A season in review

BRUCE GARRIOCH

, Last Updated: 10:08 AM ET

This wasn't the way the dream season was supposed to end for the Senators.

There was supposed to be a Stanley Cup, a parade, a summer-long celebration, rings and a banner-raising this fall at Scotiabank Place.

Instead, the Senators came up short in the Stanley Cup final against the Anaheim Ducks.

When push came to shove, they couldn't get the job done and now they have the summer to think about it.

With those thoughts in mind, here's the end-of-the-year report card:

FRONT-OFFICE

PRESIDENT ROY MLAKAR: His No. 1 job is to sell tickets and the Senators sold out 31-of -41 home games. Thanks to the long playoff run, they will be in great shape next year. A

GM JOHN MUCKLER: Okay, he should have gotten Gary Roberts at the deadline. But the club did get to the final and, yes, he had a huge hand in that. You have to give him credit. B

COACH BRYAN MURRAY: Along with assistants John Paddock, Greg Carvel and Randy Lee, they pushed this club to get to the next level when it looked bleak. The players bought into their concept of playing strong defensively in order to generate offence. A+

GOALIES

RAY EMERY: Had a standout year and emerged as the No. 1 netminder in November. He's going to have a long summer thinking about what went wrong in the final. Needs to be more consistent. A

MARTIN GERBER: Played better in the second half, but he wasn't getting a big paycheque to sit on the bench. If he's back next year, he'd better work hard to battle for the No. 1 job again. F

DEFENCEMEN

CHRIS PHILLIPS: The own goal in Game 5 against Anaheim doesn't represent the type of season he had. He worked hard all year and was one of the club's top blueliners. A

WADE REDDEN: He gave up his right to unrestricted free agency and re-signed with Ottawa, but didn't have the kind of year anybody expected. Still, he plays valuable minutes and they had a tough time winning without him in the lineup. B

ANDREJ MESZAROS: What happened? This was a guy who was full of potential after a standout rookie season and instead suffered a huge setback as a sophmore. C

JOE CORVO: An accident waiting to happen on some nights, he played with more consistency down the stretch. If they can find a taker, he'll be getting a new address. C-

TOM PREISSING: He's unrestricted free agent this summer and the club has started talks with his agent. Hard to say whether he'll return. Moves the puck well, but has to be used in the right situations. B

ANTON VOLCHENKOV: He had a standout season, did a great job blocking shots and he would have been a candidate for the Conn Smythe if the Senators had won the Cup. A+

FORWARDS

DANY HEATLEY: Only he can explain what happened in the final. Too bad it ended that way because he did put together back-to-back 50 goal regular seasons. A-

JASON SPEZZA: Another guy with a lot of explaining to do for his performance against Anaheim. Again, it soured what had been a great season. Guess the young players have a lot to learn about what it takes to win. A-

DANIEL ALFREDSSON: The captain played with a lot of heart and didn't go down without a fight. He has had his leadership called into question without good reason. Too bad he didn't win. A+

PETER SCHAEFER: He may have been hurt in the playoffs, but his play was a year-long issue. Making a lot of money and didn't dominate the way he has in the past. C

MIKE FISHER: Another heart-and-soul player who lays it on the line every night. He was the best and most consistent forward in the final. Time for the organization to put a letter on his chest. A+

MIKE COMRIE: The unrestricted free agent likely won't be back unless he's willing to take a paycut from the $3.5 million he earned this season. He worked hard, but was hampered by an injury in the playoffs. B

ANTOINE VERMETTE: One of the top penalty killers on the team, he needs to find way to get more of a role. He has solid offensive numbers and should push for a top spot next year. B

CHRIS KELLY: Gained new respect for this young man this season. All he does is his job: Quiet and effectively. Can be used in any role. Will never be a 50-goal scorer, but is the kind of guy other teams are always going to ask about. B

CHRIS NEIL: He's no longer just a fighter. He's a smart player who shows the the odd flash of brilliance with the puck. Needs to continue leading the hit parade. B

CHRISTOPH SCHUBERT: Deserves more credit than he gets. He can play defence and is an effective winger in every situation. Would like to win a full-time job on the blue line. B-

DEAN McAMMOND: Didn't sign with a whole lot of fanfare, but showed veteran leadership and took pride in his job. Had a chance to play on every line and was usually able to get the job done. B

PATRICK EAVES: They couldn't give him up at the trade deadline because he's so important to the future. But what is he? A first-liner or a fourth-liner? He has to show it in camp. C-

OLEG SAPRYKIN: Hard to judge because he came in at the trade deadline. Didn't really get a chance to play any major role with the team. He won't be back next year. C-

BRIAN McGRATTAN: Didn't play in the playoffs and was used rarely in latter part of the year, but he's a good guy in the room. His presence takes pressure to fight off Neil. C

NOT MARKED: Lawrence Nycholat.


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