Senators News: October 29th

-Ottawa faces Chicago tonight in what should be an entertaining game tonight.  Craig Anderson will start and to save my sanity on paper the awful third line (Greening-Smith-Neil) has been broken up.

-The Sens pummelled Detroit 6-1 on Wednesday (boxscore) before falling to Anaheim 2-1 (boxscore) Friday and San Jose 5-2 (boxscore) Sunday.  The two loses have meant varying degrees of panic in the fanbase as some conclude that the Sens need to play “harder” to perform better (Jeremy Milks, as always, is on this bandwagon as he rails against “the pacifists”–Jeremy needs to calm himself, perhaps with a warm glass of milk and more nap time).  If it seems largely ridiculous, it is.  Varada is hovering over the panic button and speculates about improving the defense via trade, but doesn’t suggest what useful piece the Sens would have to part with to get any of the players he suggests (all of whom, with the exception of Nikita Nikitin, probably make more money than Ottawa can afford to add to their budget).  Take a deep breath people–it’s going to be okay, just like Bobby Ryan is when goals suddenly meant he was no longer “fat”.  On the more rational side of things Travis Yost looks at the numbers and continues to wonder who would fit with Jason Spezza on the top line.

Amelia L writes an excellent article on the Sens current attendance issues and makes a number of on-target comments:

The Alfie/Melnyk Summer of Awful probably has a something to do with it. No one can quantify the impact Alfie’s departure had on the fan base. Many are mad at Alfie, but I suspect those who are still show up. Many are mad at Melnyk; maybe some of them aren’t coming anymore.

And

Ottawa’s somewhat erratic schedule probably isn’t helping

I’d also say the opposition doesn’t help either (west coast teams just don’t draw well other than Vancouver).  She continues:

I get the frustration from fans who want support to be more absolute. Success in the NHL is tied to money and ticket revenue is a large part of that. But I also get fans which are purposely staying away because they were angered by the summer. Sports teams are large organizations. In general, they are not receptive to an individual fan’s complaint. Teams with some of the most committed fans, fans who keep coming despite the frustrations of the on-ice or on-field product, often get treated to more frustration. Fans have few productive outlets for their discontent, but the most noticeable is to stop coming to games. Stop buying tickets, merchandise, concessions, and paying for parking. Stop.

This is absolutely correct.  Toronto is a great example of how lackadaisical an organisation can be if the building is full every night irrespective of performance.  So much of the criticism is heaped onto the fans, but in reality it’s the organisation that’s failing to meet the needs of its consumers.  My feeling is that most of the empty seats are circumstantial (see above), but some of it is related to Melnyk’s consistent public statements that he’s not going to spend money on the team–this implies the team won’t truly compete due to his financial issues and that’s not conducive to fan-confidence or excitement.

-Binghamton was .500 on the weekend, beating Wilkes-Barre 4-3 Friday (boxscore), but losing 3-1 to Adirondack on Saturday (boxscore).  Jakub Culek played his first B-Sens’ game on Friday, but was promptly sent to Elmira (along with Troy Rutkowski) afterwards as Ludwig Karlsson was called up and played on Saturday.

-Speaking of Elmira, the Jackals also went 1-1; Karlsson scored a goal in the loss (New picked up an assist), while Scott Greenham made 46 saves (!) in the win and Culek (and New) picked up assists.

Sarah Kwak can’t figure out what needs to happen to stop reckless hits and dirty plays in the NHL, but Teemu Selanne provides her the obvious solution:

I don’t think [the punishments are] enough

Exactly.  Sarah’s plea for players to simply stop because it’s wrong is wishful thinking that isn’t worth wasting ink on.  Until the punishment changes, the hits will keep on coming.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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4 Comments

  1. On the topic of “reckless hits and dirty plays”: I like the idea of the team being disadvantaged for the length of the suspension, although like most severe penalties that may truly disadvantage the team receiving them, a likely result is that the league would just be more lenient because severely disadvantaging a team is not what they want (the old — “don’t have the refs decide the game philosophy”).

    Also on this topic, so much of the conversation seems to be from an angle of “the players just need to learn”, and that stronger sentences would help in that learning process.

    What this ignores is that many (not all) of the perpetrators are guys who would not be in the league if they weren’t playing on-the-edge physical hockey. John Scott, Kaletta, Ryan Garbutt … these guys can’t tone it down (a la Matt Cooke) and still be useful NHL players. They know that, and so they don’t “learn” even after their suspensions. Getting suspended once or twice a year is still preferable to playing in the AHL or Europe.

    • I agree that further team disadvantages would be neutered by the league rarely using such penalties. I don’t disagree that most of the perpetrators are players whose absence from the lineup isn’t going to hurt things, but the value of longer suspensions is the money that individual will lose for not playing. A 3 to 5 games suspension isn’t going to bother any of these guys, but a 20-25 game ruling means they lose a huge chunk of salary and their team has roster deadweight it can’t get rid of. That, to me, is what ultimate ends what these players do. Unfortunately, I just don’t see the league getting to that point any time soon. The NHL is incredibly reluctant to make changes to anything under the current regime.

  2. […] Milks addresses the attendance problem and echoes what I said two weeks ago in that the negativity created around the team by Eugene Melnyk plays a major […]

  3. […] was a little more optimistic than Travis early in the season, but I’d almost given up before the Sens began to […]


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