You know the drill people. For those who want to listen to the full interview, you can do so here, or via the embed below.
As always my thoughts in bold.
On the eight game winning streak and how the offence is finally clicking…
“Not much (has changed), I think it’s just working hard. You have to give all the guys credit. We have had the same message from the beginning of the year but we did have a couple of ups-and-downs from the start to probably the first weekend in November. We were on our Norfolk trip where we played back-to-back. It is a long bus ride down-and-back. In the first game, we played great. Norfolk were running real well at that point and we beat them in their rink and stopped their win streak which went into last year – which was another team – but they continued at the start of this year. The next night, we just did not show up. We thought it was going to be busy. That was not a fun eight hour bus ride back home and even more so, the next practice was less fun. We talked about hard work and we talked about doing it every day. That’s what a professional hockey player has to do and it’s hard to do every day. But we started to work at it then, and things really started to roll. We’re working hard in practice. We had yesterday off after a great weekend again and today, we talked about it again – to keep it fresh in our young players’ minds. They had a great hardworking practice today – working on defensive zone stuff and battling each other and having fun with it at the same time. They were joking and they were enjoying each other and they were really becoming a team. That is sometimes hard to do in this day and age with so many distractions outside the game. If you can keep the nucleus of 20-to-25 guys on the same page for a long period of time, that’s a tough thing to do, but to their credit, they’re doing it and they’re getting success on the ice.”
Just 22 more wins to best the record winning streak Norfolk set last year!
For that to happen it would probably help to have a few more efforts like Sunday, outshooting Syracuse by 15 (with only 23 shots allowed). As opposed to what the B-Sens have been averaging through the entire 8 game streak; 32.9 shots for, 38.1 shots allowed).
The goaltending is earning their keep.
On Jakob Silfverberg trending in the same direction…
“Yeah, absolutely. I was talking with Ben Bishop about him the other day. He scored a goal on Sunday night or afternoon, we had a late afternoon game. He ripped one top corner and there was no windup on the release; it was just a rocket. That’s what Ben said, ‘You know he’s going over the glove and you still can’t get there quick enough.’ He has that spot picked and he’s dangerous every night. Not only did he score the last couple of games, but he is creating chances and now he is creating so much awareness that he is so dangerous in small areas. And he is getting comfortable in those small areas and the smaller, tighter surface with the tighter checking and the physicality. He is getting more comfortable with it, as we’ve talked about. People are paying more attention to him, so that’s just going to make more people on the ice open and available for those great, little plays that he makes. Not only does he have the big cannon, but he does make great, little plays in small areas. So he is coming along great, and he’s a competitor. When things don’t go well on the power play, he comes off the bench and slams the door because he’s frustrated because he wants to make something happen all the time.”
Picking corners and slamming doors. He really is Alfie-like.
On Stephane Da Costa’s big weekend…
“He had a little bit of an illness at the summer that held him back. He had a little medical procedure that just kind of slowed him down in preparing for camp. So when he came into camp, he was a little bit… not out of shape but not in top shape. I think that hampered him in the fitness testing and it wore on his body and he had a bit of a sore back because of that. In his first game back after that, after missing a few games at the start of the year, he got slashed on his baby finger and that split open and he broke the tip of it. So that was very sore, especially when the centerman takes draws, for a while. And then in his first game back from that, he had a great game in Norfolk and in the next game, he flew into the boards and hurt his knee. So then he just had a rough start; very frustrated. His body was beaten up and he was very down on himself. We took him right out. We gave him a week of just gym exercises to build up his body. And then he skated all last week and to his credit, we challenged him to work hard and push himself and build his body and he did that. He had a smile on his face all last week. He didn’t get into the game on Friday because we had a healthy lineup. We dressed him in warmup and he still had a great attitude and worked his butt off every day. He got in there Sunday and just continued to work hard and things went well with Shane Prince. It really clicked and they got off to a good start in the game; they were one of our best forechecking lines and he got rewarded with three goals and an assist that game. He was the game’s first star, I believe. He just looked engaged. He’s a special player and he makes very good plays – not just scoring goals but he can really find people. He has great vision. If he can continue to build his body, because he’s not a big guy, but play in a big man’s league in big games over here on smaller ice surfaces, he will continue to grow and get better because of his talents. He just has to make sure that he keeps up that drive, that inner drive and the compete level. And he’s proving that right now, so we just have to make sure that we remind him every day to continue to build on that.”
Stephane Da Costa scored a hat trick in his triumphant return and many Sens fans may not care.
He wasn’t drafted sixth overall in 2011. He has never played for Canada ’s WJC team. He may put on his pants on just like the rest of Ottawa’s prospects — one leg at a time — except, once his pants are on, he does not win gold helmets like Silfverberg.
Signed as a unrestricted free agent out of Merrimack College in 2011, Da Costa was a low-risk, transitional type of prospect that arrived to an organization that was bereft of offensively skilled prospects who were NHL-ready.
After a customary 4-game cup of coffee with the parent club that normally accompanies such a signing, Da Costa won a roster spot out of training camp to start the 2011/12 season with the Senators. His presence allowed the Senators to be patient with one of their top prospects, Mika Zibanejad, but his underwhelming numbers; 22 games, 3 goals, 2 assist, and a -9 plus/minus – certainly played a part in moving on the Kyle Turris acquisition.
Since the time of his demotion, Da Costa has become somewhat of a forgotten commodity; especially when he was not around the City of Ottawa during the summer while other vaunted players/prospects were busting their ass in the gym with Chris Schwarz (ie. Turris/Wiercioch). (Note: it was pretty easy to pick out a concern about Da Costa's inner drive. Relative to how Richardson has described other prospects in other appearances, this is the closest thing to a criticism that we have seen thus far.)
As much as Ottawa keeps praising the vision and skillset that is reminiscent of a 'young Adam Oates', where the hell does Da Costa fit in with this team if he produces at a reasonable clip in the AHL? Whatever value or intrigue he can create with a productive campaign could make him an attractive low-risk/inexpensive young option for another organization. With the easily recognizable talent and depth issues that the Senators have on their blue line, perhaps Da Costa is the type of asset who could be parlayed as part of a package to bring in someone who can fill that void.
On Mika Zibanejad not going to play in the WJCs and his mood on not going…
“I just talked to him briefly about it the other day and I talked a little bit about it today with Bryan (Murray). You know what? You just feel that he is doing well here. I know he probably is a little frustrated with the point production. But his actual production as a player and his play has been very solid for the most part on the year. He just had his four wisdom teeth out last week and a throat infection, so that put him on the sidelines for the weekend, last weekend. But other than that, he’s on the mend and hopefully he’s back in the lineup in the next game or two. He’s doing really well on the smaller ice surface. We have tried him on the wing. We have had him at center and he’s very versatile. He kills penalties very well and he’s starting to get engaged and use his body a little more. But we’re just trying to get him skating and getting used to skating into areas where maybe he doesn’t get enough room because it is a different dimension to look at out there on that smaller ice surface. But just feeling myself, I didn’t really have much input into it. I just gave my opinion in that I think that he’s coming along fine and if you send him over there for two weeks to a month for the world juniors, then you’re right back onto the bigger ice surface again. You’re holding onto the puck too long. You’re skating to the wrong areas and looping in the neutral zone. It’s not the same style as it is here, so when he comes back, you’re starting all over again at the adjustment stage. If you’re making a commitment and hopefully the lockout comes to an end soon, the intentions of Ottawa is to develop and keep developing here in this type of game – the North American game and the North American ice size – and give him a real chance to vie for a roster spot when the lockout ends or soon after. So that was the thought process and it kind of makes sense to me.”
As part of Zibanejad's much harped about acclimatization to the "North American game", the organization has placed him on a forced listening program (reverse-Clockwork Orange style) of nothing but the one and only song devoted to continental pride…