Have Sens quickly become one on the league’s doormats?
SENATORS: A Week in Review is a weekly column looking back at the week in Ottawa Senators hockey written by OLMSports Dave Gross.
Feature photo Courtesy NHLI via Getty Image
As the legendary Ric Flair would say: "What's causing all this?!!"
Truth be told, I don't have a clue.
As the Ottawa Senators stumbled through their sixth straight loss (to the Islanders on Saturday) after flying home from Stockholm, the suggestion might be made that they should have stayed there.
Whatever the team gained in confidence and swagger while over in Sweden surely didn't grab the flight back to Canada.
Has Ottawa quickly become one on the league's doormats?
Have the Senators cinched their way to being 'out' of the playoffs?
Is it really this bad?
I'd say, no, no and no.
Look it, believe what you want – and the results basically bite right about now if you're an Ottawa fan – but there's too much talent on the club to see this string of bad hockey go much further.
It's damn puzzling to be sure.
On the plus side of things, newcomer Matt Duchene finally bagged his first goal as a Senator in Saturday's loss.
"Nice to get the monkey off, but it feels good, not great, because we didn't get the result we wanted," Duchene said to NHL.com. "We played a heck of a hockey game, a lot better than any of those games on the (0-3-0 road trip). We felt like we deserved better. We're doing everything right but scoring."
As well, the effort and diligence appears to be pretty good, in spite of the losing skid.
"It's hard to look at this and say we lost this game," head coach Guy Boucher said to NHL.com. "We definitely deserved better. Right now, it's not about the effort. It's clearly a total effort from all the players from beginning to end. Guys are sticking together.
"We've just got to continue pushing. We're right there. We were there last game (a 5-2 loss at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday), and we're right there now."
If I might make a suggestion or two, and I think I can because this is my column (chortle), here's a few.
One, I really think the Johnny Oduya 'experiment' needs to be shut down. At the age of 36, Oduya is clearly on the downswing of a serviceable career. Playing him ahead of the likes of Ben Harpur or Thomas Chabot is silly. Frankly, Oduya can't keep up.
Two, can we please, pretty please, stop with the line juggling? It's impossible to find a comfort zone with your linemates when you don't actually know who your linemates are going to be, period by period.
The constant juggle reeks of panic.
Three, shoot the damn puck.
If you want to ingest the definition of frustrating, watch the Ottawa Senators' power play. You can't tell me that a team that's loaded with Erik Karlsson, Mike Hoffman, Bobby Ryan . . . etc. etc . . . should be ranked 25th in the NHL in power play success.
Hey boys, try shooting the puck once in a while, sometimes it goes in.
The road doesn't get any easier as we slide into December.
Ottawa embarks on a seven-game road trip, including a jaunt out west through Los Angeles, Anaheim and San Jose.
This is make-or-break time.
Ottawa has the talent, clearly, time to let it shine.
If not, this is a whole heck of a lot of talent gone to waste.
NEWS, NOTES AND NOTIONS: Say what you want about Sidney Crosby or Connor McDavid or Karlsson being the best players in hockey, but nobody means more to their team than a healthy Carey Price in Montreal. The Habs grew two feet to a man when Price returned Saturday in a 3-0 shutout over Buffalo . . . If someone wants to explain what happened this season to the 'Stanley Cup favourite' Edmonton Oilers, I'd love to listen . . . If Vegas continues to roll, then mail it in: Gerard Gallant – coach of the year . . . These William Nylander to Arizona rumours for Oliver Ekman-Larsson don't seem to want to go away. I don't see that much of Ekman-Larsson, but I can tell you, Nylander is a brilliant talent . . . Great 25 minutes spent? Sportsnet's documentary on Auston "Papi" Matthews.
THE WEEK AHEAD:
Wednesday, Nov. 29: Ottawa at Montreal (7:30 pm)
Friday, Dec. 1: Ottawa at NY Islanders (7 pm)
Sunday, Dec. 3: Ottawa at Winnipeg (7 pm)