Kuba's Return to the Line Up Should Help Senators

SensChirpContributor IOctober 26, 2009

OTTAWA - MARCH 3:  Filip Kuba #17 of the Ottawa Senators skates to the bench during the game against the Calgary Flames on March 3, 2009 at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)
We are just nine games into the 2009 season, and already we've seen a little bit of everything from our Ottawa Senators. We've seen them win the close ones. We've seen impressive victories, heartbreaking losses, and amazing comebacks. All this in just a small nine game sample.

So its understandable that many have been asking: which team is the real Ottawa Senators? Is it the team that ran over the Tampa Bay Lightning, or is it the group that let a two-goal lead slip away late in the third against the division rival Bruins.

At this point I think its safe to say they are somewhere in between. If the Senators can continue to beat the teams they are supposed to beat, and at least stay competitive against the stronger teams in the East, they seem poised for a return to playoff hockey.

What is impressive, however, is that the team has got off to this 5-2-2 start without their best all around defenseman in the line up. Filip Kuba's absence has hurt this line up more than most realize, and having him back should be a huge boost for this hockey team.

The hope is that Kuba will make the trip to Florida and return either against the Panthers or the Lightning.

The Senators have been awful on the power play so far this season, and that largely has to do with the lack of a consistent PP quarter back. A guy who can run things from the back end and distribute the puck to the team's talented forwards.

Kuba was that guy for Ottawa last season. He put 40 points from the back end and his absence through the last eight games has left a huge hole on the back end. Having Kuba back in the line up should jump start that PP and stabilize the Senators defence as a whole.

The Senators power play is currently ranked 29th in the NHL, clicking just 11.4 percent of the time. Ottawa has as many shorthanded goals as PP goals (four) so far this season.

Picard has struggled the last couple games and would likely be the odd man out when Kuba is ready to return.

Until Kuba returns, and our defence and more importantly power play get settled, I don't think we truly know what this Senators team is capable of.

Ottawa returns to action Wednesday against the Florida Panthers.