Confidence = Momentum = Winning = Confidence

The classic self fulfilling prophecy.  Confidence begets confidence, pessimism begets pessimism.

From the end of last season, to the hiring of Cory Clouston this season, this roster was mired in pessimism.  You could see it in practices, in games, and in interviews.  The players looked defeated, tired, and lost.

When examining the statistics of this team, the most startling is that of W% (winning %) when behind after one period (14.3% – 29th) vs. leading after one period (85.7% – 2nd).  That’s an absolutely MASSIVE delta, and correlates directly to confidence.  If you score early on this team, they collapse, and lose. Conversely, if the Sens gain momentum early, they dominate, and win.

We’ve seen this lately in the recent losing streak, where the Senators repeatedly got down early, often by huge amounts, and eventually lost the game.  One early goal against snowballed into many unanswered goals against.  But, under the coaching of Clouston, we’ve also seen some change in this regard.  The Sens may have allowed these early deficits, but they’ve also made some solid recoveries.  They defeated the Preds after allowing them an early lead, they recovered against the Leafs, to force the game into over-time, and they made a game of it vs. the Habs after surrendering hefty early game deficits.  But ultimately the end result remains the same, if you come out swinging vs the Sens, and land a couple of good shots, they’ll turtle, and take too long to recover their composure.

Clouston has been working very hard on this.  He is demanding this team come out with more intensity then has been shown since the end of the long western road swing, he has challenged them to acknowledge this reputation for fragility, to over-come it with a mixture of improved effort, and mental resiliency.  Publicly he laid some of the teams recent early game woes at the feet of the fatigue resulting from the long road trip, but privately, his message has been clear…winners do what it takes to win, losers do what it takes to lose.  Are you winners, or losers?

The truth is, after tearing off 5 straight wins, the team went back to their sloppy ways.  They got away with it vs the Preds, squeaked a point out of the Avs, and Leafs, but succumbed to the Habs, ‘Nucks, and Flames.

His challenge has shown some mixed results, but the over-all effort in the early part of the games has yet to be what it must be in order to overcome this terrible display of fragility.

When a team is trying to recover, how they win, and how they lose takes on significant meaning, from a projection standpoint.  If the Senators can display two key attributes;

1. Recovery from early minor deficits, leading to wins (as was done vs Toronto),

2. Play with intensity and focused effort from the drop of the puck…leading to wins (as was done vs Buffalo),

a paradigm shift can be said to have occurred in the performance, and thus future outlook, of this team.

How is the team doing under Clouston?

P% Target (for 82 games) = .574 = 94 pts

P% Last 15 games = .667 = 109 pts

G/G (last 15) – 3.13

GA/G (last 15) – 2.60


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