In what has been becoming an all-too familiar tradition in recent years, a number of players from the Senators organization will not finish playing hockey for the year on April 10th. This is because many will be dressing for their National Teams in the IIHF World Hockey Championships that begin April 29th in Slovakia. Almost half of the Senators roster, as well as a number of prospects, have a shot at playing on after the Senators season mercifully comes to an end on April 10th.
Here is a breakdown of Senators-related players and their likelihood of being asked to represent their respective countries. Obvoiusly if the player chooses not to go for whatever reason, they would decline, so these are projections based on who will be asked to play.
C Jason Spezza – Spezza has been on fire since returning from injury after the All-Star break. Is familiar with Hockey Canada having represented Canada 5 times (3WJC & 2 WC) in addition to being a member of the taxi squad for the 2006 Olympics. CHANCES OF BEING ASKED: 100%
D Chris Phillips – Numbers have not been there this season, but the Big Rig has always answered the call for Canada, playing in 2 WJC and 3 World Championships. CHANCES OF BEING ASKED: 40%
G Craig Anderson – A two time representative for Team USA at the Worlds, Anderson could even be the starting goalie for his team if Ryan Miller is in the playoffs or turns the invite down because of his workload this season. CHANCES OF BEING ASKED: 90%
F Nick Foligno – Foligno has represented the Stars & Stripes at the last two World Championships, and the way he is playing now should get another shot. Was named an alternate captian last year. CHANCES OF BEING ASKED: 90%
F Ryan Shannon – The large European ice might be ideal for the speedy Shannon, who represented the USA in 2009. A resurgent second half has put him in the running for an invite. CHANCES OF BEING ASKED: 85%
RW Bobby Butler – Butler’s scoring touch and ability to find open space may have garnered the notice of USA Hockey, but might be down the totem pole a little, having never represented his country before. If Binghamton qualifies, Butler will be sent to the AHL to compete in the Baby Sens playoff run. CHANCES OF BEING ASKED: 25%
D Brian Lee – Has quietly developed into an everyday player in the second half of the season after being a healthy scratch most of the first half. A two-time member of the World Junior edition of Team USA. CHANCES OF BEING ASKED: 10%
LW Milan Michalek – A veteran of the International game, Michalek has been a part of 2 Under-18s, the World Juniors, 2 World Championships and 1 Olympics. If healthy and willing, a lock to be a member of Team Czech Republic. CHANCES OF BEING ASKED: 100%
D Filip Kuba – Kuba has been a stalwart for Team Czech in international play, with 3 World Championships and 2 Olympics under his belt. Despite some inconsistent play, should be in line for his 4th World Championships. CHANCES OF BEING ASKED: 90%
RW Daniel Alfredsson* – An asterisk beside his name, because health and age will most likely force Alfie to pass, if he hasn’t already done so. He would be asked if healthy, and would most likely Captain the team if he agreed. 6 World Championships, 4 Olympics and 2 World Cups highlight #11′s international resume. CHANCES OF BEING ASKED: 100%
D Erik Karlsson – A league worst plus/minus shouldn’t scare off the Sweden brass. On the larger surface, Karlsson should blossom and will likely be a leader on the power play and moving the puck. Played in the World Juniors held in Ottawa as well as the World Championships last season. CHANCES OF BEING ASKED: 100%
D David Runblad – The Senators’ prospect who should make the club next season will likely get to show his wares as a member of the Swedish side. A two-time member of the Swedish junior team, he will likely make his senior debut as he put up an impressive 50 point season in the Swedish Elite League. CHANCES OF BEING ASKED: 75%
G Robin Lehner – The two-time World Junior member might have an outside shot at being asked to play for the senior team this time around, pending the end of Binghamton’s season. CHANCES OF BEING ASKED: 15%
RW Marek Svatos – The thin Slovak side will need any talent they can get as they try to defend home ice. Svatos is an international veteran having represented Slovakia at every level once: Under-18, World Junior, World Championship and Olympics. CHANCES OF BEING ASKED: 90%
D Sergei Gonchar – A veteran leader for past editions of Team Russia, with a world Junior, 4 Olympics, 3 World Championships and 2 World Cups under his belt. A good bet to still have a spot, depending on his recovery from his current concussion problems. CHANCES OF BEING ASKED: 90%
RW Roman Wick – If the Baby Sens should miss the AHL playoffs, Wick would be a prime candidate to represent his native Switzerland. He has Olympic experience, as well as a World Junior and 2 World Championships. CHANCES OF BEING ASKED: 100%
LW Kaspars Daugavins – Like Wick for Switzerland, Daugavins would be a prime candidate to play for Latvia at the WC, should Bingo’s season ends early. He has done so 3 times in the past, including his first time as a 17 year old. He also played in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics for Latvia. CHANCES OF BEING ASKED: 100%
So there it is, April 10th might be the end of the Ottawa Senators’ season, but there will still be some hockey to pay attention to. Chances are at least one Senator player will come home with some hardware from the World Championships, getting at least some measure of solace to cap off a year most would love to forget.
Thanks for reading and as always, comments are welcomed.
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