"All hell has broken loose among the Sens' faithful."
These were the words written by my colleague Sheer_Craziness as the introduction to last week's Ups and Downs. Truthfully, when I started putting this piece together I had intended to just roll that same quote out and just say "to hell with it!". Early in the second period of last night's game, Ottawa was down 3-0 to Vancouver and didn't seem to be even a remote threat to get back into it. After the havoc that Mika Zibanejad and friends wreaked on the Canucks over the last 40+ minutes, I was more than happy to re-write my introduction and crown a new champion. Is the season saved? No, probably not. But that felt pretty damn good, didn't it?
Biggest Gains: Mika Zibanejad My how quickly things can turn around. Last week Mika was our dishonourable recipient of "Biggest Losses". This week, with 4 goals and 2 assists in four games he's our gold star champion. All hail King Mika!
Biggest Losses: Chris Phillips. In a way, you really have to feel for Big Rig: he's been a loyal soldier throughout and he's been asked to do a lot this year. The problem is that he's so over-matched it's bordering on embarrassing. I can imagine a world in which Phillips on the third pairing against easy competition would be O.K, but lining him up against top flight competition on a steady diet of 20+ minute games is a recipe for disaster. He just can't do it anymore. This week it was more obvious than ever.
|Craig Anderson||The team only managed the one win this week with Andy in net for all four games, but it was hard to pin the losses on him. He was neither terrible nor outstanding. He was just "meh"|
|Robin Lehner||Lehner's been on the shelf for the last few games, but should be ready to go on Thursday. Given Anderson's heavy workload of late, I wouldn't be surprised to see Lehner get the start. |
|Mark Borowiecki||Boro returned from injury and played a whooping 21:58 in his first game back against NYI. He only took two penalties in the four games he played, which is an improvement over his season-to-date. |
|Cody Ceci||Ceci continues to show flashes of offensive skill all while struggling the defensive end. This week there were more downs than ups as the Sens suffered on the shot clock while he was on the ice. In an ideal world Ceci would be allowed to develop his game in sheltered minutes, but this isn't an ideal world. He needs to be better. |
|Jared Cowen||The Jared Cowen Odyssey continues: scratched in the second Islanders game as well as the Penguins game, Cowen put forward a remarkably steady performance against the Canucks. I'm not holding out hope he'll ever amount to much more than a third pairing bruiser, but even that would help a defense corps in need of a boost. |
|Eric Gryba||Though he and partner Mark Borowiecki were victimized versus the Islanders for a goal against, he otherwise had a solid week. Gryba won't win you any games on his own, but he won't kill you either. He's just Eric Gryba.|
|Erik Karlsson||A goal and two assists in the four games this week, the game winner against the Canucks and an inhuman 23 shot attempts in the same contest are enough to give the captain the green up arrow. Karlsson is being asked to do a lot this year, probably too much, and it's shown at times. But: he's a one-man offense, and Ottawa would be completely at sea without him.|
|Marc Methot||His return was fleeting as Methot was held out of the Sunday game against Vancouver. He's not the saviour the Sens so desperately need, but he'll help.|
|Chris Phillips||See "Biggest Losses" |
|Patrick Wiercioch||Wiercioch moved to the IR in time for Methot's return on Thursday. His injury has yet to be disclosed, but even if he does recover from this mystery ailment I wouldn't be surprised if we've seen the last of him as an Ottawa Senator.|
|Alex Chiasson||With two assists in four games and a successful transition to the third line, Chiasson gets the thumbs up from this scribe. Slotted against weaker competition, Chiasson looks the part of a solid depth winger. Let's hope MacLean resists the temptation to stick him back on the first line.|
|Erik Condra||No goal scoring outbursts this week, but Condra keeps doing what he's asked to do, and doing it well. |
|Colin Greening||Back to the doghouse you go. After finding his way into the line-up two weeks ago, Greening was scratched for all four games this week. |
|Mike Hoffman||Two points in four games for Hoffman this week, and a noticeable up-tick in his overall playing time: the Hoff averaged over 16 minutes per game in the four contests. |
|Curtis Lazar||Without Stone and Hoffman flanking him, and saddled with more defensive zone starts, Lazar has predictably struggled a bit. Plus minus doesn't count for much in my books but the Sens were -4 this week with Lazar on the ice; the underlying possession numbers weren't much better. Tough go for the kid.|
|David Legwand||Given his even-strength line-mates and zone deployment, I don't expect we'll see much 5v5 production from the veteran but credit where credit is due: Legwand put up 3 points on the power play this week. |
|Clarke MacArthur||After a scorching hot start to the year, MacArthur has cooled off considerable in the last two weeks. A lone goal in the four games played is offset somewhat by some strong possession numbers posted by him and his line but something just doesn't seem right. |
|Milan Michalek||Michalek had one point in three games before missing the Vancouver game due to an upper body injury. It's been a disappointing year for the Czech veteran; I'm not really sure where he fits on this team. |
|Chris Neil||After a point scoring bonanza two weeks ago (3 points in four games), Neil came back down to earth. He's not known for his scoring, but it's been interesting to see how little Neil has played of late. Something to keep an eye out for. |
|Bobby Ryan||Four assists in three games and brought a dynamic presence to Ottawa's second line. What broken finger?|
|Z. Smith||Bit of a weird week for Smith as he returned to the line-up against the Islanders and played almost 18 minutes before being scratched for the second game against New York on Thursday. He didn't crack 12 minutes of ice time against either the Pens or the Canucks. |
|Mark Stone||Missed the Pittsburgh game after taking a puck off the foot against the Islanders on Thursday and picked up just a point in the three games played. Along with MacArthur and Turris he hasn't looked bad per say, but that whole line just hasn't been quite right. |
|Kyle Turris||Turris was good for only the one assist in four games and hasn't really looked like himself for a couple of weeks now. |
|Mika Zibanejad||See biggest gains. |
Special thanks to our friend winterion at Japers' Rink for our icons!