Well, it finally happened.
Coming off a strong win, everyone's favorite whipping boy was scratched. Jared Cowen, the sole source of all evil in all universes, known or unknown, was not going to play. Freed from the anchor of Cowen's terriblosity, the Ottawa Senators would finally be able to play hockey the way it was meant to be played. No more getting hemmed in their own zone. Everyone's passes would be crisp now; their skating fluid and their shots precise.
5-2, Vancouver Canucks.
Once again, the Senators failed to capitalize on a good game and a good start. Hopefully with Cowen out, the scapegoating can stop. It's true that Cowen has been the team's worst defenseman. It's true that the Senators played better last night (except on the plays where they allowed goals, which kind of defeats the point) than they had in other losses. It's also true that they lost 5-2 without Cowen in the lineup.
Hopefully, last night puts to rest the scapegoating of Cowen that's gone on this season. If last night's loss illustrates anything, it's that the team's problems go far deeper than any one player. Those clamoring for a trade for a mythical top-four defenseman only have to look at the 5-2 result to realize the futility of such a move. The Senators aren't one player away from consistent success--they're one team away from consistent success.
That's the curse of inconsistency: There's no root cause. No head to cut off. No panacea to change your fortunes. No one move to fix the issues. Not a lineup change, not a blockbuster trade, not a game of dodgeball.
That makes this season easily head coach Paul MacLean's biggest challenge. What do you do to get a guy going when everybody needs to get going? I wish I had the answer. I'd share it with him in a heartbeat.
Last night should serve as more than a wake-up call to a team that desperately needs to get their heads on straight. It should serve as a wake-up call to increasingly vocal group of discontent armchair GMs who think they know all the answers. Cowen was out; the team still lost. So much for that theory.
It's time to stop singling out players like they're the lynchpin of our team's struggles. The team's struggles are team struggles. There's no point picking out a scapegoat and piling on him. It should be obvious to everyone now: Cowen has been bad, but he's not the problem--he's only part of it.
But, hey, cross him off the list, I guess. Craig Anderson, you're the next contestant on The Worst Player in the History of Anything Ever! And when Robin Lehner takes your job, and losses can't be blamed on you, there's always Jason Spezza!
- Paul MacLean says the Senators have gotten exactly what they've earned every night. Yep. [SE]
- Hey, if your emotions aren't already in the gutter after last night's embarrassment, Daniel Alfredsson returns to the city on Sunday! The boys at Bonk's Mullet wrote a song about it. It's perfect. [RBM]
- Speaking of Alfie's return, I bet the Senators' struggles will lead to plenty of booing for the former captain. [No link, just a random thought.]
- Rogers apparently owns hockey in Canada forever now or something. Varada has a closer look. All I really care about is that this is free money for the Senators. HELLO BOBBY RYAN EXTENSION! [WTYKY]
- Nichols has more thoughts on just how much money the Senators might see from the deal, and points out there's no rule requiring the cash to be spent on salary. What a Debbie Downer. [T6S]
- The Senators have a logjam on defense? I do not think that word means what you think it means, Ken. [SE]
- Bob McKenzie says that Evander Kane hasn't asked for a trade, and the Winnipeg Jets aren't shopping him, and the Senators haven't asked about him, but IF all that were true, he'd be the kind of player Ottawa would look at. Well... IF Alex Pietrangelo were available... [T6S]
- In case you missed it, Heritage Classic jerseys were revealed yesterday. I like Ryan Classic more. [SE]
- Eugene Melnyk was on the radio recently, and instead of the usual bluster, we got some pretty thoughtful answers like this [T6S]:
Well yeah, but this is the way you compensate for that. Sure, you’re never going to outspend some of the big market teams. You’re just going to face that reality. What you can do though is you can maximize other ways of bringing in revenues and I’m not going to rehash old stuff from this summer of what I was trying to do. We’re going to trying come up with other ways to bring up our revenues and leverage off our brand. But it also comes and speaks to your development team. If you don’t have a great development group – coaches, the trainers, the development people, the scouts and all those people behind the scenes that nobody ever sees who work their tails off to ensure that we have a future and a future pipeline of players. That’s where you should spend your money. It’s amazing how teams will spend millions and millions and millions of dollars on a player, and a lot fans will actually come out and say, ‘If you had more money, you’d spend it on this player or that player.’ You know, why don’t I take this money that this one player who is at the end of his career pretty much and put that into the development of my future pipeline. That’s the smart thing to do and I think people are starting to recognize it and look at our model and say, ‘You know what, that’s the way you do it.’ It’s much more productive developing your own than trying to go out and buy that talent. I really believe that.
- If you're done laughing/crying at the Alfredsson song, Elliotte Friedman has 30 Thoughts that you really should read. Lots of good stuff in there about why there's no Michael Del Zotto trade, and why Ben Bishop isn't an Edmonton Oiler. [CBC]
- Haha, I love Torts. [PHT]
- Overshadowing Clarke MacArthur's 100th goal was Daniel Sedin's 300th goal. Stupid showboating Sedins. [Canucks]
- The Los Angeles Kings have earned a point in 11 consecutive games. I wish I knew if that was good; I don't understand this word "consecutive." [Kings Insider]
- Martin St. Louis pulled an Apollo Creed on Brad Richards. THERE IS NO TOMORROW, STALLION! [Newsday]
- Justin Schultz is still developing for the Edmonton Oilers. Can you imagine if he was on our team this season? He'd be crucified. [Edmonton Journal]