Senators Ups and Downs: Olympic Edition!

Ups and downs is a feature that reduces complicated things to generalizations, but which everyone overlooks because it does it with pretty colored arrows.

The Senators went undefeated this week! That's awesome!

Biggest gains: Erik Karlsson

On the world stage, Karlsson is proving he's the world's best defenseman. So, that's pretty good.

Biggest losses: Milan Michalek

When you're one of two Senators' players at the Olympics and your competition is Erik Karlsson, you're probably not coming out on top. But seriously, through three games, Michalek has no points. Even his brother has an assist! The Czech team is different from the Senators, so it's really hard to read too much into Michalek's production--compare him to, say, Sidney Crosby, for example--but man, we'd like to see him take advantage of the larger ice surface with his speed.

Circumstance Trend Notes
Detroit Red Wings The Red Wings currently sit one point ahead of the Senators for the final wild card spot with one game in hand. But Ottawa hasn't lost Henrik Zetterberg to a herniated disc (and Sens fans have just recently been on that roller coaster with Jason Spezza), and mega superstar Pavel Datsuyk is playing awesomely through a knee injury. Russia has to play an extra game on Tuesday, which means Datsuyk is going to keep whaling on that injury, not rehab it.
Bobby Ryan Ryan wanted the pressure of being the man, and started to feel the pressure of being the man with his first extended goal-scoring slump of the season. His teammates are force-feeding him the puck to get him going, and while awesome to see, if it's reached that point, you just know it's weighing on his mind. So he goes off to Paris and gets engaged. Congratulations, Bobby! We suspect that this break from hockey and great news for his personal life came at an opportune time, and expect to see him return refreshed and focused.
Stephane Da Costa 3P (1G, 2A) in 2 games this weekend. Binghamton won those games by a combined score of 14-2.
Joe Corvo He probably went on vacation and found out the hotel had given his room to Cody Ceci.
Jason Spezza Yeah, the break will be good for his health, but we never like seeing streaking players get their momentum interrupted. Plus, he's probably watching Team Canada's centers and going, "Pfft, well, I could have done that."
Chris Stewart Could be an Ottawa Senator coming out of the Olympic break. We don't hate the idea of a second line comprised of Michalek-Spezza-Stewart, except both wingers are UFA, which means they're likely gone, and Spezza is starting from scratch next year.
Mike Hoffman Guy is just tearing up the AHL. Need a winger for Spezza? Look here! But... he's 6' and 185 lbs while Stewart is 6'2" and 231 lbs, so...
Phil Kessel

He's playing as well as anyone in the world right now. Hard to imagine Toronto missing the playoffs with the way he's going.

Having to think about Toronto in the playoffs Not like they'd endure the beautiful schadenfreude of a historic collapse in the playoffs two years in a row, would they?
Eugene Melnyk's wallet Forget the found money from new broadcasting contracts for a second. As a perennial 30-goal player, Kessel just set the market for Bobby Ryan: 8 years, $64M. But this year, Kessel is 2nd in the NHL with 31 goals and a 31-34-65 line while Ryan merely has 21 and a 21-22-43 line. And, hey, we love that production. But if we're GM Bryan Murray, when we try to extend Ryan as soon as the negotiating window opens this offseason, we're saying, "Well, we've seen what $8M gets and you had a great year, but it wasn't quite $8M comparable. Karlsson also outscored you (we assume) so, how about a front-loaded deal that has a $6.5M AAV?" Haggle a bit and agree on something in the $7.1M range and you save a little cash.
Daniel Alfredsson Having a great tournament. Maybe playing with Karlsson will make him want to come back? Spezza can keep the C and he can just do a victory lap with the team.
Enduring the Alfredsson-Karlsson love-in This isn't just "seeing an ex is happy on Facebook" painful. This is like "You're Bridget Moynahan, you get involved with a scumbag like Tom Brady and the second he gets you pregnant, he dumps you for supermodel Gisele Bundchen marries her and has two kids with her" bad. You probably put on a Jewel song and think about what could have been...
Self-respect It's overrated anyway.
Cory Conacher Conacher also reportedly got engaged, so that's happy news, but of course he was upstaged by Ryan. We only wish it was Clarke MacArthur who got engaged only to get upstaged by Blobby, because that would have been awesome.
Afternoon games We don't even want to imagine how more of the Senators would do in Sochi with the time difference. Jet lag would just ruin any hope, wouldn't it? Also, the Heritage Classic is at 4pm, but it's in Vancouver, so that's 7pm EST.
Tim Murray He's got a great opportunity and gets to deal from a position of strength in Buffalo, but talent evaluation for the draft where he's got a buttload of picks is all over the map, so that's not cool. And he doesn't have his own staff in place. so even if he does load up for this year's draft, how great can it be? A similar situation is how the Senators wound drafting Jim O`Brien. Still, there are worse situations for a GM to be in, like... Calgary.
Bryan Murray He's practically got to make a trade since he's got a logjam on the roster, but the team's probably not one player away this year. And even if they were, the spare parts they have to offer wouldn't really net the kind of player he needed, even as a rental. We'd love to see him hit another home run at deadline day, but he's going against a stacked deck.
Mixed metaphors Good thing there's not a writing quality Olympics.
Z. Smith Wonder if it's easier or harder to not give a crap on vacation in the Bahamas?
Mark Stone Didn't have such a bad week himself, matching Da Costa's point production. But it's tough to figure out where he fits in the team's future. Could he be a trading chip? If we were a rival GM, we'd be asking for Hoffman instead.

Special thanks to our friend winterion at Japers' Rink for our icons!

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