When the debate over whether or not to release Curtis Lazar to Team Canada was at its peak, the nay-sayers biggest point was, what if he went and the team didn’t win. That arguement was moot then and it is even moreso now, because Lazar captained Team Canada to a thrilling and roller-coaster win over Russia in Monday’s gold medal game.
On a team that had 4 of the 6 tournament all-stars, Lazar was the leader who provided the experience of his NHL time, and gained some valuable experience of his own. Lazar and the Senators will be better off for having played and won the high pressure event.
Nick Paul also garnered some good reviews, scoring 3 times including one in the Gold Medal game. He will be a project but in 3 or 4 years could be a nice piece of the puzzle.
So, it may sound like a broken record, but it is put up or shut up time for the Senators as they begin a 4 game road trip in Philly tonight. None of the 4 teams they will face are currently in a playoff spot, and the Senators need to take advantage of this chance to go on a run. I said yesterday they probably need to get 7 or 8 points to even be considered a contender by the time they come home.
The Flyers are up first, a team that is scuffling along even worse than the Senators, having lost two games in a row and could still be without captain Claude Giroux, who narrowly escaped a Karlsson-like injury when he had the back of his leg stepped on. Giroux, who is second on the team in scoring but 6th in the league (behind league leader and linemate Jacub Voracek), has been a standout again this year on a team that is closer to the basement than the playoffs.
Craig Anderson will start for Ottawa, and while Curtis Lazar might meet up with the team in Philly, he probably won’t play, allowing for a little de-compression after the intensity of Monday night.
—- Plans for Bertuzzi?
Apparently Todd Bertuzzi has agreed to a professional tryout contract with the Senators and could report to Binghamton as early as next Monday, as he tries to work his way up to the NHL level. While it might seem like it is 5 or 10 years to late, I have been in conversation with an individual who says Bertuzzi is in great shape, and that he has had other offers to return to the NHL, but liked the sell-job done by Bryan Murray. He has been skating in Kitchener
If Bertuzzi can show well in Bingo, a promotion could be in order. If he can provide a bit of the power forward game and be a power play presence, it could give the Senators a boost, although it is not likely to be a game-changer. He has had his injury problems over the last few years, and I am not sure how much he has left in the tank.
Marc Methot was back at Senators practice yesterday after just 1 game in Binghamton on a conditioning stint. Methot was -2 with 1 shot on goal in his AHL game. Methot still isn’t ready to play in the NHL, however, and isn’t expected to play tonight in Philly.