Senators' Prospect Roundup: January 10, 2012
I spent a little while yesterday afternoon perusing the worldwide web searching for a "Golden Goal" type commentary of Mika Zibanejad's overtime winner courtesy of a Swedish announcer (Peter had yet to post it). I found it, but also succeeded in tracking down this hilarious and bizarre YouTube clip. The quality is terrible and, from the limited amount I know about making videos, it was made to be intentionally choppy, which I really don't get. The maker of the video also fell into the incomprehensible trap of drowning out the actual highlight with some "techno beats". There are better versions out there, including the one Peter posted yesterday, but this one was too much to handle, so I had to pass it off to all of you.
Mika was not a stand out in every fixture- his terrific rate of six shots-per-game was boosted by one game with twelve. Still, he played very good hockey when it counted, with three of his four goals in the tournament coming on the powerplay, and, you know, that goal in overtime against the Russians.
Although he could learn a thing or too from his fellow Senators' prospect on shooting the puck, Jakub Culek had a strong tournament for the Czechs. With four points in five games, Culek offered the kind of offensive play the Senators are surely looking for, and the Rimouski forward chipped in a fair amount of minutes on the penalty kill. For a prospect who offered some fairly underwhelming numbers (granted, we're used to astronomical stuff) in the Q last season, Culek played well in an important role for the Czechs.
Ottawa had another gold medalist- Fredrik Claesson was pointless through six games for the Swedes, but for a defensive defenseman, who cares? For somebody in his place, the statline doesn't tell much of the story (I couldn't find blocked shots or average time on ice numbers). What I saw in Claesson impressed me. I thought he played with confidence and was a steadying presence on the Swedish blueline.
Winning two of three over the past week, BInghamton's play continues to show signs of gradual improvement. Turning things around, a little bit, piece-by-piece. If you want to look down the road and ask yourself where the team is going, it's probably nowhere this season. But that's not the worst thing- a good, positive environment will help our young players, and make them ready to be a voice in the room when there is a further injection of new blood next year. Consider, for example, Andre Petersson. The Swedish forward signed an entry-level contract near the end of last season with Ottawa. He also scored this goal. His transition to the North American game was lacking a bit to start the year. Now, his speed, nifty hands, and absolute rocket of a shot are important to any success Binghamton has this season, despite his diminutive size. It has also earned him top-line minutes.
Seeing a team in the system win games is positive, and the first half of the season in Binghamton has been difficult to watch. Big injuries have beset the team and they forced some younger guys to step up. Winning is good, but a little adversity can be, too. They lost some lots of games to start the year, but are righting the ship. That's better than running the table, no?
Binghamton Senators 4, Adirondack Phantoms 3
The line of Petersson, Locke and Klinkhammer has been rolling of late, and really exploded in this game. Also, it was a game against Adirondack, who Binghamton has beaten every time they've met this season. If you get into any back-and-forth situations with unrelenting Flyers fans, let them know that 1. Danny Briere is pretty irritating. 2. Their farm team has NOTHING on ours. That'll get them good. Mike McKenna looked good in goal, and he really, really had to- Binghamton was outshot by the Phantoms excessively. A late flurry saw the puck come back to Tim Conboy who unleashed a seeing-eye blast that won this one late in the day for Binghamton. Filip Kuba, anyone?
Binghamton Senators 3, Connecticut Whale 1
McKenna started in his second of three games in a row (because Robin Lehner is... competitive). Another multi-point night for Corey Locke, along with more tallies for Petersson and Pat Cannone saw the B-Sens handle the Connecticut Whale and spoil Sean Avery's inauspicious AHL welcome back party. Speaking of Avery, he had two penalties, and Binghamton scored on one of them.
Rochester Americans 3, Binghamton Senators 2
It was the same cast of characters for Binghamton, as Klinkhammer, Locke and Petersson all chipped in on the scoresheet, with Eric Gryba adding an assist from the back end. Still, the B-Sens were only able to manage 2 goals on their 44 shots on the night, and didn't convert a terrific opportunity in the second period when one of the Americans was sent off with a double minor. Joy Lindsay wrote a good post-game article discussing the frustration of shooting 44 and not winning the game.
- Pretty busy week on the trade front for Senators prospects. First, Jean-Gabriel Pageau was traded to Chicoutimi for a bevy of picks. Austin Watson was then traded from the Peterborough Petes. Yes, I'm fully aware Watson is not a Sens' prospect (Nashville, as it happens), but he was a top player on the Petes with Matthew Puempel. Puempel, already captain and the Petes' go-to-guy, will be relied upon for some serious leadership hereon out, in the locker room and putting up points. Then, as I was wrapping up this post, Bruce Garrioch announced over twitter that Jordan Fransoo has been traded from the Brandon Wheat Kings to Victoria for Kevin Sundher, a third-round selection of the Buffalo Sabres.
- Speaking of Matt Puempel, the scoring prospect returned from an eight-game suspension for a shot to the head, only to get one himself. Puempel was taken to hospital for "observation" of an apparent concussion. Puempel has been over a point per game when in the lineup. Problem is, he hasn't spent too much time in it.
- Nikita Filatov has yet to put up points.
- Corey Pronman had an interesting tweet yesterday pointing out that Zibanejad was averaging 12:54 of ice time with Ottawa, compared to the 15:21 he's getting in Sweden. Considering that the season is shorter than the NHL's, and that he already had missed about a third of it, I can imagine some people fretting he should have stayed with Ottawa. If you do, remember that awesome techno video I offered up at the top, but also that Zibanejad may not have played as many minutes had he stuck with the Senators. The nine games he played in Ottawa were his tryout- especially the last handful of games. Had he stayed, his top-line status may have suffered slightly. We have not seen Paul MacLean cut players slack when they aren't producing.