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Silver Nuggets: The Race for Eighth, penalty plus/minus, rookie rankings

Tough luck for the Senators' playoff hopes last night, because of these damned three-point games. Carolina defeated Florida 2-1 in overtime, giving both of those teams more room ahead of the Senators in the standings. Here's how the Race for Eighth (originally coined at Die By The Blade) looks right now:

20090324_standings_mediumStill, after the way the first half went, it's just nice seeing people mentioning the Senators and a playoff race in the same sentence.

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On the Forecheck has been compiling a league-wide penalty plus/minur rating, taking the number of penalties drawn by a player and subtracting the number that player is assessed. Ottawa Senators' rookie Jesse Winchester has a +12 rating, 42nd in the league and miles behind Los Angeles' Dustin Brown's league-leading +52 rating. Daniel Alfredsson isn't far behind Winchester with a +11 rating, and Nick Foligno is +10. Chris Phillips is apparently the worst for the Senators with a -21 rating, but I think that there's a bit of a positional bias to this statistic; the bottom 20 players are all defencemen, and only 14 defencemen are in the league's top 250 penalty plus/minus players.

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Cool post on The Goose's Roost, a Buffalo Sabres blog (ugh), comparing the Senators to the Sabres, and it almost sounds like a Sabres fan wishes his team was where Ottawa is right now:

But are the two teams really the same? Well, no. See, Ottawa went out and did something about it. They were a decidedly worse hockey team a few months ago. Much, much worse. So they made a coaching change, started to retool, and got better. All of a sudden they are 9-1 in their last ten, destroyed the Sabres in the season series, and have something to look forward to next season. They kept their core intact yet made a few moves, and will be a better hockey club for it down the line.

That is where the Sabres have failed. There is no movement, no advancement or regression. This team is in a state of atrophy, and the numbers will reflect that lack of movement in a few weeks. The Sabres may be in the same position as Ottawa in the East, but you’d be hard-pressed to convince me the Sabres are in better shape overall.

And... strangely enough, I've now linked to two Sabres blogs in this Silver Nuggets. Weird.

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TSN's Scott Cullen rated the NHL's top rookies for 2008-09 over on his Backchecking blog. Columbus goaltender Steve Mason tops the list, and Sens defenceman Brian Lee is the highest Senators' rookie at #31. The rest of the Sens on the list: Brian Elliott (33), Winchester (68), Peter Regin (81), Cody Bass (86), and Ilya Zubov (95).

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As Ben from Sens Army Blog points out, No Habs No! has gained mainstream media coverage, even if La Presse doesn't acknowledge it:

Nohabspaper_medium

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Cool article in the Darien Times on Sens winger Ryan Shannon's development into a solid two-way NHL player. Cory Clouston gave him high praise:

“The other night he had a huge blocked shot and got the puck out when we were trying to defend a lead,” said Clouston of Shannon’s two-way pattern of late 2008-’09. “He’s had to learn to do the other things very well, because he is not a big guy. And one of his assets is his intelligence.”