Monday, September 15, 2008

Today's Top News, as Always

Reviews of yesterday's game at the rookie tournament, Hartsburg's plan for the team as well as his plan to split up the big line, a few thoughts on emerging rookie Kudelka, and Fisher getting noticed around the league.

A few reviews of yesterday's rookie tournament game against the Maple Leafs, from the Ottawa Sun and the Ottawa Senators' website. It was rather impressive to see our guys come back from a 2-0 deficit to win the game, and they were working a lot better in their roles, looking more like teammates than individuals competing for roster spots. You can see my previous entry for a lengthy look at the game's events.

An Ottawa Sun story on Hartsburg's vision for the team and the way he wants to see them play. Like a good boss would, he made the effort to contact the players over the summer, not to tell them exactly what he wants from them, but to talk about his expectations, and also to hear what their feelings were on the past season and their goals for the season ahead. Everyone will be asked to play to their role, but there will be an increased focus on defensive awareness and on working as a team, both simple ideas, but effective and essential ones nonetheless.

Another Ottawa Sun article has word that indeed the big line will be split up this season. He suggests that he'll keep Heatley and Spezza together at first, but that they will have to find other combinations that work, with my hope being we get an opportunity to see Spezza with neither Alfie nor Heatley on his wings, to see him really prove that he doesn't need players earning as much as him to be worth what he makes. Alfie might wind up with Fisher, but Fisher should also be expected to contribute as a solid two-way player regardless. I like hearing that Hartsburg has expectations from all our players, regardless of who they have to work with, since they need to be adaptable. His plan for three scoring lines with one hate-to-play-against line would seem to imitate the successful plan of champions past, and I hope the players really buy into it this year.

The Ottawa Citizen has a nice little special look at the hopes for prospect Tomas Kudelka. It sounds as though Binghamton coach Clouston and Tim Murray both agree that he has potential, but that one of the bigger adjustments for him will be to adapt to the increased skill and especially pressure of the AHL and eventually the NHL. I hope to see him continue his solid play at today's tournament in an hour, and with any luck see him stand out among the blueliners, no easy task this tournament though.

Finally, an story about some of the toughest guys at both ends of the ice brings us Fisher. You don't hear two-way player if you're a Sens fan without thinking of Mike, and there's plenty of good reason for that. Hopefully he's all healed up from his season-ending injury, and I would not be at all surprised to see him sporting an 'A' on his jersey this season, with all the ability to live up to that responsibility.

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