Faced with a situation in which they need to run the table to have any opportunity to reach the postseason, the Ottawa Senators announced this morning that Jean-Gabriel Pageau had been recalled from the Binghamton Senators.
In other words, the Senators are getting the band back together.
As a sparkplug player who’s been thriving down in Binghamton, Pageau’s insertion into the lineup will hopefully inject a blend of speed, skill and hockey IQ that has been missing at times from the Senators’ bottom six forwards this season.
In 44 AHL games this season, Pageau has tallied 17 goals and 41 points on the strength of an efficient 17.1 shooting percentage.
His promotion was warranted, but it also does reflect the likelihood that Colin Greening’s lower body injury – that kept him out of yesterday’s game versus Calgary – will keep Greening out of the lineup for the foreseeable future. More importantly, the presence of Pageau means that Matt Kassian should never have to fill in for an injured Senator forward for the remainder of the season, so there’s that to look forward too as well.
And as soon as I finished penning that paragraph, Paul MacLean announced following today’s optional practice that Jason Spezza and defenceman Jared Cowen would not be playing tonight for precautionary reasons – which means Kassian remains in the lineup.
The organization can try and downplay the severity of these injuries, but when they have to run the table to have a chance to reach the postseason, essentially making tonight’s game a must-win, the simple fact that Spezza is not playing speaks volumes.
“Significant enough we should keep them out of the game,” said MacLean. #Sens.
— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) March 31, 2014
If anything, it simply provides a recent example of the risks associated with Jason Spezza’s health – helping to reinforce the idea that it might be in the team’s best interests to trade their captain in the offseason than to take on the associated risks in: 1) re-signing him; 2) moving him at the trade deadline; or 3) losing him via unrestricted free agency.