Thursday, December 01, 2005

Bo's Back

If there is only one person in the Ottawa Senators organization happy about Martin Havlat going down with a shoulder injury, it’s probably Brandon Bochenski. With Havlat out indefinitely, he’s made his way back to the Nation’s capital and will be in the line-up tonight.

Though there is no official word on exactly how long Havlat will be out, early indications are it will between one and two months. There is still a worst case scenario that would see him out until the playoffs if surgery is needed, but apparently most believe that will not be the case.

Either way, this is a devastating blow to the team. Though Havlat hasn’t put up staggering statistics this season, mostly because he’s been out of the line-up quite a bit, he gives them a major scorer on the second line to utilize if/when the Big Line is being shut down by the opposition. Having a proven 30-goal scorer to fall back on is a luxury most teams would love to have. Now the Sens wish they did too.

But one man’s misfortune is another man’s opportunity. I imagine that’s how Bochenski is seeing it. I must say I was taken aback somewhat by the news that he would be getting the call up instead of Patrick Eaves or even Denis Hamel. Everyone in the organization, as well as most fans, gushed about the solid play of Eaves every time he was inserted into the line-up. When up with the big club, it’s not as if he was barely used, as the first time around he played with Daniel Alfredsson and Bryan Smolinski on the second line and during this most recent stint he moved between the second and third lines.

In calling up Bochenski, it’s clear they’re sending a message. They want to replace one scorer with another. Bochenski, of course, had a sensational pre-season and started the year on the first line with Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley. However, he wasn’t able to carry that success into the season and after 10 games and two goals, was sent back down to Binghamton. Since being sent to the B-Sens, Bochenski seemed to have rediscovered his scoring touch, putting up 17 points (five goals and 12 assists) in 14 games. It’s expected he’ll play tonight against the new look Bruins on a line with Smolinski and Vaclav Varada.

The club told Bochenski when he was demoted that he would get another chance, but I don’t think anyone, myself included, thought it would be this soon. But like with his last go around, he has little room for mistakes, as there is an equally viable option waiting to be given the same opportunity should he falter.

I’d love to say I’m optimistic about how he’ll do, but I’d be lying. I thought Bochenski was exposed as a pretty one-dimensional player during this season, as when he’s not scoring, he’s very useless. He doesn’t skate well, doesn’t check, doesn’t backcheck, doesn’t seem to have any defensive prowess, nor does he kill penalties. On many a shifts, it sure looked like Bochenski was standing around watching rather than playing. The goals he did get were just a result of him going to the net and collecting the scraps of the hardwork Heatley and Spezza did. He was a bust.
Patrick Eaves, on the other hand, started the year poorly. There was some hype about the 2003 first round pick when the Sens signed him to his first contract in the offseason, and many thought he’d have a chance of playing his way onto the team. I know I did. But his pre-season did not go well. When the Sens were struck with some injury troubles, with Mike Fisher going down with his annual injury, Eaves was called up, but that was as much because of this new NHL as it was his play. The other people they would’e liked to call up, Hamel or Steve Martins, would’ve had to clear waivers, and there was a fear out there that some teams less loaded than the Sens would scoop them up. So Eaves was insterted in, and he excelled. Not only did he score a goal, but on every shift, he made himself a factor. Despite his unimpressive size, he was grinding in the corners and making things happen. He would go hard to the net, and was always backchecking hard.

If it was up to me, Patrick Eaves would be with the team right now instead of Brandon Bochenski. Unfortunately, it’s not my decision to make. The team seems to see something in Bochenski that I don’t. If he scores all the goals they say he can, then they’ll look like geniuses while I’ll look foolish for second guessing the move. We’ll see who comes out smelling like roses.

2 Comments:

At 10:28 AM, Blogger Andy said...

you think Boston is gonna come up with a big game tonight with last nights huge trades?

What are the chances Ottawa comes out with a flat line up?

 
At 10:56 AM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

No and slim. I think Bryan Murray is licking his chops.

 

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