-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.
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)