It’s that time of year for hockey to return to the Southern Tier of NY in a few weeks and B-Sens faithful will be eager to see what’s in store for the team as last season’s line-up fell 1 point out of the East Division title to the Syracuse Crunch and a quick ouster in the first round of playoffs to the WB/S Penguins.
Coach Luke Richardson returns for his 2nd season along with Asst. Steve Stirling and new Video Coach Tim Marks. Marks arrives to replace Matt Meacham, who is now the Video Coach of the Chicago Blackhawks. If any coach can get the most out of his hockey players it’s Richardson. His ability to communicate, his leadership and experience as a player in the NHL has earned him player’s respect and it shows on and as well as off the ice. Stirling has been Binghamton’s assistant since 2009 and comes with much experience at both the AHL and NHL levels.
Binghamton enters season #12 as the affiliate of the Ottawa Senators as one of the youngest of the 30 teams in the AHL. A quick look at players who will be playing at 1 Stuart Street this upcoming season.
Forwards Derek Grant, Corey Cowick, David Dziurzynski, Wacey Hamilton and Mike Hoffman are considered the veterans returning while rookies Ludwig Karlsson, Jakub Culek, Matt Puempel and Buddy Robinson will be playing their first full seasons in the pros. (Culek, Puempel and Robinson saw limited time late last season.) Shane Prince, Mark Stone, Stephane Da Costa, Cole Schneider and tough guy Darren Kramer are also slated to start in Binghamton. That’s some good, solid balance on wings but might be a tad thin in center positions, especially without Jean-Gabriel Pageau. I would think he makes the big club out of the gate, a strong rookie tournament and excelling in last season’s playoffs proves he might just do that. That leaves odd man out Andre Petersson, who also had a terrific rookie tournament as a late replacement for injured Jarrod Maidens. Will he report to Binghamton to satisfy his final year of his contract with Ottawa, or head to Europe? That remains to be seen. Unless of course he makes Ottawa after camp cuts, but it’s no secret for Petersson’s displeasure’s about the City of Binghamton and how unhappy he was playing here in the past. Jack Downing should be at Bingo’s camp but whether or not he makes the team is up in the air. Veteran Pat Cannone was dealt to the St. Louis Blues organization during the off-season with 1 year left on his contract. Also gone are Hugh Jessiman, Louie Caporusso, Dustin Gazley and Jakob Silfverberg. Mika Zibanejad is with Ottawa, and will not be back in Bingo.
On Defense, fan favorite and Captain Mark Borowiecki, re-signed during the off-season to a 2 yr deal will start in Binghamton. Veteran Tyler Eckford, Chris Wideman, Fredrik Claesson, Ben Blood will be returning as new guys Troy Rutkowski, Codi Ceci, Michael Sdao will also be notching their first full seasons as pros. (Ceci and Sdao saw some ice time late last season.) I also would expect Daniel New to be at Binghamton’s camp. That’s some talent and we should see Claesson, Ceci, and Sdao to have strong seasons on the blue line. Gone are Andre Benoit and Brett Lebda, Eric Gryba and Patrick Wiercioch are with the big club.
In goal returning for his 2nd season is Nathan Lawson, who had a decent 2nd half last year at 2.19 GAA in 23 games and in the playoffs as he stopped 76 of 84 shots in 3 games. New netminder Andrew Hammond will back Lawson up. I have not seen Hammond play yet even though he was with Binghamton late last season. Marc Cheverie may or may not be back into the picture but unknown at the present time. Robin Lehner is with Ottawa.
The B-Sens will take on the Crunch for the home opener October 5th at the newly refurbished Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena. Newly renovated locker room awaits the players. For the fans new seating, LED lighting, boards, glass and concessions are all set to go for the upcoming 41st season of hockey in Binghamton, N.Y.