Friday, January 09, 2009

Road kill Sens return home

Eight games, one win and only three points to show for their efforts not to mention a whole lot of questions to face from the folks back home, that in a nutshell is the fate of the Ottawa Senators as they return home after their eight game road trip odyssey.

With the first home date since before Christmas set for Saturday night, the Sens seem apparently in a free fall with no shortage of fingers to be pointed and directions for those fingers to go.

Beleaguered head coach Craig Hartsburg, who probably never thought things could be this bad in the city he signed on with, spent the post game period following Thursday’s 6-4 loss to Boston, calling out his top two stars Captain Daniel Alfredsson and the seemingly frequently on the dirt list Jason Spezza, advising both that their sloppy play on the ice was the determining factor in the latest Senator loss.

From shaky goal tending, through terrible defensive play and an ineffective offensive attack, there is much to try to fix in a season that seems all but lost in the second week of January.

With goal tending constantly the Achilles heel of this franchise, the latest plan it seems is to bring up Brian Elliott from the Senators AHL farm club in Binghamton, not a bad idea considering the thirty three goals that the Sens surrendered in their eight game trek through the NHL west and northeast.

If called up, there’s a very good chance that Elliot (see picture at the top of the page) could be in the nets for Saturday’s game against the Rangers, though you have to wonder if he might wish to come down with the flu or something, having seen the way that Ottawa works for their current tandem. Sure everyone wants to play in the big show, but the sideshow that Ottawa seems to be on the verge of becoming isn’t something that everyone might find career enhancing.

In Friday’s Ottawa Citizen, the coach expressing no shortage of frustration explains how he and his coaches seem to be exasperated at the inability of the Senators to buy into their teachings of team work, a sure sign that things are not going to get any better in Ottawa without some wholesale changes.

Unfortunately for Hartsburg, he too may be part of the business end of any brooms being wielded around the capital by the owner. Rumours continue to fly around the league that both Hartsburg and GM Bryan Murray may soon be cleaning out their offices, the most mentioned name of late set to take over and try to right the ship, being that of Pat Quinn, fresh off his successful voyage with the Team Canada Juniors.

Eugene Melnyk, the Senators owner, who spent a lot of time with Quinn over the last two weeks at the World Juniors, was famously quoted on Thursday, declaring that Contrary to what is being reported today by the media, I have made no decisions with respect to any personnel changes within the Senators organization.

Many hockey observers in Ottawa these days think that perhaps he left out one little word, one that will carry a lot of weight and offers up a view of what must be done soon if the Senators are to be saved from themselves.

That word would be, Yet.

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