Road trips, right?
The Senators, before this road trip, were in a great place in the Eastern Conference. They seemed firmly entrenched in the 5th seed (which wasn't ideal due to a matchup with the Bruins), and even when they were struggling to win games they were very adept at picking up loser points and not losing ground.
Now? 5 games have gone by, and the Senators are stuck at 44 points. They have been leapfrogged by the Toronto Maple Leafs. They have been caught by the surging New York Islanders. They are no longer the Pesky Sens. It seems like every 3rd period they are caught with their pants down, and they are letting points get away in tie games, and even in games where they are leading in the third period (like the game against the Sabres).
What everyone wants to know is, what has gone wrong? The power play, which at one point was near the top of the league, has gone cold. Not unrelated, Sergei Gonchar and Patrick Wiercioch are doing their best Vanilla Ice impressions. Our goaltending has still been very good, but not miraculous. The fourth line has been an anchor instead of an asset. These are all causes for concern.
BUT the sky hasn't fallen yet. There are still lots of reason to be optimistic. There won't be a referee to give a team a 5-on-3 to score (in a one goal game) every night. The Senators shouldn't keep shooting at a 3.7% success rate. While we may not get Jason Spezza or Erik Karlsson back in time, we could see Milan Michalek and/or Jared Cowen back, and those are immediate upgrades.
Most of all, the sky hasn't fallen because we are still in it, we have games to turn this around, and Paul MacLean has shown an ability to squeeze blood from a stone. He will make adjustments, and we will turn it around.
And Praise Alfie.
- Recaps from the Senators latest loss. Darren writes a brilliant one. [SSS] [RawCharge] [SE]
- Radek Bonk's Mullet is continuing his dominance of the internet. You may worry about him getting a big head, but you can be sure that he doesn't have big legs. I present: #Rihannaing! [SSS]
- And he made the Globe and Mail. [Globe]
- Can always count on Varada for some levity during a tough time. Some alternate team names for the Senators. [WTYKY]
- Erik Karlsson skated again yesterday, which is great news. [6thSens] There is no timeline for his return according to his agent though. [Panzeri]
- Article on Luke Richardson's first year as a pro head coach. [OD]
- 30 Thoughts [CBC]