Thursday, April 17, 2008

Ottawa Senators- No Heart!

1) The Tin Man would be proud of the Ottawa Senators. The once mighty Sens fell rather meekly last night to the very young, but immensely talented Pittsburgh Penguins. If one were to have said in November that the Ottawa Senators would get swept in the first round of the playoffs by Pittsburgh most would have believed you insane or Mike Milbury. At that point the Senators were leading the Eastern Conference by a wide margin. Many were believing that they could actually challenge the 76-77 Montreal Canadien incredible record of losing only 8 games.

2) Then the roof fell in. In reality they shouldn't have been as good they started or as bad as they finished. They made it to the Finals last season because they possess a great deal of talent. This year's problems began with last off season.
  • After their near Cup run what did they do? Fired the architect, GM John Muckler and replaced him with then coach Bryan Murray. Mistake #1.
  • Despite their playoff run almost anyone with any hockey knowledge could see they lacked a true #1 goalie. Emery was NOT the guy. The Sens thought differently. Signing the enigmatic (euphemism for nut job) tender to a long term lucrative deal. Mistake #2.

3) Any coach who comes in to replace the Now-GM has to be constantly looking over his shoulder, wondering when that GM will fire him to go back to coaching. It happens so often. John Paddock never had a chance. When he was fired in late February Murray hoped it would light a fire under the team to get them back to playing well. It had the opposite effect. The team seemed to fade even faster since he assumed both roles.

4) Anyone who watched this team play the last 6 weeks of the season could see that they would be in trouble IF they even made the playoffs. They almost collectively seemed to quit on Murray. Essentially the same talent that had vaulted them atop the east last season looked like a beaten team. Despite the efforts of pest Chris Neal, these Sens had little fight in them. As good as Pittsburgh is, there is NO way they should have swept the Senators with relative ease.

5) It would be easy to blame Murray. Clearly he does deserve quite a bit of blame here, and will likely feel the blade across his proverbial head this off season by owner Eugene Melnyk. However it seems that Ottawa now has a long history of choking/scape goats. The team is still underachieving despite ridding themselves of past underachieving lightning rods such as: Alex Yashin, Marion Hossa, Patrick Lalime, Radek Bonk, firing Jacques Martin, etc. Despite these moves the team still has been unable to bring the folks of Ottawa a championship.

6) We'd have to say the real problem/reason why the Sens have never gotten over the top is that despite their plethora of talent at forward and on defense through the last few years they have never had a real elite goalie. With few )if any) elite goalies available as UFA's this off season the Senators problems will probably continue into next fall. There is no Yellow brick road to lead them to the Emerald City or a Wizard to give this team what it needs most, Heart.


Hooks Orpik said...

Hey, I like to think they ran in to a heck of a team too!


1)Hooks: Our take on the Senators plight should in no way be construed as a swipe against the Pens.
2) They collectively played very well all 4 games. However, there is no way that the Pens should have been able to win as easily as they did.
3) We believe that Ottawa had the lead for less than 5 minutes COMBINED in 4 games. That's the kind of mismatch figure you'd have expected from the Detroit-Nashville series.
4) Our point is simply that the senators simply have too much talent to have such results. Note that we picked the Pens to win this series in 5.

Bruce said...

Speaking of underachievers, check out Wade Redden's career +/-

Regular season: +159
Playoffs: -13

The circumstances where Redden was asked to waive his no-trade clause and refused could hardly have contributed to harmony in the room.

Neither could "Uniforms matter, players don't." Brian Murray's first season at the helm was an unmitigated disaster.


1) Bruce: Those numbers speak volumes! We won't be surprised to see wade go elsewhere. He'l also probably get a very nice contract from a team desperate for defense
2) However, like yashin, Bonk, Hossa, etc before him its not all one players fault.

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