Sens lose. Who gave their all? Who's to blame? What needs to be changed?

Now that the Leafs have finished off the Sens, it’s time call for the head cutting.

Most of Senators (including Jacques Martin) kept repeating during the season and playoffs that, “We’re going to play our game.”. (Never mind the “It’s how WE play the game” ad campaign)

But what the Senators certainly did not do — especially in Game 5 — was “play their game”. Rather, they let the Leafs crash the net, get garbage goal leads, then proceeded to watch in vain as linesman waived off (what has to be a single-series record) icings, chipping away at time off the clock.

With certain exceptions, the Senators seemed content to play neutral zone hockey, or operate at any pace the Leafs decided to dictate. This is not “playing our game”. But it definitely reveals a deeper problem. Wise journalists should have asked, “Well, how DO you play the game?”—Sens response: *blank out*.

Not being able to define how you play the game is probably the reason why you didn’t win the game guys.

This is largely a management and coaching issue. But we can’t rule out the other guilty parties this season:

Patrick Lalime

He has clearly lost his edge. You can’t rely on him to make the big saves in consistant fashion. Yes, he should have been traded before the playoffs. Take a draft pick for him, then he’ll go the way of Damian Rhodes.

Radek Bonk

He continued his uninspired play into the post-season. Bonk wound up with no goals, zero work-ethic and poor decision making under pressure. Call him a defensive center, if you want to rationalize his terrible play. But defensive centers don’t commmand 3 mill+ salaries without an ability to generate at least SOME offense. By not trading him last year, the Sens management have only suceeded in lowering his market value. Now they will likely get little in a trade for him.

Peter Bondra

Welcome to Ottawa Peter, please pack your bags and leave.

If you watched the series, there’s really not much to say. Except maybe that you get what you pay for.

Daniel Alfredsson

It’s okay to run your mouth a little. It’s not okay to feel that since Roger Neilson died, it’s some sort of romantic-fatalistic setup that teh Sens will succeed and honour him with a cup win. Next year, don’t be so candid about repeating “We’re going to win the Stanley Cup!!!”, especially half-way through the season. You don’t know, you can’t know. Sens fans hope so — but what’s worse than losing, is to lose when the team’s Captain says it’s sure thing. It’s just demoralizing. Shut up and get to work.

Greg de Vries

He was a small dissapointment. He did not play particularly badly, but he did not fulfill expectations. He clearly does not fit in with the Sens, and could potentially be traded. Of course this could be avoided by changing systems after they:

Fire Jaques Martin

We thank you Jaques for bringing our team out of the gutter. But now your time is up. You’re not a finisher. The talent on this team would do better under a new coach, who demands more from (and is willing to bench) his star players during crunch time. Martin will be better used on a still-developing out-of-playoff-contention team. There’s no need to be angry, it was to be expected all along.

Give him a hug and send him packing.

To focus on the positives.:

Mike Fisher: You ruled buddy. Every shift, 100% full throttle. Martin’s reaction to his hustle: Give Bonk more ice-time.

Antoine Vermette: You ruled buddy. Every shift, 100% full throttle. Martin’s reaction to his hustle: Give Bondra more ice-time.

Chris Phillips: Why can’t you play like this all the time? Phillips looks like an all-star during the playoffs, and ressembles Joe Reekie during the regular season.

Peter Schaefer: Now if only our hardest working players were goal scorers?.

In conclusion: I want to believe that GM John Muckler will wisen up and make the appropriate changes. If he does so, the team can win the Stanley Cup — it’s not some ludicrous Alfie assertion. But only if Muck is willing to break a few bubbles.

I don’t know who to bring in. I like Scott Hartnell. I like Roberto Luongo. I like Eric Daze. Can we get these guys? I don’t know.

What I do know, and what has become crystal clear, is that the excuse of “trading will break up the core group” does not fly anymore; when that core group has ceased being an asset that’s worth protecting.

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