18 Games Of Disappointment

Like an empty seat at the Canadian Tire Centre, I know I'm not alone. 

Ever since this little corner of the interwebs opened to the world, I’ve tried to look at Sens-related news or issues without a kneejerk mentality; preferring instead to add context and look at the both sides of an issue before putting out any opinions, commentary or judgments on players, news or the rationale behind the organization’s decision making.

But 18 games into this season, with the exception of that Detroit Red Wings game on October 23rd, we have already been exposed to an inordinate amount of bad hockey by a team that entered the season with the greatest of expectations.

It’s been soul sucking hockey to watch and after each game, I seemingly find myself looking for the silver linings or brief moments or flashes of play that allow me to believe that this team is getting back on the right track. Unfortunately however, I can’t seem to shake my nagging disappointment in this team.

I’m disappointed that the Sens look like they are waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I’m disappointed that the same depth that allowed the Senators to stay competitive and clinch the seventh playoff seed looks like they’re content to sit back let their now healthy teammates carry the load.

I’m disappointed with this season’s schedule and this reactionary reflex to point out just how many times the Sens have played Western Conference. Difficult? Yes, those were difficult games, but this willingness to forgive Ottawa for not winning any of these matchups is depressing. Ottawa has been a playoff team in the Eastern Conference for the past two seasons. Why shouldn’t we expect better efforts? I’m tired of this loser mentality.

I’m disappointed in the forwards gap control not supporting their defencemen in the defensive zone.

I’m disappointed in the defencemen for their puck movement and ability to break the puck out of their zone.

I’m disappointed in the poor attendance figures.

I’m disappointed Ottawa’s four regular left wingers have combined for six goals this season.

I’m disappointed in Jason Spezza’s uncharacteristic inability to drive play this season. His production is still fine, but I fret that we’re already starting to see his decline as an effective player who may be destined for more sheltered minutes.

I’m disappointed that the organization preaches the importance of rewarding players like Stephane Da Costa who do everything that the organization has asked of them, yet refuse to punish players for poor performance or their undisciplined play.

I’m disappointed that their youngest forward who is tied for fourth amongst forwards in goals, despite playing in half the team’s games, is getting fourth line minutes in last night’s game while vets like Colin Greening and Chris Neil get regular turns playing with Jason Spezza.

I’m disappointed that Cowen doesn't look like an NHLer most nights.

I’m disappointed that a rebuilding team owned by someone who has publically embraced the small market mentality has not demonstrated the shrewd ability to sell high on players who have peaked and are also expensive or will be soon *cough, cough* Milan Michalek *cough, cough* Colin Greening *cough, cough*.

I’m disappointed in the Sens for falling victim to an organization selling high on a young player who padded his offensive totals playing with two of the best players in the NHL. And I’m even more disappointed that the Sens short-sightedly gave a 2013/14 division rival an inexpensive goalie in the process.

I’m disappointed that the Sens did not have the patience to wait until the offseason to move a veteran goalie who was more expensive, injury plagued, and expendable. Had the organization waited, they could have allocated their payroll using Andy’s salary to address a position of need – like the blue line or adding another forward. I mean, the way it stands anyways, the organization is eventually going to have to trade Andy at some point to clear the path for Lehner anyways. At least they could have kept a known commodity in Bishop to be his backup.

I’m disappointed that this team continues to dress a redundant, one-dimensional goon on the fourth line instead of calling up a prospect who may actually be of help this team.

I’m disappointed that the second line winger that Jason Spezza needs is currently playing for a divisional rival in Detroit and I’m equally unimpressed with how the organization has handled itself in the wake of Alfie’s departure.

I’m disappointed in myself for watching Bobby Ryan thrive with Kyle Turris and Clarke MacArthur and not being able to shake the negative thought that the Sens overpaid in controllable assets for a player who may turn out to be nothing more than a hired gun who will leave as an UFA at the conclusion of his two-year deal.

Ottawa isn’t unique however. Every NHL organization has its own unmistakeable shortcomings or weaknesses.

And as an organization that has had its farm system and roster overhauled over the past few years, it would be foolish to believe that the Sens have expedited the process to contention simply because a few key pieces of the roster are healthy this season.

If the start of this season is any indication, there are still many blemishes that need to be addressed because it’s becoming more and more evident that Ottawa’s best players simply can’t mask this team’s problems.

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