2010-2011 Ottawa Senators Top 3 strengths and weaknesses. Go!:
1) Puck movement: with Gonchar, Kuba, Karlsson and Campoli, we now have four regular NHLers who can drive a transition game. (Lee might also count. Or he might only be capable of driving the other four D through the drive-thru for post-game burgers.) Funny how in only a few years Murray took this team right back to the offensive-oriented, soft-and-small roots that made it a regular season success. Should be fun to see Michalek and Fisher getting behind their opponent’s D, crashing the net and letting the puck come to them for a change. Lord knows they couldn’t stickhandle through the blueline last year.
2) Our third line: Seriously. Neil – Kelly – Ruutabaga were flying last year, and punishing the other teams. When you think about possibly dropping Alfie down there during home games, when Sens have last change, we could see more of that magical secondary scoring we always opine for (despite having). Especially against the Leafs third line, which consists of a mop, a drunk goat, and Carleton the Bear.
3) Leadership: This is a team chock full of veteran leadership and hard-nosed grinders. The Sens have long been accused of being milquetoasts when the chips are down, but with most of the team having seen extensive playoff experience, a few cup rings in the fold, and some Carkneresque malfeasance (?) I think this is a team that can pull themselves up by their bootstraps if they go down 2-0 in a big game.
1) Injuries: Michalek, Kovalev, Alfie, Kuba, Gonchar, Leclaire, Fisher, Spezza. Each of these players can be expected to miss up to 20 games during the season. Last season we didn’t stand a chance against the Pens in the 1st round while missing two top 6 forwards and a top 4 D. This year we have a real chance of heading into the playoffs with Roman Wick’s uncle as our top pairing D.
2) Goaltending: Ah, our perpetual romance with shitty goaltending. This might very well be a strength, but the point is: who the fuck knows? Eliott was atrocious at times in the playoffs, Leclaire stank during the season and then, go figure, had a couple of decent games at the end. Either has shown they can be solid; neither has shown they can steal a game.
3) Powerplay: I’m going outside track on this one. Conventional wisdom thus far has been that Gonchar will turn the Sens’ PP into something to be reckoned with. Except the Pens PP sucked last year, and only slightly less than the Sens, and they had much more powerful dudes up front than Mike Fisher and dipsy-doodle-Spezz-dispenser. What will ultimately determine the success of the PP will be coaching. If Clouston emphasizes the transition game and gets everyone on the same page, I could see it improving. On the other hand, moving up five or six slots in the PP rankings means it still stinks.
peter to James, me
show details Aug 10 (2 days ago)
I was going to start a thread about who would fight who in camp but this is better.
Playing ahead – Ottawa only lost two games last year when leading after the first period. One of the better numbers in the league.
Mike Fishers personal website – Seriously, have you seen this thing? Run, go there now http://www.mikefisher.ca/ Click on the more Mike link
(Apropos of nothing, Anze Kopitar’s website is breathtaking)
Trailing after two periods – proving that numbers can prove anything I submit that Ottawa wasn’t much of a third period comeback team. (only 3 times)
Organization/working the doors/ counting – Bench Minors
Ottawa and Colorado both had 13 bench minors last year, worst (and/or best?)
Ottawa valley fans who pledge allegiance to Toronto and Montreal. They seriously cripple the fan vibe around here. But we’re all well aware of that. I saw a post on the sens board by a leaf fan guessing what lines Clouston would use and no one engaged him because they were so shocked a leaf fan would post eloquently and humbly on the subject of another team. In August!
James to me, Peter
show details 1:21 PM (22 hours ago)
Strengths! (happy face)
Puck movement from the back end, the rush, team go rite way! whatever you want to call it. Ever since the gel-haired one has been behind the bench he has restored the team’s offensive-minded puck possession identity that ended up giving the team some decent playoff runs year after yesteryear. After Murray and coach-du-jour’s white album years of attempting and IMHO failing to turn the Sens into the same Mighty Ducks team that beat them as only a Western team could in the finals at least the team is getting back to what they’re good at (not Dany Heatley playing defense). Conrad already listed the host of NHL quality offensive D men currently on the roster (you didn’t mention Brian Lee right? Phewph).
Lately, I am detecting some buyer’s remorse here and there with the Gonchar signing on the Sensternet and this is normal considering I, myself, was quite excited about the Kovalev and LeClaire signings last season and that turned out…awesome in 2010-2011? *tugs collar off of shirt* Anyway, we only get to watch games and can’t change them so I suppose I am going with the Murray mantra of “lets make the OTHER team block all the shots” I mean shit at this point I would be feeling good if Karlsson was our number one puck mover so…we’re damn strong in this respect. Methinks there should some be residual spillover into the power play.
Coaching: This team has flaws. We are aware of this. We are not like leafs fans (save for PPP). I confident that Coulston is the type to work his ass off in the off-season to address some of those issues like the Power Play and those goddamn bench minors. I think he X and O’ed this same team that paddock and hartsberg couldn’t do anything with into well…a team that looks like they know what there are supposed to be doing / made the playoffs. I don’t expect his work ethic to diminish anytime soon. After a couple of seasons of wondering what a coach’s “deal” was; I feel solid about Clouston’s: Wearing amazing shirt/tie combos all the time.
Depth: I am always leery about wearing rose coloured glasses when it comes to talking about your own team’s depth. Remember when we liked Peter Schaeffer? I mean, I bet if I talked to an Oilers fan about the recent resigning of Liam Reddox they would probably talk to me for as long as I want about it. The pros and cons, his role on the team, the term vs. price vs. value, his tendencies and intangibles… what I’m saying is when you follow a team like we do – we tend to know a little something or have an opinion of every single player – even most of the fringe two-way contract guys. At the end of the day, aside from leafs fans no one really knows who Matt Carkner or Zack Smith are besides we Ottawa fans (or people who are worse than me at picking fantasy teams). I find I focus too hard on Sens players. I would be pretty pissed tomorrow if the Sens traded Chris Kelly away and I would have my legit reasons, however, if I wasn’t a Sens fan I wouldn’t even read that tiny ass story on TSN.ca. *ANYWAY* I am no longer leery about our depth. Maybe this sounds conspiratorial but now that Cheechoo has moved on to his new position – assistant to the regional manager at the new Moosefactory branch of Scotiabank – I cant help but think its pretty cool that we have a bunch of new and exciting prospects in Bingo – Wick, Butler, Cowan, Weircoch, Lehner, Rundblad, who likely wont be able to find a roster spot because the barn is full!
…Weaknesses (sad face)
Shootout: Threw you guys a bit of a dipsy doodle with this one, huh? Seriously, love them or hate them we lose a LOT of shootouts. I mean its pretty cool that you can technically not win a game and still pick up a point (which I think the Sens benefited from quite a bit last season) but on the other side its even better that you can also not really win a game but have a 50/50 chance of picking up TWO points. I don’t know about you guys but I don’t feel like it’s very 50/50 lately..I’d bank it more a 30/70 chance that the Sens will take it. Does this have more to do with goaltending or scoring I’m not sure…but without looking at the stats (get used it) maybe if the boys won more shootouts they could have taken the division title from the Sabres…just sayin. Hopefully, the younger players and/or any new Finnish editions to our team could bolster this going forward.
Injuries: Sing it again Conrad. Holy shit, I went to a game during that great depression era of the 5 game losing streak that lead to the 11 game winning streak… holy Xmas…so many injuries!…it was like watching the Florida Everblades out there. We were lucky to make it out of the regular season and even put up a fight in the post season! One thing that is really troubling is that despite Alfie still playing incredibly solid given his age he now tends to get injured pretty badly once mid season and again at the very end of the season. Though its never an ideal time to go down in a blaze of glory these are especially trying times to lose one of our best. Also, www.wikipedia.org/mcl and www.wikipedia.org/pascalleclaire
Toughness: Particularly on the back end. I honestly don’t know if Cowan will make the team or not. I personally don’t think he will…not for lack of good play but for development purposes (knee). If I am right, we have Carkner and Phillips on the back end. We have a tough as nails checking line which is awesome but there is nothing to say that I am going to really miss Volchenkov and that I got used to Sutton’s thunderous hipchecks pretty quickly. Carks was an NHL rookie last season but he did his damn thang out there and didn’t get credit for all the shots he blocked behind the leagues two best…can he make the jump this season and put some of those elements on his back while punching Colton Orr’s big dumb face every single day?
– not even touching goaltending both for Karmic reasons and for the fact that Annti Niemi just won the Stanley cup with Christobal Huet on the bench.