What A Long, Strange Trip It’s Been.
With the Olympics over, and the trade deadline now behind them, the Sens can once again focus on hockey…just, hockey.
Man, it seems like months since I’ve been able to watch a game for the sake of the game, not with heaps of other issues rumbling in the background.
So where are the Sens, post Olympics and trade deadline?
Well, according to sportsclubstats.com, the Sens currently own a 98.8% chance of making the post season.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is, the Sens have a 98.8% chance of making the post season.
After having already all but reached their enviable goal of post season play, do the Sens have enough to play for down the stretch? Will this “inevitability” of post season play rob this team of the edge it needs to reach the next level? The level of play that, if not reached, will be used by the opposition to bury them once the post season comes to be.
It’s not good enough for this team to point to the recent additions to the team, and their past play, as proof positive they’re post season ready. Last night showed they’re not. Actually, last night showed, if nothing changes, they’re due to be little more than a tune up squad for whichever team should steam-roll them in the first round.
That may be harsh, but that doesn’t make it wrong.
Last night was the “worst case” scenario for Sens management coming out of the Olympic break. A squad playing lethargic, disinterested and un-willing to compete as a team. Now, I’m not about to make a mountain out of mole-hill here, it was just one game, but with only 18 remaining on the schedule, in the 4 wks. before the post season begins, time is not a commodity this team has to spare. The time to start preparing for the post season is NOW.
The next 3 games could be the perfect chance for the Sens to re-ignite their hot streak. Carolina, Toronto and Edmonton represent the weakest group of talent in the NHL, and this was before each of them was further gutted at the deadline. Seems a golden opportunity to me.
But, this could go one of two ways; The Sens could use this as an opportunity to further strengthen their play-off seeding, and refine their team game or; The Sens could continue to rest on their laurels and let the points slip through their fingers, while deepening the roots of bad habits.
The reason this is important becomes apparent when you look at the rest of the schedule. Of the 15 remaining games, before the conclusion of the regular season, 10 are against teams either competing for, or already all but into the post season. To be frank, the games, regardless of the competition (as non contenders love to play the spoiler), only get tougher from here on out. The Senators do not want to stumble into the post season in a state of disarray. Been there, done that, and it ain’t a pretty sight if memory serves.
So, in keeping with my previous challenge, I present to you MISSION 0.605.
If this team can go into the play-offs riding a post Olympic W% of 0.605, I believe they will have done the minimum required of them to be considered post season ready.
That translates into 23 pts., or a season ending points total of 99.
So far they’re 0 for a possible 2.
One game down, still 23 points to go.