Five Thoughts for Friday: Season set to start for the Senators
The Ottawa Senators will begin their season tonight, but there's still been plenty of news in Senators land. Here are a few things that have caught my eye.
It will be nice after tonight, when we'll be able to fill this space with on-ice news about the team.
In the meantime, here are some thoughts about the Ottawa Senators' off-ice moves, as well as other events that have taken place around the league. Here's what's on my mind:
1. While discussing Dennis Seidenberg's contract extension this morning on TSN 1200, NHL Insider Shawn Simpson said that Seidenberg and Zdeno Chara formed the best pairing in the NHL. While I'm sure Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook would have something to say about that, I'm very excited to see what Erik Karlsson and Marc Methot might be able to do together in a full season at full health with the benefit of training camp to get used to playing alongside each other. Although Methot's offence leaves plenty to be desired, the two of them will form an exceptionally mobile pairing that'll provide a huge boost to the Sens' transition game.
2. In his debut with the Colorado Avalanche, Andre Benoit played a career-high 22:40 of ice time--the most of any player in the game for either team. That included 3:13 PP time, granted, but that's pretty crazy to think about--and it's also great, because it's always nice to see players like Benoit succeed after a long time toiling in the minors.
3. A lot of other former Sens players had good season debuts, as well: Marian Hossa had a goal and an assist; Mike Fisher, Chris Kelly, and Jakob Silfverberg scored goals; and Antoine Vermette, Rob Klinkhammer, and Brian McGrattan had assists. Aside from Benoit, though, there's not much to be proud of from the alumni defencemen: None of Zdeno Chara, Sergei Gonchar, Andrej Meszaros, David Rundblad, or Anton Volchenkov had any points. Three former Sens forwards were pointless in their season debuts: Daniel Alfredsson, Jesse Winchester, and Zenon Konopka; one of these things doesn't belong...
4. The Binghamton Senators will start their season tomorrow, and I'm pretty excited to see what they can do. There will be a lower quality of goaltending for them, but even still, Nathan Lawson is no slouch. The B-Sens' roster of 25 includes 22 returnees from last year, which is a good level of consistency for an AHL squad. They can't expect Mika Zibanejad to stick around for long, but newcomers like Buddy Robinson (who turned a lot of heads in Ottawa's training camp) and Cody Ceci show just how strong the squad might be. I'm expecting big things.
5. Speaking of Zibanejad, it seems like he's taking the demotion the right way--in an interview with the Ottawa Sun's Aedan Helmer, Mikachu said the move has him "pissed" and gave him "motivation." Considering how recklessly Zibanejad usually plays--forechecking aggressively and throwing his weight around like a wrecking ball--I'm looking forward to seeing what happens when he's got some extra motivation. That's probably what the team was angling for when they sent him down in the first place. And he's set up well, too, as he'll reportedly play on the top line with Mark Stone and Matt Puempel on his wings.
I'm almost as interested in seeing what Jim O'Brien does while in Binghamton, though...