NEWS: Sens News: April 8th

-The Sens achieved the best possible result last night as they dropped to eighth to face the New York Rangers (beginning Thursday).  While Ottawa might have been able to beat Tim Thomas and the Boston Bruins over a seven game series, it’s not something they’ve demonstrated all season.  Against the Rangers the Sens are 3-1, with their one loss a 3-2 affair in November.  Two of the three wins were against Lundqvist, so it’s not like the Sens benefitted from facing backup Biron.

Paul MacLean talked after yesterday’s game

It’s over now, so it’s good. We’re excited about next week and getting into the Stanley Cup playoffs, and having an opportunity there. We just sort of got through this one safe and healthy. Now we can start preparing for the Stanley Cup playoffs. We’re excited about that. Work would be the first thing we could do. If we did that, it’d make a significant difference in the outcome of the games. Be a little more mentally focused and sharp … we can’t just be giving away goals and expect to keep up. We have to get a little better focus, a little better work ethic and rely on the structure of our team to have a little success.

The Hockey News just can’t help themselves in dumping on Ottawa and see the Sens being swept by the Rangers.  The publication gives New York the edge in all categories (forwards, defense, goaltending, coaching, and special teams).  Just for a moment putting aside the specifics, sweeps in the first round are rare (since the lockout–so six seasons–there has only been one per year, except in  2010 when there were none and 2009 when three teams were swept), so clearly The Hockey News has no faith in the Sens whatsoever as a playoff team.

-Binghamton lost 4-1 to Norfolk last night, in a game that featured injuries to Wacey Hamilton, Dan Henningson, and Matt PuempelMike McKenna made 36 saves in the loss, while Craig Schira scored the only goal.  Tim Conboy was a team worst -3; Ben Blood had his first AHL fight.  Here’s the box score and Joy Lindsay‘s game summary.  After the game Kurt Kleinendorst said

We played really well. This was one of our best efforts of the year. It’s unfortunate. We just always find a way to lose a game, and it’s always a different guy. We played with nine forwards, relied on a few D more than others. This was two games in two nights against an elite team. Maybe we ran out of gas, but we didn’t fall apart.

-Sens prospect Stefan Noesen broke his finger in the final game of Plymouth’s first round series and is out for their series against Kitchener

Cap Geek has preliminary numbers for Ben Blood (0.825/14).

-The criticism of Sidney Crosby continues on the fringes of the media and within the NHL (Mike Milbury, Flyer assistant coach Craig Berube, Ranger coach John Tortorella, and now Don Cherry), and putting aside the specifics I wonder if this will impact the dismissive denial within the media that’s made Crosby immune to criticism.  With all the money invested by the NHL (and others) into Crosby‘s image it’s hard to imagine the status quo will change (here’s Larry Brooks‘ exploration of the issue), but perhaps the emergence of Steven Stamkos (or some other superstar) will permit more open discussion about him.

This article is written by Peter Levi, be sure to follow @eyeonthesens