SENATORS: A Week in Review – November 21-27, 2016
SENATORS: A Week in Review is a weekly column
looking back at the week in Ottawa Senators
hockey written by #OLMSports Dave Gross.
Images from NHL.com.
Not a shocker – Craig Anderson named on Monday as the NHL’s first star of the week.
What is a shocker? The idea that Anderson is not included in the list of the league’s top netminders. Check any TV panel vote or any newspaper writer’s opinion piece and you hear the names Carey Price (justifiably) then Henrik Lundqvist then Braden Holtby then Jonathan Quick then Tuukka Rask then Corey Crawford . . . even Anderson’s old crease-mates Ben Bishop and Robin Lehner get noticed first. Sports Illustrated in fact conjured its own list prior to this season and had Ottawa’s chief keeper rated 24th in the league (Bishop and Lehner were ranked higher).
If the NHL ever developed a trophy for unappreciated players, Ottawa’s goaltender could have his face plastered on it.
Fact is – if not for Anderson, the Senators don’t plow through November (prior to Tuesday’s Buffalo game) on a 9-4-1 tear.
Fact is – you probably would have to turn those numbers around if not for Anderson.
He’s been that good, and really, he’s been that good since arriving to the nation’s capital from Colorado in the 2011 season.
Anderson doesn’t have the luxury of a Ken-Hitchcock-type defence in front of him. Frankly, Ottawa’s defensive zone has been a minefield since Anderson landed here, and oddly enough, he seems to relish the busy-work.
And that is likely the reason he is labeled “oft-injured.” Fighting off continual assault can do that to the human body.
And you can yammer on all you like about Erik Karlsson being this team’s MVP; your yammering would be incorrect.
At 12-4-1 with a 2.03 goals-against average and lofty .936 save percentage, Anderson’s the guy.
He’s the most important guy on this team right now. Period.
* Got a chuckle out of former Senator Matt Puempel’s comments in Larry Brooks’ piece in the New York Post. He might be wrong; he might be right, but in the Good Book of Hockey (you know: the ‘code’) it’s just not something you do . . . especially if you haven’t done squat in nearly six years of playing pro.
* Looking back at that 2011 NHL draft where Ottawa had three of the top 24 picks (Puempel was picked 24th), you’d have to qualify it as a disappointment – and that might be an understatement. Mika Zibanajed (6th overall) is now a Ranger as well and Stefan Noesen (21st) is in Anaheim’s organization. This was supposed to be the beginning of Ottawa’s major rebuild and none of their first-rounder’s remain in the organization. Don’t forget Shane Prince too. The Sens’ second-rounder from ’11 was traded to the Islanders last season.
* The get-back on those players makes for good hot stove debate. Zibanajed and a 2nd for Derick Brassard and a 7th has been all New York so far (Zibanajed had five goals and 10 assists in 19 games before being injured; Brassard has struggled finding his way – three goals, six assists in 22 games). Add those numbers to this one: Zibanajed is six years younger than Brassard.
* Noesen, Jakob Silfverberg and a 1st (Nick Ritchie) went to the Ducks for Bobby Ryan. Ryan’s never truly hit his stride in Ottawa and carries an enormously expensive ticket (he signed a seven-year contract extension worth $50.75 million US two years ago). Ryan turns 30 in March and has but three goals in the first 20 games. Noesen’s knee troubles have limited him greatly – he’s playing in the AHL currently. Ritchie is a young banger with potential (five goals in 20 games with the Ducks), but the steal is Silfverberg whose overall game is impressive. Defensively sound with some offensive upside (seven goals so far), you won’t find a smarter hockey player.
* As for Puempel? We’ll see.
WEEK THAT WAS:
Tuesday: Ottawa 4, Montreal 3
Thursday: Ottawa 3, Boston 1
Saturday: Ottawa 2, Carolina 1
Sunday: Ottawa 2, NY Rangers 0
Tuesday: Buffalo at Ottawa (7:30 pm)
Thursday: Philadelphia at Ottawa (7:30 pm)
Saturday: Florida at Ottawa (7 pm)