So, I am finally back to blogging after a long hiatus. Three weeks into the schedule, every game is as important as the next, especially in a shortened season. The Ottawa Senators continue to exceed expectations, currently seated fifth in the eastern conference (6-3-2). Even without top centerman, Jason Spezza, and young defenseman, Jared Cowen, the season looks bright.
I had some doubts about starting Andy, especially while not playing during the lockout. Robin Lehner was my first choice as he had been playing extremely well down in Binghamton. Obviously, Coach Paul McLean made the right choice in playing Anderson, who has been lights out. When he is on his game he just might be the best goalie in the NHL. He is playing with such confidence and swagger, and likely to continue his play throughout the shortened NHL season. His numbers are phenomenal, second in goals against average with a 1.49, second in save % with a .950, and tied for first in wins with 6. I have a feeling the fans at Scotiabank place will be chanting Vezina soon enough.
After a Norris trophy season, who would have thought that he could be any better this year. Karlsson may be the best player in the game at this moment. I cannot think of one other player that controls a game like he does from the defensive zone out. His defensive game is so much more complete then in the past. He has the best stick/ poke check in hockey right now and is leading the league in take-aways. When Karlsson decides to get the puck out of his own zone he skates out himself. He knows the game so well and does things out on the ice that leave other players and coaches wondering what happened. I always thought that it was Spezza who would be the engine that made this team run, but after watching Karlsson playing these first 11 games, I am certain his effort will run this team for years to come.
The Young Guns
The Senators young players have been given a chance to play, and they have not disappointed. Young blueliner's Patrick Wiercioch and Mark Borowiecki have both proven that they can and will be NHL players. Wiercioch who has a nice blend of skill and size has started to show the elevated offensive skill that Ottawa was looking for when they drafted him in 2010. Borowiecki is a bruising blueliner who has shown that he can make a nice first pass. Though he might not play the whole year with the big club, I believe that he provides some much needed grit to the back end. Forward Mika Zibanejad is giving Senators fans a reason to be optimistic. After a slow start down in Bingo, Zibanejad has made an impact up with the big club. He has provided the team with some youth full energy, playing a fast north/south style of game. I cannot leave out the play of both Jim O'Brien and Eric Condra. They have both been playing outstanding hockey and are the type of role models that Ottawa will need going forward. O'Brien has 3 goals already, Condra has 1 but has been doing everything else right.
Senators management and fans can not ask for anything more then the heart and sole play that Chris Neil has provided. He is leading by example whether it be by dropping the gloves, making a big hit, or scoring one of his 3 goals. Neil is a big impact player for his team on and off the ice. Daniel Alfredsson's game has really started to pickup since Spezza's injury. Alfie is looking younger with every game, and is showing that age is just a number. He continuously proves that he can still be a productive player at the age of 40. Having Alfie playing with young Swedish players like Karlsson, Silverburg and Zibanejad, will only help groom the team for when he retires. With these players already in place and with the player's that are developing down in Bingo, and let's not forget the 3 first round picks that are still in junior, Ottawa's future looks bright. They are proving that they are a good team and that last year was not a fluke.