Mark Stone may draw into the lineup for Cory Conacher tonight. The switch won't be finalized until game time.
— Ottawa Senators (@NHL_Sens) May 22, 2013
As this move was rumoured earlier this morning Graeme was quick to remind that – MacLean isn't afraid to tinker with a winning lineup (see Silf's insertion after Game 5 last spring). Now Conacher's become something of a whipping boy of late, and while I think it's been over the top at times (people forget he was the team's 2nd leading scorer down the stretch post-trade deadline), he clearly hasn't been at his best vs. the Penguins. A boxcar statline of 0G 0A -3+/- 8PIM 1SH for the series makes him an easy scratch. With Spezza and Michalek both in various stages of recovery, it's crucial that the other winger is more than a passenger. Lest we forget Stone and Spez did have some chemistry in their very brief time together.
In Stone, Ottawa would be inserting a player who really came on in the latter half of the year offensively for Bingo (from January on he had 10G 17A for 27PTS in 31GP). They no doubt lose some speed with this swap, but playing with Spezza should have him protected with plenty of cushy offensive zone draws. Mike Hoffman wouldn't be a bad option either, who to my eye looked excellent in his time with the big club, but maybe he ain't 100% yet.
*sings the Pageau song*
I wrote a few weeks ago about JGP's penchant for using the boards to retain possession, and maybe I'm just looking for instances now, but here's one more from Game 3.
If you listen in the beginning of the clip you can hear Pageau call for the puck from Karlsson, and then give a target for the pass (something he does all the over the ice supporting the play). Gathering speed out of the zone, he sees Crosby and backhands the puck off the boards to himself. The really smart thing about this is it forces Crosby to take a penalty if he wants throw a check, since the puck is gone. Crosby declines and Pageau collects the puck and is free to gain the o-zone with speed, backing off the defence and ripping a nice slapper that surprises Vokoun.
The good people at NHL.com are taking notice of his veteran-like game as well.
This Seems Fixable
Refereeing aside the Senators are still taking too many penalties in this series, a habit they've had trouble kicking for years now. Not a good recipe with the amount of talent on the other side, as through three games I have the Senators allowing 20 chances shorthanded. And that's not including the one below which if not for Malkin fanning could have been the OT winner.
The Penguins have worked this cross-ice diagonal pass from both the left and right points on the power-play, finishing on the left-side with Iginla and on the right-side with Malkin. They've been very successful in getting the pass through, but haven't really connected on the shot…though I'm not sure the Sens want to test that luck. In that spirit the best solution would simply be to recognize that Pittsburgh is often going to look for this play, in the instance above Greening has to cut off that that pass. If I can quote Pierre for a moment, "something, something ACTIVE STICK!". I'd expect there's been an effort to remedy this problem, time will tell…
On Tuesday morning, Paul MacLean made his weekly appearance on In The Box, and besides talking the dramatics of Game 3, Steve Lloyd got to talking Corsi by another name, or rather its constituent parts.
Steve Lloyd: "I know every club internally keeps track of their own real-time stats, but the shots that you directed on goal…you had 48 shots in the game and then you had another 29 blocked and 21 missed shots here as well. So you directed almost a 100 shots at Tomas Vokoun, do the blocks and misses concern you at all?"
MacLean: "Well the blocked ones are attempted at the net, it's the missed ones that concern us more than anything, cause if you don't hit the net you don't have any opportunity for a second or a third scoring opportunity. I'm a big believer in shooting the puck, so attempts at the net is a stat that I pay attention to a lot. When we're attempting…that also means if you have a 100 attempts at the net or 50 or 60 attempts at the net during a 60 minute game that means you have the puck a lot. So you probably did a pretty good job in the faceoff circle and you have the puck, and so when you shoot you're trying to generate [inaudible|. To me, that's a good stat for us to be at a high number, it's just the ones that miss the net that concern us more than the blocked ones."
This is basically what you'd expect a coach to say who came out of shot happy Detroit, and while I can remember Mac praising an effort early in the season by pointing to "70 opportunities at net", and these comments after a game vs. Toronto, this is probably the most detail I've seen him go into on the subject. Would of been nice to know if they track for individual players as well, maybe some enterprising media person can help us out? And while I haven't done the math on this, my educated suspicion is that the Sens do have a higher percentage of their shots blocked than average. I think that's partly a function of youth on the roster, but it will be interesting to watch next year if they start getting more through.
The Senators under Bryan Murray don't draft Russians…correction they don't draft Europeans out of Europe not playing in Sweden. Maybe that changes in the future, but that' been the record to date. But a Russian playing in the CHL is a different case, as I've heard Tim Murray comment before. And supposedly the Senators were high on Burmistrov in the leadup to the 2010 Draft, a player who went at #8 well before the Sens at #16. Now that pick was flipped, and flipped again for Kyle Turris so I'm not sure the Sens have much need to trade for another disgruntled young center, but when you see a story like the one this morning in the Winnipeg Free Press "Burmistrov Wants Out of Winniepg" it certainly makes for discussion, especially with the angle included within:
"The Jets attempted to trade Burmistrov and reportedly had discussion with the Ottawa Senators, Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders at the deadline. The names Jakob Silfverberg, Drew Stafford and Kyle Okposo have all been attached to Burmistrov trade rumours."
Yeah, so Silfverberg is pretty unlikely to be moved and I"m not even sure a lesser prospect or roster player would be offered considering Ottawa's logjam at center, especially with Pageau looking the part more and more each day. Did I mention Burmistrov's agent is the infamous Mark Gandler?
The kid is a good player, but I don't think there's a fit in Ottawa right now.