• By: Dave Gross

String of losing needs to be snipped

Photo: Courtesy iHeart Radio

You know about that saying re-insanity right: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?

If you’re the latest rendition of the Toronto Maple Leafs that means, of course, nailing it repeatedly during the regular season then coughing up a hairball in the playoffs.

If you’re any team with Tom Brady it means winning Super Bowls.

And if you’re the Montreal Canadiens that means drafting Jesperi Kotkaniemi over someone else (I know that doesn’t exactly fit but it was worth it for a good Tkachuckle).

Which brings us to your golden boys, the team that’s finished at, or near the bottom of the standings for four straight years. Judging by the start of this season, the Ottawa Senators are gunning for five.

And that is problematic in many ways.

Most prominent is that this is an organization steeped in an ugly tradition, a tradition of losing. Call it a culture of losing.

It certainly didn’t used to be this way. Through the 2000s, Ottawa sat near the top of the ladder year after year. In 2006-07 you’ll remember the team for making it to the Stanley Cup final.

Those were robust days when expectation of a playoff spot landing was a sure thing. Anything less was quite frankly unthinkable. It just couldn’t happen here.

Well, here is here and it’s been here for a long time.

Keeping in mind this is a very tender time for the Senators, a culture of losing is cancerous. Ottawa is rich with young talent, but young talent is also highly impressionable. Losing can be habit-forming (Hi there Arizona!).

However – there’s always got to be a however – the young Senators do have something in their favour, the aforementioned Tkachuckle. Naming Brady Tkachuk captain was a done deal the second he signed his new contract.

Tkachuk doesn’t seem to be the type to accept losing.

He’s doing what he can from his end of things, but it’s up to management and hockey ops to supply the ballast. Consistently bringing in ‘depth’ defencemen and forwards to fill the ‘experience’ role is not working. It’s not that it’s a not a good ploy because it can be as guys like Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow have showcased in their new homes. Ottawa though has struck out big time with its signings and I don’t need to name names here, you’re fully aware. Until a shift in that department happens this culture of losing grows.

THOUGHT, SEEN AND HEARD: So, you expected something else from Gary Bettman? Lawyers aren’t known for ‘warm-n’-fuzzy’ and Bettman didn’t disappoint with his stoic, impassive, emotionless address during the league’s Kyle Beach presser . . . If they ever slap together a remake of Lost in Space, pencil Bettman in as the voice of Robot . . . Am I missing something here because shouldn’t Rick Westhead – in an era where journalism in sport has become nothing more than pom-pom waving – get an award for his superb work investigating and reporting the Beach story? . . . Tim Stutzle might become a worldly talent, but he’d better arrest the head-shaking and complaining to the on-ice officials. This is a rep you don’t need at the age of 19 . . . Ineffective: Nick Ritchie . . . The former Bruin looks lost playing with players who excel at pace and quickness . . . The Maple Leafs just must have read this column two weeks ago. They’re playing like they took it to heart . . . Not to be missed in the Jack Eichel to Vegas drama is this – Eichel's $10 US million salary carries the Golden Knights to $78.74 US million committed, already, towards next season's $81.5 US million salary cap. The trick for the Golden Knights? That near $78 US million hit is just for 11 players under contract . . . I think the previous was the most awkward sentence I’ve ever written . . .  Minnesota is one team worth shelling out the shekels for, this is a team that plays with pace and high-speed thrills . . . Tweet-of-the-week goes to Graeme Nichols (@6thSens): “Putting (Michael) Del Zotto on for 3-on-3 is like saying, ‘Uncle.’” . . . One of the top writers in the game, Don Brennan, has this tag at the head of his Twitter account: “Ottawa Sun sportswriter/columnist for decades. Warning: I'm not everybody's cup of tea.” Well you’re definitely our cup of tea, Doni. Keep being one of the few who actually tells it like it is . . . If you had a belt every time the word ‘fantastic’ came stumbling out of TSN’s Jamie McLennan’s mouth, you’d need detox . . . To steal a weekly take from the Sun’s Steve Simmons, the good old Whatever happened column-ender: Whatever happened to the LRT? . . . Seriously though, does anyone in Ottawa have a clue?


Tuesday, Nov. 9: Ottawa at Boston (7 pm)

Thursday, Nov. 11: Los Angeles at Ottawa (7 pm)

Saturday, Nov. 12: Pittsburgh at Ottawa (7 pm)

Sunday, Nov. 13: Calgary at Ottawa (5 pm)