Let us count the ways ...

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:43 AM ET

ANAHEIM -- Cancel the parade plans in Ottawa. It seems as if the party is nearing its end for the Senators.

There likely will be a celebration at city hall some time in the next week or so to honour the Senators for winning the Eastern Conference championship, but is that really a reason to whoop it up?

These aren't the Edmonton Oilers, who stole the hearts of the country with their heroic run last spring and forced the Carolina Hurricanes to a seventh game in the final.

If, as expected, the Anaheim Ducks win the opportunity to parade the Stanley Cup through Disneyland, the Senators will spend the summer wondering what went wrong and where they need to improve.

"Only one team is right at the end of the season," Senators general manager John Muckler likes to point out.

And, in this case, it looks as if it's going to be Anaheim GM Brian Burke and the Ducks. People may not like their rough and tumble style, but even in the new NHL, they have proven that there is a lot left to be said for playing old-style hockey mixed in with plenty of pizzazz.

"We're not playing together in a more patient manner," said Senators coach Bryan Murray yesterday. "They're a very, very patient team. Maybe we get a little anxious, but I don't think it's anything more than that. We'll have to see if we can handle the pressure of being on the edge."

The Senators haven't given themselves a chance to win this series. The question is: What's happened?

1. THE BIG THREE

Jason Spezza, Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson haven't gotten the job done.

The concern of many coming into the Stanley Cup final against the Ducks was this: If the Senators' Big Three were shut down -- as they have been -- the Cup final was going to go sideways on the Senators ... and it has in a hurry.

Nobody has mentioned the Conn Smythe Trophy and Alfredsson in the same sentence since this series started, while Heatley and Spezza have one goal between them in the final.

2. NO CREDIT DEEMED DUE

The Senators never have been willing to admit the Ducks are the better team. They have talked about "beating themselves" and not "getting the job done," but Anaheim is simply more than this club can handle.

The Ducks are strong on the puck, tough physically and even more difficult mentally.

They didn't make an excuse with Chris Pronger suspended in Game 4.

They went out and got the job done because that's what champions do.

3. RAY EMERY

He has taken this club a long way and the Sens owe him a debt of gratitude for the way he performed all season.

But with the way the team is playing right now, it has needed Emery to steal a game, which he hasn't been able to do.

The Senators can talk about their defensive breakdowns, but Emery needs to help the club get a win it didn't deserve.

4. WADE REDDEN

Before the series, the Eastern Conference coach Sun Media enlisted to break down the Cup final said that Redden would be the key. He said an intangible in the series would be the ability of the Ducks to pound Redden physically and wear him down.

And that is exactly what has gone on. Every time Redden has touched the puck, somebody has been there to slam him into the boards. The Ducks are forcing him into making mistakes and that's costly when you have a guy who plays a lot of minutes.

5. SECONDARY SCORING

When they were banged up in January, the Senators brought in Mike Comrie to add some offence. He did a solid job then, but hasn't been up to snuff in the playoffs.

Winger Peter Schaefer has underachieved the whole season and that hasn't changed here, either. Antoine Vermette, Chris Kelly, Chris Neil and Dean McAmmond have shown flashes, but lacked consistency. This series has proven that Mike Fisher can't provide this by himself.

Unfortunately, for the Senators, precious little has gone right in this Cup final.

That's why it's all over except for the crying.


Videos

Photos