Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Timing Is Right For Zibanejad Re-call
Pretty good timing by Bryan Murray.
With all the attention on Ottawa’s upcoming game in Detroit against ex-captain Daniel Alfredsson, Murray felt the time was right to bring Mika Zibanejad back to the NHL today.
Makes sense on a couple of fronts. First, the Senators can use his size and skill to try and energize a team that didn’t look overly inspired against Edmonton on Saturday. No matter how you look at it, Zibanejad is an upgrade on J.G. Pageau and Derek Grant. Hell, he’s an upgrade on most of the players in the bottom-six, especially if he comes in a little ornery from his surprising training camp demotion.
Going into Detroit is a quagmire, and that’s before you even get to the rink. If you get into the Joe Louis Arena with your shirt still on your back, you have Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg waiting for you, and worse, they’ve stolen your best hockey player and, by all reports, he couldn’t be happier wearing the red and white (without the black).
And that’s the second point here. It won’t alter the media’s interpretation of this game much – it’s still Alfie vs. the Sens, but parachuting Zibanejad into the game changes the feel a little bit for the fans. If Zibanejad, who is a clear favourite around town, can manage to have a strong game, it will take some of the focus away from Alfredsson and maybe ease the pain a little. Of course, if Bobby Ryan gets a couple of goals, that would be more significant considering how the two will always be linked from that fateful day in July, but Mika has become a bit of a cause célèbre on Twitter with the #FreeMika hashtags and his stint as DJZbad in the summer. They love their young players here. Erik Karlsson is a rockstar and Zibanejad isn’t far behind. What better way to say goodbye to an old legend like Alfredsson with a win featuring his former Swedish students.
Think of it this way – imagine Ottawa went into Detroit with the same lineup that lost to Edmonton and ended up getting creamed. Fans would start to hit the panic button, especially with Anaheim, San Jose and Chicago next on the schedule and calls for Zibanejad, who’s had a strong start in Binghamton, would have been deafening.
The time was right for an infusion of energy on the ice and a welcome respite from the Alfredsson narrative. Murray managed all that with the call-up of Zibanejad.
Now comes the hard part. Actually beating Detroit in Detroit.
They have more of a chance to do that with Zibanejad here instead of in Binghamton.