I don’t think I need to talk about last night’s game because almost everyone has put in into perfect words…it was a game to be reckoned with. After Michalek-Spezza-Alfredsson had a strong night the game before, Cheechoo-Shannon-Kovalev and especially Foligno-Regin-Fisher were awesome. Since those games, I think we know how the lineup will be to start the season. Even though there are some different variations, everybody gets the same idea.
Jeremy Milks over at Black Aces predicts how the defensive lineup shapes to be…
Phillips – Volchenkov
Kuba – Karlsson
Campoli – Carkner
I’m tempted by Matt Carkner making the lineup because he is just so damn good. He is exactly the nasty, mean, hard-nosed defenseman that Ottawa has needed since Zdeno Chara left. I have voiced my conern in pairing Phillips and Volchenkov together on the 1st pairing, and I would rather have Kuba with Volchenkov, Phillips with Carkner, and Campoli with Karlsson. Jeremy did leave Brian Lee and Alex Picard out. However, both haven’t had good camps. Picard has looked good in some situations especially in Halifax where he looked poised but things turned in Montreal. Brian Lee hasn’t been bad but frankly he’s been invisible throughout camp when Karlsson and Carkner are making impacts. If starts the season like he did last season, he’s likely outta Ottawa for good. You’d bet Murray would get some tempting offers for Lee.
Ben Myers over at Sens Army Blog predicts how the forwards will rack up…
Michalek – Spezza – Alfredsson
Kovalev – Foligno – Cheechoo
Kelly – Fisher – Shannon
Ruutu – Winchester – Neil
Note that this was before last night’s game. I think this lineup could work with the exception of Foligno at centre. Him and Fisher on the wings last night with Regin centering them looked so damn good. Jesse Winchester is now out for 3 weeks, which means he’ll miss about the first 3 games of the season, so the spot is now open for Peter Regin to joion the club. If he stays, which he will likely do, you’d bet your bucks one of Winchie or Kelly would get moved. Kelly also has been invisible all camp long and even though there isn’t serious interest for him, we need to dump him. Not only is Regin a suitable replacement for him, but he’s about a million bucks cheaper than Kelly.
With Martin St. Pierre, Josh Hennessy (who by the way turned my head last night), and Derek Smith gone to Binghamton and Mike Hoffman off to the Saint John Sea Dogs, that leaves 28 players left in camp. Jared Cowen is still in but he will likely be cut in the next few days along with goalie Mike Brodeur. Christoph Schubert and Shean Donovan are likely “fringe” players who will be put on waivers before going to Bingo. In the case of Schubert he is likely done as a Senator while Donovan may be used as a veteran presence in Binghamton. With Karlsson likely making the team you’d expect Picard out and one of Carkner/Lee to get demoted as well. Zack Smith also lost any chance of a roster spot last night with Regin totally out-playing him. That leaves 21 players left, and 20 make the opening day roster. As mentioned before, with Winchie gone for the beginning, that makes 20. 12 forwards, 6 defensemen, 2 goalies. With that, here’s how I think it will play out on October 2nd against the Rangers.
Michalek – Spezza – Alfredsson
Cheechoo – Shannon – Kovalev
Foligno – Regin – Fisher
Ruutu – Kelly – Neil
Kuba – Volchenkov
Phillips – Lee/Carkner
Karlsson – Campoli
In other news, the Rags re-signed Brandon Dubinsky yesterday, so he’s off the market. Other than trading one of Winchester and Kelly, Murray would probably still like to add a cherished Top 4 Defenseman but for now there’s no new rumors out there. Sorry Eklund, no way Sundin and/or Forsberg come here. We’re too good for them!