Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photo
The Senators didn't look their best on the weekend, but prospects have a way of offering unfettered hope and optimism. So long as you excuse Binghamton's 0-2 record in Newfoundland. Speaking of Newfoundland, did you know Colin Greening is from there?
If you haven't stopped cheering for Binghamton with the start of the NHL season, this was a pretty rough weekend. Along with Ottawa dropping both of their weekend fixtures to Carolina and Montreal, Binghamton dropped back-to-back outings against the St. John's IceCaps of Winnipeg Jets affiliation. The double-header, hosted by St. John's, was the only trip Binghamton will make down east this year. Robin Lehner started both games on the Rock, putting up 29 saves in a 1-0 sleeper on Saturday. Shane Prince and Hugh Jessiman were the only Binghamton players to score this weekend, both posting their eighth goals of the year. David Dziurzynski and Jean-Gabriel Pageau also figured onto the scoresheet during Friday's 4-2 loss, which is important for Binghamton as they're the type of players who are going to have to step up in the absence of Mike Hoffman, Mark Stone, Mika Zibanejad, Jakob Silfverberg and Stephane Da Costa. Oh, and don't forget about their defencemen, either: Andre Benoit, Patrick Wiercioch and Mark Borowiecki are all with the big club. If this team can find any kind of success over the coming match-ups, Luke Richardson deserves plenty more credit than he'll get.
Binghamton's two losses on the weekend were hardly decisive. Indeed, on Saturday, the difference was a second period powerplay goal. Still, since the stats don't record how you lose the game and instead just that they were lost, Binghamton lost their league lead with two regulation losses on the weeked. They now trail the Texas Stars in the West and the Springfield Falcons, Columbus' affiliate, in the East. Hey, at least the Blue Jackets find success somewhere. This B-Sens team has time to find some new heroes, as they currently are clinging on to a 27-12-4 record, which is good for 58 points through 43 games. To put that into perspective, the AHL season is 76 games long and last season 83 points were needed in the East (86 in the West) to make the playoffs. So, out of their final 33 games, Binghamton needs to pick up about thirty points or so to be safely above the cut. Playoff competition would unequestionably be positive for the organization, even if Darren Kramer and Ben Blood are the only guys not taken by attrition up to Ottawa. However, to get there, Binghamton will need to identify who those new heroes are going to be. With Andre Petersson out for the season, there is a real opportunity for another of last year's leaders, Pat Cannone, to regain a foothold. Cannone put a team-high four shots on target during Saturday's loss. Youngsters Shane Prince and Jean-Gabriel Pageau will have plenty of opportunities, while Derek Grant will attempt to further his development. David Dziurzynski is running out of time, but this is a key chance for him as well. He has shone in instances, but needs to sustain his output.
- Remember Tim Boyle, younger brother of Rangers' nuisance forward Brian, drafted in the fourth round by Ottawa? The defenceman has been seeing some ice time with Union College and has spent 25 minutes through 14 games sitting in the penalty box.
- It's very difficult to read much into college stats from a distance, but 2011 seventh round selection Ryan Dzingel, an Ohio State University forward, is putting up slightly better numbers than last year-- he has 26 points through 28 games. Again, it's difficult to say if this is owing to strength, speed or any other kind of tangible development, or if it's because he's older and has been getting more ice time. You can be the judge of that. Either way, it's positive.
- Dzingel isn't the Senators' only forward playing at Ohio State University- Ottawa also took Max McCormick in 2011, one round earlier than his teammate. While Dzingel has seen his production climb, McCormick has seen his wane. Debate this in the comments- I'm sure it's to be the most hotly contested question on Silver Seven since Roman Wick, reputed international man of mystery.