Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Doing Lines .... Will Sweden Set Back The Senators?

Assuming the Senators re-sign Antoine Vermette, either through arbitration (hearing on Thursday morning) or through mutual negotiation ...

Assuming that whatever financial resources the Senators have left after that will be directed towards their good but somewhat shallow defensive depth ...

Assuming that there are no blockbuster deals between now and opening night in Sweden....

Here is what the Senators actual forward lines may look like in October ...

(Centre in bold)

Combo #1

Spezza – Heatley - Ruutu

Kelly – Vermette – Alfredsson

Fisher – Neil – Foligno

McAmmond – Bass – Donovan

Combo #2

Spezza – Alfredsson – Vermette

Kelly – Heatley – Foligno

Fisher – Ruutu – Donovan

McAmmond – Neil – Bass

Combo #3

Spezza – Heatley – Kelly

Fisher – Alfredsson – Vermette

McAmmond – Foligno – Ruutu

Bass – Donovan – Neil

Combo #4

Spezza – Heatley – Alfredsson

Fisher – Vermette – Foligno

Kelly – Neil – Ruutu

McAmmond – Bass - Donovan

You may notice that only one of those combo's has the "Pizza Line" together but nobody truly knows what new coach Craig Hartsburg has in mind until training camp rolls around. Without many resources to add more scoring up front, you have to think that the big three will be split up in the early stages of the season.

As someone asked me today, "what if the Senators lose their first 5 games of the season?", those plans might be scrapped in any sort of panic that ensues.

It's a great thing for the NHL to have the Penguins and the Senators opening the year in Sweden but it's not inconceivable that the long travel and out of the ordinary routine may effect the Senators in a negative way.

The Anaheim Ducks lost 4 of 5 after returning from England where they opened the season in a two game series against the L.A. Kings and only won 3 games in all of October.

The Kings lost 5 of 6 after the England romp before rattling of 4 straight wins to turn themselves around temporarily.

Nobody should be shocked if the same thing happens to Ottawa and Pittsburgh this October.

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