Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Senators Should Learn From San Jose

The San Jose Sharks are off to the best start in NHL history, and in a recent article from The Hockey News print edition, the players are attributing it to the fact that the coaching staff lets them play without fear of reprisal after every single mistake on the ice.

One can easily relate the situation to the current plight of the Senators where it looks like many of the forwards are so afraid of making mistakes defensively that they are thinking way too much on the ice.

Everyone and their grandmother wants to see these players get thrown under the bus by Hartsburg and Murray, but maybe the San Jose approach, as seen below, is more of an answer than the constant negativity that has engulfed the Ottawa franchise in recent years.

"One reason many of the Sharks are performing so well this season ... is the fact (Todd) McLellan and his staff recognize hockey is a game of mistakes. And each one doesn't need to be pointed out on the spot or have serious consequences.

Defenseman Douglas Murray, for example, coughed up the puck on Oct. 28 to Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin in front of the San Jose net. ...

"It was an absolutely bonehead play and I came back to the bench and didn't get yelled at," Murray said. "I think in the past they would have made a much bigger deal of it."

Sophomore right winger Devin Setoguchi ... said team confidence is up because players are less afraid to make mistakes.

Which is part of McLellan's plan.

"I want the players to have the courage to make plays on the ice," McLellan said. "When it's a real obvious mistake, I don't know if we have to be in their ear. They know they've made it."


Anonymous said...

I think this approach is exactly what the Sens need.

Anonymous said...

SJ is a deep and talented team at all three levels, so I'm not sure the comparison is perfect. They can overcome mistakes as well or better than any team.

However, I definitely think there's something to the fact the Sens don't have fun playing the game. Their whole body language suggests they're a beaten and broken group, without any confidence or belief they'll win on a given night. The Washington game clearly demonstrated this imo.

If they can put a few wins together that see them start scoring while getting good goaltending at the same time, maybe they can loosen up and turn this thing around.

- Jalen

hambown said...

If only the morons who make up the majority of the Ottawa hockey media and fans who call into the team 1200 post game shows could understand this.

My latest theory is that Ottawa's is a dull place, which helps foster this collective desire amongst hockey fans and reporters in Ottawa to maintain a constant state of negative drama. It transforms into euphoria only when the team is playing like hockey gods (vis.2003 - 2006). I don't know about all of you, but it's really getting in my way of enjoying Ottawa Senators hockey.

Anonymous said...

Of course, there will always be idiots and uninformed people in the media. But I think part of it is just the inability of sens fans to accept that they have a bad team. Personally, Im having tons of trouble with it, this is the team i fell in love with. Not that im a bandwagon fan at all, I just cant imagine the team any other way.

Anonymous said...

Mickey, the way your feeling is exactly what Murray wants the whole fan base to feel. That way he can go to Melnyk and tell him that he needs to blow up the team and rebuild. That would guanrantee Murray another three years on the job, as a rebuild takes time and GM's don't get fired during a rebuilding process.

Melnyk has two ways of looking at this situation:

1. This is a good team that is underperforming badly.


2. This team is hopeless and cannot be salvaged.

If he believes the first case, Murray's job is in jeopardy. If he believes the second case, Murray has a guaranteed job for a few years.

I know I believe that this is a good team that needs a few good puck moving d-men. I would also bring Emery back next year.

Unfortunately, if Murray rebuilds, only then will see the how good we had it when Spezza is ripping up the league in another uniform, a la Joe Thornton.

Anonymous said...

According to the interview posted, Melnyk unequivocally believe its number 1. They are a couple defencemen away from being a good team, but unfortunately this team has no real assets. We all want bowmyster to just magically appear on our roster and solve all our problems- and it would solve alot of them. Trading any of the big 3 is out of the question. Losing mike fisher or vermette would also be a big blow to the teams defensive presence. Even if the defencemen are brought in, how good is this team in comparison.
Nothing is impossible but it sure does seem that way. Keep in mind that the eastern conference is ALOT stronger than it was 2 years ago. New jersey has improved, Montreal has improved, washington, Pittsburg and Philly are all potentially better teams than that buffalo team the sens ran over so long ago.

Anonymous said...

If we wait until the end of the year, we may not have to trade a roster player to get J-Bo.

At that point, he would be UFA, so we just have to sign him. If he wants the moon, money wise, then we probably cannot afford him. But who knows what he wants.

But I gotta believe that throwing this year out the window would be tough for Geno to swallow. It would mean no playoff revenue, which would probably lead to less season ticket renewals.

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that the NHL is really fluid nowadays. A team can go from hero to zero in short order. Montreal has, I believe, 11 players up for renewal at the end of the year. They will have a completely different roster next year. Pittsburg has to re-sign Staal, and Malkin's $8.7M contract kicks in next year. Washington will soon have to give new contracts to Backstrom and Semin.

It's really tough to predict where each team will end up from year to year. That being said, I think Chicago is undoubtedly a team to watch for the future.

Anonymous said...

I actually think the coaching staff in Ottawa does not exaggerate mistakes by the players (unlike some of the fans/media).

But at the same time, the players have to get going and produce. You either get it done or you don't. And they are not getting it done at the moment.

Anonymous said...

I fully believe that if the sens commit to rebuilding and make some major moves when the right deal comes along, we can be near the top of the conference within in 2010-2011. It's a sweet draft coming and many teams have awesome propects and young talent they might be willing to part with for some of the guys on this team.