monarchs' defenders. Ottawa fans who listened to Binghamton's cup run last year through the voice of Grady Whittenburg, courtesy of the Team 1200, are probably thinking to themselves "what happened to that guy Bud Holloway? Didn't he play for Manchester?! Where is he? He had such a great name!" Some of you may have no idea who I'm talking about, and some others may not have thought that to yourself, but I did, and so I looked it up. George "Bud" Holloway is playing for Skelleftea. You're welcome.
Worcester Sharks 2, Binghamton Senators 1
Stephane Da Costa did not have any points in his second career AHL game, but he did help the Sharks along by taking a boarding call in the third period, which would prove costly. It looked as though Binghamton may have been on the cusp of stealing one from the Worcester
Sauce Sharks, when Pat Cannone got the first goal of the game halfway through the third. Binghamton had been heavily outshot, not to mention outskated during the first period of play, but Mike McKenna stopped all 17 directed his way. The same did not hold true for the third period, during which McKenna allowed 2 on 11. Derek Grant had no points on the night, but was noticeable throughout the game, while Cannone met his only goal of the game with a team-leading five shots. Learn from him, Stephane.
Binghamton Senators 4, Connecticut Whale 3
In the course of Binghamton Senators' revolving Assistant Captaincy, Matt Carkner and Eric Gryba donned A's on Sunday's game against the New York Rangers' affiliate. And yes, it's still a little weird seeing Wade Redden in the AHL. Had Todd White still been on the Whale's roster, I might have had an overwhelming wave of 'but-they-used-to-be-on-our-starting-line' related nostalgia. Needless to say, it's a little more depressing than Project Mayhem ever came across. I'm okay. Rob Klinkhammer scored his first as a B-Sen, adding an assist, as Binghamton eked one out against the Whale. To ensure it be a well-rounded conditioning stint, Matt Carkner dropped the gloves in the first period. Derek Grant had a stand-out performance to follow up his impressive, but pointless, game from the previous night. With six shots on net and a goal, Grant may have been the B-Sens' best.
The Sens released their prospect update yesterday afternoon. Take a look at it and at my comments below.
- Mika Zibanejad and Fredrik Claesson, both of Djurgardens and Ottawa, have been named to Sweden's Under 20 roster competing at the World Juniors in Calgary over the holidays. I'm already envisioning some uncomfortable moments during a Canada-Sweden matchup when, sitting at a bar somewhere, I'm forced to suppress a bit of excitement when Zibanejad is in on a good offensive play.
- On the plus side, this year I won't have to listen to every tell me "do you know Canada's coach could be Ottawa's coach?! DID YOU KNOW THAT?!" It will be a marked improvement to hear "do you know Mark Stone was a Senators' draft pick and now is playing really good hockey and is on Team Canada even though he was picked in the sixth round?!" To anyone who tells me this: "yes. I am a Prospect Correspondent on a terrific Sens blog. I know this."
- Things Twitter informed me of yesterday: Shane Prince has made the preliminary roster for the coming year's US Junior team, while Stefan Noesen did not; the NHL has realigned. Guess which one I heard three hundred times more than the other?
- Jakob Silfverberg closed out the month of November with an outstanding four-point performance. Check out the highlights. So you don't have to figure it out on your own- Silfverberg wears number 33. Mika Zibanejad had a goal before just when this article was going to virtual press, last week- he fired a shot on goal off the wing and scooped up his own rebound when the goalie misplayed it with his trapper. Yes, I know- Zibby does rebounds.
- Some impressive offensive performances from defenders in the system. Ben Blood, he of the all-around terrific name, has 9 points in 16 games out in North Dakota, while Bryce Aneloski has 9 in 18 out in Omaha. Chris Wideman out of Ohio-Miami has 8 in 18.
- This blog does not mention Ohio much because, well... why would we? Today is an exception: Max McCormick's Ohio State will face off against
Ben Roethlisberger'sChris Wideman's Ohio-Miami this week.
- Obligatory recognition of Mark Stone's ridiculous point totals.