(Note: We're using the roster from the team's official site until otherwise notified. Except for Lehner. Cause... Lehner. So shut up about Silfverberg.)
Hockey? What's that? It's be a long, long road to get here, but it's time to take stock of just where the Senators sit in preparation for the upcoming "season." I'm rusty at writing introductions, so let's just get right to it.
Biggest gains: The fans
When you consider what the alternative is, any NHL hockey is good NHL hockey for fans who have needlessly--yes, needlessly--suffered through the bullcrap of an unnecessary work stoppage. Sens fans, in particular, do not get to see Daniel Alfredsson's final season ripped away from us by factors beyond our control, and get to enjoy watching a Norris Trophy-winning defensemen try to exceed his previous efforts while still early in his career. We get to watch a team with plenty of good prospects and good momentum led by a coach who was a finalist for the Jack Adams Award. It's practically the ground floor of the next generation of Sens stars, and we get to be in on it.
Biggest losses: The fans
Except that we don't get the 82 games of it we deserve. We got held hostage, and for what? On top that, we come crawling right back because we missed the game so much we can't deny our excitement just to be in on that ground floor we talked about above. It's a vicious cycle with no winners, and it sucks.
|Craig Anderson||How in the world does a starting goalie who just went toe-to-toe with the reigning Vezina Trophy winner start off with a down arrow? It's pretty simple: There's no margin for error in a shortened season, and Ottawa has two NHL-ready replacements should Anderson stumble even slightly. No pressure, guy.|
|Ben Bishop||A slow start in Bingo has given way to some truly outstanding play. It might sound crazy, but that outstanding play has been overshadowed...
||By oustandinger (yeah) outstanding play. Lehner looks so legit it's a shame he's going to be the odd man out thanks to his contract. He should really be the starter until Anderson knocks off the rust.|
|Jared Cowen||Cowen will be missed this season, incredibly so. He tore his hip tying a skate, and won't be back.|
|Sergei Gonchar||Gonchar appears ready for the season. He was named to the KHL All-Star team. That's good; the team needs him.
|Erik Karlsson||Oh, nothing much, just destroying Finland single-handedly. How was your summer vacation?
||Currently injured but should be back soon. Better hurry--this is a great opportunity for him.
|Marc Methot||Heisenberg is already a fan favorite. But we have no way of knowing what he's going to be like on the ice yet. That's scary, because so much depends on him.|
|Chris Phillips||Opening a restaurant is not staying in game shape, Mr. Phillips.|
|Daniel Alfredsson||Considering the alternative, this is the hugest green arrow we can give.
||Condra had a really good showing in Germany. He got the boot from his original team for being too good, and promptly put up 15P (10G, 5A) in 10 games with his new team.
|Kaspars Daugavins||This could be Rooster's last year with the team. He's got a lot to prove with prospects nipping at his heels.
|Colin Greening||Did well overseas, but looks destined for a bottom-six role this year.
||Huge opportunity awaits him if he can claim it.|
|Milan Michalek||Can't ask for a better recovery from his torn abdominal. He tore it up in his native Czech Republic, and should get more consistent winger help alongside Spezza this year.
|Chris Neil||Haven't heard a peep out of him.
|Jim O'Brien||Ditto. But like Daugavins, he's going to have to really earn his 4th line role.
||Last chance, Peter.
||Last we heard, Z. Smith was tackling people and robbing banks. So, you could say he's ready.
||Guy had a great offseason and gets new toys to play with. No reason not to be excited.
|Kyle Turris||The good news is no more truck stop food or long bus rides.