Silver Nuggets: Fast Starts

Off to another fast start, Turris has enjoyed instant chemistry with new linemates Clarke MacArthur and Cory Conacher - Abelimages

Fans were understandably disappointed when the Sens couldn't hold a 4-2 lead late in the second period of Saturday night's game against the Maple Leafs, resulting in a dropped point after a disappointing shootout loss. Still, three out of a possible four points after back-to-back games is a decent start to the season, especially ahead of a difficult west coast trip. The Sens don't return home to the Canadian Tire Centre for ten more days. The trip will see the Senators play the Kings, Sharks, Ducks, and Coyotes before returning home to play the Devils. The schedule doesn't get easier after the six-game road trip either, as the Sens visit the Motor City and former captain Daniel Alfredsson on the 23rd, play the Sharks at home on the 27th, and wrap up the month in Chicago against the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks on the 29th.

Today's Nuggets look at how the Sens typically start seasons and what, if anything, those starts mean at the end of the year.

SEASON
1ST MONTH
2ND MONTH
END OF SEASON
PLAYOFF RECORD
1992-93
1-9-1
1-13-0
10-70-4
did not qualify
1993-94
2-6-2
3-9-1
14-61-9
did not qualify
1994-95
0-3-2
2-9-1
9-34-5
did not qualify
1995-96
5-5-0
1-11-1
18-59-5
did not qualify
1996-97
3-3-4
4-7-2
31-36-5
Lost Conference Quarter Finals
1997-98
8-3-3
2-10-1
34-33-15
Lost Conference Semi-Finals
1998-99
5-3-0
5-4-3
44-23-15
Lost Conference Quarter Finals
1999-00
8-2-1-1
6-6-1-0
41-28-11-2
Lost Conference Quarter Finals
2000-01
7-1-3-0
6-6-1-0
48-21-9-4
Lost Conference Quarter Finals
2001-02
6-6-1-0
6-2-2-0
39-27-9-7
Lost Conference Semi-Finals
2002-03
3-4-1-0
10-2-2
52-21-8-1
Lost Conference Finals
2003-04
5-2-0-1
4-6-2-2
43-23-10-6
Lost Conference Quarter Finals
2005-06
8-2-0
11-1-0
52-21-9
Lost Conference Semi-Finals
2006-07
5-6-0
8-6-1
48-25-9
Lost in Cup Finals
2007-08
9-1-0
7-5-2
43-31-8
Lost Conference Quarter Finals
2008-09
4-5-1
4-5-3
36-35-11
did not qualify
2009-10
6-4-2
7-3-2
44-32-6
Lost Conference Quarter Finals
2010-11
4-6-1
7-7-0
32-40-10
did not qualify
2011-12
7-5-0
5-5-2
41-31-10
Lost Conference Quarter Finals
2012-13
5-1-1
7-5-2
25-17-6

Lost Conference Semi-Finals

1992-92 to 1998-99: wins-losses-ties; 1999-00 to 2003-04: wins-losses-ties-overtime losses; 2005-06 to 2012-13: win-losses-overtime losses

So what does this illustrate?

Ottawa's two best seasons (the Presidents' Trophy-winning 2002-03 season and the Stanley Cup Finals 2006-07 season) began in rather pedestrian fashion. In 2002-03, the team played .500 hockey during October before breaking out in November. In 2006, there was little indication the Sens would repeat their stellar record from the previous season, as the they played .500 hockey for the first two months.

Ottawa's best starts have often ended in heartbreak. In 1999-00, the Sens got off to a blistering start, only to sputter in November. The team would eventually lose the first installment of the Battle of Ontario. Through the first two months of the 2005-06 season, the Senators were 19-3, only to lose Dominik Hasek, and eventually a second round series in five games to the Buffalo Sabres. In 2007-08, the Sens set an NHL record for best start to the season after 14 games and won 15 of their first 17 games. However, the team sputtered in the second half of the season, winning just 18 of the final 44 games of the season.

Poor starts cost jobs. Ottawa's first coach, Rick Bowness was fired after an abysmal November record in 1995. Good starts prolong jobs. Ottawa's record start in 2007-08 bought John Paddock another 47 games (a span in which the team went 21-20-6), behind the Sens bench, despite the team's obvious struggles and he was fired on February 27, 2008.

Most importantly, it illustrates that nothing is determined by October alone.

Sens Links:
NHL/Hockey Links:
Traditional Adnan Ticket Reminder: Win Tickets to See the Senators play the San Jose Sharks at CTC on October 27, 2013

Here is what you have to do. Follow these instructions.

Pick one of the following two topics:

  1. Why Jean-Gabriel Pageau will be Ottawa's #1 centre in three to five years.
  2. Why Patrick Wiercioch will be Erik Karlsson's partner on the top pairing (5-on-5).
Now write a FanPost about one of these topics. If you don't know where to write a FanPost, feel free to ask me! The post judged to be the best by my arbitrary criteria and possibly others on the staff will receive the free tickets.

Now before you get too excited, the tickets are in Section 323 (one the ends) in row P. Still, free is free right? This package has a combined value of $100.50 so think: what would Adnan like?
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