Sometimes you forget how young the Senators really are. Mika Zibanejad is sitting at his stall with reporters in the visitors dressing room after Tuesday's morning skate in Tampa. From across the room, Robin Lehner tells somebody to ask Zibanejad about the loss he suffered a day earlier. Apparently, the two have started quite a rivalry on Xbox. "Oh, he got his first win in 10 games probably ... it's the first game he's won on the whole road trip," said Zibanejad. "I was Ottawa. He was Boston. I had HIM in net. He let in three out of four shots. In the first period I was down 3-0. What am I supposed to do?" What else? He pulled Lehner. "Right away," said Zibanejad. Lehner argued that wasn't the first time he has defeated his fellow Swede. "He's leading, yeah, but he's an Xbox veteran and I'm new," he said. "And I still beat him. That says a lot. We'll see what happens. We're going to start now. Now we're going to go on a series." Had Daniel Alfredsson not already left the room, he would have felt right at home. This might be a conversation his sons Hugo and Loui would have. Alfredsson, at 40, is the same age as Lehner and Zibanejad, combined. Until April 18, at least. That's when Zibanejad says goodbye to his teenage years. That's when he hits the big 2-0. "I don't know, turning 21 is maybe bigger," Zibanejad said, grinning. "Going away from the last teen year, or whatever you want to call it, is not a big deal for me, I guess. You guys like to spice it up a bit and see it from different angles, but I don't. It's just another number." We may "spice it up" because there's not many teenagers playing hockey, in the world's best league. Zibanejad, the sixth overall pick in the 2011 draft, is one of 19 players selected that June who have already made their NHL debut. Only Ryan-Nugent Hopkins, Gabriel Landeskog, Jonathan Huberdeau, Adam Larsson, Sean Couturier, Brandon Saad and Andrew Shaw have more career points at this stage. And Zibanejad is making as big an impact on his team as any of them are making on theirs.
Mika Zibanejad making big impact for Ottawa Senators
Ottawa Sun | Apr 11