Senators take leave of tough season

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:10 PM ET

There was no need for any heavy lifting as the Senators cleaned out their lockers Monday.

All they really wanted to take with them from the 2010-11 season was the final two months.

Everything else could go in a garbage bin.

“We need to turn the page but also look ahead,” said captain Daniel Alfredsson, whose team won 15 of its last 27 games, while he rested an ailing back, but still came nowhere close to a playoff spot. “And get a lot better.

“We obviously had our struggles this year, with expectations we had on ourselves. It’s been a tough year for everybody involved, with all the changes made from trading core players, and now with (coach) Cory (Clouston) getting fired. Not the way we envisioned things starting this season. But in this business, if you don’t get the results you’re expected to get, things will happen.”

Alfredsson, whose wife is expecting their fourth child in May, is going to wait until the end of the month to re-evaluate his back before deciding how to proceed. He still fully expects to play next season. 

While the Senators were a vastly better team with the acquisition of goalie Craig Anderson, Chris Neil shot down the other theory as to why they were so bad for most of the season.

“I don’t think we tuned out our coaches,” said Neil. “You look at the last stretch we had. Obviously we were paying attention, because we were winning some games.”

That doesn’t stop them from being branded as “coach killers," as they are about to get their fourth bench boss in four years.

“It’s not something we’re proud of,” said Chris Phillips. “Those guys lost their jobs because we didn’t play well enough. Obviously you feel bad because of that. We’d love nothing more than to bring someone in and have a long run of good times.

“There’s lots of us who didn’t have very good years .. I didn’t have a very good year ... and that’s what it always comes down to. We have to get the job done. We had a pretty clear understanding of how he wanted us to play. Just filled with mistakes, night in and night out, that added up to a lot of losses.”

Their one all-star, 20-year-old defenceman Erik Karlsson, missed the final week of the season with a thigh laceration and will make a “last minute decision” on whether or not he’d participate in the world championships.

“I’m going to go back to Sweden, I’m going to enjoy the weather and I’m going to work hard every day,” he said. “I’m not going to take very much time off.”

don.brennan@sunmedia.ca


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