The Hockey News, is in the process of unveiling their predictions, one per day, on how the 2011-12 season will shape up. They started this past Monday with the 15th place team in each conference. Intrigued, I was ready to follow along, knowing it wouldn’t be too long before seeing the Senators pop up on the list.
The wait was shorter than I expected. According to The Hockey News, the Senators are going to be the worst team in the Eastern Conference. So I have waited a few days to see who THN figures will be finishing above the Senators.
Their predictions 15-11 are:
14. Florida Panthers
13. Winnipeg Jets
NHL.com is running a 30 teams in 3o days segment, and their focus today turned to the Ottawa Senators. They do not make predictions as to order of finish, but their outlook is much more positive than that of The Hockey News.
So the question begs, who can the Senators be better than this season? In the coming days, I will compare this Senators roster to the other Eastern conference clubs to try to pinpoint where I think the Sens will finish this season.
But today, I will look at the 3 main reasons the Senators of 2011-12 will be better than the Senators of 2010-11, despite the fact that they will be younger and less experienced than the team that started last season.
3. Spezza and Alfredsson – Having a healthy Spezza and Alfredsson for a whole season automatically makes the team better. I keep looking back to the fact that the Senators were in a playoff spot when Spezza’s Boxing Day injury sent the team spiraling out of control.
2. Craig Anderson – One of the main reasons for the downfall of the Senators was the inconsistency between the pipes. Brian Elliott certainly wasn’t part of the solution (more like part of the problem), and Anderson’s play after coming to Ottawa gives hope for the coming seasons.
1. Paul MacLean – Cory Clouston lost the team last year with his military style of coaching. MacLean has been in a winning situation and has learned under one of the best (Mike Babcock) in Detroit. Everything that has come out of his mouth since getting the Ottawa job has pointed towards success and changing the culture of the team.
Speaking of Clouston, he finally spoke on Ottawa radio this week and pointed to goaltending and injuries as the reason for the Senators’ downfall last season. He didn’t take much responsibility for it himself, and for a man who seemed to demand accountability from his players, he doesn’t show much for himself. (You can hear the interview on the Team 1200 Facebook Page)
With the re-shuffling of clubs’ rosters in the off-season, there are a lot of new faces in new places. Over the next few days I will look at how the Senators stack up.
Thanks for reading and as always, comments are welcomed.
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