I use the term "made the playoffs" loosely here, given the manner in which they did it. Despite losing to the Boston Bruins last night 2-1, the Senators made the playoffs because the Carolina Hurricanes were beaten in their game by the Florida Panthers. Now, it's just a matter of finding out whether the Senators finish seventh or eighth on the season.
While I would like to think that Ottawa has a chance to win the Stanley Cup, they have some hurdles to overcome. First, they're going to have to play at least one round of the playoffs without their captain, Daniel Alfredsson, and one of their best players, Mike Fisher, both of whom are out for two to three weeks. The biggest hurdle they have, however, is themselves. This is a team that is playing poorly, that lacks confidence and swagger, that makes defensive errors in its own zone, whose goaltenders are inconsistent night to night, and that has found it almost difficult to put the puck in the opposition's goal despite still being one of the highest scoring teams this season (mostly due to their output the first 20 games or so). This is a team that is shaking its head, trying to figure out what went so badly wrong the last half of the season.
This Ottawa Senators team can win, they've done it before, and they can do it again. They just have to figure out how, and go back to what is commonly called "hockey basics".
So, in the meantime, I'm looking forward to the Ottawa Senators playoff run...but I'll likely watch it with my hands covering my face, peeking through the fingers. Here's hoping the Ottawa Senators regain the magic that took them to the Stanley Cup finals against Anaheim last year.
Go, Sens, Go! Please... :)