After watching Wednesday night’s humbling 2-1 loss that channeled the Craig Hartsburg era, I spent a significant amount of time poring over some statistics. For my sanity’s sake, I couldn’t help it. I needed to quantify just how awful the Senators have been.
I knew the Senators would be rough in the early stretch of the season. The warning signs were there: secondary scorers like Michalek and Kovalev were coming off of major knee surgeries; the third line trio of Kelly, Ruutu and produced career high numbers last season; Fish is guaranteed to put up 40-45 points, you just don’t know when they’re going to come; and the philosophy for the blueline completely changed.
“It’s great to block shots, but I’d like (to force) the other team to block shots. And you do that by having the puck, helping your forwards get the attack going and being creative, and in particular from the back end.
“Now, with Erik (Karlsson) and him and Filip Kuba on the back end and a couple of kids coming, our mobility is considerably different … (Gonchar) adds a lot to our team, with back-end mobility and (being able) to play the point on the power play. That’s how you win games in the league now.“ ~ Bryan Murray
Who knew that Bryan Murray could say something that sounds so good? (Note: There’s a 99.99999% chance that it came out better in print than the audio clip.) Now maybe Murray’s identified the philosophy on how to win but with 22 games into this NHL season, the results haven’t been there thus far.
The numbers speak for themselves:
- 2.40 goals for per game (7th worst in the League)
- 3.13 goals allowed per game (4th worst in the League)
- A 10-11-1 record is good for 21 points in 22 games (9th in the Eastern Conference)
- Only 54 teams have made the playoffs in the past 15 seasons if they were out of a playoff spot on American Thanksgiving. (via The Toronto Star)
- 28.859 years of age (3rd oldest team in the NHL) ~ via NHLnumbers.com
- 1,242,645 line combinations (Most in the NHL. If only Cory could rotate his lines like he works in his salmon shirt/tie/suit combination.)
- Nick Foligno 0 goals (Muckaltian production!)
- Ottawa’s goaltenders have had to make 631 saves. (7th most in the NHL).
- Unfortunately, the amount of shots hasn’t inflated their collective save percentage. At 90.1%, Ottawa has the 8th worst save percentage in the NHL.
- Sergei Gonchar, -12. (His plus/minus while playing at home? Even. On the road? -12. I think it’s safe to say that Cory Clouston isn’t getting the matchups that he wants on the road.)
- Peter Regin only has 34 shots on net. Four more than Jesse Winchester. I get that Peter feels like he has to defer to Kovalev a lot, but shoot the effing rock man!
With the amount of line juggling being done, one can look at it in one of two ways: the personnel just isn’t meshing or Cory Clouston is an OCD control freak. (Or maybe it’s a little bit of both.) At some point, something is going to have to give.