Senators Ups and Downs: Knee health edition

The Senators went 1-3 this week, sandwiching a win against the Islanders -- some guy named Lehner played, I guess? -- with lessons in destruction from Boston and Washington.  Oh, and Calgary beat us, too.  But all is not lost, despite this season quickly circling the drain.  Several players took some positive strides this week, which is either a good sign for their future, or a good sign for their trade value.

Biggest Gains: Milan Michalek
His speed seems to have returned, at least in bursts. It's a very encouraging sign for a guy whose knees are probabaly about as natural as Darth Vader's. More importantly, with three points (2G, 1A) in the two games against New York and Calgary, he's once again a scoring threat -- something Ottawa desperately needs.

Biggest Losses: Alex Kovalev
Meanwhile, Kovalev's recovery from his own knee surgeries has not gone as well. He's out indefinitely "one week" while he tries to work through soreness in his knee. Kovalev earns the award this week because his absence has been absolutely unnoticed. There is no greater proof of his recent ineffectiveness than that.

(read on for the full rundown...)

Goalies Trend Notes
Brian Elliott It was a Mr. Hyde week for Elliott. Mercifully pulled after getting schooled by the Bruins, he watched Lehner actually win a game, and then put together a shaky peformance in a loss to the Flames. His play against Washington was very good -- until the third -- perhaps signalling a good week on the horizon?
Pascal Leclaire Will he even play again this year?
Robin Lehner Drago won his first ever NHL start, which is arrow-worthy, even though he was a little shaky doing it. He also got shuffled back to Bingo right after; the team has clearly decided to get him some serious playing time this year.

Filip Kuba Kuba continues to be awful.
Chris Phillips He gets this based on incredibly low expectations. This was one of his better weeks, despite the beatings the team took on the ice.
Sergei Gonchar Followed up an impressive plus-five against the Islanders with a less impressive effort against Calgary, where he was once again a minus.
Brian Lee It's sad that the mediocrity that Lee provides is actually valuable to the defensive corps. He was one of the best defensemen against the Islanders, though the team still gave up four goals in that game.
Erik Karlsson Ottawa's lone representative to the all-star game.
Chris Campoli Not a good week for the defenseman. He was an atrocious minus-4 against Boston, got beat up by Chris Neil in practice for sucking in that game, and then got scratched. Yikes. He improved against Washington, but still no points. Luckily for him, Kovalev did worse this week.
Matt Carkner Returned to the lineup with Campoli scratched; played the same old Carkner style. Am I the only one that sees that Kuba is the correct scratch out of this group?

Jason Spezza Skating in full gear, but not close to returning... wisely.
Alex Kovalev See "Biggest Losses."
Daniel Alfredsson The team won when he scored just 32 seconds into the game against the Islanders, but he was not as effective against the other opponents.
Milan Michalek See "Biggest Gains."
Mike Fisher Fisher played well against both the Islanders and Flames, and his line opened the scoring against Washington. That's a good sign for a player who needs to do more for this team.
Nick Foligno This is more like the Foligno we saw in preseason action. Driving hard to the net and finishing his own rebounds, Foligno has really come on this week. Hopefully he can keep it up.
Chris Kelly Was dominant against the Islanders and then invisible against the Flames.
Chris Neil Deserves a green arrow for being one of the few players still trying to motivate a sinking club (even if he did it by fighting Campoli), but deserves a red arrow for his disappointing minus-5 this week. We'll meet in the middle and call him even.
Jarkko Ruutu Ruutu's year of living ineffectively continues. He might need a change of scenery, and he might get it.
Peter Regin Much like Chris Neil, Regin deserves a down arrow for his lack of production, but an up arrow for his efforts.
Jesse Winchester Remains Ottawa's best center. And he fought Nathan Horton. What more can you ask of him, except a cool nickname?
Ryan Shannon Shannon had fallen off early in the week, but he seems to be hitting another stride being paired with Foligno and Fisher -- a line that has worked well in the past.
Zack Smith Picked up another goal in the win against the Islanders. You know he doesn't give a crap with the way he's playing right now.
Corey Locke The AHL's leading scorer got his first NHL point in his first NHL game with the Senators. He poked it to Z. Smith -- smart thinking.

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