by SENShobo on 03/24/09 at 10:04 AM ET
It’s been quite a ride through the past two seasons, the rise and fall of the Senators and the current stirring of the once disregarded beast.
No one really knows how any of it happened, or where the team will go from here, even as countless minds dwell on the matter. Still, it’s not often that teams in this position get to experience a dose of excitement this late in the season, and certainly rarely this futile.
Update - Post Spreadsheet Fixed
From the Ottawa Citizen, no one has exemplified the turnaround more than Alfredsson,
Clouston is full of praise for his captain.
“I think he has played as well as I’ve seen him play in a long time,” Clouston said.
“Obviously, I had only observed him on TV (before replacing Craig Hartsburg as coach) and that’s not nearly the same thing, but it’s the subtleties of his game that kind of separates him from some other players. He’s skilled, but it’s the little things that he does, the position that he puts his body in, the reads he makes, the little chips, just everything he does that sometimes goes unnoticed. You wonder why he’s so successful and that’s why. He’s such a smart hockey player.”
“He’s enjoying coming to the rink and he believes in his team,” he said. “I think he likes how we’re trying to play the game. In practice, he works hard. You can’t ask for anything more than that. You would have to ask him personally how he feels physically, but to me, it looks like he’s feeling pretty good.”
He’s the only Senator to have climbed above the point-per-game plateau (23-28—71 in 70GP) and since Clouston has taken the reins he has rocketed up to join Kuba for the team lead as a +10 player. When a deflected Heatley shot hit Alfie’s face, he missed only a single game, and played three weeks with a massive jaw protector, some of the best hockey he has played all season. He has been the captain that cannot be stopped, and the team feeds off of it.
You can’t fault Volchenkov for being day-to-day right now with the way he sacrifices his body, and it’s been a trickier tightrope to walk with both Smith and Picard out as well. The Senators have found whatever they needed, whether they drew on the experience of being down in the dumps earlier in the season, or more recently of their surprise comeback in Minnesota. Something has changed, and the season is exciting again, the off-season for wholly new reasons. Sens fans feel their pulse quicken now as the games wind down, and that’s something that you can’t put a price on.
The Ottawa Citizen does a good job of going through the teams Ottawa has to face in their impossible quest for the playoffs, that being the plucky Leafs, as well as the Sabres, Panthers, and Canadiens. If the Senators can keep up their streak, the real challenge here, it might not even be the most unbelievable thing to see those teams stumble in their final games.
Does anyone really believe that the Senators will make the playoffs? Most likely not. However, there’s no denying that they are the hottest team in the NHL right now, and that they could do it.
As amazing as it sounds when I tell you that only the division leaders are safe from Ottawa’s assault, it’s not that surprising. If you take the number of points a team earns from now to the end of the season, and add it to the number of points Ottawa misses out on, that number can only be reached by four teams. If five of them reach it, then Ottawa can be no better than 9th, on the outside looking in.
Above is the basic layout of these point goals. I will post it each day for your bemusement, updating it with the previous night’s results. If Ottawa’s hopes are destroyed, I will stop, obviously, or should they get closer I will explain smaller nuances (like the fact that if Philadelphia got its remaining six points but no more, and Ottawa won all its remaining games, Ottawa would win the tie breaker unless the six points had come from three wins and one of those three wins was in regulation against Ottawa on April 4th; aren’t nuances fun?). One of the best little joys came last night, when Carolina and Florida played, forcing two points to make it onto the board, but with extra time adding a third point to the mix for added joy.
For now, just enjoy, laugh, chuckle, sweat, tense up, or do whatever it is you want to do with this information. Let’s see how many days I have to keep posting it and updating it; that sounds like even more fun.
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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.
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