Now that the All Star Game is over, teams are gearing up for the final stretch of the season. Teams have done their evaluations on their players and their teams, and are getting ready to bolster their squads in anticipation of making a run at and into the playoffs.
However, the Ottawa Senators will not be one of those teams.
When Jason Spezza went down to an injury on Boxing Day, it seemed to take any wind out of the Senators sails. The team has gone from being a good winning streak away from the playoff race to only winning once in 2011 and competing for the top pick in this years draft.
The question Sens fans have is how did it come to this point? Last year the team was comfortably sitting in fifth place team in the Eastern Conference. Now they are in a crowd at the bottom of the standings, with the New York Islanders and the Edmonton Oilers.
Many will point to key injuries like Spezza and Filip Kuba, who was lost during training camp. Other players, like Mike Fisher and Daniel Alfredsson, have been playing through injuries all season. But the Sens are amongst the lowest in the league for man games lost, so that dispels that notion.
It is actually rather simple. They don’t score enough goals, and they give up too many.
Earlier in the year, effort was an issue. Over the last six weeks, the effort for the most part has been there. Scoring 31 goals in 17 games though will not scare the opposition, especially when they gave up 70 during that same stretch.
Another factor has been coaching. Some observers have noted how coach Cory Clouston has not done a good enough job managing his bench and his players. Whispers around the rink have the players not getting along with their coach, and that he can’t motivate them properly. Whether it is true or not, the notion that the players have quit is ridiculous. If they have quit, then they have quit on themselves.
Ottawa GM Bryan Murray will be looking to move a few players at the deadline. Getting a high draft pick and adding some assets with some trades will allow the Senators a chance to speed up the rebuilding process.