After eight games in the season, the Ottawa Senators are sitting at a measly 2-5-1 record. Those five points have them at 14th in the Eastern Conference. The good news: They are only four points back from the Division-leading Toronto Maple Leafs. The bad news: They're not playing consistently enough to catch them.
Consistency has been our watchword since last season, but we're still not seeing it. The team rebounded from a pasting in Pittsburgh with a strong road win in Buffalo, and promptly followed that up with a lackluster performance against Montreal on home ice. Both losses saw fluky goals against and too many posts hit. Ottawa seems to be in karmic debt at the moment. Someone donate to charity, stat!
Biggest Gains: Daniel Alfredsson
Oh, hey, you may have heard that Alfie bagged his 1000th point against Buffalo last Friday. Oh, and you may have heard he did it via hat trick. Also, you may have heard that he's kind of awesome.
Biggest Losses: Brian Elliott
The arrows are fickle. Last week's biggest gainer let in the first goal in both losses this past week, and despite remaining undefeated in his career against Buffalo, let in what can only be described as two atrocious goals by Tim Connolly. Elliott has shown an ability to make highlight-reel saves, but he has shown an inability to make routine ones. I realize he, like Pascal Leclaire before him, is not getting much support from the players in front of him -- but the last thing a struggling team needs is a soft goal at a bad time.
(read on for the rundown on all of the players...)
|Brian Elliott||See "Biggest Losses."|
|Pascal Leclaire||Out indefinitely with a groin injury. |
|Filip Kuba||Still injured. The team desperately needs his return. Who would have ever thought? |
|Chris Phillips||Phillips sits at a minus-four after eight games. His defensive play continues to improve, but must continue the trend before we start talking about any bigger gains. |
|Gonchar has been Ottawa's best defenseman so far this year. Now the owner of three power play assists, he's also tied with Chris Campoli and Alex Kovalev at a team-worst minus-five. We didn't get him to be a shutdown player, though. |
|Scratched for David Hale. Then played exactly one minute and twenty eight seconds on the fourth line when Jason Spezza was a late scratch. Was a minus-one in that timeframe. |
|Erik Karlsson||Picked up two assists in the win over Buffalo. Still not a shutdown guy, but if he's helping to produce at the other end of the ice, it's much easier to forgive his lapses as he finds his game again. |
|Chris Campoli||Bagged a goal late in the Pittsburgh game, but as mentioned before, is also a minus-five. It's unfair to ask more of him defensively, but he's not consistent enough in generating offense not to ask it of him. |
|Matt Carkner||Carkner played stupid hockey this week. Especially against Montreal. This is what happens when he tries to play outside of his comfort zone. |
|David Hale||Called up from Binghamton to provide a steadying presence on the blueline. He hasn't been spectacular, but he hasn't been Brian Lee, either. So, that's a gain in my book. |
|Jason Spezza||Missed the last two games with a lingering groin injury. Get well soon, Jason! |
|Alex Kovalev|| ||Well, at least he made an effort this week. Still has just one assist on the year, but it was nice to see him start to shoot more. |
|Daniel Alfredsson||See "Biggest Gains."|
|Milan Michalek||The streaky winger has gone cold, with no points this past week. Needs Spezza's return the most. Stickhandled himself into a corner -- literally -- against Montreal. |
|Mike Fisher||Fisher has been a wrecking ball regardless of his linemates. 21 hits on the year ties him with Chris Neil.|
|Nick Foligno||Had an assist in against Buffalo, but is starting to creep in a downward direction. The effort is there; the production is not. |
|Chris Kelly||Mr. Dependable. |
|Chris Neil||Returned to the third line with Kelly and Ruutu. Leads the team (and NHL) in PIMs, some stupid, some not. |
|Jarkko Ruutu||Toned it down, kind of. Got called for diving after getting boarded due to his reputation. Also beat the crap out of Jeff Halpern, which is always easy to approve of. |
|Peter Regin||The second line center while Spezza is out, Regin has looked like the team's hungriest player this past week. He is creating chances, but like the rest of the team, is having trouble finishing them. |
|Zack Smith||Got back in the lineup with Jason Spezza out, but didn't do much. |
|Jesse Winchester||An ideal fourth line player. I have no complaints about his game at the moment. |
|Ryan Shannon||Maintained his high effort level and scored another nice goal, this time against Buffalo. While his last one was skill, this one was hustle. Shannon is one of the few Senators right now who is actually seeing his hard work pay off. |
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