Mark, how's the skating? (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
The last of these updates was made way back in the year 2011, in the days before World Junior blowouts, Robin Lehner's tussle with a referee and Ilya Bryzgalov's extremely publicized tea consumption. It's been a while, and a fair amount has happened, obviously. In my little holiday recess, the Binghamton Senators posted a fairly respectable record of 3-2, including an 8-3 clobbering of the Albany Devils, and a 6-2 loss to the hands of the Crunch on New Year's Eve that witnessed 169 minutes of penalties. We'll get back to that.
The World Juniors are finally underway (the preliminary round is excused), with all of the Senators' prospects advancing on to the medal round. The World Juniors are a wonderful time to debate whether we care too much about the World Juniors, and also to watch some quality hockey featuring exciting young players. Jakub Culek will be taking to the ice against Russia at 9pm, and this scribe will have been at SBP taking in a Senators/Devils game. The Czechs face a steep task against a top Russian team, but by the time you are reading this, the game will have already happened, so I will stop offering a preview. Now, jump with me.
Since the last prospects' roundup, Binghamton has played five games. The first one they lost in a rather forgettable matchup against the Albany Devils, by a score of 3-0. The B-Sens allowed over 35 shots for the umpteenth time this season (44 in this one) and were shutout. But that was back before Christmas of 2011, so it's old news.
Binghamton Senators 8, Albany Devils 3
My roommate is a New Jersey Devils fan, but the Albany/Binghamton rivalry has not lived up to my expectations, due to his incalculable apathy. Stephane Da Costa had a terrific performance, with a hat-trick, which brought him up to a point-per-game record with Binghamton. Mike Hoffman handled his demotion to Binghamton well, scoring the B-Sens' first goal. It's fairly rewarding for a team to have struggled so much, and come in and handle a team this effectively.
Binghamton Senators 5, Adirondack Phantoms 2
There is something about Bingo and Adirondack. The Flyers' affiliate has faltered against Binghamton all season long, despite their superiority in the standings. This night was no exception. Although the B-Sens won the game handily, one of the top moments of the game was Mike McKenna stopping Denis Hamel on a breakaway. McKenna has been a consistent, reliable presence for Binghamton. In emulation of Da Costa's outstanding performance two nights before, Rob Klinkhammer scored a hat-trick. The former member of the Blackhawks organization has excelled after a slow start to the season. Also, Adirondack's PA announcer pronounced his name "Klinkenhammer", which irritated me to no end.
Binghamton Senators 4, Syracuse Crunch 3
There is no overestimating the impact Corey Locke has on this team. Although he had no points, he did put four shots on goal, and his impact on the top line draws defenders away, and tires the other team out with his effective cycling and vision. David Dziurzynski and Stephane Da Costa also both had goals on the night. It's worth noting that defenseman Craig Schira had a team high +2 record on the night.
Syracuse Crunch 6, Binghamton Senators 2
FIGHT! That's really the story of the night. Defenseman Bobby Raymond (great first name) had two assists, while Rob Klinkhammer continued to produce on the score sheet, and David Dziurzynski had goals in back-to-back games for the first time this season. Binghamton had a strong weekend, but did not end on a strong note, despite six shots from Klinkhammer, and a good outing from McKenna.
Binghamton has had a difficult season and, despite being reigning champions, have been attempting to reconstruct a positive environment for development. It has been a rough ride. However, the play of this team seems to be turning a corner. They do not get blanketed with shots as much as they did to start the season, and seem to be playing with more intensity, and less mistakes. There's much season left to be played.
Prospect Observations, and Such:
- My opinion: Robin Lehner went too far. The organization sat him down in the offseason and spoke to him about his attitude. It's encouraging to see some competitive spirit, but he needs to know where to draw the line. His tussle with a referee was YouTube gold, but he should have held back. A little. The referee should have let him move down a little further and allowed him to stand up for his players, but Lehner should have stopped pushing when it became obvious that no highly entertaining goalie fight was going to occur.
- Mika Zibanejad is averaging 6.5 shots per game at the World Juniors'. So, damn. He also had 12 shots the other night. Zibanejad's 6.5 average is the best in the tournament, but he's followed pretty closely behind by Mark Stone, who has obviously had a terrific tournament. If you didn't know this, consult twitter. Culek's also had a good competition and has picked up a couple of points.
- Jakob Silfverberg is back from his six-week long hurt and had a point in his first game back.
- What are your thoughts on the performance of some of our players at the WJC?
- Also, check out the Senators last 2011 prospect update!