Pittsburgh Penguins v Ottawa Senators - Game Three

Tonight’s Senators/Penguins game will feature Cory Conacher in the pressbox instead of on the ice, which is nothing if not surprising. For one, coaches are known to be extremely superstitious, and rarely like to change their lineup after a win. Especially after a win against the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

It’s even less common to see a coach take out a guy who tied for the team lead in regular season points for a guy with seven games NHL experience. It’s less common, because on the surface it seems like a terrible idea, but hey, I’m not a Jack Adams nominee.

Sens coach Paul Maclean, from an NHL.com blog:

“It’s nothing particular,” MacLean said. “Somebody has to come out if we’re going to put somebody in. [Conacher] has played well for us and scored some big goals for us. He’s been out of the lineup in the past and gone back in and played well. You’re trying to find your best, most competitive team every night. You’re going to make changes. [Conacher] shouldn’t see this as anything more than a numbers game.”

I find this doubly bizarre considering how effective Conacher has been as a pest for the Sens. To me this makes the Sens easier to play, not harder.

The team’s captain, Daniel Alfresson, had this to say on whether it would be a tough moment for Mark Stone, the man going in for Conacher.

“No, it’s awesome,” Alfredsson said. “What an opportunity. I feel more for Conacher, who has to get out of the lineup. It’s a great chance for [Stone]; he’s just going to go in and play. I don’t think there’s a lot of pressure on him. He knows what he can do — he’s got a quick stick and a quick release. If he can get the puck around the net, usually good things happen.”

Stone is a legitimately talented future NHLer. He racked up 38 points in 54 games for Binghamton of the American Hockey League this season as a 21-year-old rookie, coming off two 100+ point seasons in the Brandon of the WHL.

I get wanting to work him in, and I understand the Sens have sat Conacher once before in the playoffs (Game 2 versus Montreal, which they lost). But that doesn’t make it the right line-up for tonight.

Comments (7)

  1. Am I alone in thinking that maybe he’s hurt and they’re just trying to keep that under wraps? I don’t recall seeing him banged up, but these guys are pretty good at hiding it.

  2. He only played 13 minutes last game. Lowest on the team in a double OT game. Also, 90% of his pts this season came in Tampa on a line with Stamkos. Not as big of a loss as you are making it out to be.

  3. Could be an injury, could be a fear of penalty minutes, but when you consider what AHL’ers have done for the Bruins and the Red Wings, I’d suspect that Coach likes his chances of winning better with the kid.

  4. You wanna crash the net and score on those rebounds ..You take out 5’7 170 guy and you add in 6’3 205 pound guy makes sense to me

    • 5-8, 179 lbs vs 6-2 188lbs…NHL.COM

      The main difference here is positioning in front of Vokoun…6-2 188 lbs harder to push around and harder to SEE around little cory…hopefully it makes a difference….

      Cory played well against the smaller Habs, but has not been that effective against Pens

  5. I didn’t think Conocher was all that effective, so the move makes sense to me.

    Guy was visible for two reasons: when he was acting like a rat, and when he was getting friggin crushed by somebody. If I’m not mistaken, Conacher didn’t draw any penalties, so the rat routine wasn’t all that effective, and the “crushed” routine is certainly not something that helps the team.

    • Mini can be Mighty and Cory is a super smart strategist.
      He will be using his time in the box watching and analyzing the Pens. They are hurting without him right now. Not the first time his ability has been overlooked.
      The brain can be mightier than the brawn.

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