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Inside the Senate
 
POSTED ON Thursday, 28.04.2011 / 10:53 AM

(Forward Colin Greening, a native of St. John's, Newfoundland, who saw 24 games worth of duty with the Ottawa Senators this season, is back in the American Hockey League with the Binghamton Senators for the Calder Cup playoffs. He'll provide some insights in a series of blog posts for OttawaSenators.com).

Getting that win in Game 1 last night was really important, especially coming into a tough place like Portland. The last time we came here, they came out really, really strong like they did last night. I guess after the first period, guys were thinking ‘we’re in for a tough game here.’ So everyone stepped up a little bit and we were able to play better in the second and third and get that win. To do that, especially in a tough barn like this one, was good.

It was actually pretty nice for a change to not have to win one in overtime, which we did four times in the first round against Manchester. A number of people were texting me the night before and saying ‘good luck tomorrow, it might be nice for our nerves to not go into overtime. Maybe you can win one outright.’ It was just a nice change of pace for us.

Our first-round experience against Manchester really helped out last night, after we fell behind early When we were in the first intermission, everyone was like ‘we’ve been here before, it’s not a big deal, we know how to battle back.’ Everyone was really positive in the dressing room and that really helped us.

It was great to see Corey Locke back in our lineup last night after he missed the whole first round because of injury. Corey is one of the premier players in the league and he knows where to find you on the ice. It was great to have him back. He’s a good teammate and a good friend and especially to be on the line with him was great.

People might wonder how we keep winning in spite of all the injuries we’ve faced. First of all, having good replacements is the most important thing. We have guys that have been practising with us and learning our system so when they do step in, it’s not a big adjustment for them. And other guys have really stepped up. If you look at our defensive end, we’ve had some guys out and you look at guys like (Geoff) Kinrade and (Andre) Benoit and (Patrick) Wiercioch who’ve all had to step up their games and step up their playing minutes. That really speaks volumes aboutt them.

Robin Lehner been great for us in net lately and he’s really stepped up his game. I know it’s been an up and down year for him, because he’s been in up in Ottawa and then sent back to Binghamton. That can be really trying on a player, especially for a guy his age. But he’s played really, really well for us the last four games. Going into the playoffs, we knew that (Barry) Brusty was going to be our No. 1 but now that Lehner’s been given the shot, he’s made the most of it, which says a lot about him.

We’ve already assured ourselves of a split in Portland, but that’s not enough for us. We’re going for a win tonight and if we’re able to get the win, great. If not, that’s not what we want. We want to come out of here with two wins. Any time you go into a game, you want to be able to win, no matter what the outcome was last night

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POSTED ON Monday, 25.04.2011 / 10:52 AM

(Forward Colin Greening, a native of St. John's, Newfoundland, who saw 24 games worth of duty with the Ottawa Senators this season, is back in the American Hockey League with the Binghamton Senators for the Calder Cup playoffs. He'll provide some insights in a series of blog posts for OttawaSenators.com).

I don’t think a lot of people have gone through what we just did against Manchester, with all the overtime games in our playoff series. I’ve tried to explain to people over the phone the last couple of days exactly what happened and words don’t do it justice, the emotional rollercoaster that you go through in a situation like that. You think about five overtime games in a series — four of which we won — and it’s something I’ll always remember. We’re only the second AHL team to ever do that, so it’s kind of nice to etch our games in the record books.

Coach also told us right after the game that we were the first AHL team ever to win Game 5, Game 6 and Game 7 in a series in overtime. He gave us the post-game speech and he had a little add on, saying that we made history. That was pretty cool. Bu as exciting as the first round against Manchester was for us, one of the biggest messages we’ve had all year is you take it for what it is and you enjoy the moment. Once the next day comes, you realize what’s ahead and we’ve got a really good team in Portland up next for us to play.

The way we were able to keep our series going just shows our resiliency and I think it speaks volumes about the group of guys we have in here as well. From Day 1, everybody realized we had a good group of guys that got along, that worked well in the dressing room and had good chemistry. I think that really bodes well for us in the playoffs and we just showed that. Being down 3-1 in a series, it would have been easy to pack it in and realize that even if you win Game 5, you’ve still got to win Game 6 and Game 7 on the road and that’s a tough task. But it really speaks volumes about the character in the dressing room that we were still able to do it.

Even when we were behind, we just never gave up. In Game 7, we were down with two minutes to go and in Game 5, we were down with five minutes to go and yet there was no panic on the bench. Everyone just kept playing and we realized we were playing well. That helped our confidence and we knew it was only a matter of time before we would tie it up. Then we realized, when we went into overtime, that we had a good chance to win.

When we got home early Sunday morning, we saw the fans had decorated the outside of the arena with a bunch of signs. That was a nice thing to see, people showing that kind of sentiment when you come in at 5 a.m. From what I understand, a number of guys on the team have had people in town come up to them and express their gratitude. Everyone was happy when we made the playoffs and now I think people are ecstatic that we’ve made it through to the second round. Hopefully, we can make them even happier by getting to the third round.

Now we have to shift our focus to Portland and I don’t think it’s going to be difficult. Everybody realizes that this is what the playoffs are all about. You get through a tough series against Manchester and now you’ve got to focus on Portland or you’re going to crumble. I think everyone, even from the beginning of today’s practice, was really focusing on who their players are, what systems they play and I think that’s the key. Everyone realizes that and we’ll put all our efforts into facing Portland.

The playoffs are a grind, but everyone’s taking care of themselves the best they can. You could say we’re tired and things like that, but other teams are in the same situation as us. So that really can’t be an excuse. Portland had a really tough six-game series against Connecticut and the difference between six games and seven is really negligible. You can’t really focus on that and you just play. The best part of playoffs and we know our systems and we don’t have to practise much. We just go out there and play.

Consistency is going to be the most important thing for us against Portland. We had some lapses in the last series in the second period and that’s come back to bite us when we lost games. Portland is going to be a tougher test for us. They beat Connecticut for a reason; they’re an extremely talented team. We’ve just got to focus on that and make sure we’re consistently playing our game throughout the entire game.

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POSTED ON Thursday, 21.04.2011 / 10:51 AM

(Forward Colin Greening, a native of St. John's, Newfoundland, who saw 24 games worth of duty with the Ottawa Senators this season, is back in the American Hockey League with the Binghamton Senators for the Calder Cup playoffs. He'll provide some insights in a series of blog posts for OttawaSenators.com).

It was an incredible feeling last night, winning Game 5 in overtime and keeping our season alive. You don’t want to think about that kind of stuff going into the game, especially when you’re going into overtime. But once you finally get that goal and you realize ‘we’re hopping back on the bus again tomorrow, our season is still going,’ it’s a pretty great feeling. We were happy to see Daugy (Kaspars Daugavins) get that goal because we felt he really deserved it, so that was an added bonus as well.

We had lost the previous two games we played at home in this series but this time, It was a matter of being more resilient. Our power play was really huge for us. The two goals in the third period came from our power play and they were really big. Other than that, we just stuck with it. I have to give props to (Ryan) Potulny and (Mike) Hoffman, who really came up big for us on the PP when we needed it.

The confidence level in this series has always been high for us. We realize that every single game we’ve played so far has been close. Just think about it — out of five games, three of them went to overtime. The other two games could have gone either way. So everyone’s always been confident. Now it’s 3-2 and if we win more game, then we’re going to Game 7. So we’re going to hop on that bus to Manchester with everyone feeling good.

Nothing changes in the way we’ll approach Game 6. We want to have the exact same mentality we had last night. We go out and play with a lot of confidence and with a lot of positivity on the bench. Last night, we showed what can come from having that attitude, so we’re just going to stick with that.

Right now, we’re taking it one game at a time in this series. It’s the only way you can look at it. You can even bring it down to another level. It’s just one period at a time and one shift at a time. If you try to look ahead to the next round or even Game 7 in this series, you’re going to lose track of what’s important. That’s just living in the moment and taking everything one shift at a time. Timely goals are going to be big for us the rest of the way. We’ve proven we can win games when we take care of that.

When we played Game 2 in Manchester, we came from being down 2-0 after two periods to win in overtime. That was absolutely huge for us. That’s the most important thing, to realize that we can come back when we’re down. So if they do get the first goal, nobody panics on the bench and everyone realizes it doesn’t matter who scores the first goal. We’ve just got to make sure we keep playing as well as we can.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 19.04.2011 / 10:50 AM

(Forward Colin Greening, a native of St. John's, Newfoundland, who saw 24 games worth of duty with the Ottawa Senators this season, is back in the American Hockey League with the Binghamton Senators for the Calder Cup playoffs. He'll provide some insights in a series of blog posts for OttawaSenators.com).

It’s a big game for us tonight at home and everyone’s really positive heading into it. We had just a reflection day yesterday after a tough loss on Sunday night. Everyone realizes it’s a close series and it’s playoff hockey. I can’t speak for everyone else, but based on the mood in the dressing room, I would think we’ve all moved past Sunday’s loss. We won one in overtime and then we lost one in overtime. We had one of those ‘how high can you get, how low can you get’ moments. I think everyone realizes that and has put it behind them.

Tonight can definitely be described as a ‘must win’ for us, just because of the fact that if we go down 3-1 … I don’t like to think that way, but everyone realizes if we lose tonight, the next game we could be out and our season would be over. Everyone also realizes right now that having the home-ice advantage is important. So taking advantage of that and tying the series up 2-2 tonight is really important for us.

Everyone is staying pretty level headed and they realize – and we’ve been listening to a lot of the veterans – that this is playoff hockey and we don’t hit the panic button. I think that’s the most important thing. Once you start gripping your stick too tight, then you start making more mistakes and we don’t want to do that. I think everyone realizes that and hopefully, we’ll be able to play tonight like we’ve always played.

It was great to see the fan support here on Sunday night. It’s always nice to see a lot more fans out there and it was a lot louder. When we came out of the players’ entrance to head onto the ice, we had a lot more people than usual trying to shake our hands. That means a lot to the guys on the team, when you get more support, and that’s why we want to take advantage of home ice. We want to be able to feed off the atmosphere.

The intensity level is just getting higher and higher as the series moves on. We’ve played three games against each other and we now know all of their players. They don’t like us and we don’t like them, and that’s just what playoff hockey is all about. It’s just going to get even more intense from there, but that’s all part of it. As you get closer and closer to that fourth win, it gets harder and harder to actually get it. Everyone realizes they have to step it up even more if we want to finish the job and move on.

For us tonight, consistency is the most important thing. Just making sure that, in the second period especially, we come out with a consistent effort. Hopefully, we’ll have another good effort in the first period. We’ve always good firsts and we’ve had relatively good third periods. It’s that second period that has hindered us a little bit. So I think that’s the key for us tonight, not to become complacent at any point.

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POSTED ON Sunday, 17.04.2011 / 10:49 AM

(Forward Colin Greening, a native of St. John's, Newfoundland, who saw 24 games worth of duty with the Ottawa Senators this season, is back in the American Hockey League with the Binghamton Senators for the Calder Cup playoffs. He'll provide some post-season insights in a series of blog posts for OttawaSenators.com).

Everyone’s really happy now that we’re back home with the series tied. The most important thing is that we came back on Friday night. Everyone realized that if we had gone down 2-0, it would completely change the series and the mood would be a lot different. But because we came back the way we did, everyone is in high spirits.

Even though we were down 2-0 going in the third period, I think we always knew we could pull out that win. It’s funny, actually. Zack Smith and Bobby Butler both said if we win, lunch is on us. Maybe that was a little bit of an incentive. That was pretty funny. But I think everyone just realized we weren’t playing very well in the first two periods. We had a lot more to give and we knew we were a better team than that. I was glad we were able to show that in the third period. We came out really, really strong and we continued that into the overtime period.

Any time you can win, the long bus ride home seems a lot more positive. Guys are talking and things are just more upbeat, as opposed to coming home after a loss. Then it’s a lot quieter and nobody wants to speak to each other because everyone’s a little bit down, especially in the playoffs. It definitely helped getting that win, just to be able to keep the spirits up on the bus.

It’s hard to tell what it’s going to be like back at home tonight. I hope there’s going to be a lot of people here. But I do think everyone is going to be a lot more excited now that it’s a 1-1 series. If we were down 2-0, I think people would be a little bit skeptical about how we’re going to do in the series. But because it’s 1-1, hopefully we’ll get a lot more fans out. We’ve got some good fans here and hopefully, they’ll pack the place and it’ll be fun.

I haven’t spoken to too many people in town since we’ve been back home, but the ones I have talked to are happy. They’re saying ‘what a great comeback win’ and now they think we can take this series. I think they’re just happy that we could come back the way we did and show we can be resilient, even when we’re down.

Now we’ve got the next three games at home, but nothing changes about our approach, to be honest. We’re happy to have home-ice advantage now and not have to travel on a bus and for a few days. But other than that, nothing else changes. We’ve got to build off how we played in the third period of Game 2 and just go from there.

While it’s true we’ve got a chance to end this series at home, you can never really put any pressure on yourself that way. You’ve just got to focus on one game at a time, one shift at a time and one period at a time. I know that sounds corny and cliche, but in the playoffs, everything is so intense and such a battle that you can’t focus on anything other than that. You’ve got to step up your game a lot at this time of year.

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POSTED ON Thursday, 14.04.2011 / 10:47 AM

(Forward Colin Greening, a native of St. John's, Newfoundland, who saw 24 games worth of duty with the Ottawa Senators this season, is back in the American Hockey League with the Binghamton Senators for the Calder Cup playoffs. He'll provide some post-season insights in a series of blog posts for OttawaSenators.com).

We're in Manchester for Game 1 of our playoff series tonight and I have to say it'll definitely be different than college hockey playoffs at Cornell, where it's usually a best-of-three or one game, winner takes all sort of scenario. I haven't played in a best-of-seven since junior, so it's been a little while. But it's going to be that much more intense. It's also important to remember that one game will not make or break anything, so you've got to pace yourself and also realize it's going to take four wins to take the series.

Already, everyone is really excited in Binghamton about all of this. A lot of people are coming up to me on the street — and other guys have had people come up to them — and they're saying 'thank you for getting back into the playoffs. We're really excited and we can't wait to watch you play.' Definitely, the atmosphere is up and it's a fun time to be a part of the community because we haven't been in the playoffs here for for six years.

Any time you get some NHL experience, it's really important because you get to play against better players and you get to experience that life. So I think my time in Ottawa this season is only going to be helpful in the playoffs because everyone steps up their game in the playoffs, whether it's in the NHL or AHL. Getting the chance to play against the best players in the past few months has definitely been helpful for me in the last part of the season.

For those of us who are back in Binghamton, it's good that we get to keep our season going. You'd like for Ottawa to keep playing, too, but it's definitely a benefit for us to keep playing. Everyone loves to play hockey and play the games and this is probably the most fun time of the year. Everyone talks about playoffs being the best time to play because you work so hard to get there. So you want to take advantage of what you worked toward.

It's hard to say how many people back in Newfoundland will be checking out our games through the playoffs, but I know my parents will be following it for sure. A few of my friends have sent me texts, wishing me good luck in the playoffs. That's the most important thing, getting the most important people back in Newfoundland wishing the best for me. Hopefully, we can get a few more people back home jumping on the bandwagon.

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SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

ATLANTIC DIVISION
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 23 16 6 1 61 57 33
2 TBL 22 14 6 2 77 60 30
3 BOS 22 13 9 0 57 54 26
4 DET 20 10 5 5 55 49 25
5 TOR 21 11 8 2 67 63 24
6 OTT 19 9 6 4 52 50 22
7 FLA 18 7 5 6 40 47 20
8 BUF 21 6 13 2 36 70 14

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. MacArthur 19 8 6 -4 14
E. Karlsson 19 5 9 -4 14
B. Ryan 18 5 7 0 12
K. Turris 19 3 9 -3 12
M. Stone 18 5 5 3 10
A. Chiasson 16 5 5 -4 10
M. Hoffman 16 7 1 8 8
M. Michalek 19 2 5 -1 7
C. Ceci 19 0 7 2 7
M. Zibanejad 19 3 3 -1 6
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Anderson 5 3 3 .935 2.23
R. Lehner 4 3 1 .916 2.85