Apuckalypse Now

The Binghamton Senators revealed a promotion this afternoon that honours the Mayan prophecy that declares the dawning New World Age on December 21, 2012.

In tribute to the impending apocalypse – which Bingo fans can only assume means one of two things: 1) the NHL lockout will end, inadvertently ending any chance of Binghamton Calder Cup; or 2) that Robin Lehner and Ben Bishop will both catch whatever SARS-like flu virus is ravaging the rest of the roster — "the organization announced that in the event that the world ends on Dec. 21, 2012 they will reimburse fans 100% of the cost of tickets purchased for the Saturday, Dec. 22 game scheduled to take place versus the Rochester Americans."

*insert joke about Binghamton already resembling a hellscape*

Assuming that the world does actually come to an end on December 21st, here is how Senators history will be cemented:

The Senators will have never beaten the Maple Leafs in a playoff series. Mika Zibanejad will go down as a bust. Erik Karlsson will fall 261 points shy of Wade Redden’s franchise record of 410 regular season points by a defenceman. The Senators’ greatest Stanley Cup moment will be Alfie striking Scott Niedermayer with a slapper at the conclusion of a period. We will never get a chance to watch Alexei Yashin’s wear the other shoe, reneging on deals or promises as the GM of the Russian women’s hockey team.

There are so many moments to look forward to in this team’s future, you’d hate to have things end now.

The Hockey News Is All Over This Zibanejad Story

Ryan Kennedy is the latest clairvoyant to throw in his two cents; writing an article entitled 'Mika Zibanejad better served at world juniors'.

In fact, this seems like the perfect time for him to rejuvenate his season by heading out for a different experience; to be leaned on by his country, to be The Man for the defending champs, who will already face adversity because their top two defensemen (Oscar Klefbom and Jonas Brodin) will miss the world juniors due to injury.

Of course, it goes without saying that anyone who talks in absolutes when it comes to describing what is best for a prospect’s development is utterly full of shit.

Regardless of what kind of individual or team success that he may or may not have at the WJC, his participation comes at a cost – his removal from a young and competitive Binghamton team and time away from the smaller rink surface and stylistic adjustments that come with it.

The Edmonton Oilers saw the value in the tourney, which is why they allowed Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to leave the AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons in order to take part in Canada’s camp in Calgary (and barring a miracle return of NHL hockey, the WJC itself). And keep in mind, ‘The Nuge’ was having great success in OKC, with 20 points in 19 games.

Kennedy’s choice to contrast Ottawa’s handling of Zibanejad when other players like the Nuge, Devante Smith-Pelly or Brett Connolly ignores the fact that the latter three players grew up in North America and have had some measure of success there.

The fact is, the world juniors provide a playoff atmosphere and tough, meaningful games. Confidence can be so huge for a young player and Zibanejad could have earned some of his back by carrying the Swedes, even if it was just for two weeks.

May only be "two weeks", but Zibanejad hasn't so much as played a game since Nov. 24th. You'd think the author would have mentioned that fact.

Kyle Turris Has Opinions Now Or Something? 

Here are some excerpts from a Globe piece in which this blog's fav player lets loose on his experience in Finland.

On speaking to team sponsors after the game:

"It’s so awkward. They don’t understand anything that you’re saying, staring at you confused, I feel like a complete idiot, trying to use hand signals to help communicate.”

On the travel:

"The travel here is horrendous. It's worse than junior. We'll fly into Helsinki then hop in a bus for four to six hours, meanwhile, we'll make three stops on a six-hour bus trip for no reason. It's awful"

On the cuisine:

"The food here is awful. On the road, we eat at truck stops. ABC truck stops. I"m not kidding. We file out of the bus and head off beside the highway for a buffet truck stop pregame meal. It's ridiculous."

Kyle Turris is the ugly Canadian.

Other News Of Pithy Importance

– When assessing the USA’s WJC roster invitees, ESPN Insider’s (paywall) Corey Pronman wrote this about Ottawa’s Stefan Noesen:

"When talking to NHL sources there was some head-scratching as to why Noesen wasn't on the team last year, but he could be one of USA's better players if he plays. However, due to a suspension he received in the OHL, his World Junior chances seem grim. He's a great power forward whose skill elements have steadily developed. On offense his hockey sense is evident."

- TSN recently published Craig Button’s list of the top 30 prospects already affiliated with NHL teams. To be eligible for the list, a player must be under the age of 24 and have played in fewer than 10 NHL games. Two Ottawa Senators make the list, although in being consistent with other third party evaluations, no Senators player cracks the top ten. Jakob Silfverberg is the highest ranked Senator – coming in at 16th overall. Fellow Swede Mika Zibanejad’s 23rd overall ranking isn’t particularly surprising given how much his development has stalled since being drafted sixth overall in 2011.

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