Ottawa Senators

Ottawa Senators V. 2010: And the Beat(ings) Go On

OTTAWA, ON - OCTOBER 14:  Jamie McBain #4;Jeff Skinner #53;Eric Staal #12 and Erik Cole #26 of the Carolina Hurricanes celebrate a goal against Brian Elliott #30 of the Ottawa Senators during a game at Scotiabank Place on October 14, 2010 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  The Ottawa Senators defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2.  (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)
Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images
Gerald NortonFeatured ColumnistDecember 31, 2010

Jesus wept, was that game ever brutal.

I swear, had there been a rusty spoon about, I would have gladly dug out my eyes in favour of suffering the sight of that dismal performance.

Unfortunately there wasn’t, so my masochistic tendencies had me endure the full 60 minutes of sensory torture at the hands of the increasingly sadistic Ottawa Senators.

Why?  Why so awful?

How does a team come out charging, and beat one of the finest teams in the league, then in the very next game, lay a steaming pile at centre ice for the enjoyment of the paying home crowd?

Are they trying to empty the building?

I won’t even get into the officiating…even I’m not that much of a masochist.  Potvin and Brown pretty much summed up my feelings on that aspect of the game.  When the commentators are openly questioning the skill/character of the officials, you know there’s an issue.

Add to this the fact that every team Ottawa is hoping to catch, with the exception of Montreal, seem to be playing each other every night, and going to over-time, has the post season picture becoming no less bleak with every passing game.

This year has truly been a difficult one to enjoy.

How do Leaf followers do it…seriously?

Well, there is at least a modicum of good news.  With the win over PIT, combined with the recent loss to CAR, Ottawa still sits at the all important P% of o.625, over the last 8 games.

This is the mark the Sens need to remain at, or better, if they have any hope of making the post season.

What really stings about that loss is the fact it represented a four point game, or rather, a game that, had they won, would have cost a competing team with an important win, and further padded their own P%.

Not to mention establishing the first sustained win streak since November.

Instead, a direct competitor walked out with two points, the Sens again look either incapable, or un-willing to compete, even against marginal teams, and the paying fan base is subjected to another demoralizing/insulting home performance.

One way or another, it has to stop.

The fans of this city will remain steadfast in their support of this team, but not this roster, or it’s management.  We will not accept mediocrity for the security of inaction.

If management wants to lose now, to win later, the fans will support this, just do it.

This means blow it up.  Make available every player for trade, outside of perhaps Alfie, and the young core they will need in order to facilitate a re-build.  If Alfie wants to go to a contender, he’s earned this right, IMO, and I would never question his loyalty to Ottawa, should he do so.

Obviously any key trade, such as a Spezza, would have to garner a sizeable return as, like him or not, #1 centres are simply not there to be had.  Possibly a team on the cusp of breaking through (PHX, CLB or even a desperate team like CGY or NSH) might part with a talented young centre in return for a more ready to go player such as Spezza, i.e.

J. Spezza & F. Kuba to CLB for R. Johansen, N. Filitov & M. Commodore

or

J. Spezza to NSH for D. Legwand, 2010 1st & 2nd, 2011 1st.

Those would be the only sort of in-season deals I would consider for Spezza, otherwise, wait for the off-season when cap space is more available.

I would love to see Phillips moved, to a contender, both for him and the team, but only if the Sens feel the post-season is out of the picture.  I have little doubt he would return to Ottawa, and this may well be the reason behind the lack of contract talks to date.

I believe both Alfie and Phillips fit into this team, even if rebuilding, as they bring the all important elements of leadership, experience and legacy needed to foster a young roster.

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