Getting Injured Stars Back Will Help Senators

SensChirpContributor IJanuary 13, 2010

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 18:  Daniel Alfredsson #11 of the Ottawa Senators skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on December 18, 2009 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

A five-game losing streak will always bring out the worst in a fanbase. Add to the fact that the last three losses have come at the hands of the Panthers, Hurricanes, and Thrashers, and the uproar among fans is that much worse.

Could the effort level be better? Sure. Could the special teams improve? Absolutely. Could they get more consistent goaltending? You bet.

But the reality of this situation is that the Ottawa Senators are missing five regulars, four of whom are critical to this team's success.

For the last few days, I've sat here and read what you all think. Well now, it's my turn. Here's how I see it...

* With this current lineup, they are bottom feeders. The team is missing two top PK guys and four of their most important power play guys. The entire top line has been out, and with inconsistent goaltending this losing streak should not come as a surprise.

* With a full lineup, the Ottawa Senators are a playoff team. Still not sure there has been a time when the entire team has been healthy, but before the injuries started, they were solidly in a playoff spot and had a shot at the division.

* With a full lineup and consistent goaltending, I really believe this team would not only make the playoffs but could win a round when they got there. Unfortunately, inconsistent goaltending is a reality for this team, but if Leclaire played to his potential, a full Senators lineup could absolutely win a playoff round.

* With a full lineup, lights-out goaltending, and some help on the back end, this team could make some serious noise. By "help" I mean like a top-four guy. With a delicate cap situation, this could be tough, but I really believe it's the truth.

What I'm trying to point out here is that we really can't judge this team solely on the last little stretch. With a full lineup, this is clearly a different team. As fans we need to ride this out a little bit and wait for some guys to get back, so our Senators can get back on track.

And to those of you suggesting they tank? Give me a break. In case you hadn't notice, they are still holding the 8th playoff spot.

That's how I see it anyway...