Thursday, April 17, 2008

It's Question Time

Its natural, it’s our basic hockey instinct and it’s frustrating. Trying to figure out exactly what went wrong with the Ottawa Senators this season. It is our deep desire to have the easy, clear, black and white answer to a question which is anything but black and white. We all want to be able to point the finger at one guy or one small group or one problem and say that is the reason Ottawa under achieved.

It is not nearly that simple when dissecting the Senators. This season was a collection of multiple Mis-steps. At times a crisis of confidence which went on for too long. A group of individuals who all, at some point, lost sight of the bread crumbs and could not re-trace their steps back to an elite level hockey. If I had the answers I would be the only one.

One thing is certain. Changes will happen. Some were going to happen regardless of the outcome this season. There are the obvious ones. Those who expect Ray Emery and Wade Redden to leave the franchise are likely right but it won’t stop there.

There is one thing for sure and that is Bryan Murray knows he needs to change the mix on this team but not blow it up. It as been too good for too long to tear it apart after half a bad regular season and a terrible playoff round.

Knowing Bryan and the type of teams he’s built in the past, I would expect he and assistant GM Tim Murray will try to increase the jerk level on this club. I say that in the best way. Players who opposing teams think are jerks. Look at some of the Ducks drafted by Murray. Kunitz, Getzlaf and Perry. Good players who can be jerks on the ice. Good players who are very hard to play against.

If there is one thing we can point to when analyzing this club this year is that too often they were too easy to play against. That will change and Murray won’t hesitate in that regard.

It will be a long summer of criticism and analysis but I have no doubts the style of this team will change. It will still have plenty of skill, but the jerk content will go up and that is a good thing.

See you at the rink.


Anonymous said...

In my opinion, the Senators are just not nearly as good as everyone thinks they are. They really didn't deserve a playoff spot this year, but were fortunate enough to receive one because of their hot start.

-Tim Boudreau

Anonymous said...

Good point Tim.

Look, the fact is that this team has never won the big prize.

They've been in the playoffs for what, 11 or 12 trip to the Finals, two (?) trips to the Conference finals and a bunch of early exits and shutouts against.

These are good hockey players but they aren't, as a core, winners. They are comfortable with making the playoffs, winning a round or two then going home for the Summer.

That has to change. The players need to HATE losing. They need to HATE getting a goal scored against them.

Basically, they need about 8 more Alfredssons and 4 more Phillips and Volchenkovs in the lineup.

Also, the new coach has got to make defense a priority...allowing 3-4 goals a game is not going to cut it in the playoffs.

The Senators should still be in the playoffs. The core needs a change.