Senators Mid-Season Report

Jeff BreenContributor IJanuary 15, 2009

Two years ago, the Senators finished the season as the runner-up's in the Stanley Cup finals to Anaheim which was seen as somewhat of a disappointment.  Last year they were done in by the young guns from Pittsburgh, which really left fans in Ottawa wondering what happened.

But no one saw this coming.

As of today the Senators are last in the Northeast Division and 26th in the league with only 36 points.  The Problems go much deeper than just their record.

The Senators offense has been shut down all year.  The Sens are last in the league with 2.38 goals per game.  The Cash line (Spezza, Alfredsson, Heatley) have been neutralized and teams have figured out how to get around one of the best lines in the league exposing many holes in the process.

The goaltending has been so-so at best.  The Sens are in the middle of the pack when it comes to goals against with a 2.83 mark.  Alex Auld and Martin Gerber have carried the load for most of the season, but Wisconsin grad Brian Elliot has come in the last three games showing promise.  Elliot has gone 2-1 in his first three starts, only giving up five goals so far.

Dany Heatley will be traveling to Montreal for the All-Star game as the lone Representative for the Sens.  Heatley will not be putting up 50 goals this season, but he remains as one of the best snipers in the game. 

What the Senators need at this point is a better supporting cast.  With the Cash line sealed off, the Sens will need some more scoring punch from Mike Fischer (4g-10a), Chris Kelly (5-7), and Antoine Vermette (5-9).  All three are proven players at the NHL level, but have failed to find the net enough for the Sens.

Defensively, Filip Kuba and Alexandre Picard have been valuable additions, but need veteran Antoine Volchenkov, to get back to form.  Chris Phillips needs to provide more leadership as he wears the "C" on his jersey.

Head coach Craig Hartsburg, who is in the middle of his first season must find a way to get more out of his players.  Up and down the Sens roster is full of solid veterans to go along with some valuable all stars. 

The Sens are in no need of any trades or free agent signings.  It's all about getting some of these guys to start buzzing the nets and for the defense to start providing some scoring punch, as well as being a solid wall in front of the net.

Either way, this first half is one that Sens fans would like to forget, and unless there is a huge turn around, Sens nation will be watching the playoffs from the couch this year.