Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Watching the Ottawa Senators Crash and Burn is Really Great

by Anne

As we are all aware by now, Craig Hartsburg has been fired as the head coach of the Ottawa Senators and some dude that kind of looks like him was brought up from the AHL to replace him. Hoping for a little of the Boudreau magic? Great. Why now? Its post All-Star break and the Senators have no chance of making the playoffs, save for the win streak of the century. Hey, if they win every single game for the rest of the season, they'd have 107 points!

Why fire him now after signing him to a three year contract? He's never taken an NHL team past the second round of the playoffs. Why did you sign him to a three year contract in the first place? He helped kill the Chicago Blackhawks in the late 1990s. It makes very little sense. So if Cory Clouston blows up, the season is already a wash anyway?. They're just waiting for Pat Quinn to sign on the dotted line. Clouston won't last past this season.

I watched last night's Senators/Kings game (which the Kings won 1-0) and I was amazed at how evenly mediocre and similar the teams are yet how different their roads to mediocrity have been.

Both teams have top players that can produce points, a continuously rotating turnstyle of goaltenders in net, new coaches (or two this season if you're the Sens) and have reached almost the same spot in the standings in their respective conferences. The teams have uneven defense and their own personal creepy douchebags in Denis "Sucker Punch to the Head" Gauthier and Jarkko "Taste of Human Flesh" Ruutu. However, rewind a year or two and no one ever would've thought that these two teams would find themselves in such similar places.

The Kings haven't made the playoffs since 2002 and the Sens haven't missed the playoffs in a decade. Yet here they are, 41 points in 49 games for the Sens and 49 in 49 for the Kings. Yes, the Los Angeles Kings have a better record than the 2007 Eastern Conference champtions. In the West, the Kings are four points out of a playoff spot but in the East, the Sens are 15 points out. The Kings finished in the basement of the league last season, and after dominating for the first half of the season, the Sens barely held on to make the playoffs, clutching onto eighth place by their fingernails, only to be swept out by the eventual Eastern Conference Champions.

I'm far from the first person to be like "YO, WTF, Sens?" Believe you me, as a Sabres fan, I find an inordinate amount of glee in watching the Sens implode and I'd really like it to continue.

They've followed the usual pattern of a team that's in a seemingly bottomless downward spiral: Sign the big names to big contracts, blame the starting goaltender for team failures and relegate him to back-up, get rid of newly relegated starting goaltender, acquire random new back-up, fire coach, hire new coach, get rid of new starter in favor of random back-up, call up schnookie from the AHL, fire recently hired coach, promote from within the floundering system. Next step is firing the GM and then firing the AHL guy when the Sens fail to improve at all. This off-season will see a new Sens GM and a bunch of roster changes. I. CAN'T. WAIT.

In my not so long life I only really remember two Buffalo Sabres head coaches, Ted Nolan and, of course, Lindy. I only remember one GM, Darcy Regier. There have been others, of course, but I just don't remember them. Therefore, watching these new coaches and GMs running in and out of organizations is hilariously entertaining because I've only really paid attention to one Buffalo coaching change and I was like 11 years old at the time. For those keeping track, I'm 23.

Also, in case we all don't know, Terry Murray, head coach of the Los Angeles Kings is the younger brother of Bryan Murray, General Manager of the Ottawa Senators.

Looking at how their teams have fared with new players and new coaches over the last several months, if I had to pick which one of them will still be employed by their respective team this time next season, I'd bet the farm on Terry. The Kings may be in 12th place, but at 21-21-7 only four points out of the playoffs, I'd say Terry wins the battle of the Murray brothers.

Now that I've said all this, I predict a 5-1 Ottawa victory over the Sabres on Saturday. That's just how the Sabres roll these days. They'll beat Montreal, a team ahead of us in the standings, but will lose to Ottawa, a team their fans LOVE to beat.

1 comment:

  1. I predict a 5-1 Ottawa victory over the Sabres on Saturday.

    And this is the frustrating part. The Sabres are a better team on paper and in the standings when paired against Ottawa. They just let them get to their heads, and then they decide to either implode or almost implode against them. They need to get rid of the demons they have with the Senators.

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