Kukla's Korner


Plenty Left To Fight For In Ottawa

I had heard something of a possible scenario where the Senators win all their remaining games, Montreal loses all theirs, and Buffalo goes 2-3-2 to join them in a three-way tie for 8th place that Ottawa would win, but I think we’re all done with impossible scenarios. What we do get, though, is a chance to see what does transpire in these remaining games, for there are plenty of interesting scenarios that can play out over the final stretch of games.

Since there are no playoffs on the line, I suppose we will need something else to take their place and keep things interesting. What could be more fitting during these trying times than jobs?

Consider that some have suggested that while the Islanders are likely all-but-uncatchable with their five point lead on last overall, all four other teams who have a shot at the first overall pick in the lottery could easily juggle themselves into any of those positions in the half a dozen games that remain. Some of these teams could theoretically call up players from the AHL, claiming to want to test them at this level, all the while their inexperience could work in their favour, dragging them ever-closer to the coveted seedings.

Ottawa won’t be left out of this shell game setup either, even as they have no shot of competing for such lofty gifts. Consider the following series of events that transpired within a 24-hour window of the Senators falling out of playoff contention.

First, if you browse over to Sens TV, you will find a ‘Prospects’ section on the left menu bar, added just before March became April. It features Assistant GM Tim Murray and Director of Hockey Operations Brent Flahr profiling a dozen different players the Sens have coming up through the pipes.

Next, around lunchtime yesterday, once the ball was officially dropped, the Ottawa Senators start of their string of April news with a feature on Mike Fisher. Ponder for a moment as you realize that it is a profile of his local charity work, and that the news article is titled: Fisher a good man for all seasons.

Finally, at some point yesterday afternoon, Sportsnet finds Bryan Murray contemplating the season,

“At the beginning of the year, we never thought this was the situation we’d be in with six games to go. When it actually happens, it’s hard,” admitted Murray on Wednesday afternoon in Boston.
“What if we had Cory for the whole season? We wouldn’t be fighting for a playoff spot - we’d be there,” suggested Murray.
“Your best players - that take a fair number of your dollars - if they don’t perform on an everynight basis, then you’re left wanting,” explained Murray. “One of the things I’ll address is the inconsistency from some of our players.”

Aside from the irony that it’s titled “Murray wonders ‘What if?’ in Ottawa” even as the story acknowledges that the quotes were made by Murray in Boston (it should be obvious enough that Murray would only wonder such a thing about his own team), what to make of this assembly?

After a disappointing season officially loses all hopes of the playoffs, we are presented with views of the prospects, and hope for the future. Then, we see praise of Clouston that coupled with Melnyk’s impending visit to Ottawa could mean he finally loses the ‘interim’ tag. At the very end, we see that Murray will be looking to his top flight players to play as such, along with a well-timed article that shines one of the most criticized of these players in a very nice light. Recall for a moment that it was supposedly Redden’s community involvement that kept him in Ottawa to crater his career, sending Chara to free agency and Boston, en route to a pivotal role in a great revival.

There is of course a trio of goalies competing for a pair of spots to start off the internal battles. Then, despite some good chemistry found on the Foligno-Fisher-Shannon line, Murray is saying once again that he feels they need another top 6 forward, which would write off that success to a certain degree, and might have Comrie justifiably wondering where he fits in, when not so long ago he seemed prepared to sell Ottawa to Hilary. Alas, despite the presence of Kuba, Picard, Campoli, Lee, and Bell, Murray still finds himself looking for a big offensive fish to reel in for the back end. Hardly anyone, it would seem, should feel all too comfortable when they leave the rink for the last time in nine days, if they haven’t left it all on the ice in these last half dozen games. Shouldn’t that make these a string worth watching, a series of fights to the (job) death?

Interesting? No? I still think there’s more to come, more to ponder, and plenty more to be said every step of the way from here to the first puck drop in October.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | SENShobo | Permalink


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About SENShobo

Native of Northern California.  Hockey fan since 1998... sort of... there's a hiatus in there that I still can't explain.

I want to know about anything and everything related to the sport and the spectacle.  I watch, I react, I write it down.

My interest in the Sharks was initially a matter of geographic convenience and regional loyalty because that seemed to be how it worked.  I had no prior interest (at all-- AT ALL) in professional sports of any kind.  When I met hockey, it might have set off a chain reaction of general sports fandom.  It hasn't, I don't think it will.  At all.

Since then, that interest developed into full blown (mostly sort of usually almost completely) exclusive loyalty to the Sharks.

I started blogging a couple years ago on wordpress. I still occasionally put things there that I don't think fit here because they are not about the Sharks. Wherever my words wander, here on Kuklas Korner, they will (usually) hang on to a teal thread.

I can be found in cyberspace on Twitter @petshark47, or emailed at talkingstick@petshark.net

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