01/25/2013 7:37 PM
By Cassie Burgess (Twitter @cassie_burgess1)
When rumors began circling that the National Hockey League lockout may be ending, many people began wondering just how it would impact the Binghamton Senators. Talks of who would be sent up to training camp in Ottawa and how the team would potentially cope with the loss of major team contributors, like Jakob Silfverberg and Patrick Wiercioch, were inevitable. Because discussions were primarily centered on the team’s deficit, many people didn’t anticipate just how much help would be sent the B-Sens way.
Marc Cheverie, Danny New, Ben Blood, and Jack Downing have proven to be a great addition to the team. The four players were recalled from the Elmira Jackals of the ECHL on January 12 after the B-Sens lost seven players to training camp up in Ottawa. When recalled, both Cheverie and New had yet to play a game with Binghamton, while Blood and Downing had each played at least one game with the team.
Since, the group has demonstrated a new depth in the lineup to which the B-Sens have confidently responded to.
“It’s been positive, because there’s more opportunity,” stated head coach Luke Richardson. “The guys that have been here all year are looking for more of a role of responsibility, and the guys coming up from Elmira waited patiently for their opportunity. There is a good energy with it.”
Since the lockout, the Elmira alumni have boasted points in four of the last five games. Defensemen Danny New, who contributed an assist in each of his first three games with the B-Sens, also expressed how great it has been to be playing a role in the B-Sens offense.
“It feels good. I mean, with these caliber players, you just got to give them the puck and let them do what they do,” New said. “I’m happy I can contribute and hopefully keep going with the winning ways.”
With the Jackals, Cheverie posted a record of 10-9-1 in net with a 2.92 goals against average. In his B-Sens debut against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on January 19, he posted 25 saves despite suffering a 4-2 loss.
“I thought Cheverie played really well in Bridgeport. It was a tough night, but he still gave us a chance to win,” Richardson said.
Blood has also proven to be a reliable defenseman for the Senators organization, having been recalled from Elmira to Binghamton six times this season. Other notable Jackals veterans include Downing, who has a goal and an assist since being recalled on January 12.
“It’s been great here. We obviously have a lot of good players in this organization and a great coaching staff,” expressed Downing. “It’s just been a pleasure.”
Despite originally losing seven players to training camp in Ottawa, the B-Sens have since gained back Mike Hoffman and starting goalie Robin Lehner from Ottawa. It has yet to be determined if anyone would be sent back to Elmira.
The B-Sens have gone 3-2 since the NHL lockout has ended. Despite the changes in the roster, the team’s focus and determination has remained the same.
“The goal is to keep pushing and maintain our desire to finish as high as we can,” Richardson said. “We’ve got to make sure that we keep getting better as a team. If we keep continuing to do that, we’ll stay on par with the top teams in the league.”