Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Schubert and Smith scratched against New Jersey

According to the Ottawa Sun, both Jason Smith and Christoph Schubert are going to sit out tonight's game in favour of younger, more offensively-minded teammates. With tonight's game coming against the young and speedy New Jersey Devils, it looks like coach Craig Hartsburg is trying to fight fire with fire.

Although Schubert is probably used to the whole benching thing, Smith was visibly disappointed, the story said:
"Obviously surprised and disappointed," said Smith, who was clearly frustrated after today's morning skate. "You become a player in this game to play games and to help a team have success."
With Android Volchenkov returning to the lineup, Smith was benched in favour of (relative) youngsters Alex Picard, Brian Lee, and Brendan Bell, all of whom have significantly more offensive upside than the wily veteran. Hartsburg's mentality, the story said, was that the d-corps needed to balance the defensive defencemen (Chris Phillips, Volchenkov, and to an extent Filip Kuba) with the more offensive ones. (Can I take a moment to gloat about predicting there could be a reasonable chance Smith would sit out yesterday? Kthanx.)

Although Smith is justified in his frustration, at least he knows he won't be missing too much time. At $2.6M, he's making too much money to sit on the sidelines for an extended period, and the Senators will have to decide soon which of Bell or Lee will be sent back down to Binghamton. The B-Sens need as much defensive help as they can get to keep their playoff hopes in good standing. (In other news, Martin Gerber will be assigned to Binghamton to [hopefully] help out their goaltending situation. Good luck to him; honestly, I wish him the best.)

Schubert, on the other hand, has little reassurance. The Senators went out of their way to re-call Peter Regin from Binghamton today, which is why Schubert is sitting. He is, once again, left to wonder not only about his place on this team, but his place in the league in general. Schubert definitely has a lot to think about in this off-season, and a lot to discuss with GM Bryan Murray (if he's not talking to him already). (I'll also note that I correctly predicted Schubert would be the odd man out with Regin called up, thank you very much.)

Here's my next prediction: Regin won't be up here for too long unless the Sens make a trade (involving a forward) soon, and one of Lee or Bell (likely Bell, as unfair as it may be) will be assigned to Binghamton after tonight's game/test or within the week.
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