Sunday, December 28, 2008


The problem is one of wins -- specifically, the lack of them, and the diminished likelihood that further wins will come in sufficient numbers to make an appreciable difference.

Overall, the Senators are 26th of 30 teams in the league. In the Eastern Conference, the Senators are 12th of 15 teams, now 8 points out of a playoff spot, albeit with between one and three games in hand over those teams ahead of them.

Put together that means that the Senators have to win four games more than any team between them and 8th place, between now and the end of the year. Given the standard of play we have seen thus far, this isn't terribly likely -- especially with two monster road trips on tap, including a brutal-looking swing through the west which is not likely to deliver many wins.

And although most people are not thinking that far ahead, there is the consideration that there is a difference between making the playoffs and doing well in the playoffs. Even if the team can do the former, it is unlikely that they will accomplish the latter.

Alternatively, they could decide to give up on this year, and race to the bottom in the hopes that there would be useful players available in the draft to rebuild around. Further assets could be gained by trading valuable players to contending teams in exchange for more future development.

There is a lot of upside potential on the Senators. The problem is a lack of depth. Spreading your top line through three lines only makes it harder for them to produce, while doing nothing to avoid the opposition's abilities to shut down your scoring players.

On the blue line the depth is almost non-existent -- while we have solid third-, and maybe second-line defense, we still need one of those elusive "puck moving" defense men to be able to get the puck out of the zone to the forwards without making them have to fumble around for the puck.

And back in goal we have the under-performing Gerber and the over-achieving Auld. I think Gerber isn't as bad as his numbers suggest -- much of the fault for the early stumbles this year can be attributed to the almost total lack of defense coverage in front of him. Auld I think has potential, and is playing above what we could otherwise expect of him... but he's not a #1 goalie. Not yet.

Is it time to blow up the team? It is increasingly looking like 08-09 is going to be an exercise in futility. If the team is looking at missing the playoffs, that question has to be seriously considered. There's no value in coming in 9th in the conference. The question has to be how do we spend today's assets to encourage better results in the future.