Love the title? No? Well go screw yourself. It’s the best I could do for a lazy Saturday.
The Sens cut 8 players today from training camp. 6 were assigned to Binghamton. They are: Cody Bass, Andy Chiodo, Ryan Keller, Geoff Kinrade, Jeremy Yablonski, and Ilya Zubov. 2 were assigned to their respective OHL teams. They are: Robin Lehner (Greyhounds) and Brett Parnham (Generals). I must say I am surprised by some of the cuts. Both Cody Bass and Ilya Zubov had above average camps, especially Zubov who really wants to make the team. At times Zubov looked like the best forward prospect out there, even better than Regin or Zack Smith. So how is it that Zubov’s gone and Zack Smith, who has had a terrible camp, is staying. How is it that Joshua Hennessy and Martin St.Pierre are still at camp. I know Murray’s documented history against Russians but Zubov has worked his ASS off to make the team and this is what he gets. I hate lazy, unethical Russian as well but Zubov is different. The 10 games he played last year in the NHL, he played physical all the time. Cody Bass had his work cut out for him when the team announced they had re-signed Neil. Bass was expected to take his spot but instead the Sens overpay Neil. Bass will likely play in Bingo this year, however, I’d expect Zubov to leave for the KHL.
The Sens have 33 players left and will likely have to cut 12 or 13 more players before the season starts. Now The Sens face Les Habitants tonight and it should be packed as Scotiabank Place gets it’s first glimpse of Pascal Leclaire, who will play the whole game tonight. Here’s how the lineup will look like…
Cheechoo – Shannon – Kovalev
Foligno – Regin – Fisher
Z. Smith – St.Pierre – Hoffman
Ruutu – Hennessy – Donovan
Phillips – Volchenkov
Kuba – Karlsson
D. Smith – Carkner
That 1st line looks good and I’m thinking it may be the 2nd line this season. The speed of Cheechoo and Shannon and Kovalev’s instincts to spot the play is what the line is all about. Clouston said he liked this line during practice and hopes it works during games. Mike Fisher is moved to RW on the 2nd line, with Foligno and Regin. A young line for sure, but again, a fast, big body, hard-checking one. Zack Smith will have to prvoe himself today for obvious reason but Murray and Clouston believe strongly in this guy and wants him to suceed. Mike Hoffman is playing in his 2nd game and will play with St.Pierre. The two played together in Halifax and looked together on the same line with grandpa Donovan.
I like the pairings tonight and it may be a sneak preview. Kuba and Karlsson looked good against the Panthers on the PP. Kuba’s the kind of guy that will make sure the puck is in the net, the same thing with Karlsson. Both worked hard 2 games ago and will have to keep up the tempo. The other 4 will primarily try to keep the puck out of the net with a boosted offense tonight. Pascal Leclaire will get the whole game tonight while Mike Brodeur will be backup.
The Habs play both Gomez and Cammalleri tonight with Andrei Kostitsyn while Sergei Kostitsyn will play on the second line with Max Pacioretty and Ben Maxwell. The Habs also play super pairing Andrei Markov and Jaroslav spacek together while World Junior hero PK Subban returns to Scotiabank Place. Ottawa fans get to boo Carey Price tonight, though it’s not sure if he will play for the whole game.
The offense looks equal tonight with both team supplying two good scoring lines. If Sergei Kostitsyn can’t supply then you’d bet the advantage goes to Ottawa, and the same thing with Nick Foligno and/or Mike Fisher. The defense is equal as well, a good top pairing. Montreal’s in more experienced but I would think Ottawa’s is more free-flowing. I would say Ottawa have the better defensive defenseman who can play well positionally and keep the puck out of the net. Now we go to goaltending which is a different story. Leclaire is looking great in the pre-season while Price looked good as well against the Panthers. However, Pascal is confident and Price seems to shatter sometimes. On the road though, Price has shown to outshine opponents. That is why I’m predicting…
Canadiens 3 (Lapierre, D’Agostini) Senators 2 (Donovan, Cheechoo) (SO)
SO Winner: Stewart