I’m already writing a post about this?
There’s not even snow on the ground yet and the Ottawa Senators have the stink of a team headed for local infamy.
A rebuilding team playing poorly is one thing, but to get blown out on home ice twice in a row by scores of 7-1 and 7-2 must be excruciating for both the fans and the organization.
After all, this is not just a team full of kids learning the pro game. There is a solid core of veterans on this club who know how to win. To be this bad, this early, defies even the longest of odds.
Yet the fans in this city said they were on board for the rebuild. They’ll be expected to hold up their end of the bargain and keep filling the rink every night and buying that merchandise and booing their own players. So far, so good on all those fronts.
But how did the Senators get to this point this fast? It’s like watching Clark Griswold on the saucer sled in Christmas Vacation. Or maybe more like Cousin Eddie emptying his portable toilet into the sewer while drinking a beer. “The shitter was full.” This has nothing to do with the story at hand, but what the hell. Nonsensical Christmas Vacation quotes are fine paragraph filler for highly paid pros like myself.
It’s easy to point to the goaltending… so let’s go ahead and do that.
Craig Anderson and Alex Auld have been brutal, and there’s no way to sugar coat that. When either of them lets in a softie, the whole team deflates and you can quickly bet that three or four more goals will follow in short order.
The one major hope going into this season was that the goaltending would keep them in games while the kids learned on the fly. That could still happen, but how often does a goalie just flip a switch and play lights out? Not very often. It looks like Anderson and Auld are going to have to build their confidence up slowly and that could mean some more long nights in the short term.
Meanwhile, Robin Lehner and Nikita Filatov lurk in the minors, waiting for their phone call.
Too soon to mention Lehner?
Probably, but losing this badly can really force a GM’s hand. The one thing Lehner doesn’t lack is confidence. All he’s said this year is that he’s ready to play in the NHL, even when nobody believes him. There’s no way he will supplant Anderson permanently this year, but does he get a call to play a few games if both NHL goalies keep rolling downhill?
I think it’s possible because the Senators have a lot of cap room to play with and can afford to sit someone they’re not too happy with.
To be fair to Anderson and Auld, we are not at that point yet, but it’s not as far off as we might assume.
Out West, Cory Clouston may be allowing himself a secret little smile.
Yet, Sens fans can be thankful they will be watching Erik Karlsson, David Rundblad, Mika Zibanejad and Jared Cowen grow up in this town for the next ten years. All of them will likely be stars, if Karlsson isn’t one already.
And you can insert your Nail Yakupov jokes here as well.