Saturday, January 3, 2009

Pre-game: Sens v. Leafs, Jan. 3, 2009

The Sens haven't lost a game since last year! Let's run with that, alright? Yeah, that works.

With Anton Volchenkov and Jesse Winchester both returning from their respective injuries, Ilya Zubov was sent back to Binghamton, and I'm betting Christoph Schubert will be scratched tonight. Zubov did well when he was in Ottawa, but I think he's still got some work to do on getting his decision-making speed up to NHL standards before he becomes an everyday scorer. His defensive awareness was better than anticipated, though, and he's got a place on the team in the future. As for Schubert, he was improved in the recent games, but Brian Lee has been better.

The forward lines, according to TSN, will look like this to start the game:

Heatley - Spezza - Alfredsson
Foligno - Fisher - Neil
Vermette - Kelly - Ruutu
Donovan - McAmmond - Winchester

And, assuming Schubert is scratched, the d-pairing will probably look like this:

Phillips - Volchenkov
Bell - Picard
Smith - Lee

And Martin Gerber will get the start in nets. No comment. Okay, comment. I'm not sure how he earned the starting role, but he's got it now. For the time being.

As for other headlines, the Ottawa Sun is reporting that GM Bryan Murray is looking at trading the first-round pick acquired from Tampa Bay (which was San Jose's originally) for some immediate help for the team. Apparently the players on the roster have a low market value, which I find hard to believe.

And finally, James Mirtle from Around the Rink has Daniel Alfredsson ranked fourth on his Selke Watch of the league's top defensive forwards. His measure is based on the quality of competition players usually play against, and the goals against they are on the ice for. Three Minnesota Wild forwards are ahead of Alfie on the list. Although Alfredsson definitely deserves consideration for the award, it's not going to be based on statistics.
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