The Sens were beaten in Toronto tonight by a score of 5-2, in a game that saw former Sen Martin Gerber have the last laugh, stopping 37 shots on route to the win. This loss pretty much summed up the entirety of the Senators' season, despite the fact that after the changeover to coach Cory Clouston, the Sens turned their fortunes around, but not enough to make it into the playoffs for the first time in 11 years.
Despite the solid play since Clouston took over as coach, the Senators' problems started at the beginning of the season (well, actually half-way through the previous season) and the team never recovered. The reasons for the terrible year this time around were multiple. First off, Craig Harstburg is a good coach, but a completely defensive approach to the game was the wrong way to go with Ottawa. The fact that most of the players had off-seasons when it came to scoring, hitting the team at the same time, didn't help. A lack of an offensive defenseman certainly didn't help, as the poor showing of the power play illustrated. And...well, there are so many other things that went wrong with the Ottawa Senators this year that it's not worth going on about.
Now, there is just the hope of the new season to come in the latter half of 2009. With the acquisition of Pascal Leclaire, the Senators have addressed their goaltending issues...if Leclaire can stay healthy. While I like the acquisition, I wish it had not been at the expense of Antoine Vermette, still one of my favourite ex-Senators. But the team still needs tinkering. Ottawa needs a full-fledged puck-moving defenseman. They need another second line forward. They need a bit more grit in their play at times. Whether they get this next season is another matter. In the meantime, the NHL hockey season in Ottawa is done for.
So next year... GO SENS, GO!!