Ottawa - Oct. 15, 2011 - About 48 hours after what could be described as a lacklustre performance by the Senators, it doesn’t get any easier as the Senators meet the Eastern favourites the Washington Capitals and star forward Alexander Ovechkin. After an emotional home opening win over the Minnesota Wild 4-3 in a shootout, the Senators came up flat Thursday night losing 7-1 to the Colorado Avalanche.
It’s hard to imagine the Senators playing any worse, as they were beaten at every facet of the game. The Avalanche were clearly the faster and hungrier team and the Capitals are even faster. It will be interesting to see how the Senators rebound tonight. This game will clearly be an indication of how this young team copes with a terrible loss and it should be a good measuring stick to how far they have to go.
The Senators do have to start playing better if there is any hope of them making a run this year. Most importantly with a younger team though is the need to improve the confidence level of the team and avoid a culture of losing setting in. Nasty habits learned now by the young players will transform in future mistakes.
Falling behind early
For the 4th game in a row the Senators found themselves behind at both the end of the 1st and 2nd periods. Although the Senators opened the scoring they still were behind and were outshot 30-8 after two periods. This is definitely a bad habit that needs to be overcome. A Senators team that is less talent than most NHL opponents cannot continue to dig themselves from a hole. It’s still too early to point the finger, but if things don’t change, one has to wonder whether the coaching staff is responsible for not getting the team ready to start each night.
The Senators defense continues to turn the puck over and make gaff after gaff. Erik Karlsson, in his 3rd year with the Senators needs to learn that he cannot stick handle around everyone. Like Don Cherry says, if you’re not Bobby Orr then move the puck. Karlsson is not alone though.
Veteran defensemen Philip Kuba, Sergei Gonchar and Chris Phillips have all turned the puck over too many times. It’s not just the defense though. Too many times veteran players like Jason Spezza have turned the puck over at the wrong spot on the ice.
So far Craig Anderson has not been the goaltender the Senators brass had expected. Although, the losses cannot be blamed on Anderson; he’s been hung out to dry on numerous occasions. Anderson has not provided the Senators with great goaltending or made the big stop when they’ve needed it. His goals against average of 5.07 and save percentage of .853 are sub-par at best. The Senators need Anderson to provide solid goalkeeping and steal a game every once in a while.
As a response the Anderson’s poor play the Senators are starting back-up goaltender Alex Auld.
I rode the elevator down after the game with general manager Bryan Murray and his staff and they were clearly not impressed by the performance. Murray looked like he was ready to read the riot act and one can only surmise what was said to the Senators. Of course part of the reason we’re in this mess is because of some of the moves made by Murray.
Thanks to everyone who posted comments last week in relation to my article. Here is the best response which I thought I’d answer this time:
“The Sens were awful. I can’t imagine how bad it will be when they play the Capitals”. - Rita Reardon
Thanks for the comments. Remember if you’d like to make a comment and possibly end up in this article e-mail me at email@example.com