It is no secret that the Ottawa Senators have had, for the most part, a very underwhelming season. True quality games from the Senators have been few and far between, and we are no longer early in the NHL season. The Senators will reach the midway point of their schedule after the home and home series with Boston after Christmas, and they will no doubt be under .500 at that point.
They are currently 11 points back of a guaranteed playoff spot, for the top 3 teams in each division. They are 5 points out of the last wild card spot and are in the middle of a pack of 6 teams that are trying to track down the Red Wings, Maple Leafs and Devils in either the wild card or (for some teams) the Metropolitan Division races.
That is the bad news. Is there any good news for Senators fans to grab ahold of as they teeter on the ledge of their fan window?
Well, it really can’t get too much worse. The Senators have to be close to hitting rock bottom, but then again I have thought that on a few occasions this season and they have proved me wrong over and over. This team should be better than its record indicates, and it will take every player to a man upping their game just a bit to get the team out of its funk.
While I have been critical on occasion about the way the team has been handled by the coaching staff, there will be no changes there. Paul MacLean signed a 3 year extension that hasn’t even kicked in yet and there is no way the frugal Senators will pay 2 coaches for 3 years, and for one of them not to coach. Not that I think the coach is the entire problem, but in most cases that would be the first move made by a team in the Senators’ boat.
Could a trade be on the horizon? Again, mid-season trades where a team is up against the budget won’t be easy. It would have to be dollar for dollar, or taking on another team’s problem, and those wouldn’t help the Senators.
The answer is going to have to come from within, starting with the goaltenders out, from the top down. It has been pretty much as bad as it could be, and the Senators face 3 very tough games in a row starting Monday against the Penguins. This stretch could be the point at which the Senators hit rock bottom.
And hopefully there is enough time to bounce back up.
The last piece of good news: The Eastern Conference has been so bad this season, especially against the West, that despite how disappointing the Senators have been, they haven’t lost much ground to their targets.