There is another club that I think also has resembled our 2013-2014 Ottawa Senators...
That team is the 2011-2012 Los Angeles Kings.
You are obviously sitting there wondering out loud, "But Manny, that's the Los Angeles Kings team that not only won the Stanley Cup but did it in dominating fashion! How on earth could you compare them to our Sens who might not even make the playoffs!?"
Well reader, I'm glad you asked.
Before the start of the 2011-2012 season, L.A. made headlines across the hockey world when they acquired Mike Richards from the Philadelphia Flyers. It was a steep price as they parted ways with Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn, and a 2nd round pick for Richards' services.
The team also added Simon Gagne during the off-season which would only bolster an already strong lineup that was ready to make some noise come playoff time.
This was a team that had
Marc Stall, Brian Lee Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Justin Williams, Jonathan Quick and Drew Doughty. The additions of Richards and Gagne put L.A. in the small group of Stanley Cup Contenders for the season.
In fact, I still vividly remember making my friends a bet when they made the off-season moves they did, that the L.A. Kings would win the Stanley Cup.
The off-season moves would not make an immediate impact. The team completed the first month of the season with a record of 6-3-2. Not a terrible start.
In November, the Kings went 6-5-2. In December, 7-6-2. January, 5-3-4.
Through the first 29 games (the same amount Ottawa will have played after today's date with the Tampa Bay Lightning) the L.A. Kings had a record of 13-12-4.
That is not a record worthy of a Stanley Cup. Neither is Ottawa's current record of 11-13-4
This is the part of the story where things get interesting:
Los Angeles decided to fire head coach Terry Murray on December 12th and named John Stevens as interim head coach. On December 20th, the Kings hired Darryl Sutter to be their new head coach.
The changes didn't stop there.
L.A. made moves for Edmonton's Dustin Penner (Colton Teubert, 1st Round pick in 2011 [Oscar Klefbom] and a 3rd round pick in 2012 [Danill Zharkov] and Columbus' Jeff Carter (for defenseman Jack Johnson and a conditional 1st round pick).
The Kings would close out December with a record of 6-3-2. To finish the season they posted the following records in each month:
They qualified as the eighth and final seed in the Western Conference, matching up against the President Trophy winning Vancouver Canucks.
The Kings went on to have one of the most dominant playoff performances in recent memory. The rest, as they say, is history.
Comparison to the Sens
With all the negativity surrounding this team right now, I've really been trying to stay positive. The purpose of this post is to remind everyone that teams that have struggled early have gone on to do great things.
The 2006-2007 Ottawa Senators made an incredible run to the finals during a year where by January, many of us were thinking lottery pick.
The 2011-2012 Los Angeles Kings went on to win the Stanley Cup during a year where many had picked them to win it all before the season started (sound familiar?) but struggles during the season changed people's opinions of the team.
I like our 2013-2014 Ottawa Senators. I like the group that Murray has put together and I think that if everyone was playing to their best ability, this would be a top team in the league.
Sometimes, when those expectations are there, it takes a little longer for the team to feel comfortable in that role. To get used to winning again.
So we might not finish the season as the number one seed in the Eastern Conference. I would actually rather we finished anywhere from 4-8. Once we make the playoffs (IF we make the playoffs) all bets are off. Just ask the Los Angeles Kings.