Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Senators Running Out Of Answers Already


I’m already writing a post about this?

There’s not even snow on the ground yet and the Ottawa Senators have the stink of a team headed for local infamy.

A rebuilding team playing poorly is one thing, but to get blown out on home ice twice in a row by scores of 7-1 and 7-2 must be excruciating for both the fans and the organization.

After all, this is not just a team full of kids learning the pro game. There is a solid core of veterans on this club who know how to win. To be this bad, this early, defies even the longest of odds.

Yet the fans in this city said they were on board for the rebuild. They’ll be expected to hold up their end of the bargain and keep filling the rink every night and buying that merchandise and booing their own players. So far, so good on all those fronts.

But how did the Senators get to this point this fast? It’s like watching Clark Griswold on the saucer sled in Christmas Vacation. Or maybe more like Cousin Eddie emptying his portable toilet into the sewer while drinking a beer. “The shitter was full.” This has nothing to do with the story at hand, but what the hell. Nonsensical Christmas Vacation quotes are fine paragraph filler for highly paid pros like myself.

It’s easy to point to the goaltending… so let’s go ahead and do that.

Craig Anderson and Alex Auld have been brutal, and there’s no way to sugar coat that. When either of them lets in a softie, the whole team deflates and you can quickly bet that three or four more goals will follow in short order.

The one major hope going into this season was that the goaltending would keep them in games while the kids learned on the fly. That could still happen, but how often does a goalie just flip a switch and play lights out? Not very often. It looks like Anderson and Auld are going to have to build their confidence up slowly and that could mean some more long nights in the short term.

Meanwhile, Robin Lehner and Nikita Filatov lurk in the minors, waiting for their phone call.

Too soon to mention Lehner?

Probably, but losing this badly can really force a GM’s hand. The one thing Lehner doesn’t lack is confidence. All he’s said this year is that he’s ready to play in the NHL, even when nobody believes him. There’s no way he will supplant Anderson permanently this year, but does he get a call to play a few games if both NHL goalies keep rolling downhill?

I think it’s possible because the Senators have a lot of cap room to play with and can afford to sit someone they’re not too happy with.

To be fair to Anderson and Auld, we are not at that point yet, but it’s not as far off as we might assume.

Out West, Cory Clouston may be allowing himself a secret little smile.

Yet, Sens fans can be thankful they will be watching Erik Karlsson, David Rundblad, Mika Zibanejad and Jared Cowen grow up in this town for the next ten years. All of them will likely be stars, if Karlsson isn’t one already.

And you can insert your Nail Yakupov jokes here as well.


Anonymous said...

Is some of this the coaches fault?

It certainly is the players fault - they seem to be ok to play when there is no pressure and nothing to play for. Once the score is out of hand then they become all loosy goosy and start potting goals. Hey here's an idea - play hard and well from the begining of the game!

This must be really though on Alfie and Spezza, Philips too.

Anonymous said...

Time for a reality check.

Bryan Murray is not selling hope. He's selling something else.

Edwin Perkins knows what's being sold, and he's proud.

Jeremy Milks said...

Edwin Perkins! Had to look it up. Great stuff.

Michael said...

Off to the Jets game tomorrow, section 102 with the older boy. Fail For Nail or no, it sure beats "Mamma Mia!"

Anonymous said...

Team is very weak on forwards, Da Costa, Zibanebej and Greening has done very little good.

Rundblad has surprised me at least, but the lacking at Karlssons defensive play is has been very easy to see. Cowen is a rookie, and it seen but he is not to be blame. then Kuba... no I will even not go there ;-)

To defense of Karlsson and the rest of defenses, you must say, that centers like Spezza and Da Costa has not been to responsibly.
It is easy to blame defense alone, but specially the centers are also part of defense.

The goldkeepers has made some really big saves, covering hole in front them. Saidly this is easy forgotten when they let very week goals going in, from time to time.

But what do you expect, when Da Costa line does not work, Spezza line does not work?

I do not know, can you blame a rookie center for his line not working?
Is only the veteran center when his line does not work?

Can you expect more backup to Da Costa from Alfredsson? And can Spezza really expect more from Greening and Zibanejad?
How much is the coaching and how much is it simply a very weak team?

One thing is sure, Kelly and Ficher is gone. One must accept it is a very unexpired team.

I had how ever expected better play from Spezza. His passes is far to often to inaccurate, especially for his talent!
I mean you really saw it, at the worst kind of passing, when the team was on 5 against 3 power-play yesterday. Spezza passes to Karlsson was almost all the time. in reality, out of reach, hand up for Karlsson just reaching them just on the edge every time. This followed with a pass from Karlsson to Rundblad, which was just a little better.
But the bad passes from Spezza made karlsson ability to make a fast re pass impossibly and Rundblad has only one option! Back to Karlsson because defense was ready on an Alfredsson pass. So back to Karlsson, good passes, Back to Spezza good passes.
That was fine if it was one time. But I didn't count them. But it continued 5, 6 time in a row, yes maybe more. It felt like 10 times.

It is not good enough, at any time. Even Maclean said they created chances in that power play, you would have to look carefully to see those real chances.

I do not know, I get frustrated with Spezza washing that. It was almost as bad as the first goal or smith stupid penalty.

Spezza zero GV I do not understand ;-) I saw lest two passes direct on the stick of one Philly player. Probably not a give away, but a first class pass ;-).

I think Spezza and Alfredsson generally, together with other forward had a bad game.
There was just little time leading up to Spezzas goal, where they play OK. Else I do not think that was much to write home about. Disappointing thing if they don't play good, Spezza and Alfredsson, how much talent has this team?

Last year everybody blamed Regin for the lack of consistency. You know what, they ware right. Where is the same complain on Spezzas play this year? (He is much more expensive)
Yes he did play good at times, but so did Regin last year!

Senator fans really seem to have some holly cows, and I know it will cost my head to complain about the play of Spezza :-), but so be it!

fucker said...

I find no reason to be upset about the way the first 6 games have gone. Why are we up in arms about losing??? I thought that was the point last season, lets trade away our core look to youth and slowly turn this team back into a contender. They went ahead with it and traded away established NHLers for an increased chance of success in the future . So why are we getting upset that they are losing presently, the present not being the future and all. Not too mention that it's only 6 games into the season. Let me be the first to go out on that precarious limb and say that I predict that the Ottawa Senators will at least win one more game in their next 76 opportunities to do so.

As fans we have to come to grips with the fact that we're cheering for a losing team, kicking this team while its down, by throwing our hands in the air after they get blown out is only going to increase pressure on a weak minded GM to rush decisions to try and find success now to appease the fans who didn't really understand what they signed up for by supporting this whole rebuild and subsequently are hemming and hawing on whether to support this team anymore, what with those fancy new jets sweaters.

I solemnly swear that even if this team goes 1-81 this year I will still be a god damn fan next year. These two blowouts do not constitute a failure in this respect, and lets not to forget they were and are to be expected.

Anonymous said...

I've really been enjoying watching Rundblad. He's so calm and confident with the puck. His defense has actually caught me by surprise. That might be why he has the team's best CORSI rating

Anonymous said...

Not too sure about people on this team knowing how to win. The Senators have never won a Stanley Cup in their current iteration and the old core had a history or early round exits, save Cup finals and third round vs. Devils. They do have experience though, which is critical.

As for all those guys being superstars, that's all fine and dandy but if you don't get it done in the playoffs, and they will have to eventually, who cares? We had tons of superstars here and it never amounted to anything but heartbreak. I'm more hoping Karlsson learns to "D" as well as he "O"s, that Rundblad improves, that I see Zibanejad score a goal or even get a few points (4-5 range would be nice) before I die of old age.

I really don't believe this town will sit through the long rebuild. People will get upset at being a bottom-feeder, pressure will mount for Murray to right the ship, we'll stall our progression.

Anyway, I'm not upset at the results, just generally disinterested since the team is losing all the time. Gave my tickets for upcoming games to friends, hope they have fun.