The man above in the pictue has likely been the Ottawa Senators' best player throughout the disastorous month of January. It has been a month where all hope for a playoff spot evaporated, and where the loss of Jason Spezza has hurt the team too much to overcome. It is just pathetic that they have won only one game in January, a 6-4 decision over the New York Islanders.
On the bright side, you can say they have tried. It seems like every time they have a chance to win, somebody does something stupid and BAM!, the game is lost. I think, unless some kind of miracle from the heavens, a Top 5 pick is likely. Which is good, right? And a date that I will have circled is February 28th, Trade Deadline Day. Although the Murrays are never heavily involved at the Trade Deadline, watch for them to move away some assets in exchange for picks + prospects. Guys that are on the move for sure are Filip Kuba (if somebody dares to trade something away for him), Jarkko Ruutu, and Brian Lee (although he has been solid as of late). Guys that may be on the move are Chris Phillips and Pascal Leclaire (once again, if anyone takes a chance on him). The intriguing name is of course, Mr. Phillips.
I really don't know what to say about his situation. Although I value him as a great defensive guru, this season has not been his at all, and a young team in the playoff picture will be interested him. I am talking about the Los Angeles Kings, who are bound with depth at D but may be looking for a playoff-tested man. For return, I am thinking about Jonathan Bernier, and I bet Bryan Murray would love to get his hands on him. Easily on my mind one of the best back-ups in the league, the young Bernier is stuck in LA playing spot duty to Jonathan Quick. another young, emerging goalie. Interesting, to say at least. Another guy in Jarkko Ruutu may fetch a solid bounty, as he can be useful come playoff time. For me, I would say possibly Washington, or maybe even Chicago.
If I were Bryan Murray, the un-touchables would be Jason Spezza, Mike Fisher, Daniel Alfredsson, Erik Karlsson, Matt Carkner, and Sergei Gonchar. There are other players who shouldn't be moved at the moment, but those 6 are the ones who should stay without a doubt.
Now, here are my 3 goals for the Senators for the rest of the oblivious known as the 2010-2011 season...
1. Stay Competitive/Play Hard
Now I'm not saying to make a last-minute run at the playoffs. I'm saying to work hard every game, and take the opponent to the limit. A good example is Friday's Flames-Senators game. A 3-2 decision from Calgary, but Ottawa fought hard until the last horn. It's one thing to take away while the season winds down, and it's best to keep your respectibility in the NHL, until Zenon Konopka declares "You are not a door-mat!"
2. Do better than the Toronto Maple Leafs in the standings
I believe it has been more than a decade since the Leafs did better than us in the regular season. Since both teams will not be making the post-season, I'd like to keep that record alive. I know the Bruins have the Leafs' pick in the Draft, but it's why it's called the Battle of Ontario. They're one point ahead of us right now with 2 games in hand. A couple of wins combined with a couple of losses for the Laffs and bingo, Mission Accomplished.
And the most important thing...
3. Defeat the Detroit Red Wings on February 2nd
I beg them to accomplish this goal. I cannot stand another year of "Haha your team sucks Red Wings kick Senator ass" from my co-workers/friends. Please please please please please, beat the Wings and kick their fine ass. If the Sens do this, I will run naked across Skelleftea Market Square with my Senators hat, and that's it. And don't worry, it's easy to beat them. Just injure all of their players and, you know, score...
Here comes Gabriel Landeskog!