Nobody Saw It Coming

The magnitude of the Ottawa Senators' failures this year cannot be overstated

Nobody Saw It Coming
Photo by Maksym Kaharlytskyi / Unsplash

As I sat watching last night's match-up between the Ottawa Senators and the Pittsburgh Penguins, there was a nagging thought that kept breaking through: nobody predicted the season would go this poorly. Sure, plenty of pre-season prognostications disagreed about whether the club would actually qualify for the post-season but you'd be awfully hard-pressed to find anyone who thought they wouldn't at least be on the bubble. The situation got out of hand so badly, and so quickly, that it feels like we've spent an eternity stuck in this quagmire; in reality, it was a mere five months ago that optimism was nearing all-time highs. A common sentiment among fans and analysts is that this year has been the most disappointing season that they can remember. If disappointment is a function of the distance between your expectations and reality, then the 2023-24 Sens are in a category all of their own.

Perhaps stats models are your thing, in which case friend of the site Dom Luszczyszyn over at the Athletic had the Sens pegged for 94 points and a 52% chance at the play-offs before the start of the campaign. Ottawa is currently on a 72 point pace, an outcome that Luszczyszyn's model viewed as having a less than 5% likelihood of occurring. In fact, if the Sens stumble down the stretch, they could fall outside Dom's error bands altogether:

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