So where do we go from here??

First of all, I’d like to congratulate the Pittsburgh Penguins for playing impeccable hockey. They did everything they needed to do to win: their best players played their best, the defense kept the opposition away from their net, they got solid goaltending, and their special teams were dominant. So after being swept 4-0 in the first round (reminiscent of 1999 vs. Toronto), what will happen to the Sens in the off-season??

I’ll start with the forwards and work my way down to the goaltending:

FORWARDS:
– Jason Spezza: looked sluggish and tried to be fancy, instead of playing gritty, tough playoff hockey. Because of his new contract, he’ll be around for many years to come.
– Dany Heatley: also looked sluggish and outright invisible. Is paid to score and didn’t produce. Simply unacceptable. Like Spezza, has a hefty new contract next year, so he’ll be here next year.
– Daniel Alfredsson: no one can question the heart and intensity of this guy. Came back on one leg to try to lead his team. Will he be back next year? no question…
– Mike Fisher: too bad he got injured at the end of the season. We sure could have used him. Had an off year, so hopefully he’ll turn it up next year, kicking in his new contract.
– Antoine Vermette: had a career year, looked awesome in Game 4 and was one of few bright spots in the playoffs. He should be back as a 2nd line winger for Fisher
– Chris Neil: didn’t quite return to his usual self after his knee injury. Should be back to himself next year. He’ll be back.
– Dean McAmmond: he’ll be back next year
– Nick Foligno: started showing why he was drafted 1st round. Played with lots of heart and effort in games 3 & 4. He’ll be back as an NHL regular next year.
– Chris Kelly: great PK guy, also sucks that he got injured. He should be back next year.
– Shean Donovan: looked great playing with McAmmond and Schubert on a 4th line. Came into his own towards the very end. He should return.
– Cory Stillman: didn’t look out of place in an Ottawa uniform. Will he be back next year? I doubt it, unless he takes a low salary next year.
– Randy Robitaille: there’s a reason why he was playing in Europe earlier in the year. He’s gone.
– Cody Bass: looked good, could be ready for the NHL next year.
– Brian McGratton: keep him around for muscle, unless a tough guy with better hands is available (i.e. Laraque-type player)

DEFENSE:
– Anton Volchenkov: simply put, a warrior. Anyone that can take a puck to the head and come back next game is a champ. He’s established himself to be a top defensman.
– Chris Phillips: hasn’t looked the same since he put the puck in his own net against Anaheim in last years finals. Looked timid and wasn’t as much of a force he was in previous years against first liners.
– Wade Redden: 99.9999999% gone (heck, make it 100%). Unless he takes a montrous pay cut (with NO no-trade clause), he’s out of town.
– Andrej Meszaros: not a bad defenseman, but plays too many minutes. If only he could be more accurate with his shot. He’ll likely be back.
– Brian Lee: he is definitely Redden’s replacement for next year. He’s good to go.
– Christoph Schubert: versatile player who packs a wicked shot, not used enough. Can’t let him go.
– Mike Commodore: doubt he’ll be back next year
– Luke Richardson: please retire

GOALIES
– Martin Gerber: was the only reason Ottawa had a sniff of a chance in any of the 4 games against Pittsburgh. Has really rebounded after an aweful 1st year. If he can get better rebound control and stop sliding too much, he’ll be a much better goalie and I see him sticking around to finish his 3-yr contract.
– Ray Emery: as much as everyone says this guy was a cancer, I doubt it is ONE player that brings a team down. I refuse to believe one player is ruining the entire team. Be that as it may, I don’t see any reason to keep him around with his salary. I’d like to think we can trade him and get something back, but most likely will be bought out.

So where do we stand?

Heatley – Spezza – Alfresson
Vermette – Fisher – Neil
Foligno – Kelly – Donovan
Donovan – Bass – McGratton

Phillips – Volchenkov
Lee – Schubert
Meszaros – ???

Gerber
???

Realistically, we need more depth upfront, and definitely some help on defense. Schubert would be better off going back to his natural position. For now, Gerber is the man. Emery looks to be out.
So, who is out there that we can go after once free-agency hits July 1st?? Is there any possible trades out there to be made??
It’s going to be a looooong summer for this team, and its likely that if we don’t upgrade our team and get the much-lost chemistry back, this team isn’t going anywhere….

All in all, Pittsburgh did us a favour: they exploited our weaknesses and showed us what we’re lacking to move forward.
We are desperately lacking team chemistry – I can’t remember if Ottawa made 3 consecutive passes.
We couldn’t get first to the puck – we looked sooo disorganized – I’m guessing the new coach will take care of that.
We left our goalie out to dry – poor defensive zone coverage
We need our star players to play like star players – again, new coach should help. (i’m hoping a Mike Keenan type of guy would do us some good.. someone to light a serious fire under the asses of these guys)

Oh yeah, we need to not have that cheesy gladiator crap at the beginning of games, just keep it to the jumbotron – its hockey, not hollywood… and bring back the original Sens song they used to play during the player introductions… along with Song 2 (Woohoo!) for our goals!! I miss that…


2 Responses to So where do we go from here??

  1. cartino says:

    Here's my rundown on what they should do:

    1) Coach
    This team needs a new coach, and a tough hard ass coach who will make the players accountable (ie a Pat Burns, Hartley, Tortorella, Keenan like coach). No more soft coach's, country club coach's, etc. They need a guy that will bench Spezza if he tries too many no-look behind the back pass's that are turned over for goals. This coach also should make the Sens play a more responsible defensive system as that clearly was the Sens strength for the last 10 years and it was severely lacking last year. Ie I think Ottawa has more talent on the defensive line than Pittsburgh and they're getting by fine.

    2) Goaltending
    Face it Emery is gone via buyout and I do believe he was a cancer in the locker room (radio shows go on and on about it, my neighbor's friend of a friend of a co-workers brother who "knows someone on the team" confirms Emery was the issue (come on you can't get a more credible resource than that)… kidding aside their is no way Emery will be back. and let's face it Gerber is not going to be the goalie that leads us deep. Problem being… their are not too many good UFA goalies out there. Elliot is possibly ready to be a backup that's it. They need to make a trade to acquire a goaltender.

    *Wonder if their is any truth to the rumours for SPezza for Luongo?

    3)Forwards
    I'm a true believer in that Spezza under the right coach can blossom into one of the true elite players in the game and be responsible in his own end, it would be some growing pains as he needs a coach that will make him accountable and bench him when he does his stupid blind turnover pass's or floats around the redline instead of backchecking.

    I do believe they need to make a tweak to 1-2 of the forward positions just to add some new blood/leadership.

    At the end of the day I would not make any drastic moves and trade spezza/heatley away for the sake of it, unless a great deal comes I would keep them.

    4)Defence
    They clearly lost their ability to move the puck last year which killed them, A-train, phillips are great d-men not the best puck passer's, Redden has completely lost it, Commodore isn't a great puck mover, Mezaros is inconsistent, etc. They clearly missed Corvo's puck moving ability (at the expense of the odd bone head turnover) and Preissing's puck movement. As a quick fix I would try and get Preissing back from LA for a 2nd round pick (he didn't have the greatest year in LA but he's a great 4-5th defencemen) and Lee is replacing Redden.

    Also if Nashville can't sign Shea Webber, with their ownership situation after the draft I would send an RFA offer sheet to him (upto 4-5 million depending on cap situation), and see if he bites. Mezaros I woudl see what he wants they may have to let him go if he wants too much.

  2. wayne2 says:

    Well,i do agree soem changes are required but i dont think too much is needed.I panicked like a lot of sens fan and wanted numerous trades and
    signings,Truth is,i calmed down and realise hey,we had a bad second half of the season.I do believe a few changes are required but not much.I dont think we can afford a huge signing like Brian Campbell(example).On defense,what about a big guy like Brooks Orpik.Reliable relatively cheap defensemen.On offense i hope the sens go for Ryan Malone,the more i see this guy the more i like him.Brian Elliot should be the backup this year in nets.A new coach hopefully Pat Burns.Foligno,Bass full time NHL.Resign UFA Kelly and Donavan and RFA Vermette and Meszaros.Line up:
    Offense:
    1-Foligno/Spezza/Heatley
    2-Malone/Vermette/Alfredson
    3-Kelly/Fisher/Neil
    4-McKammond/Bass/Donavan
    Defense:
    1-Phillips/Volchenkov
    2-Schurbert/Lee
    3-Orpik/Meszaros
    Goalies:
    1-Gerber backup= Elliot

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