Silver Linings?

Last nights performance vs. the Sabres was impressive.  Unfortunately, it also continued the trend of giving up early leads, but fortunately, it also improved upon their come back record…although I’m more then ready to see the Sens stop improving that record in favour of improving their winning record after scoring first.   But beggars can’t be choosers.

For me however, considering the current plight of the Senators, the most intriguing aspect of last nights victory was the play of Brendan Bell and Ryan Shannon.

There’s no doubting that the Senators are entirely lacking in a scoring threat from the blue line, and this deficiency has resulted in their PP becoming rather predictable (Spezza to Heatley…one timer).  The recent addition of Campoli has mitigated this somewhat, but it would appear that Campoli is a better QB then scoring threat (although he is said to have a decent point shot).  Last night however, Bell took advantage of the lackadaisical point coverage, and was able to score after pinching in, and from the slot on the blue line.  What was even more impressive was Bells over-all performance last night. He was tremendous at both ends of the rink, in fact, he was absolutely outstanding.

With the Sens facing a mini rebuild in the off season, and improving the D corps among the top priorities, Bells performance surely did not go unnoticed.  Unfortunately, it was Brendan Bell, not Brian Lee.  The fact of the matter is it is unlikely Bell will be given the benefit of the doubt, and be projected to continue to improve, ultimately condemning last nights performance into the “one off” category.  But, that being said, Bell certainly will have earned himself the opportunity to prove his detractors wrong, and should he continue his strong play, in his first series of consecutive starts in his career, he just might find himself a contract in his hometown.

Defenseman do frequently take more time to develop, and at only 25, Bell has found himself in a series of difficult situations.  After being drafted by the Leafs, he languished in the AHL, unable to crack an already tight defensive line-up ahead of a more highly touted defensive prospects (Colaiacovo).   After being traded to Phoenix, he again remained in the AHL, receiving only spot duty in the NHL.  The fact remains that this season will represent more then a doubling of Bells prior NHL appearances, not to mention time on an NHL roster, receiving consistent coaching and practice time.  If, and this represents a massive if, Bell blossoms under Clouston, and his new found NHL playing time, the Sens will have at the very least improved upon its shallow defensive depth.  Here’s hoping.

The other major deficiency on this roster is offensive depth.  Ryan Shannon represents another player very similar to Bell.  He has been an AHL regular, for a variety of NHL clubs, but for one reason or another (depth, injury, etc.) has yet to earn a regular role in the NHL, until Clouston came aboard.  It is no coincidence that Shannon has seen more icetime after Clouston took over behind the bench.  Shannon was one of Cloustons Bingo favourites, and he has given him every opportunity to prove himself as a capable NHL’er.  So far, he has.

In a recent series of starts, Shannon has proven to possess an intriguing combination of skill, speed, and determination.  Last night was a further example of this.  Shannon has been among the best players on the ice, in all three zones, and has been rewarded for his efforts by playing regular PP and top six roles.

If either of these 2 can defy the odds, and develop into regular top 2 line contributors, the Sens will be doubly rewarded, as neither of these players will represent big salary commitments.

Murray has had his detractors of late, but his recent moves to improve the depth of this organization are beginning to bear fruit.



3 Responses to “Silver Linings?”

  1. Shannon has been far more consistent than Bell … Credit Clouston also for also using Winchester properly. So the silver lining in the hiring/firing of Hartsburg is discovering a really good coach who is capable of discovering and developing talent .. Now what about zubov and M. Karlsson .. are they going to get another chance ??

  2. Here is hoping that Pickard gets some time under Clouston to o. let’s find out if he has the potential ..

  3. I agree that Shannon has been more consistent. As for Zubov, I have a feeling he may have slipped further down the depth chart…but that’s pure speculation.
    Picard is likely out for the season.
    M. Karlsson has moved his family (wife and child) to Bingamton, and I’ve heard he’s been told not to expect a rush, but he is projected to see some time in the NHL next season…
    Thanks for the comments Sam.

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