Back to Earth for Belleville
The Belleville Senators were brought back down to earth this week as they suffered back-to-back losses to the Toronto Marlies before a solid Family Day win on Monday afternoon.
I want to take this moment to apologize for being the sole reason Belleville lost both of their games against Toronto this past weekend. In a moment of jest, I mentioned the following to Ary:
The only realistic outcome here is they lose both games because life is weird and hockey is dumb.— Spencer Blake (@spencerdjblake) February 14, 2020
Needless to say, life is weird and hockey is dumb.
But seriously, with Christian Wolanin’s addition to the blueline and the BSens rolling, it only made sense that the hockey universe would send the BSens a message that it won’t be that easy. In the long run, hopefully it serves as a reminder to a red hot team that they need to come in and work every game, regardless of their recent successes.
Friday, February 14 - Toronto 4, Belleville 2
Here are the highlights.
- Joey Daccord was given the Valentine’s Day nod, stopping 29 of 33 shots on net for one of his worse performances in recent memory.
- Vitaly Abramov showed up to play with a goal and an assist bringing him to four points in his previous four games, after being absent on the scoresheet for 10 games.
- Jack Dougherty added the other goal.
- In Christian Wolanin’s first game back, he opted to get in a fight to prove to his teammates he was there to play - a move I don’t particularly support given his medical history this season./
👀 Christian Wolanin gets in a fight in his first game back after missing over 4 months with a shoulder injury #GoSensGo pic.twitter.com/PE5Ie7XI63— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) February 15, 2020
Saturday. February 15 - Toronto 7, Belleville 6 (OT)
Here are the highlights.
- Belleville turned to Filip Gustavsson who allowed seven goals on 28 shots (0.750 SV%).
- Josh Norris (1G, 1A), Jordan Szwarz (2G, 1A), Alex Formenton (2A) and Jordan Murray (3A) all had multi-point performances.
- Belleville had a 4-0 lead in the first period in what appeared to be a statement game after getting outplayed by Toronto the night before.
- Toronto scored three third period markers before Egor Korshkov completed the Marlies comeback early in the extra frame./
What a shot @joshnorris10 #fortheB pic.twitter.com/yVrxAuPuqE— Belleville Senators (@BellevilleSens) February 15, 2020
Monday, February 17 - Belleville 5, Syracuse 2
Here are the highlights.
- Daccord saw the crease again, bouncing back with a solid performance in the Family Day win.
- Rudolfs Balcers had a goal and an assist, bringing his season total to 32 points in 30 AHL games.
- Szwarz built on his Saturday performance with two assists.
- Norris compiled a pair of goals and an assist in the win, bringing his season total to 1.10 points per game./
🚨 2nd of the afternoon for Josh Norris!— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) February 17, 2020
With 3 points in the game so far, Norris is up to 55 points (28G, 27A) in 50GP. Holy smokes. #GoSensGo pic.twitter.com/LB0FJfvZnL
Roster News & Notes
An incredibly underrated Belleville follow on Twitter is David Foot. If you don’t follow him yet, you definitely should! It’s ok, I’ll wait for you to jump over to his page and smash that follow button. Good? Good.
Here's a nice in-depth #TroyMannPostgame thread from tonight discussing the game, the PK, the long week ahead and thoughts on Norris, Formenton and Lajoie. #BSensOnBQ #BellevilleSens #BSens #Sens— David Foot (@FootyOnTheAir) February 18, 2020
In the above thread, Foot dives into a number of topics. Most notably surrounding Max Lajoie. The defender who surprised everyone by playing the bulk of last year in the NHL was the recipient of a healthy scratch on Monday afternoon. In support of Mann, he has a lot of defenders to get into the lineup with Wolanin back in Belleville. On the left side, he also has Brannstrom who’s a lock for a roster spot and Murray, who’s having himself a career year on the scoresheet. One of Lajoie’s strengths comes from his work on the powerplay but as coaches are moving towards the 4F-1D format, it’s tough to put Lajoie into the lineup based solely on that when you have Wolanin, Brannstrom and Murray to fill that void. Unfortunately, it looks like Lajoie is getting squeezed out of the lineup and, frankly, his play this year makes it a deserving repercussion at this point.
Foot also had an update on Logan Brown’s injury.
He’s going to be a minimum two weeks right now. He’s a big piece we’ve lost, but it could have been worse. The good news is we’re anticipating him back early March, but we’ll see how the rehab stint goes. (2/2)#BSensOnBQ #BellevilleSens #BSens #Sens— David Foot (@FootyOnTheAir) February 17, 2020
If you’ve followed Brown’s career closely, the timeline sounds great but the worrisome part is related to the injury itself. Brown suffered a wrist injury - a recurring theme that dates back to his days with the Windsor Spitfires. He also missed time earlier this year due to a wrist injury. My guess would be that this wrist injury is the same one from earlier this season and Belleville wants to ensure Brown is as close to 100% as possible down the stretch.
With the trade deadline in sight, and one piece already off the board, expect the Ottawa Senators to be busy which, in turn, will likely have some impact on the BSens. The good news for BSens fans is that Ottawa picked up Jayce Hawryluk off waivers earlier this week - which Shaan did a great job of covering. This means that one less forward will be required from Belleville while Ottawa mixes things up and sheds a few veteran contracts.
If I were a betting man, I’d expect only one or two of Belleville’s regulars to see extended stints with the big club to finish out the year. Players like Filip Chlapik or JC Beaudin feel more likely but don’t be surprised if someone like Morgan Klimchuk, Michael Carcone or even the captain Szwarz get a few games as rewards for being solid veterans.
If we end up seeing any of the young prospects recalled, it’ll likely be for a game or two to get a taste before heading back to Belleville for the hopefully deep playoff run. The obvious candidates there are Norris and Formenton.
If the Twitter reaction to the Dylan DeMelo trade is any indication, it’s about to get really interesting around here. Don’t forget to stop by for trade announcements and reaction pieces from the awesome Silver Seven team.
I expect we’ll be hard at work over the next few days...