If you had said to me way back in October, at the start of the NHL hockey season, that the Ottawa Senators would barely scrape by into the playoffs, I would have laughed and said, "I don't believe you!" But here it is, the middle of April, and it's right on the money.
This is a team that the Gods have cursed for sure. The terrible run that Ottawa went on from January onward barely got them into the playoffs, and I don't think that anyone, including me, expected them to beat the offense laden Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round. What surprised us all is that they fell in four straight games, including the final two here in Ottawa, and didn't really put up all that much of a fight.
The injuries to Daniel Alfredsson, Chris Kelly, and Mike Fisher were key to the fall of the Senators (so the Maple Leafs fans got their sweet revenge through the Bell incident), but the Senators who were on the ice were flat. I have to say that I'm sorry for goaltender Martin Gerber, who put on a heck of a show for the Senators, but couldn't really stop the Penguins and their young guns (Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and the newly acquired Marian Hossa) from netting a few. The fact that Ottawa's offensive effort was so poor reflects badly on a lot of the Senators players. However, for all that, Daniel Alfredsson's grit coming back and playing the last two games with an MCL, Type 3 injury is one of the most heroic, team-spirited, shows of determination and the spirit of playoff hockey I have seen in a long time, and says a lot about the captain of the Ottawa Senators, even if he couldn't give 100%.
So the Senators' season is at an end, a couple of months earlier than expected. I believe that there are going to be a lot of changes made to this Senators team before they take to the ice in September. Two of the players who are likely to go are goalie Ray Emery, who proved to be a thorn and a distraction for the team all year, and Wade Redden, whose glory days as an Ottawa Senator are well behind him and who been the fall guy for the past couple of years. There are other faces who won't be around either, but that's the way of hockey these days.
They didn't get the job done this time around. But September will be a whole new season.
Thanks for a great, and not-so-great, season of hockey, Ottawa Senators!! Look forward to a new season in the Fall. Go, Sens, Go! :)