Like an empty seat at the Canadian Tire Centre, I know I'm not alone.
Ever since this little corner of the interwebs opened to the world, I’ve tried to look at Sens-related news or issues without a kneejerk mentality; preferring instead to add context and look at the both sides of an issue before putting out any opinions, commentary or judgments on players, news or the rationale behind the organization’s decision making.
But 18 games into this season, with the exception of that Detroit Red Wings game on October 23rd, we have already been exposed to an inordinate amount of bad hockey by a team that entered the season with the greatest of expectations.
It’s been soul sucking hockey to watch and after each game, I seemingly find myself looking for the silver linings or brief moments or flashes of play that allow me to believe that this team is getting back on the right track. Unfortunately however, I can’t seem to shake my nagging disappointment in this team.
I’m disappointed that the Sens look like they are waiting for the other shoe to drop.
I’m disappointed that the same depth that allowed the Senators to stay competitive and clinch the seventh playoff seed looks like they’re content to sit back let their now healthy teammates carry the load.
I’m disappointed with this season’s schedule and this reactionary reflex to point out just how many times the Sens have played Western Conference. Difficult? Yes, those were difficult games, but this willingness to forgive Ottawa for not winning any of these matchups is depressing. Ottawa has been a playoff team in the Eastern Conference for the past two seasons. Why shouldn’t we expect better efforts? I’m tired of this loser mentality.
I’m disappointed in the forwards gap control not supporting their defencemen in the defensive zone.
I’m disappointed in the defencemen for their puck movement and ability to break the puck out of their zone.
I’m disappointed in the poor attendance figures.
I’m disappointed Ottawa’s four regular left wingers have combined for six goals this season.
I’m disappointed in Jason Spezza’s uncharacteristic inability to drive play this season. His production is still fine, but I fret that we’re already starting to see his decline as an effective player who may be destined for more sheltered minutes.
I’m disappointed that the organization preaches the importance of rewarding players like Stephane Da Costa who do everything that the organization has asked of them, yet refuse to punish players for poor performance or their undisciplined play.
I’m disappointed that their youngest forward who is tied for fourth amongst forwards in goals, despite playing in half the team’s games, is getting fourth line minutes in last night’s game while vets like Colin Greening and Chris Neil get regular turns playing with Jason Spezza.
I’m disappointed that Cowen doesn't look like an NHLer most nights.
I’m disappointed that a rebuilding team owned by someone who has publically embraced the small market mentality has not demonstrated the shrewd ability to sell high on players who have peaked and are also expensive or will be soon *cough, cough* Milan Michalek *cough, cough* Colin Greening *cough, cough*.
I’m disappointed in the Sens for falling victim to an organization selling high on a young player who padded his offensive totals playing with two of the best players in the NHL. And I’m even more disappointed that the Sens short-sightedly gave a 2013/14 division rival an inexpensive goalie in the process.
I’m disappointed that the Sens did not have the patience to wait until the offseason to move a veteran goalie who was more expensive, injury plagued, and expendable. Had the organization waited, they could have allocated their payroll using Andy’s salary to address a position of need – like the blue line or adding another forward. I mean, the way it stands anyways, the organization is eventually going to have to trade Andy at some point to clear the path for Lehner anyways. At least they could have kept a known commodity in Bishop to be his backup.
I’m disappointed that this team continues to dress a redundant, one-dimensional goon on the fourth line instead of calling up a prospect who may actually be of help this team.
I’m disappointed that the second line winger that Jason Spezza needs is currently playing for a divisional rival in Detroit and I’m equally unimpressed with how the organization has handled itself in the wake of Alfie’s departure.
I’m disappointed in myself for watching Bobby Ryan thrive with Kyle Turris and Clarke MacArthur and not being able to shake the negative thought that the Sens overpaid in controllable assets for a player who may turn out to be nothing more than a hired gun who will leave as an UFA at the conclusion of his two-year deal.
Ottawa isn’t unique however. Every NHL organization has its own unmistakeable shortcomings or weaknesses.
And as an organization that has had its farm system and roster overhauled over the past few years, it would be foolish to believe that the Sens have expedited the process to contention simply because a few key pieces of the roster are healthy this season.
If the start of this season is any indication, there are still many blemishes that need to be addressed because it’s becoming more and more evident that Ottawa’s best players simply can’t mask this team’s problems.
To me the ALfie thing just sucked all of my energy and enjoyment out of the season. I mean, it's my team and all but that was so poorly handled. And hearing people chant Alfie at the last game shows that there are at least some fans that just want to stick it to Melnyk and maybe even Spezza. The continued haranguing of Spezza is getting really, really, really old.
I mean, just look at Toronto. Bozak is their #1 guy and he's injured. Bolland, a respectable 2 or 3 guy, is out. And they might lose Kadri to a suspension after tonight. Think they'd like Spezza? They'd sell like a TMLlion jerseys of his if he joined their team.
Man I hope he doesn't leave. Or Ryan. Or Andy. Or ZBad. Or...
Yeah, that about covers it. “Disappointing.”
We were decimated last year with injuries, but the guys on the horses rode back in and this season was supposed to be a rout. Despite the cavalry, however, the team’s not nearly as effective as it was without them.
The vets, with a few exceptions, certainly don't "have this."
And worse: the Pesky Sens group from last year have lost something intangible but, evidently, very important.
Are those Pesky Sens deferring, maybe? Not to the veterans themselves, but to how the young group is supposed to play - how they think they're supposed to act - now that the real leaders are back?
Somehow, I think this whole year’s been like Z-bad in pre-season, taking the cue from the vets who just don’t play pre-season with the level of urgency and focus and team discipline that the younger players needed to win last year.
Murray obviously can't fix this mess on his own, but I'd say a few less fuck-ups in the defensive end would be a great start - especially since we seem to have some assets that can score this year.
Nikitin seems like a great target, right? What other steady D-men might work? Or even a smart, two-way forward?
Sens trade bait: Da Costa, Michalek? Or take a chance and pull the trigger on Andy. Like you said, Bishop would have been perfect backup, but surely we could trade for another one with the assets we'd get from trading Andy?
Venting is needed for many fans. For this list of disappointments, there exists an unequal and opposite list of improvements.
Senators have pieced together their best top line since 2006...and just in time. I think the Sens did ok on this trade - Bobby looks like a pretty well rounded player.
Mark Borowecki looks like he might be ready to be a solid 6th defender everyday.
Robin Lehner looks ready to take over #1 goaltending duties
that is all
"Every NHL organization has its own unmistakeable shortcomings or weaknesses."
The true contenders though, have enough talent to make up for them.
I agree with many, but not all of your disappointments.
I expected this season to be a return to the free flowing, up tempo game we saw in 2011-2012. On paper, I believed this roster to be equally as skilled, and the coaching staff is the same and preaching the same philosophy.
But it hasn't happened, and it's time to realize that it won't.
Perhaps this is the type of embarrassing loss that this team needs to sort it's shit out. A similar loss and subsequent players only meeting in MacLeans' first year here seemed to do the trick and get this team sorted out.
@SteveHL They would sell a lot of Spezza jerseys but they also sold a lot of Antropov jerseys. Just sayin.
@sensuries Oh, I don't disagree. Ryan's come as better than advertised and Clarke MacArthur has been an effective puck possession guy. Not everything's doom and gloom, but I'm legitimately concerned with the lack of overlap between this team's young core (Karlsson, Turris, Lehner and Zibanejad) and the expiring contracts of guys like Ryan and Spez.
@TrevorKluke sure, but this is a humble reminder that Ottawa's not close to that level of performance.
@The Web There's still time for last season's injured players to become adjusted and perform better. I expect Karlsson to keep trending in the right direction and I really expect more from Cowen as the season continues.
@RyanH Hope so. This disjointed play is agonizingly difficult to watch.
@Nichols6thSens @TrevorKlukeAgreed. You know I'm as skeptical as they come. I believe I told you a month ago that our forwards fall short in comparison to the rivals down the 401. Have the Senators EVER had a top line forward with the following characteristics:
-Point per game
-30 Goal scorer
-Willing to fight
The only one that comes close is, you guessed it, Danny A (minus fighting). He's gone and the void remains. Karlsson, Spezza, and Ryan are amazing talents but I believe, at this moment, whether it is injury issues or experience, they are not suited to lead the team.
@Nichols6thSens @RyanH Oh, it's very tough to watch. Especially as most fans expected some regression, especially for the rookies who stepped up and played well last year. We just didn't expect REGRESSION. Cowen and Weircoch have both struggled badly, and when you're banking on them improving, getting a little bit better every day(MacLeans' mantra, or brand if you will, from the first season and a bit that seems to have been lost). Holy hell.
And on Spezza, he's struggling, and teams know it. I feel not so much because of his play, but his linemates are not helping, and the coaching strategy seems to be just converge on Spezza, because you don't want to get him going offensively. He still needs to find a way around this, as this generally leaves a guy relatively open, it just happens that the person open is Chris Neil or someone who doesn't exactly have a penchant for making use of that space.