Senators Ups and Downs: Fresh Start Edition

This week flew by, didn't it? The Senators started on a high, putting together a 3-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins, only to follow it up with a putrid effort against the Carolina Hurricanes, their first game without Jason Spezza, who was injured in the victory on Sunday. The team again missed chances against Columbus, but managed to salvage a point with a rally before losing in overtime, 4-3. And then, in true Senators style, they tossed all that momentum out the window with a huge, embarrassing failure against Toronto, 5-1. We've said it before, and we'll say it again... yikes.

Biggest Gains: Jesse Winchester
You know who looks like he wants to play hockey this year? Jesse freakin' Winchester, that's who. Remember when this team used to skate hard and fight for pucks and try to make plays? Jesse freakin' Winchester does. Heart used to be Ottawa's secret weapon, but just one guy is playing with it these days. It's no coincidence he's been the best forward recently.

Biggest Losses: Brian Elliott
Elliott, who was about as perfect as could be asked for against Nashville, and stole a game against Pittsburgh, did his team no favors in the loss to Carolina, and was as equally inconsistent against Columbus. His five-hole especially this week was too easy to score on this week. While both Sergei Gonchar and Filip Kuba both deserved consideration here, Elliott's inconsistency is more detrimental to the team. He was mercifully pulled after getting worked by Toronto, but unless Pascal Leclaire is suddenly the subject of a secret government experiment where his bones are clad with adamantium, which doesn't even exist, Elliott is going to have to go out there and play in the team's next game. It would be nice to see his teammates bail him out once in a while, but it would be nicer if he didn't put them in a position where they needed to.

Goalies Trend Notes
Brian Elliott See "Biggest Losses."
Pascal Leclaire The worst part of Leclaire's injuries is the recovery time. I'm not backing off my down arrow.

Filip Kuba His play got him scratched this week. There was a time when we thought we needed him back desperately.
Chris Phillips Cannot possibly be re-signed if he keeps playing like this.
Sergei Gonchar Managed a goal against Toronto, but is just as deserving of a scratch as Kuba.
Brian Lee It's time for Lee to get regular playing time. He can't do any worse than the guys we're playing now.
Erik Karlsson Remains tied with Alfie for the lead in team points with 24. Seems to possess a rare trait scientists are calling "skill."
Chris Campoli Remains Mr. Average. Probably doesn't need to be playing more minutes, but on the other hand, what could it hurt to give him a shot at a bigger role?
Matt Carkner Carkner seems to have taken his benching to heart, and returned to the style that got him onto the team in the first place.

Jason Spezza His injury is probably the best thing that could happen to him this year, since it means he can't be blamed for the team's struggles while he's out. Maybe fans will start to actually appreciate his play once they miss it.
Alex Kovalev Kovalev was woefully ineffective this week.
Daniel Alfredsson Helped rally the team against Columbus, but he simply can't do it all himself anymore.
Milan Michalek I don't even know what to write here. Without his speed, he's ineffectual.
Mike Fisher Two goals in three games means he's the most productive forward this week. Yikes.
Nick Foligno Scored another goal against Columbus, but lacks consistency -- like most of his teammates.
Chris Kelly Cooled off considerably this week.
Chris Neil Bumped to the second line for a time. Went toe-to-toe with Colton Orr and laughed at the end of it.
Jarkko Ruutu Finally scratched.
Peter Regin He's trying, but the points just aren't coming.
Jesse Winchester See "Biggest Gains."
Ryan Shannon Much like Regin, the effort is there, but the points are not.
Jim O'Brien Called up to replace Ruutu, O'Brien has played well enough to keep Ruutu on the bench. Seems to possess a rare trait scientists are calling "effort."
Zack Smith You know he doesn't give a crap. Needs to play more consistently, though.

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