Sens Face A Leadership Challenge.

I find myself getting increasingly pessimistic when I consider the Sens play-off hopes this season.

And I’m not entirely sure why.

I don’t want to be.  I’d like to think this poor play of late is little more than a roster coming together, a team struggling with new line-mates, a new system, and working out the regular kinks that come along with a new season.

And there’s certainly an argument to be made for that.

No doubt the host of new players, combined with some key injuries, and a bizarre early season schedule with more holes in it then Vesa Toskala has done little to stabilize this team, but the fact remains, even in the best of circumstances, this team is not a shoe in to make the post season.

But they seem to play like they are.

Blowing lead after lead, or failing to play for 60 minutes are hallmarks of teams that are either too comfortable, or not very good.  Teams that are too comfortable often feel they can get back into games, or a bad game here or there won’t really have much impact in the long haul.  If this is the case, somebody needs to slap this roster back to reality, and fast.  I’m not even going to consider that this team isn’t good enough to win its share of games, because it is.  Sure, they’re not world beaters, but they aren’t the humps they’ve come off as thus far against the better teams in the league.

In order for this team to make the post season they have to beat those teams below them, and slay the occasional dragon.  The fact they’ve had those dragons on the ropes a few times, then turned their backs on them, shows this team lacks focus and/or discipline.

This now represents Cloustons first major challenge as the bona-fide head coach of this franchise.  Can he get this roster to do what it takes to win?

Play 60 minutes.

Controlled aggression.

Act, don’t react.

Sound positional hockey, reducing the need to take obstruction penalties.

Moving their feet, at all times, in order to draw penalties.

The rubber hits the road tonight, Clouston has had his say in the media, the team leadership has backed him up off the ice, but talk is cheap.

It’s going to take a .580 P% to make the post season, and right now, with a .571 P%, the Sens are on the outside looking in.

A win tonight puts them solidly back into the play-off picture (.600), a loss…solidly out (.533).

Who’s going to win the leadership challenge?



3 Responses to “Sens Face A Leadership Challenge.”

  1. GN:

    You have had an American League DEFENCE for over two years in a league were DEFENCE WINS!

  2. Now, now, Nik, that’s a bit harsh.
    For sure 3 of our 6 D are AHL contenders, but Volchy, Kuba and Phillips are all legit top 4 NHL’ers.
    Unfortunately, none of them are franchise #1’s (like a certain Kyparissi hill running animal).
    A solid team needs a number one in every role; A centre, a winger, a Dman and a goaltender. The Sens have all bases covered but the Dman, and the likelyhood of a #1 being aquired via trade or signing is about 0.032597%, or, rounded down to no chance in hell.
    As such we’ll just have to wait for one of the young prospects to earn that role.
    That’s not to say Murray isn’t looking for a top 4 guy, he is, desperately, but not a legit #1, they’re just not available, anywhere.

  3. It goes beyond the defense to a sense of complacency and security.
    The core guys aren’t going anywhere and the bottom guys have long-term deals.

    There isn’t any reason for anyof them to play hungry. If they miss the playoffs Murray will not be renewed and the same guys will be back next year. Eventualy Melnyk will throw Clouston under the bus and wonder why his prized ponies aren’t winning the Breeder’s I mean er…Stanley Cup.

    The Sens are a country club where players don’t lose ice time or are made healthy scratches to put the fear of Clouston into them.

    When you have security and you don’t have to work for it, you get complacent. This team is complacent.

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