Senators Vps and Downs: Week XXI

Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

Vps and downs is a feature that looks at the individual performances of the Ottawa Senators during the past week.

Roman Week continues as we evaluate the most recent performance of our gladiators. After two poor games against the worst opposition in the league, the Senators heeded the call of their leaders, scoring five goals against the Jets.

Granted manumission: Ales Hemsky

After toiling in provincial arenas for a decade, Hemsky is finally being given an opportunity in the capital. He scored two goals in his final game for the Oilers, perhaps sinking his new team's playoff chances in the process. He's had instant chemistry with new linemate Jason Spezza and and drove Ottawa's offense against Winnipeg. The beating heart of Ottawa is not the marble of the Senate, it's the ice of the Canadian Tire Centre. He'll bring them offense and they will love him for it.

Thrown to the lions: Joe Corvo

After devastating losses to the league's two worst teams during the Alberta road trip, there are a few candidates for this honour this week. But Corvo had as rough a week as he's had during his 12-year NHL. Placed on waivers before the trade deadline, there were no takers for Joe. Rather than leave him in the press box for the rest of the season, the Senators loaned him to the Chicago Wolves of the AHL for the rest of the season. While Corvo gets to play in his hometown, it probably means the end of his NHL career. If you had told Corvo to "Imagine where you will be, and it will be so" I don't think this is what he envisioned.

Goaltenders Trend Notes
Craig Anderson Up2_medium Andy wasn't great in Alberta - no one was - but half of the goals he gave up this week were when one of his teammates was in the box. However, he was great against Winnipeg, stopping 46 of 49 shots.
Robin Lehner Lehner didn't play.
Defensemen

Cody Ceci While he avoided massive blunders like his giveaway against Detroit, Ceci didn't really sparkle offensively this week and was hemmed in his own end a lot
Joe Corvo Down1_medium See biggest losses. Waived, unclaimed, banished to the AHL. He's probably had better weeks. This probably marks the end of Corvo's NHL career.
Jared Cowen Anything Cowen did this week - eat popcorn, do the dishes, forget his drycleaning - would have been an improvement over the previous week. He managed to avoid the Alberta meltdown by being a healthy scratch and drew back into the lineup against Winnipeg. He managed to score and stood up for a teammate, that probably went over well with Paul MacLean.
Eric Gryba Gryba actually escaped a visit to the worst teams in the league relatively unscathed. He spent way too much time in his own end against Winnipeg, but did score a goal, even if he took two penalties. We'll call that even.
Erik Karlsson Karlsson managed just one assist this week but was still a possession beast.
Marc Methot We know what we're getting when he plays with Karlsson. Ibid.
Chris Phillips Up2_medium

He plays a steady defensive game, for an aging, third pairing defenseman. But he's paid like a player with a lot more upside! Thumbs up for Phillips, even if it's not best for the team, long term.
Patrick Wiercioch Got another game in with Cowen scratched, and continues to show flashes. He's an asset worth further development.
Forwards

Cory Conacher Down1_medium

Waived, but claimed by Buffalo. That's a thumb's up for Conacher personally, but a thumbs down for a player who was deemed "excess".

Erik Condra Typical Condra week: reliable possession player, offensively limited. Would like the first line experiment to end. Permanently.
Mike Hoffman Up2_medium Candidate for biggest gains. Hoffman saw a lot of quality minutes this week both in terms of linemates and minutes. Reward MacLean's faith with a PP goal and an excellent assist against Winnipeg.
Colin Greening More of the same from Greening
Matt Kassian Played this week against Winnipeg.
Clarke MacArthur MacArthur played great last week but saw his ice time decrease this week. He missed the game against Winnipeg with an injured hand.
Milan Michalek Up2_medium Michalek had four points in three games this week, including a three point night against Winnipeg. Seems to be developing some chemistry with the unit of Hemsky and Spezza.
Chris Neil Down1_medium Neil took a couple of needless minor penalties. Was part of a line that was an absolute disaster against Winnipeg.
Bobby Ryan Frustrated after reduced minutes against the Flames (his frustration boiled over and Ryan had his first fight of the season), Ryan played over 20 minutes and recorded an assist against Winnipeg. He's still getting his opportunities and had nine shots during the week.
Z. Smith Down1_medium

Z. Smith is a really solid fourth-liner, which is where I'd like him to stay. He got into some penalty trouble and he (and his line) had a rough go against the Jets.

Jason Spezza Up2_medium Spezza had a productive week with four assists, including three against the Jets. Looks like he's developing a productive relationship with Hemsky.
Kyle Turris Up2_medium Turris had two goals this week and was a dominant possession player. While his minutes were decreased against the Flames, he played over 19 minutes against Edmonton and over 20 against Winnipeg.
Mika Zibanejad Down1_medium

No points for Zibanejad this week. While he had eight combined shots against Edmonton and Calgary Zibanejad had a rough game against Winnipeg. His ice time decreased dramatically this week, with Zibanejad playing a season-low 7:51 against the Jets (played less Dec. 19, but was injured)

Special thanks to our friend winterion at Japers' Rink for our icons!

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