I’m still in Chicago, where hockey highlights, even with the defending champs having played last night, are harder to come by than NBA highlights in Canada, and the Bears played yesterday so checking in on the Senators is tantamount to being a KHL fan in Sao Paolo. But from what I see, Karlsson has decided to make his Chrastmusborg resolution to get the Sens into the playoffs, and after back-to-back wins the team is four points out of 8th. (Though, it should be said, they’ve played four more (!) games than 8th place Boston at this point, and Sportsclubstats still shows their chances of taking 8th at 3%.) As if we need any more evidence that this team should reload, a tiny, 20-year old defenceman selected 15th overall and only in his sophomore year now LEADS THE TEAM IN SCORING. I don’t know whether to get psyched by this or be really depressed about the rest of the team, but it’s probably a little bit of both.
Actually, you know what was weird last night? I thought the team looked like only one or two guys away from being really dangerous. Thinking in my head, “maybe a total teardown isn’t completely necessary.” Also seeing the highlights of Jared Cowan in Buffalo for the WJHC earlier in the day was mucho encouraging.
If Murray can get his hands on one more physical blueliner and some consistent secondary scoring, we might be okay. Then again we might be not okay since the Spezz now needs meddz. Gulp.
I think the Senators are caught now in what I’d term the Rangers Trap: lots of high-paid players, and so the assumption is that they have a high ceiling. One thinks that if all of Alfie, Spezz, Fish, Gonchar, Kovalev and Leclaire played to the level management seems to think they’re capable of, that maybe they would dominate. But you watch a team with a lot of high draft picks – even a team like Atlanta, who have traditionally been terrible – and you get the sense that the Senators are just aging and infirm. There’s a level of speed that just seems beyond this team.
Also, and only partially related, if Gonchar doesn’t start shooting the puck more I think it’s gonna be a long three seasons.