Lots to talk about as we catch up on what's going on down here in Binghamton before Opening Night on Saturday.
Pre-Season Results & Tidbits
Pre-Season games are over as the Binghamton Senators ended up with a 1-2 record splitting two with long time rival Rochester Americans after suffering a 1-0 shut-out by a college team in Ottawa, the Carleton Ravens.
Goaltender Chris Driedger was in net for the win in Rochester going the distance stopping 23 shots in the 8-2 victory. Tobias Lindberg and Ryan Penny each had a pair of goals and an assist, while Ryan Dzingel had a goal and a helper. Vincent Dunn received extra minutes in a fight with Josh Chapman for continuing to punch away after an official told him to stop. He wasn't in the line-up on Saturday.
On Saturday veteran netminder Scott Greenham took the loss on home ice by a score of 6-2. Enforcer Zack Stortini made his presence felt immediately for the very first appearance as a Senator taking offense to what Bingo native Jerry D'Amigo called him right before puck drop, as words were exchanged between the two that carried over throughout the night with others later getting involved.
Dzingel-O'Dell-Lindberg, Schneider-Paul-Zarbo, Penny-Ewanyk-Hobbs, Dziurzynski-McCormick-Stortini
Rookie Nick Paul was effective as he made a nice scoop on a loose puck battled by Joe Zarbo and fed a cross ice feed to Cole Schneider in front for an easy goal on Saturday. What happened in the third was one to forget as the team was flat and let in four unanswered past Greenham for the Rochester win.
On defense things are still a bit scattered with veteran defenseman Patrick Mullen making his usual gaffes. Fredrik Claesson was paired up with Ben Harpur which was somewhat odd, but nothing is set in stone as of yet. Chris Carlisle, Guillaume Lepine and Nick Tuzzolino rounded out the blue liners.
Some thoughts include Travis Ewanyk in that leadership role; I liked him. The hustle and determination of Eric O'Dell. The highly anticipated play of Lindberg as he develops creating his own strides while adjusting to the smaller ice surface. He's had a productive camp and seems coachable while getting comfortable on the wing with Dzingel at center.
Buddy Robinson has been out injured after stopping a puck in the Senators' rookie tournament at the most critical time of his professional career, missing all of camp as well as some valuable time to get into game shape.
Shane Prince's #18 was taken by Chris Rumble, while Matt Puempel's #9 was vacant. You can read into that all you want but if I was a betting man, Prince is beating the odds-makers and sticking with Ottawa. Good for him as he has nothing left to prove in the AHL, and has payed his dues while working hard on his development to reach the next level.
Sending Them Packing
Binghamton made some cuts on Monday and sent four defensemen to Evansville; Carlisle, Benjamin Dieude-Fauvel, Spence Humphries, and Rumble along with forwards Daultan Leveille, Zarbo and Matthew Zay. Two Ottawa properties were also sent packing, defenseman Troy Rutkowski and forward Dunn. Harpur might need some grooming in Evansville but he will stay as it will be Rutkowski the one being sent down instead.
What's rather surprising here is Rutkowski, as he was up for a number of games late last season and you got the impression he was here to stay, but with a crowded blue line he ended up as the odd man out. Dunn's announcement was expected as I'm one of many that is still scratching their heads wondering why he was signed in the first place during the off-season.
This demotion for Troy is perhaps the writing on the wall for himself in the organization as he's in his final year of a three year deal and has run out of options and is stuck in neutral with his development. You know it's a problem when a player like Dzingel has to step in and drop the gloves when Ruts refuses to in sticking up for one of his teammates.
Where We Are At
The B-Sens training camp roster now consists of 25 players: eight defensemen, 15 forwards and two goaltenders
Travis Ewanyk, Eric O'Dell, Nick Paul*, Cole Schneider, Max McCormick, Danny Hobbs, David Dziurzynski, Tobias Lindberg*, Ryan Dzingel, Zack Stortini, Buddy Robinson, Alex Guptill, Colin Greening, Alex Wideman* and Ryan Penny*.
Fredrik Claesson, Guillaume Lepine, Patrick Mullen, Mike Sdao, Michael Kostka, Mark Fraser, Nick Tuzzolino and Ben Harpur*.
Chris Driedger*, Scott Greenham
* Indicates Rookie
Opening night is slated for this Saturday with the Albany Devils in town. With Matt O'Connor still up in Ottawa as Andrew Hammond heals up, it looks like Driedger will get the start in the only game scheduled for the upcoming weekend. O'C could be ready for next weekend's action.
With so many veterans on the club the AHL veteran rule kicks in (over 260 games combined in the NHL, AHL or Europe) as Binghamton has seven (Claesson, Dziurzynski, Mullen, Greening, Stortini, Kostka and Fraser). Someone will have to sit being a healthy scratch for that particular contest. Nice thing to have as I don't ever re-call having this many players with the veteran status label attached.
Which brings us to Greening, as Ottawa once again attempts to get rid of his contract by sending him through the waiver process and he clears. This can't be good on Colin's morality as he tries to fit in somewhere, if anywhere. It would be something if he was one of those healthy scratches.
The Dawn Of A New Era Of Zack Stortini
The one big difference from last season is this club will have some grit, and I mean serious nastiness, with 6' 3" 216lb Stortini leading the way. I've heard he's a solid individual off the ice and great locker room guy, but on the ice he still has that fear factor that is a force to reckon with. Should play well with rivals Rochester, Syracuse and Wilkes-Barre as Richardson has the player he wanted moving forward.
The 30 year old will be protecting prospects and will see some power play minutes while settling in front of the net pounding on loose rebounds. He wore the 'A' during a preseason game and was one of the guys that stood out like he always has. I wonder how Sdao feels as those two have had some epic fights over the last couple of seasons. Love him or hate him, he's a Senator for the next two years.
Storts skated with McCormick in the middle and Dziurzynski flanked on the other side in what could arguably have the potential to be the toughest line in the league. That is if Dizzy can return to form as he hasn't been nearly the same since being a victim of a KO by Frazer McLaren a few years back. And we all know what McCormick brings to the table. Should be fun to watch.
Nobody wore the 'C' on his jersey in the pre-season games, even after some of the veterans filtered through from Ottawa, as my guess is it's going to be 29 year old veteran Mark Fraser. He was let go by the Toronto Maple Leafs during this year's training camp and was signed to a one year, two way contract with his hometown Ottawa. The 6' 4" 229lb defenseman has played in 219 NHL games and 326 AHL tilts over the course of his nine year career and brings character with the ability to drop the gloves.
Luke has a tendency of naming a defenseman as his Captain as Aaron Johnson took the honors last season. Mark Borowiecki did the same the previous one after taking over from Mike Hoffman after his call-up, and in Richardson's first season? A player by the name of Andre Benoit.
Let's Go Sens!
*Cover Pic & Insert Courtesy of Alicia Strauch.