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I Know It's Early, But...


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I'd like to take a look at where the Senators are sitting four games into the season. Obviously, the most important point is that the team is 3-1-0. The game against Detroit was a disaster, but otherwise, things are generally going well. We're certainly giving up too many goals (the most in the league so far), but at least we're on the plus side of scoring (also the most goals for on the season). One of the biggest plusses so far is the big contributions we're getting from depth guys. Tom Pyatt and Ryan Dzingel both have two goals and an assist, and Chris Kelly has a marker and a helper as well. Zack Smith is well on his way to proving last year wasn't a fluke as well.


On the other hand, Stone and Hoffman are off to a slow start in the goalscoring department, but I don't think it's time to panic. Stone finally notched his first tally tonight, and he has four points overall. Hoffman had been kept off of the score sheet altogether before tonight's game, but he picked up three assists. And, having been able to watch three of the team's games so far, it's not like he hasn't had chances, so I have to think they'll come eventually. The good thing is, those guys are contributing, even if they aren't racking up goals.


Now to a couple of guys that have been scoring: Kyle Turris and Bobby Ryan. Turris got his third, and Ryan got his second tonight. The team needs them to produce consistently over the course of the season. We don't need 50 from either of them, of course (thought it would be nice), but we don't need the prolonged droughts that they're both prone to at times. Last year with Turris, it was because he was hurt, but in any case, we need to have some consistency.


The goaltending... It has, shall we say, left something to be desired... Again... BUT, I think that there is a bit of an asterisk, because I feel that the blame for a few of those goals lies elsewhere. For one thing, we've already taken 22 minor penalties. If you play with fire too much, you will get burned, and that has happened. One guy that really needs to cut down on the number of penalties he's taking is Dion Phaneuf. It feels like every tie I blink I'm hearing him whistled for something.


That's a good transition to the defense. I'll start with the bad news and work my way to the good. Ceci and Chabot have had quite a few mental lapses early on, and a few of the goals that have been given up so far can be traced directly to that. That's where the biggest part of the asterisk above comes in. With smarter play on defense, those goals against can be cut down. The shorties have been nice, but you can't count on a whole season of that. Borowiecki hasn't really been heard from all that much, and as much as I hate to sound like this, that's a good thing. As often as not, when you hear his name called, it's because he's made a mistake. That hasn't happened as much so far this season. Methot has been steady as always, and Wideman has looked pretty good. Then, there's Erik Karlsson.


I think that he's deserving of his very own paragraph at this point. Just four games in, he already has two goals and five assists, which is good for second in the league so far. But, his story is a lot bigger than that so far. While the team is only +1 in goal differential right now (zero if you don't count the shootout "goal"), Karlsson is +7. The beauty of it is that his contributions in the defensive end (or in getting it out of that end) are unmistakable. If you want proof, look up the video of Dzingel's shorthanded goal against Detroit and Karlsson's outlet pass, or the blocked shot and clearance that he made to set himself up for the empty netter against the Coyotes. One of the scariest things about Karlsson for the rest of the league is that he's always looking to up his game. So far, it looks like he has.


There are 78 games left, so things could drastically change, and I think some things need to change, but all in all, I'm very happy with the season and what the Sens have done. Boucher seems to have done a good job of implementing his system so far, and the results reflect that. As skeptical as I was with the hire, I'm happy to admit that so far, it seems that I was wrong. His ideas are a good fit for the team and the personnel that we have, and some of the moves that he asked for that I also questioned seem to be falling into place. I don't think we're a Cup contender yet, but I'm not optimistic that we might be about to watch this team turn the corner.

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That's a really good summation of what's happened so far this season. There have been some good games so far this season, and I've enjoyed some great attacking hockey from the Sens. This creates a lot of penalties as you mentioned, and their hard forward push does at times leave the defence a bit more open than preferred. It looks to be an interesting season ahead, if nothing else.

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