Essentially, one runs out of things to say with a team like the Ottawa Senators.
They played a spirited and competitive game against the bigger and stronger Atlanta Thrashers on Monday night and still lost in overtime, gaining a point but losing one to an opponent they are trying to catch in the standings, which really muddles the picture right now.
If they had lost to the Atlanta Thrashers in regulation, a lot of fingers would be pointed and speculation would start about imminent moves. But it would have been more cut and dried. People would be writing them off for the rest of the season, and with good reason.
Yet it's clear that this team has not quit on coach Cory Clouston. They threw everything they had at Thrashers goalie Ondrej Pavelec and managed to score three goals, in a comeback no less, a rare feat for this team.
But it's not going to be enough in the end. Getting a point may have just postponed changes for another day or two, which still leaves this team without a direction. Are they bad enough to start making changes in order to improve next season or are they good enough to try and make a run for that eighth spot?
Most would pick the former option, but how do you rebuild with so many big contracts? That alone may give us the answer right there. The Senators are likely not going to be able to make any major moves before the trade deadline so all they have left to do is scratch and claw their way through each week living on the edge of a knife.
So how will the fans react? Locals are not used to watching a hopeless cause, even as bad as the Senators were under Craig Hartsburg or at times last season. Scotiabank Place is the only rink in Canada that is regularly filled to less than capacity. That problem is likely to grow worse as fairweather fans throw in the towel by Christmas.
A change in direction might spark some interest but it's also hard to clean out a coaching staff or replace a GM mid-season. From a hockey operations standpoint, there are games to be played every second night, scouting discussions, trade discussions, you name it.
The Senators built their team in the summer and now they are likely going to have to live with it until July, come hell or high water.