Class act ends in failing grade

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:57 AM ET

It's going to be another long, hot summer for the Senators.

After being eliminated by the Buffalo Sabres in the second round of the playoffs last Saturday, the Senators have been licking their wounds.

So much accomplished during the regular season with 113 points, Dany Heatley's 50 goals, Daniel Alfredsson's MVP type season and first place in the Eastern Conference, but all was forgotten with the early exit.

With those thoughts in mind, here's an end of season report card.

Remember, these marks are also based on the regular season.

If based only on the playoffs, then the grades would be much lower ... perhaps more members of this class would have failing grades.

SENATORS MANAGEMENT TEAM:

ROY MLAKAR President

The club had 33 sellouts, averaged 19,500 and was 14th in paid attendance. Making sure bums are in the seats for owner Eugene Melnyk is Mlakar's No. 1 priority and having a top team helps. A

JOHN MUCKLER GM

Took a gamble by bringing in Dominik Hasek and it was looking good until the injured goalie didn't return in the playoffs. Getting Tyler Arnason didn't help. Needs to make changes.

C

BRYAN MURRAY Coach

Murray took the leash off and opened it up offensively, but the way the Senators played defensively in the playoffs left a lot to be desired. Doesn't mind showing emotion and the players know he cares.

B

THE PLAYERS:

DOMINIK HASEK G

Should have never gone to the Olympics -- and maybe injury wouldn't have happened. Was among the top goalies in the league before his injury.

B

43GP 28W 2.09 GAA

WADE REDDEN D

Went through a personal hell off the ice, but kept it together on the ice. A quality individual who makes the simple play and moves the puck.

A-

65GP 10G 40A 63PIM

RAY EMERY G

Was supposed to be mostly a spectator, but ended up as the No. 1 goalie when Dominik Hasek went down. Needs to come up with more big saves.

B+

39GP 23W 2.82GAA

CHRISTOPH SCHUBERT D

Is he a better defenceman or forward? Some would argue that point. He emerged this year as a guy who can play in the NHL.

C+

56GP 4G 6A 48PIM

ZDENO CHARA D

Played 30 minutes a night against all the top forwards in the league. Didn't perform the way Senators would have liked in the playoffs.

A-

71 GP 16G 27A 135PIM

BRIAN POTHIER D

Had a career year and showed he belongs in the league on a full-time basis. Played with confidence and did his job as a No. 5 blueliner.

B

77GP 5G 30A 59PIM

CHRIS PHILLIPS D

Okay, so he's not a scoring machine, but did you ever notice the guy? No ... and that's because he's steady and a solid character player.

B+

69GP 1G 18A 90PIM

ANTON VOLCHENKOV D

Hard to figure out what happened here. Didn't play the way anybody expected -- especially in the playoffs. Needs to be better.

C-

75GP 4G 13A 53PIM

PATRICK EAVES RW

Didn't make the club out of training camp. Took the opportunity when he was called up and scored 20 goals. Will be an NHL player for a long time. B-

58GP 20G 9A 22PIM

TYLER ARNASON C

Was given every chance to succeed by Murray, but couldn't score goals. Needs to make a commitment to improve.

F

79GP 13G 32A 44PIM

CHRIS NEIL RW

Took advantage of the chance to be a player under Murray. Plays with edge and isn't afraid to go to the net. Could be attractive trade bait.

B-

79GP 16G 17A 204PIM

ANDREJ MESZAROS D

Had a great season and would have been a rookie-of-the-year candidate in some other years. His playoff performance left a lot to be desired.

C+

82GP 10G 29A 61PIM

DANY HEATLEY RW

He scored 50 goals in the regular season, had success in the first round and faded against the Sabres. The fresh start was good for him.

A-

82GP 50G 53A 86PIM

BRIAN MCGRATTAN RW and VACLAV VARADA LW

McGrattan didn't play in playoffs, but didn't lose many fights in the regular season. Varada struggled, couldn't keep up with the speed.

C C+

MARTIN HAVLAT RW

The most skilled player on the team ... the Senators had a great record with him in the lineup, but could be dealt.

B+

18GP 9G 7A 4PIM

PETER SCHAEFER LW

One of the best players on the boards in the NHL because he's willing pay the price. Has chemistry with Fisher and Havlat. A nice fit.

A-

82GP 20G 30A 40PIM

DANIEL ALFREDSSON RW

He is still the straw that stirs the drink. No, he didn't get the job done in the playoffs, but nobody tries harder to lead the way.

B+

77GP 43G 60A 50PIM

JASON SPEZZA C

Has to be a better two-way player and the blind passes drives the coaching staff crazy. Moves the puck and has a connection with Heatley.

B+

68GP 19G 71A 33PIM

CHRIS KELLY LW

Worked hard to stay in the NHL and was a consistent performer every night. Not the most skilled player, but can't argue with the way he works.

B

82GP 10G 20A 76PIM

MIKE FISHER C

A Selke Trophy candidate, he's emerged as a solid defensive player. Gives the same effort every night and plays hard-nosed hockey.

A

68GP 22G 22A 64PIM

BRYAN SMOLINSKI C

Another guy whose days are numbered with the Senators. Can't argue with his playoff performance. Needs more consistency.

B-

81GP 17G 31A 46PIM

ANTOINE VERMETTE LW

Here is a guy who had a breakthrough season. Was one of the top penalty killers and had 20 goals. Will be a Selke candidate down the road.

B

82GP 21G 12A 44PIM


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