The Sens are a team that went to the Stanley Cup final two years ago before suffering a disappointing season in 2007-08.
They have a new coach and now no more Ray Emery.
Can the Senators turn it around and make a fresh start next season? Have your say in our forum.
The Sens can retool in the summer and be a good team that can compete with Montreal ( if this year wasnt a fluke ) for the division title next year.
Laff fans can expect to miss the playoffs again next year and several years after that. No good young players anywhere to be seen on the Laffs roster or on the Marlies.
But go ahead knock the Sens, show how dumb you really are.
Kevin, 2008-04-18 10:58:57
So at the beginning of the year, they were intent on administering a similar beating everyone in the league and winning the cup.
However, it is difficult to maintain that focus for 82 games over 6 months. The Sens were never as good as they and everyone else thought they were. Despite the 15-2 record, they were giving up 35-40 shots per game. While the goaltending was playing well and the Sens were popping 5-6 goals per game, that's not a problem.
But Life intervened. Teams adapted to the Sens' style. The distractions provided by Emery didn't help. Worse was Paddock's handling of the team with kid gloves (not only Emery, but the lack of defensive responsibility). Still worse was the Sens' lack of mental toughness. There are only a few players on the team (Alfredsson, Fisher, Phillips, Volchenkov) with that mental toughness. Gradually the questions surrounding the Sens came to overshadow the mission, and by the middle of the season, these questions became the season. From that vortex the team could not pull out and re-focus on what they wanted to do - win the Stanley Cup. For months, all the talk in Ottawa, both in the media and probably in the dressing room and coaches' offices, was "How do we get back on track?" - not "How do we win the Cup?"
In short, the Sens became more focussed on fixing problems than on winning games. The result was a season that will probably become as legendary as the 1956 Brooklyn Dodgers squandering what was a 13½ game lead on 11 August - does anyone remember "The Giants win the Pennant! The Giants win the Pennant!"?
So what is needed, and what will be done?
Taking it from the top:
GM - Murray deserves a chance to re-build the team. He built 95% of the team that administered a very thorough whipping on Senators in the Cup finals last year. He deserves a chance to do the same in Ottawa, as he hasn't really shown what he can do.
Coach - Murray needs to hire someone who will instill discipline and defensive awareness in this team. They need someone who isn't afraid to call players out and bench them if need be - even if their name is Spezza, Heatley or Alfredsson. I have no idea who that might be. Play the top line slightly less, play the other lines slightly more, and the scoring will balance out a bit.
Players - this team needs a leader. People believe Alfredsson is a leader, but he isn't. He plays tough, smart, passionate hockey, and does it well. But he can't communicate that to the other players, because few others play the way he does. Neither do Fisher, Phillips or Volchenkov (the other potential leaders on the team). So one of the top needs is some player(s) who will come in and make all the other players accountable.
Forwards - The need for secondary scoring is critical - the players need to stop laying back and waiting for the ASH line to fill the net. Fisher doesn't lay back, I don't think he's capable of it. Vermette I think will turn into a 30 goal scorer given adequate ice time. So, I'd keep Alfredsson, Spezza, Heatley, Fisher, Vermette, Stillman (if they can sign him), Foligno, Bass (give him a chance) and McGrattan. That's 8 forwards - you need at least 4 more, and ideally 6.
Someone who might help in both the leadership and scoring situations is Brendan Shanahan. He's a UFA, and he could be available for a small amount of money, and he's had leadership roles on several teams, including some that have won the Cup. He'd basically walk into Ottawa and put an "A" on his jersey - if not the "C" (depends on who the coach is, and how the Senators feel about taking the captaincy away from Alfredsson). Shanahan might also contribute some scoring punch - he scored 23 goals and 23 assists in the regular season with the Rangers, and has 3 points in 4 playoff games this year.
Patrick Sharp is an RFA with Chicago, maybe Sens can trade for him - Chicago is well stocked with RWs. Or, Sens could get Corey Perry from Anaheim.
Defence - Redden needs to leave. Redden has the annoying habit of making dumb plays in critical situations (take a look at the game 7 overtime shorthanded goal that New Jersey scored to eliminate Ottawa 3 years ago. The goal scorer walks around Alfredsson (who was playing the point on the power play), cuts in from the corner along the goal line, and comes out in front - and Redden BACKS AWAY. He lets the man get in better shooting position. He's done this and other bone-headed defensive plays many times over the years). The Sens can't afford the defensive liability of someone who messes up in critical situations and then does something to make it worse.
So - keep Phillips, Volchenkov, Meszaros, Schubert and Lee. You need 2 or 3 more defencemen - Sens need to sign or trade for someone physical (maybe Brooks Orpik) and a puck mover and play maker (Brian Campbell, maybe?).
Goal - buy out Emery. Maybe go with Gerber for next year, and let the kids in the minors develop, but it wouldn't hurt to trade Gerber to some team that desperately needs an upgrade). Alternatively, Gerber & Spezza & a 2nd round pick for Luongo and Mason Raymond.
So, let's say Sens do the Gerber/Spezza for Luongo/Raymond trade, and trade 1st round pick for Sharp, and trade 2nd round next year for Orpik, bring up Josh Hennessy from Binghamton, sign Shanahan, and (oh, let's dream) sign Campbell. I'm saying trade draft picks for players, because I don't know enough about the minor league roster to suggest which players to trade. You could reduce the cost by trading players like McAmmond, the rights to Redden, and what not.
(lines in RW, C, LW order)
line 1: Heatley, Vermette, Alfredsson
line 2: Raymond, Fisher, Sharp
line 3: Foligno, Bass, Shanahan
line 4: Stillman, Hennessy, McGrattan
Vermette will add a welcome dose of speed to Alfredsson & Heatley; Fisher can take Raymond and Sharp under his wing. Shanahan can take Foligno and Bass under his, and Stillman and Hennessy will make a player out of McGrattan.
defense 1: Volchenkov, Phillips
defense 2: Orpik, Campbell
defense 3: Meszaros, Lee
Goal: Luongo, Eliot
The odd man out is Schubert.
That might be a good team. But it would all depend on the coach. The coach has to be willing to get the team to focus more on team defence, and bench players who don't conform and work hard. He'd have to encourage Alfredsson to slap people up side the head when they don't help the team, and back up Alfredsson and Shanahan when they do.
JMW, 2008-04-18 10:56:27
Wayne R, 2008-04-18 09:35:00
Toronto Maple Leafs-11 Cup wins
Detroit Red Wings-9 Cup wins
OTTAWA SENATORS---0 CUP WINS
Sens are all talk - no action.
Tee time is 9 am Ray and be on time...
kw, 2008-04-18 08:55:34
maybe it's time to blow up the team and get rid of all of the floaters and lazy stiffs.
their success is equals the avarage IQ number of their fans = very little.
hens fans, remember? what goes around gomes around. your team sucks and now you can't take it if somebody gives all the crap back you talked about mainly the leafs? you are pathetic, can't talk about the leafs even now.
Golf losers golf!
Losers-since-'91, 2008-04-18 07:55:25
What number best represents the average IQ of the typical Leaves fan? (you can use your calculator)
[Hint: it equals the number of Leaves playoff appearances in the last three years, and/or Stanley Cups in the last 41 years].
The answer: 0
Dave in Orleans, 2008-04-17 22:50:18
Kind of puts you in mind of a kindergarten class, you know "it is -- it isn't ... it is .... it isn't" on and on and on.
DisgruntledFan, 2008-04-17 19:09:17