The Binghamton Senators raised the Calder Cup Championship banner on Friday night in a pre-game ceremony before 4,184 fans at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena. In my humble opinion the B-Sens presented the 7-minute ceremony properly allowing Corey Locke to carry the Calder Cup around the rink with the remaining 2010-11 players following in tow before the banner arose to the rafters. The B-Sens fans could be heard chanting “Lets go Sens”, “We got the Cup” and last season’s finals favorite “You can’t Hackett”; as the banner was revealed and rose to its temporary position above the ice.
Soon after a video montage of last season’s playoff heroics and the banner raising, the re-loaded and offensive gifted Hershey Bears took the ice for the season’s first of eight meetings between the league’s last three Calder Cup Champions.
The much younger and inexperienced Binghamton Senators in all regards should not have been able to keep the game as close as the score indicated at the end of 60 minutes. And to be completely honest, even this columnist was surprised with the outcome. And when you look at this team, stripped of last season’s Bobby Butler, Colin Greening, Zack Smith, Erik Condra, Ryan Keller, Cody Bass, Derek Smith and now Hershey Bears Ryan Potulny; you would think that the score could have been 6-2 or even worse, not 3-2.
So what’s the reason for the close score in this “David vs. Goliath” encounter at the BCVMA? I think most of the credit has to go to head coach Kurt Kleinendorst and recently acquired free agent forward Mark Parish. In talking with the media after the game, you get the sense that the 34-year-old vet is here for only one thing, winning. “I actually wanted the win more than anything.” said Parrish after getting asked about his first goal in a B-Sens uniform. This is not the first mention of winning by Parrish, who has expressed his interest in helping the Binghamton Senators defend their Championship with a 2nd title something that has eluded the Minnesota native in his pro career.
“A young team, you want to see good reactions, you don’t want to see guys just shrugging their shoulders and hanging their head and giving up on the play. Saw some guys playing some pretty resilient out there, which is good to see.” Parrish continued about the young Binghamton Senators who are currently running with no official captain but with a rotating set of a’s on the jersey’s of Corey Locke, Tim Conboy, Kaspars Daugavins and Mark Parrish. With a young team in place this season, Parrish the former NHL’er of 722 games may be that bridge between Coach and young player, as was last season’s Ryan Keller.
Coach Kurt Kleinendorst was also quick to praise the play as it progressed throughout the game vs. a Hershey Bears team they faced just 4 days earlier in a pre-season game at the Giant Center in Hershey. “I think if you watched this game objectively, I thought we got better as the game went along. I have to think we’ll be just fine, but we still have some work to do.”
What work is he referring to, maybe what was the most glaring problem for the B-Sens last night, the power play. “It was really our power play that did us in. First two goals against our power play. We did get one back, but you can’t be a minus-1 on the power play and expect to win against most teams, let alone Hershey.”
So as the B-Sens continue their weekend of celebrating last year’s Calder Cup Championship, they take on the Jerry D’Amigo led Toronto Marlies and will have one more chance to earn a victory and fix their power play which was the league’s 1st last season, in front of one the American Hockey League’s passionate fan bases.
From my perspective the team is fine but will have to find someone to score goals like last years Ryan Keller, Bobby Butler and last season’s playoff hero Ryan Potulny and though most disagree with my thoughts that the defense will be ok this season, I believe last night proved such and that scoring more than 2 or 3 goals in a game could be a challenge.