After another disappointing and listless loss in Carolina on Sunday night, the Ottawa Senators find themselves reeling a little bit right now.
On Saturday in Detroit, they looked inspired and that there might be some signs of finally starting to turn the corner a little bit. But then less than 24 hours later, it was another brutal effort in Carolina. This team has become nearly impossible to predict and with the outright losses (no loser point even) piling up, the Senators are digging themselves a hole that will soon become too deep to crawl out of.
Heading into Tuesday’s action, Ottawa currently sits six points back of the Montreal Canadiens for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. With more than 50 games left in the season, there is still plenty of time for Paul MacLean’s team to get things turned around but it has to start soon. Stats suggest that teams that find themselves in an early hole have a heck of a time making up any ground, especially with so many three point games. The website Sports Club Stats currently has the Sens at a 27.8 percent chance to make the playoffs.
There has been plenty of talk about trades lately. The team needs help both up front and on defence, although right now the backend is the more pressing concern. Murray has been extremely active on the phones as of late but his options are limited by the internal budget. Michael Del Zotto is the name that seems to be coming up most often. The Senators have also looked at the possibility of bringing in a winger to play with Jason Spezza but they may be able to fill that need in-house if they just give Mika Zibanejad some time to build chemistry with Michalek and Spezza.
A call up would be the other option but there aren’t many options defensively. Chris Wideman and Cody Ceci are both having pretty good seasons but neither really seems like much of an upgrade right now. Mike Hoffman and Jean Gabriel Pageau have both been terrific for the Binghamton Senators but with the team already carrying 23 players, it’s tough for Murray to bring someone up right now.
Whatever route they end up choosing, one thing is abundantly clear- the Ottawa Senators need a spark. They’ll play three times this week starting with a game in Washington on Wednesday night, a home game against the Canucks on Thursday and then the Alfie return on Sunday. The Sens have to find a way to pick up some points in those games, otherwise they may find themselves out of the playoff race by the time the New Year rolls around.
- -Big news in Canadian TV this morning as the National Hockey League announced a new deal with Rogers related to exclusive National broadcasting rights beginning next season. The deal means that Sportsnet and CBC become the only two national broadcasters with TSN left out in the cold. Surprising and somewhat disappointing news as I always found that TSN had the best broadcasts of the three. It will be interesting to see what this means for TSN’s on-air talent and where they ultimately end up. Details of the announcement are here and a “sample” Saturday night schedule here.
The Daily Chirp- As mentioned above, lots of talk of New York Rangers defenceman Michael Del Zotto as a potential trade target for the Senators. One player rumoured to be of interest to the New York Rangers is prospect Mark Stone. It’s unlikely that’s enough to get a deal done but he is apparently one of the players the Rangers are interested in.