Taking a look at the Individual Performances this far


The 2013-2014 Ottawa Senators Team Photo (absent: Erik Karlsson, and ummmm, that's it)

The Ottawa Senators have played through 24 games now, and well, it hasn't been pretty. Flashes of brilliance (See: 6-1 Win over Detroit) are followed by terrible performances (See: 5-0 Loss to Philadelphia). Going into the season, we had huge expectations. Dreaming of the potential Stanley Cup and the dynasty that Bryan Murray has built, we were getting ahead of ourselves. Blobby ahem Bobby Ryan was supposed to be the replacement we never had for Dany Heatley while playing on a power line with Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek. While Bobby Ryan has ended up being the force we dreamed of and he has been playing on a power line that has been absolutely sensational, it wasn't the line we envisioned would be leading us heading into the season. Now I'm going to take a look at my admittedly biased opinions of our player's performances thus far and grade them, based on their usual standard of play. Let's get started.

Craig Anderson: Honestly, Craig has not been great. There seems to be a trend that every second year Anderson plays in the NHL, he turns in average performances. I think maybe we were setting the bar too high on Andy, who had a career year last year that gave us plenty to look forward to in the future. In a way, his play has been reflective of the Senators as a whole. An amazing performance as an underdog last year followed by subpar performance after having the bar set too high this year. Grade: C

Mark Borowiecki: In Mark Borowiecki's limited time, he's looked pretty solid. A great hitter and an adept fighter who provides energy boosts to the team by doing what he does best: Hitting and fighting. The one problem is that he's already earned himself a reputation as a troublemaker on the ice and the refs have handed out some very questionable penalties just because he's got that reputation. Grade: B

Cory Conacher: Ottawa's very own honey badger had a very good start to the season playing on the Hot Pocket line which comprised of Clarke Macarthur, Kyle Turris and himself. Then however, Paul Maclean put Bobby Ryan with Kyle Turris and Macarthur and Conacher with Spezza and the rest is history. Hasn't played well since, and is taking more penalties than drawing them. Grade: C-

Erik Condra: At the beginning of the season, the Condra we were used to seeing was not here. The Condra we were used to seeing was a possession wizard who was incredibly responsible in his own end and wasn't anything special to watch (especially on offence). He made bloggers like Travis Yost salivate with his amazing Corsi%. This year he's been anything but. In recent performances however, he's looked better and seems to be improving. Grade: C

Joe Corvo: In the few games he's played (emphasis on few) he's looked alright. Certainly better than Cowen and Gryba which raises the question as to why he hasn't been playing when he seems to know how to get the puck out of our own end, which is something we desperately need our defence to do right now. Grade: B-

Jared Cowen: Oh boy. Jared Cowen gave sort of a negative impression to the fans even before the season started by his near hold-out during contract negotiations. And then from the moment he stepped on the ice, it just spiralled out of control. In a bad way. Jared Cowen has become the scapegoat of the team. And while his recent performances have been better, they still haven't been good. Grade: D

Stephane Da Costa: I couldn't care less. He's shown that he's fantastic in the AHL yet lacking to say the least in the NHL. Corey Locke in a nutshell. Grade: C-

Derek Grant: Derek Grant is goal-less through the first 24 but has been arguably our best penalty killer. Still not sure that he's a fit long term but time will tell. Grade: B-

Colin Greening: Much like Erik Condra, Colin Greening's start to the year was dismal. He just looked slow and wasn't playing well at all. Emotionless is a good way to put it. Then after he unleashed all the emotion we had been missing in a fight against Luke Schenn of Philadelphia, he started to play well. Here's to hoping for a good Greening for the rest of the season but I have to grade him on his poor start as well. Grade: C

Eric Gryba: What he lacks in offence he makes up for in size and his solid defensive play. Atleast that's how it's supposed to work. Eric Gryba has had some good games but the amount of bad games outweighs the good. Gryba on numerous occasions is caught turning it over in his own zone, which is bad, because him being a rock steady defenceman was the one thing we could count on him for. Grade: C+

Erik Karlsson: This one is understandably interesting. While Karlsson has been an absolute sensation on offence, his defence has left something to be desired. (This is by Karlsson's defensive standards, his defence is still better than everyone on the team except Methot). Despite it not being at it's best though, his defence has been acceptable in my mind. While he may make the odd turnover, he gets it out of our zone many times per game, and that is the main thing our defence has trouble doing. Grade: B+

Matt Kassian: What can I say? Paul Maclean has been benching our top sniper and whenever Kassian does get to play he only plays 2 min. Brutal. Times like this I start to wonder if I really Trustache. Grade: NA

Clarke MacArthur: Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it Superman? Nope, it's Clarke MacArthur. If every UFA signing Ottawa brought us a player like MacArthur we would be the best team in the NHL. Clarke may have had a slow start in terms of scoring goals, with his lengthy goal scoring drought where it seemed every force of nature was willing him not to score, but even then you could see his two way play and hustle on display. Now though, over the past 10 games he's been racking up points in a nice fashion. From a nice goal against Montreal, to the assist of the year, he's been amazing. And to top all of that, he still gives you 110% and plays well anywhere. 5v5, PP, PK, he's deployed in all situations. Plus he isn't a third wheel on our 1st line, he's a consistent force on it. Plus, he's the Corsi% Master. Grade: A++++++++

Marc Methot: Methot hasn't played as well as he did last year (____ hasn't played as well as he did last year sums up our season) but still hasn't done much to complain about. In the past few games he has had some defensive decisions called into question but I don't see it as much to worry about. He's consistent, effective, and not very flashy. He also might have stood out more last year due to an elevated role with all of our injuries to deal with. Grade: B

Milan Michalek: Ugh I was dreading this one. You see, I've always supported Michalek and thought he could end up being a 25-30 goal scorer consistently. Injuries have just derailed his career so much I have to say that even I am losing faith. Unless he just becomes blazing hot the rest of the year he will be gone by the end of this season whether you like it or not. That's kind of a hard reality for me but it's quite clear that his future with Ottawa is next to non-existent. Grade: D+

Chris Neil: Neil has had a very Chris Neil-like season. Full of dumb penalties at bad times, fights, the worst garbage goals you will ever see and some very lacking play for the first two thirds of the season so far. Even so, he still managed to make us feel sorry for him by getting hit in the face with a puck. Many times. I don't even know how many times it's happened now. I think maybe 5 times. If we didn't feel sorry for him after the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th time, we did after the 5th and last time which involved a ruthless Karlsson who will stop at nothing to get the 'A' on his chest. In any case, the last 8 games or so from Neil have been alright, nothing significantly good or bad, which for Chris Neil is great. Grade: C

Chris Phillips: The other assistant captain in our roster, he's sort of a scapegoat because many feel he should have not have been resigned for as long as he was. Anyways, at the start of the season he had a shaky 5-6 games where many said he should've been benched but since then in my opinion he's done just fine. Nothing amazing, nothing terrible, just consistently okay, and I'll gladly accept that as it has been consistent and it seems that right now we know what we can expect from him. Grade: B-

Bobby Ryan: After being called out during training camp about his conditioning, Bobby earned the nickname "Blobby". Sadly for Blobby, it stuck. In all seriousness though, Ryan has been all that was advertised and more. No one from Anaheim bothered to tell us about his underrated passing skills and a little was said about his ability to hit but he does it much more than we were expecting. He's our top goal scorer and he possesses an absolute monster of a shot which he can unleash in an instant. Not much to be mad about. Plenty to be proud about. Grade: A

Zach Smith: Our 3rd line centre who has played fairly well this season. He seems to be much more creative in carrying the puck in to the opposing teams ends then he used to be. Doesn't change the fact that the majority of the time, despite his efforts to get into the offensive zone, no real chance is ever created. He's made some bonehead plays yes, but he's still been a very solid and reliable 3rd/4th line centreman. Grade: B

Jason Spezza: Now obviously, there has been some controversy surrounding Spezza and his leadership and his play in general. In my opinion, Spezza is doing fine. I don't at all question his leadership, he was already a team leader when Alfie was with us and I think he was very well groomed for the leadership part of being a Captain. As far as his play goes, lets not forget that his reputation comes as being a streaky centre and it looks as if he's in the beginning of another streak right now. That being said, his +- at -9 is unacceptable especially when you have guys like MacArthur on the same team as you with +10. Same goes for Michalek. Both of them are veteran presences on this team and while they sort out some of their offensive struggles they should be leading the way on defence. Grade: B-

Kyle Turris: Kyle Turris was our first line centre/top scorer last year. He got both those titles due to extensive injuries to key players in our organization. Now though, he's worked himself up to be a centrepiece in our organization. This has the beginnings of a career year for Turris who, like MacArthur and Ryan, has just exceeded expectations by far. The fact that we have him signed for 5 more years at only $3.5 million per, that could be the bargain of the century. Turris was drafted with intentions to be a first line centre but as his time in Phoenix grew, that belief shrank. That belief has been brought back up now with his performance in Ottawa warranting talks as him being a possible cornerstone for our organization. Grade: A+

Patrick Wiercioch: Paul Maclean just seems to really dislike Patrick Wiercioch because he has been very tentative in his use even though he is clearly better than the likes of oh, I don't know, a certain Jared Cowen? It's been a little bit absurd at times how much Wiercioch has been watching from the press box this year, though that's not to say his performance has been great. Usually it's been decent with the odd bad game. All I'm saying is, even if Patty isn't playing as good as he's supposed to be, neither is half the team so give him a chance to play. Grade: C+/ B-

Mika Zibanejad: DJ Zbad has had a weird season so far. Even though many thought he was a lock to make the team, well everyone did, he was sent down to Bingo and Stephane Da Costa and Jean-Gabriel Pageau were called up. When the aforementioned two began to suck, this sparked the #FreeMika campaign. This campaign went on for a while until he was finally called up to the big leagues, then, well the campaign got a little more specific. This time it was #FreeMikaFromtheBench. Like Wiercioch, Maclean has been tentative in using Zbad. Mika got an assist last game, but that probably means he'll be watching next game from the press box. Grade: B

To sum up, there's been quite a few lacking performances thus far. However, with Kyle Turris, Clarke MacArthur, Bobby Ryan and Erik Karlsson leading the way, there's still lots of time for the Senators to regain form and become the team we dreamed about going into the year. Our chances will improve even more if Spezza becomes a more consistent scorer and leader in the defensive zone. There's no reason to lose confidence yet, if Washington could come back from a seemingly impossible deficit last year and finish 3rd in the East, who knows what the Sens can bring us under the guidance of Paul Walrus ahem Maclean?

Thanks for reading!

This FanPost was written by a member of the Silver Seven community, and does not necessarily reflect the beliefs or opinions of the site managers, editors, or Sports Blogs Nation, Inc.

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