I am a true fan of the Ottawa sens. It is sad the way this team has tackled this season and one can only agree that there is no miracle solution to the on-going problem of the Sens.
The Sens are a talented team!!! They have leading veterans of the like of Alfredsson, Kovalev, Spezza, Fisher, Gonchar, Philips, Kuba, and others. They also have talent in their young players such as Karlsson, Regin, Foligno, Shannon.
The problem is NOT with the team, the problem is with coaching. I am not trying to make every player innocent but the coaching of this team is not in SYNCH with the team's capabilities. The main issues that I have with coaching are as follow:
1. Line changes: Have you seen a constant line in the Sens games since the beginning of the season? Line changes are a result of uncertain coaching decisions. Whether good or bad, lines have always been changed regularly and sometime, within the same game;
2. Inconsistency in the net: Pascal and Brian are both good goaltenders. However, for a reason that I fail understanding, Brian Elliott is always given priority even if Pascal is a 4,8 Million$ player. Yes, Leclaire is frequently injured. But when he is not injured and is playing well, why can't we just solidify our net? Price was awfull last season but got talent.... He got the position and confidence he needed from the Habs and now, he is phenomenal! We can't switch goaltenders when they loose... this is insane and disrespectful to the goaltender.
3. Preferring younger players to veterans: Butler should not be a winger at the first line right from the AHL. Kovy was always downgraded. Kelly's potential is bigger than a third line centerman. Foligno, Regin and Butler played on the first line. Foligno has 2 goals this season and they were not even intentional goals. Karlsson has a lot of potential but is a liability now... I do believe in the added value of talent from youngsters but not to the expense of disrespecting veterans.
4. Not building on the strenght of each player: Clouston is imposing his system to the players and not adjusting it to the players's strength. In doing so, he is making severe mistakes for an NHL coach. Gonchar was playing at his wrong side to accommodate Karlsson, Butler played left wing when he is used to play right wing, Kovy plays with the puck but is not efficient with the forechecking. The Regin-Spezza-Kovalev line has been phenomenal on the ice for a few games. Even if they didn't score all the time, they were a constant threat and the chemistry was present! Kovy was also very energetic. Clouston scrapped the line.
Making risky decisions on PK: Spezza, Michalek, Gonchar, Fisher, Alfredsson are playing big PK minutes. Anyone knows the total salary for these players?????? One slap shot on the knee, and you are injured.
Weak PP: I haven't heard of a PP in a league where scoring chances against you are bigger than your own. The PP has major inconsistencies and we have to resolve that. It's been on-going for weeks now with no results.
Transition and Neutral Zone: The transitioning in the neutral zone is bad. I don't know, but have you seen how many time the play is either slowed down, stopped or turned over? Have you seen the passes to a player when the player has no opening? Where is chemistry? The success of the team in offense is in its capabilities in the transition. It's not there.
For all of these reasons, I believe the coaching staff is to be blamed for the lack of success of the team. It is sad to see a skilled team such as the Sens to go down this low. The coach should listen to the players the same way players listen to the coach. We cannot play chest with a team where each player's strength is unique. We cannot disrespect players by giving preference to one or the other. We must play hockey and WIN!
Go Sens and hopefully all your fans will enjoy watching your successes once again!