… losses that is. The Senators have not won since Thursday January 19th. That’s now 16 days without a win. Half a month without a win. What the hell happened?
Somewhere along the way the expectations for what this season was supposed to be changed. Probably when they won 10 of 12 games in late-December / January.
Among those 10 wins was a 3-2 win over the Leafs on January 17th… after that win the Sens had a 9 point lead on the Leafs. Here’s about when things went south…
After the loss Saturday the Sens now have only a 1 point lead on the Leafs. Oh, and the Leafs have played 3 less games, which is about the same as all the other teams around Ottawa in the standings. In fact, if the standings are adjusted and the teams are ranked based on winning percentage, the Sens now find themselves in 9th:
As I hinted at above, this recent funk is only crushing because the team well over-performed based on everyone’s pre-season predictions… most of which had them somewhere between 25th to 30th in the league and competition for a shot at Nail Yakupov.
So I think we can all freak out and panic like normal fans because there’s an angle to it that’s fun. There’s a certain rush to freaking out and bitching that’s actually a stress relief. But if you’re realistic, even after the 6 game losing streak, you’ll acknowledge that the Sens are still overachieving.
Murray and Melnyk both said they were committing to a rebuild and they need to stick by that plan regardless of where they are at the trade deadline (February 27). The only thing that changes is that if the Sens fall to 9th or lower I think they need to look at trying to move Gonchar and Kuba for whatever they can get. If they stay above 9th then I have no problem letting them play out the year and give it their best shot… but I will, in fact, go nuclear if they make any moves to trade picks and/or prospects for a short term upgrade.
Otherwise, I think we just need to kick back and enjoy the playoff push and not lose focus on the fact that this is still a rebuild year. And if the rebuild is done properly and not rushed, it’s only year 1 of 3, 4 or 5.
In the interim, and because it costs the Sens no picks and/or prospects, I recommend the following:
- Stop putting Neil on the powerplay;
- Stop playing Konopka. Period;
- Foligno is a good center and a shitty winger – play him at center;
- Give Bobby Butler a good run of games with Spezza (many will disagree with this one, but just do it); and
- Call Lehner up … just so Anderson feels some heat. Clearly Auld is not providing a credible threat.