Earlier in the year I challenged the Sens to head into the Olympic break in control of their post season destiny. At that point the Sens were Yo-Yo’ing between 6th and 8th, but both the Bruins and Flyers were doing the same. This led me to believe that when these 2 solid teams got their games going, the Yo-Yo’ing Sens would be left battling for the final play-off spot, and counting as much on themselves winning, as other teams losing.
Hence MISSION: 0614.
Then, early into the challenge, tragedy struck. No Alfie, no Spezza, no Michalek, no Kuba, no Leclaire. Seriously? Now, not only did this team need to vastly improve over their previous play, but they had to do it minus their top line, their top defenseman and their starting goaltender.
What was once a challenge, was now a dream.
Well, through a combination of solid team play, outstanding individual effort (Elliott, Brodeur, Spezza, Kovalev) and luck (let’s face it, getting good bounces never hurts) this team not only accomplished their mission, they exceeded it.
The challenge – To accumulate 27 pts. en route to a 0.614 w% over the remaining 22 games before the Olympic break.
And they did it, with a final W% of 0.682, earning 30 of the possible 44 available points.
The Sens now head into the Olympic break masters of their own destiny. Assuming 90 pts. will secure an 8th place finish in the east, the Sens, thanks to their recent play, sit just 14 pts from this mark, with a possible 38 pts left on the table. This would require the Sens to post a W% of only 0.359 for the remainder of the regular season to see post season play. Never say never, but that’s a pretty comfortable position to be in, especially for a team few predicted would even make the post season, let alone be a lock to do so prior to the trade deadline!
So, to the Sens players, and management, I say enjoy your Olympic break, or experience, you’ve earned it, and we all look forward to your healthy return March 2nd vs. the Blueshirts.