Most of the season, Ottawa and injuries have been playing games with Luke Richardson's roster. The team has survived the call-ups and send-downs, the departure of their NHL-caliber goaltending tandem, the exodus of their most talented offensive players and three of top-four defenders. In the war of attrition against roster movements and injury woes, Richardson's squad have been the decisive victors. They are one point back of third in the AHl's Eastern Conference, and have enjoyed the luxury of a clinched playoff spot for the past week and a half. And, only half a season too late, some reinforcemeents have arrived.
After being eliminated in the second round of the OHL playoffs, Cody Ceci and Matt Puempel are both joining the B-Sens this week. Cody Ceci's Owen Sound Attack were playing Stefan Noesen's Plymouth Whalers, so no matter the result of the series, one of the two first round picks was going to be heading to New York State.
In an intermission appearance with Sportsnet's Ian Mendes, Bryan Murray gave little inclination as to whether or when either of the two will see time. With only three games to go in their season and in a fight with the Syracuse Crunch for the division lead, Binghamton likely won't have any games before the playoffs where they'll be willing to sit back slightly.
Still, that doesn't preclude either player from joining the lineup. Both are talented players and Puempel has already played at this level, spending nine games with Binghamton at the end of last year, recording his first professional goal. Ceci is a good offensive defender, which would be a fine complement to Chris Wideman and Brett Lebda, who are both strong in that regard as well.
Jakub Culek joined the roster this weekend, playing for the first time since AHL training camp, in which he played on the penalty kill, but fell victim to the numbers game precipitated by the lockout. Culek's totally strange year, which included a demotion to junior, no room on his junior team's roster for an overaged European, a long wait, a trade, and a QMJHL season-ending shoulder injury. His appearance in the Binghamton lineup is an indication that Richardson has no problem playing newcomers, so long as they get in some practice first.
Speaking of Luke Richardson, the AHL announced Willie Desjardins of the Stars organization as the AHL's Coach of the Year. Luke Richardson must have been a top candidate for that title, taking a bottom-seeded team to the playoffs, in spite of major roster interruptions.
The Backup's Backup's Backup
Binghamton has a lot of goalies. Since signing an ATO with the club last month and an ELC that will kick in next season with the Senators organization, Andrew Hammond has only seen pucks in practice. The addition made a lot of sense, as it would have freed up the team to send Marc Cheverie down to Elmira. Theoretically. Cheverie had been struggling to find consistent success in the AHL. However, after a few weeks of sticking with the status quo in nets of Lawson/Cheverie, it seemed as though the B-Sens were going to carry the pair into the playoffs. That made sense, too.
Yesterday, I read a tweet from Peter Levi at Eye on the Sens drawing attention to the B-Sens signing Scott Greenham of the Bakersfield Condors to a professional try-out agreement. That, admittedly, makes a little less sense. With Hammond on the team and not playing games, I suppose Binghamton can now play intra-squad games in practice-- with backup goalies! What a luxury.
In actuality, one of Binghamton's goalies might have suffered an injury and they don't feel comfortable putting Hammond in the net, yet. Otherwise, the move seems a little strange. Greenham has played at both the ECHL and AHL levels, but has never posted particularly world-beating figures.
Binghamton's Weekend, or, the time they wish they had Marek Malik:
Binghamton played three games this weekend, winning both on Friday and Saturday night- decisively. They crushed the Albany Devils, 5-0 on Friday and 5-3 on Saturday. Corey Cowick had three points in the offensive explosion. So did college free agent signing Buddy Robinson, including his first career professional goal. Way to go, buddy.
Looking for an impressive three wins in as many days, Binghamton could have used Marek Malik in the shotout against the Phantoms in Glens Falls on Sunday afternoon. The shootout went a ridiculous fifteen rounds before the Phantoms managed to squeak through. Or, instead of Marek Malik, they could have settled for Kaspars Daugavins. Or just sent in one of their goalies.