Thursday, April 26, 2012
Thanks For Coming Out, Ottawa Senators
You can't really blame the Senators for going out in the fashion they did. The team that wasn't supposed to do anything this season were the 8th seed and took the top team in the East to a seventh game and lost by only a goal. For a young team without much of an identity, it's a great learning experience.
But was it too much of a learning experience?? Paul MacLean really went crazy with inserting youngsters into the line-up for the Senators in the playoffs. Sure, it was good to have Mark Stone and Jakob Silfverberg get some NHL time and bring some "fresh" legs (despite both playing a full season prior), trying to mess with chemistry late into a series is something that's usually a deathwish for a coach. It won't hurt MacLean, but it will make some question his motives after this season.
When you look at the youth of the Senators, there's a lot of guys who will be aiming for limit spots. One of the big battles will be the right to back-up Craig Anderson. Both Robin Lehner and Ben Bishop show a lot of promise, but which one will be the guy and will they actually like being in the NHL despite not getting much playoff time??
Defensively, the emergence of Erik Karlsson continues to be a big thing, which is great for the likes of Jared Cowen and Matt Gilroy to see that the young players can be a great contributor. Though, with the old guard still there-- Sergei Gonchar, Filip Kuba, and Chris Phillips-- the transition period won't be as rough; though it's no transition, just one era to another.
All of these things pale in comparison to what's going to happen with Daniel Alfredsson. Many people believe he is beyond-human and could very well play a couple more seasons-- but with the injuries he's had in the past few seasons (concussion, major back surgery), is this this last hurrah for the greatest modern-day Senators ever?? Time will tell and some will be impatient when it comes to waiting.
The Senators really beat all the odds when it came to the playoffs-- getting there and doing as well as they did. They have a bright future so long as the team is treated the proper way in terms of development and continued growth. And, they have a coach with a bitchin' moustache-- which helps.