-The Sens split their Florida trip, beating the hapless Panthers 4-2 (boxscore and Mark Parisi‘s recap) while losing to Tampa 3-1 (boxscore). Ottawa fell behind in each game and their issues this season have finally hit the point (for me) where it’s beyond the point of no return in terms of making the playoffs (which I delve into below).
-A lot of ink has been spilt (does that expression still work in the digital age?) over what’s caused the Sens, so dynamic during the lockout shortened season, to fall hard. I think the talent on the team (with the exception perhaps of the bottom rung on the blueline) is fine, but there’s something going on between the ears of a number of players that are preventing them from playing up to par. Confidence is a nebulous thing, but it’s obvious to even casual observers that players like Jared Cowen, Colin Greening, etc have completely lost their mojo. There are arguments to be made about how much the various players can truly offer, but to my mind all of them (with the exception of Conacher) have shown that they can be useful parts on the roster. I don’t have an issue with Paul MacLean or his staff inherently, but whatever they are doing has not been able to swing the team out of its nosedive and the only external change I can think of is expectations. The first two seasons under MacLean the team was rebuilding and the organisation did not have high expectations. That all changed this summer with the Bobby Ryan deal and the hype generated over various media predicting how well the team would do. I’m not saying externalities are part of the reason for the decline, but they can’t be ignored as a potential factor. What does this all mean? Unfortunately fans are going to have to buckle in and readjust their expectations. The team will get better over the season–it’s hard for me to imagine the bottom falling out anymore than it has already–but likely when it’s clear the team is not going to make it into the playoffs. On the positive side the area where the team is struggling the most (its depth up front and on the blueline) is what the organisation has in abundance in its system. Time, for the moment, is on Ottawa’s side.
–Travis Yost finds fault in how MacLean is using his players and if anything is clear from his piece it’s that Ottawa’s staff either isn’t using advanced statistic data to make their decisions or else trusts their gut more than the numbers they see (Travis does point out the underlying numbers for the team overall are starting to improve).
–B_T takes a look at the Corsi data to see if there are little-used defensive pairings which might help the blueline (he includes the departed Mark Borowiecki) and while the sample size is small there’s encouraging numbers here. I wish he’d explored how a new pairing would echo throughout the rest of the defense corps using the same Corsi data.
–Nichols looks back at the Conacher–Ben Bishop trade looking to see if the Sens could have done better. The article is exhausting in its explanation and I don’t think there’s a strong case made that there was a much better deal out there (which isn’t to say that’s Nichols’ argument, but just an assessment of the information available).
–Bob McKenzie (via Nichols) downplays the odds of Tim Murray winding up in Buffalo.
-Binghamton faces Hershey (7-7-5) tonight and Jeff Ulmer has a preview.
-Here’s the latest Sens prospect update. Marcus Hogberg has been named to Sweden’s preliminary WJC roster.
–Glen Erickson writes about Curtis Lazar whose head coach describes him as:
our spiritual leader
Which is an interesting description. For those interested in scouting reports on Lazar, there’s a ton here.
This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)