Do The Ottawa Senators Need More Toughness?


After yesterday’s game, the biggest complaint was not that the Senators lost the game, but that they seemed to get bullied around by the Flyers in doing so.  There were tweets flying around calling back to the days of Zenon Konopka and Matt Carkner, and calling for Mark Borowiecki to get called up and so on.

Jan 29, 2013; Ottawa, ON, CAN; Montreal Canadiens centre Ryan White fights with Ottawa Senators centre Zack Smith (15) in the first period at Scotiabank Place. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

While there were a couple of hits that questionable, there were also responses.  I am not sure the right people responded, but those are the types of situations that bring a team together.  Kaspars Daugavins stepped in and fought Zac Rinaldo after Harry Zolnierczyk‘s charging major on Mike Lundin.  He didn’t win the fight, but the fact that he stepped up and fought way out of his class made a statement.

Daniel Alfredsson‘s cross-check to the face of Rinaldo after the Flyers pest had a questionable hit on Chris Phillips was another answer, and I am not sure he really meant to cross-check him.  It was a reaction to the hit, and after one shove, then came the cross-check.  Either way, it was an appropriate response from the captain, that probably wasn’t enough to earn him a major and a game, but that is what happened.

The Senators are tied for the third fewest major penalties, and the have had only 5 fighting majors all season, and Daugavins’ was the first since Jan 30, when both Zack Smith and Chris Neil fought against Ryan White and Brandon Prust respectively. Smith and Neil each have 2 scraps on their fight cards this season.

In the long run, games like this are relatively few and far between, and the Senators should be more concerned with putting the puck in the net on a consistent basis than with winning the games in the back alleys.  I would rather see a skill player in the lineup that might score a goal rather than a plug who can only play 5 minutes a game and is on the bench “just in case” things get out of hand.  If the Senators were at full strength with all hands on deck, my opinion might change, but as of right now, toughness is outweighed by scoring.

If the Senators had won the game 3-2 instead of losing 2-1, I don’t think you would have the same calls for toughness today.