Well, that certainly was an epic Hockeyville barn burner! … Err. Something to that effect.
In front of a packed house at the Mile One Centre in St. John’s, Newfoundland, the
Binghamton Ottawa Senators coasted through most of their third last pre-season game against the Winnipeg Jets. Despite making a game of it in the third period, the Sens were undone by their early lackluster effort and wound up losing by a count of 3-1 – not a huge concern considering the team dressed but six NHL regulars from last season. At this point, the REAL games cannot begin soon enough. Monday’s affair basically amounted to “the last taste of the big league” for many this season. Paul MacLean stated earlier in the day that by Tuesday afternoon, the training camp roster would be sliced to to 27 or 28, aka guys who have a legitmate chance of cracking the opening night roster.
And now, without further ado, some of my overall impressions from the yawnfest that was!
For the first 40 minutes, but especially the first 20, it was all Alex Auld all the time. The big, bald hero turned aside 16 of 16 shots in the first and kept the hapless Senators within arm’s reach. In the grander scheme, Auld has had a very impressive camp. He’s come in and shown that he is more than capable of being an effective back-up goalie and not just some guy the coach will throw in every 15th game against the worst team in the league. Unfortunately, Auld’s outing was cut short when he was forced from the game due to cramping before the start of the third.
It was a special game for one Colin Greening. Hailing from St. John’s, a mere five minutes from the Mile One Centre, Greening got to play in front of friends and family on a national broadcast. The big winger called it a “dream come true” despite his team being on the losing end. It’s too bad the boys couldn’t have shown better for Colin.
Really, the only other standout from a Senators’ perspective was Mika Zibanejad and his soft hands on display in the third. Parked at the side of the net, Zibanejad deftly converted an in tight squeeze play with the poise and calmness that only the most natural goal scorers posses. Assisting on the goal were Erik Karlsson and Daniel Alfredsson for the full Swedish effect.
Here’s a question – is “Rundblad” really that difficult of a name to pronounce? Between Leafs’s play-by-play man, Joe Bowen and Bob Cole today on CBC, we’ve heard everything from “Rooneblad” to “Runbald” to “Rumball”. Gee whiz. This is the National Hockey League, fellas, not the East Coast Hockey League. And David Rundblad is considered by many to one of the top five prospects not currently playing in the NHL. Do some research and learn the guy’s name. Please!
Along with Alex Auld, defenceman Chris Phillips also left the game early. Phillips was experiencing tightness in his back, but the decision to pull him from the game was more precautionary than anything.
Next up for the Sens is another pre-season game tonight (Tuesday) against the Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Place. Game time is 7:30 pm.
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