For those of us who celebrate Christmas, it's coming up fast. Christmas is about a lot of things - colder weather, spending time with family, eating too much food, racking up huge credit card bills. But a big part of Christmas is getting what you hoped for, and one of the best ways to do this is to make a Christmas list. For this reason, I present to you my wish list for the Ottawa Senators.
- A Hart Trophy for Erik Karlsson. Without Karlsson on the ice, this team's offence does very little and the team's defence isn't great. With Karlsson on the ice, this team is a dynamic offensive team and breaks out of their own zone with relative ease. If Ottawa makes the playoffs, Karlsson has been the most valuable player to his team by far (including Patrick Kane and his ridiculous point streak). Just imagine the Sens without 26 minutes of Karlsson per night. I imagine the Blackhawks would be worse without Kane, but they have enough scoring talent to pick up some of that slack. Ottawa would probably crumble without Karlsson. The good news is, he's been generating a fair amount of Hart Trophy buzz lately and I'm hoping that becomes stronger in the new year.
- 40 goals for Mike Hoffman. Whether or not he has character issues (which Dave Cameron hasn't said anything publicly about this year), Hoff is a joy to watch on the ice. Here's hoping he gets to the upper echelon of goal-scoring, giving Ottawa its first lethal goal-scorer since the days of that guy who's currently the sixth-highest scorer for the DEL's Nuermberg Thomas Sabo Ice Tigers.
- Some better defencemen. Is this too much to ask? It's painful seeing Ottawa often get hemmed in their own zone, seeing them fail at zone-clearing passes, seeing them somehow allow 27 shots in a single period.
- Some games for Shane Prince. I don't know what it'll take for him to join the lineup permanently, but I'd like to see him get a shot.
- Some wins for Binghamton. Jeff does a great job on this site covering the B-Sens, but it's so hard as a fan to follow a team that's playing that poorly. The team's 6-15-2-0 record puts them one point out of last in the league. For the sake of all the Bingo fans, I'd like to see the team turn it around a little bit.
- Some real examination of Ottawa's issues. It seems that when the Sens have a bad game, things like faceoffs or compete level or emotion get touted as the team's problems by Dave Cameron. I seriously doubt that Jared Cowen needs to try harder to be a second-pairing defenceman. I don't think emotion is helpful for Mark Borowiecki's game; in fact, I think when he's emotional is when he goes out of his way to make a hit that takes him out of the play. Faceoffs have very little to do with the team being outshot in nearly every game. Instead, the team needs to realize that something bigger is at fault. It could be personnel. It could be the system. Most likely, it's a combination of the two. But I don't think any of Ottawa's players needs to compete harder for the team to play better. There's something bigger at play.
- A playoff spot. Despite all the complaining I have done, it was fun seeing the Sens comfortably in a playoff spot for most of the season. At the time of publishing, Ottawa is still in a playoff spot, only much more precariously than just two weeks ago. Playoff hockey is what we've all come to see, since that's where memories are made. Alfie's OT winner against the Sabres. Pageau's hat-trick against the Habs. As a fan, I want to see this team win the Cup, and to do that they need to make the playoffs.
- Some recaps, first from last night's game against the Kings [Silver Seven recap, Rank the Performances]
- And from Saturday's disappointing loss against the Canadiens [Silver Seven recap, Rank the Performances, SensChirp]
- Ryan Dzingel had an impressive performances over the weekend, but it wasn't enough to give the B-Sens a win over the Hershey Bears [Silver Seven]
- One game's already down, but you can brush up on the week to come with B_T's Week Ahead [Silver Seven]
- Chet has your hater's guide to the week ahead [WTYKY]
- Nichols' thoughts on Bryan Murray's much-talked-about interview with TSN 1200 from last week [6th Sens]
- Nichols with an article on visualizing shot suppression. Like Travis Yost found earlier, Marc Methot is a great shot suppressor, especially in preventing follow-up chances [6th Sens]
- The 6th Sens podcast is out, this time with Bruce Firestone, the man who originally brought the Sens back [6th Sens]
- Andrew with a look at Dave Cameron's creativity and Ottawa's use of prospects [WTYKY]
- Peter Levi with some love for Ary's "risk-averse" label for the Sens, and a lot of thoughts on the Mikael Wikstrand celebration [Eye on the Sens]
- Some more artwork for the Sens' 25th anniversary, from a finalist in our contest, Eric Lapointe [Sens Nation]
- Stuart McGinn looks at how Clarke MacArthur is no nearer a return [SenShot]
- Even the mainstream media is talking about the holes in Ottawa's defensive game [Ottawa Citizen]
- A weekend piece about how Shane Prince is willing to wait for his next shot. Same way he did to start his OHL and AHL careers [Ottawa Citizen]
- TSN 1200's Advanced Chats with Chet and Luke isn't up as of this writing. Booooooooo!
- Jeff Skinner has re-found his game after being put on a line with Phil Di Giuseppe [Today's Slapshot]
- Seravalli looks at how Mike Sullivan plans to overhaul the system that's been failing the Penguins [TSN]
- Evander Kane continued to prove his character by sending a card and some tweets to a young girl about to undergo a series of surgeries [Die by the Blade]
- Sportsnet makes a list of the toughest players for each team to trade. The good news is that Ottawa's player (Chris Phillips) has a contract that expires at the end of this season. Assuming he doesn't get an extension [Sportsnet]
- Cole McCarthy with a superlist of the best players to name all-stars from each team in the league [Arctic Ice Hockey]