Senators Ups and Downs: Week 1
Ups and downs is a feature that looks at the individual performances of the Ottawa Senators during the past week.
So, do the Ottawa Senators look like a team that spent too much time playing in team-only scrimmages and not enough time against actual opponents or what? Sure, the team played a total of eight preseason games, but clearly the only goal of those last two split squad games was to stay healthy. Chemistry looks like an issue for every line except MacArthur-Turris-Conacher.
But that's to be expected. It's just two games into the season, and players are still getting used to each other. This is a different team from last year, and it will take a little time for everyone to get on the same page. Erik Karlsson needs time to get his legs back. Patrick Wiercioch and Jared Cowen have to play together to figure out their communication. There are wrinkles that need to be ironed out.
And in the face of that, the Senators are 1-0-1. The longer they can keep their heads above water, the easier it will be to keep their heads above water.
Biggest Gains: Kyle Turris
With one goal and three assists in two games, how could it be anyone else? As we mentioned above, Turris' line is the only one showing any real chemistry, and Turris is the driving force behind it. With MacArthur owning the boards and Conacher crashing the net, Turris isn't lacking for options--and he's got the vision to use them. With opponents keying on the top line, Turris and company are free to exploit the better matchups, and they are. Turris is unlikely to average two points per game this season, but right now he's carrying the team. As long as he can continue to do that, there won't be a need to panic about the rest of the lines: Chemistry comes with time, and right now Turris is buying everyone else the time they need.
Biggest Losses: Probably Joe Corvo
"Hey, come to Ottawa, because Sergei Gonchar left and there might be a great opportunity for you if Wiercioch has any problems." Nope, healthy scratch. The great Corvo-Gryba debates have sadly already begun, but in general, you'd expect a veteran like Corvo to beat out a youngster like Gryba. It's clear even now that Corvo was brought in as a 6th or 7th defenseman. It's not a great situation for him. He's never going to be in a position to really make a difference, but he's always going to be in position to be a scapegoat. Hope Corvo grew a thick skin in his time away. It's going to be a long year.
|Craig Anderson||Anderson was great--and lucky--in shutting out the Buffalo Sabres, but got no help from his defense in allowing three back-door goals in a 5-4 shootout loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.|
|Robin Lehner||Do you think Lehner watched Anderson's opening night performance from the bench and just shook his head thinking about how well he's going to have to play to earn starts?|
|Joe Corvo||See "Biggest losses."|
|Jared Cowen||Currently outscoring Erik Karlsson.|
|Eric Gryba||We could write the same things about Corvo for Gryba, except that Gryba missed most of the preseason. So there's a little bit of hope.|
|Erik Karlsson||Sure, he wasn't great in the loss to Toronto. But 82 games of excellence in a row is unrealisitic to expect of anyone.|
|Marc Methot||Tied for second in hits...|
|Chris Phillips||...with Phillips!|
|Patrick Wiercioch||With two assists, Wiercioch is also outscoring Karlsson. Hard to imagine he or Cowen finishing the year like that. In the meantime, both defenders need to keep scoring to offset their defensive zone miscommunications.|
|Cory Conacher||He's the third wheel between Turris and MacArthur, but he still has a goal. He's doing what he needs to do to keep the line going.|
|Erik Condra||Condra's already had a Condra moment.|
|Stephane Da Costa||Life in the NHL is harder when your linemates aren't Michalek and Ryan.|
|Colin Greening||With five hits in two games, Greening is performing his role.|
|Matt Kassian||Didn't make a difference in the Toronto game.|
|Clarke MacArthur||Has been everything advertised.|
|Milan Michalek||One assist in two games for Michalek.|
|Chris Neil||Eight hits. Same as it ever was.|
|Jean-Gabriel Pageau||No points yet, so let's get that bust label out there! Seriously, though, Pageau is getting destroyed on faceoffs--He's won just 7 of 25.|
|Bobby Ryan||He's trying to do too much. No points and 4 PIMs in two games. Break out the pitchforks.|
|Z. Smith||He may be playing the wing, but Z. Smith is taking defensive zone faceoffs.|
|Jason Spezza||With a goal and 11 shots, it's obvious Spezza is trying to generate offense. It's going to come.|
|Kyle Turris||See "Biggest gains."|
Special thanks to our friend winterion at Japer's Rink for our icons!