The Ottawa Senators, or should we say, the Binghampton Senators, took down the Florida Panthers 5-1 last night at Scotiabank Place and Craig Anderson had a triumphant premiere in his new hometown. Bobby Butler had 2 goals on the night with a whole Binghampton line on the ice both times. Ryan Shannon, Milan Michalek and Jason Spezza also got into the action with goals of their own, but it was clear that this was a glimpse into Ottawa’s future, with up and coming stars and other Ottawa regulars getting a chance to shine.
Injuries continue to plague the Senators, with Alfredsson, Leclaire and Winchester out for some time, while Regin joined the ranks of the injured with a shoulder injury that might sideline him for the rest of the season. Karlsson tweaked something in practice which kept him out of last night’s game, but will hopefully not keep him out of contention for too long. Chris Campoli did come back to the lineup, but Chris Neil took himself out on a missed check and did not return to the game.
It’s getting to the point where you can count on one hand the amount of regular faces on the Senators bench sitting there, as the team has been decimated by trades, injuries and numerous call ups. The one saving grace has been the addition of Craig Anderson, who has brought some stability back to Ottawa’s game by giving them some confidence on the back end.
While it’s too early to say with only two games in the bag, it has to be said that those two games were both victories and that Ottawa has been ready for a change between the pipes for awhile now. Even the mental shift from the shaky Elliott-Leclaire situation was a reprieve for Ottawa. It also seems that Anderson can bring something else to the team that wasn’t there before- communication on the ice. Anderson is vocal and active on the ice and it seems like his teammates are getting to know him.
Spezza has stepped up as well. After getting an A added to his jersey, it’s clear that Spezza is being groomed for a leadership position on the team, as he is one of the few veteran players with the team and its star Centre. While there have been rumours around town that Spezza may be chosen to wear the C at some point, it’s hoped that these rumours are not true. While Spezza is an elite player with good hands and good skating, he’s notorious for sloppy turnovers and lazy drop passes and giving up on his man. These mistakes are often costly and not indicative of the kind of leadership that Ottawa needs. It’s also strangely disheartening to think that Ottawa may go from being the team with the longest serving Captain in the NHL with the incomparable Alfredsson, to the NHL team Captain with the goofiest laugh.
Ottawa played a good game last night, but Florida didn’t exactly play a stellar game themselves. They were careless and took way too many undisciplined penalties that cost them. The defense in the third period fell apart like a cheap jacket. The real test for Ottawa will be when they play top-ranked Philadelphia on Saturday night- then we’ll see how good the Ottawa/ Binghampton tandem really is.
About the Author
Written by Mika Oehling
Office worker and sports nerd. Cannot play a professional sport to save my life, but love to write. Prone to rants, raves, snarky humour and caustic commentary. My team's the Ottawa Senators. Author of Armchair Hockey, a work of humourous fiction released this year and available for sale online at Chapters and Amazon.