As a devoted Ottawa Senators fan, I can't help but look at this season for the team as one where there are just so many questions.
The obvious questions about the starting goaltenders, Pascal Leclaire and Brian Elliott, spring to mind first, and how they will do this year after a truly mediocre training camp and exhibition games, and the fact that one of these two guys has to step up and run with the ball, so to speak. Then we get the questions about the defense. With the departure of shot blockers extraordinaire Anton Volchenkov (to New Jersey) and Andy Sutton (to Anaheim) and the signing of power play specialist Sergei Gonchar from Pittsburgh, will the Senators really have the puck more often this year and will the two goaltenders be able to save the sheer number of rubber shots that won't be blocked this year? Will the defense be mobile enough to keep the opposition wary, and will Gonchar make a real difference on the power play, which was anaemic last year? Up front at forward, there hasn't been any real change other than the departure of Matt Cullen, and this year the guys like Nick Foligno, Peter Regin, and some of the others will be expected to make a bigger impact than they did last year. Can Mike Fisher have as good a season as he did last year? Will Alex Kovalev be the superstar he can be or just the mediocre player he was last year? Can the 38-year-old Daniel Alfredsson still get the job done, and will Jason Spezza have a good year or will it be another year where he struggles without Dany Heatley?
That's the beauty of the start of a new NHL season. The slate is fresh, the ice is clean, and optimism reigns supreme at ScotiaBank Place. The Senators begin their new season tonight at home against the Buffalo Sabres, in a game that will answer some of these questions, at least for the short haul, but 82 games from now, we'll know whether general manager Brian Murray made enough changes to make the team a decent contender or not. But for now, October's optimism remains fresh and bright.
Go, Sens, Go!!! :)