Wednesday, April 16, 2008

What is wrong with the Senators?

As I've said before, I am a Pittsburgh fan first, Montreal second, and then comes the rest of the Canadian teams (including Ottawa, who I cheered for last year after they sent the Penguins packing...there was a period of mourning, of course), so I say this with a certain amount of respect.

One year ago when the Sens were in the playoffs, they deserved to play for the Cup. They outplayed every single team in the Eastern Conference, but then turtled in the Cup Finals. I thought they learned their lesson, and it certainly looked like they had in October/November when they went on that 15-2 run. The rest of the season was crap, but I thought that they would be harder to play in the playoffs.

I never expected that the Penguins would be in a position to sweep the Senators, yet here we are, hours before the start of game 4, with the Pens leading 3-0. Granted, the Sens have showed sparks of great play in the previous 3 games, including that 3-goal performance in game 2 that allowed them to tie the game, but they don't have the drive and the will to win. Gerber is playing his heart out and is giving his team the chance to win, but the rest of the crew has been invisible.

The most telling sign was game 3. The Senators played very well for most of the game and the score was tied after the second period. However, after the Pens scored 2 early in the third and Hossa added the fourth goal, the Sens just rolled over. I could not believe my eyes - they lost intensity, and they played as though they just wanted to get off the ice. They allowed the Penguins to control the puck and to waste time. If any team in the NHL could erase a 3-goal deficit in 10 minutes, it is (was) the Senators, but they didn't try.

This is a team that has lost its identity, its self-esteem, it's will. Where were the leaders on Monday night when the Pens took the lead? Where were Alfredsson, Spezza, Heatley? They could have and should have motivated their teammates, but everyone was invisible. If a team can just roll over after allowing a few goals, how are they supposed to try to win four games to move on to round 2? Murray is reuniting the Alfredsson-Spezza-Heatley line, but that is too little, too late.

Let's hope Spezza and Heatley decide to show up and play well for Team Canada next month, because that's the only hockey they'll be playing in May.


DaBich said...

I can't say I feel sorry for the Sens. lol
Maybe a wee bit for Gerber, because he is obviously trying. Poor guy.

Sarah said...

Well, I do feel sorry for the Sens. I've been wanting them to win a Cup for quite some time...after all, they are my second favourite team, and they have Fisher. I agree that it is weird that they were in the Finals last year and started the season off on the right foot and kicking some serious butt, and then suddenly took a steep downhill slide and almost managed to miss the playoffs, but didn't because another team saved their butts. Anyway, there are soo many people with soo many opinions on why the Sens have been sucking, but none seem valid to me. It could be a combination of everything, but I don't think that there is one, direct person or cause that is causing the problem(s). I still don't really agree that firing Paddock was the best idea, because, as we can all see, he obviously wasn't the cause of the team's losing. I don't really know what is going on there, but I would love to find out for myself, but that probably won't happen for quite some time, if All I do know is that the Sens, like the Leafs, are definitely going to be undergoing lots of changes this summer. Not really sure who will stay and who will go, but I honestly can't wait to find out.

Sarah said...

Well, I guess now it doesn't matter what is wrong with them. Bye Sens! You will be missed...until next season! :(

Ashley said...

I feel a little sorry for the Sens because they are a much better team than they have been playing the last 4-5 months, but I was really put off by how they ended game 3. I don't think that their problems are any one thing, either. I do, however, think that Paddock had to go because he was too close to the guys and let them get away with too much - look at Emery.

The more I think about it, I think the problem with the Sens this year is psychological in nature. They seem to be a little mentally fragile as a team and I think it's something that started small and not really a big deal, but got worse as the months wore on. I doubt that Murray will make huge sweeping changes in the off-season, other than bringing in a new defenceman (to replace Redden) maybe dumping a goalie (Emery?), and a few other minor changes. That, and the big guys should get a good talking-to so that they are ready to go next year.