1. The Sens are three points back of a playoff spot in the Eastern conference with 21 games left to play and seem to be struggling somewhat on the defensive side of the puck, what do you think of their chances of making the post-season?
Ottawa’s Olympic break was bookended by two blowout losses: to Boston before the break and Detroit when the NHL finally resumed. But the Sens had won three games in a row before the Boston fiasco, including victories on the road against Pittsburgh and St. Louis. Ottawa responded to the loss to the Red Wings with a come-from-behind victory against Vancouver in the Heritage Classic on Sunday. This snapshot illustrates an inconsistency which has plagued Ottawa all season long. The Senators must be more consistent, even dominant for the team to have a realistic shot at the playoffs.
2. With the Senators set to hit the ice against the Flames just six and a half hours after the NHL trade deadline, do you expect the team to look any different when they arrive at the Saddledome? What moves, if any, would you like to see management make?
Ottawa might look slightly different after the trade deadline, but I don’t anticipate significant changes. Captain Jason Spezza’s name has been floated around this week, but it’s more likely that veteran defenseman Chris Phillips is shipped out. Phillips will be and UFA once the season ends and GM Bryan Murray wants to re-sign him for one year, the player wants at least two. A career Senator, Phillips’s role has steadily decreased over the past few years. Boston is interested and if Big Rig isn’t re-signed by Wednesday, I expect him to be dealt.
3. The Senators recently wrapped up their season series against the Detroit Red Wings with a record of 2-2-0. How are Sens fans feeling now about losing Daniel Alfredsson after seeing their team play against him four times?
Ugh. I don’t think Sens fans have made much progress with how they feel about Daniel Alfredsson. Chances are what you felt in the summer is still what you’re feeling now.
4. Ottawa has several young players up with the team this season, most notably Mika Zibanejad and Cody Ceci. What do you think of their play so far this season?
Mika Zibanejad’s strong performance last season left many believing he was a lock to make this year’s team out of training camp. However, he was assigned to Ottawa’s AHL affiliate in Binghamton to start the season. Since being recalled, he has continued to impress and is one of Ottawa’s best possession players. Cody Ceci was a somewhat surprising call-up in December, but has played a steady game. He’s been defensively responsible while showing glimpses of offensive flare.
5. After winning the Calder Cup in 2011, the Binghamton Senators are again at the top of their division and ranked third in the AHL's Eastern Conference. What do you think has made Ottawa’s AHL affiliate so successful in the past few years?
I think BSens coach Luke Richardson has been a key to the team’s success that last couple of seasons. He’s helped guide young defender likes Eric Gryba, Jared Cowen, Patrick Wiercioch, and now Ceci to the NHL and he’s done similar work at the AHL level.
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