Monday, November 9, 2009

Old guard Sens still driving force on offence

When Dany Heatley left Ottawa, it seemed that we were trading one asset (or ass-hat, in this case) and getting two in return. Plus, the signing of Alex Kovalev was meant to add another aspect to the Sens game. Well we're now 14 games into the season and a couple aspects of the trade have turned out well, while others have gone to complete shit.

Milan Michalek is on pace for his best NHL season, scoring 40 goals and 58 points (I love's on-pace stat), but Jonathan Cheechoo have proven all of his doubters correct with only 2 points so far this season. Some nights, he barely sees the ice, and other nights, it seems like he can barely skate.

Kovalev has, so far, lived up to his billing as a streaky scorer. Undoubtedly, he has crazy moves--but little results to show for them. Despite some fancy playmaking with Jason Spezza, Kovalev has not, in my view, lived up to my optimistic expectations.

But the real question is: Are these elements adding up to wins?

It's difficult to make the argument that the Senators would be better off without Michalek and Kovalev, but it's the Senators' old guard that has been the major contributors to the Sens moderate success so far this season.

Daniel Alfredsson is having another outstanding season, and with Spezza, are again the driving force that wills the team towards wins. Unexpectedly, it's Mike Fisher that has been the x-factor in many games this season--he's already got half as many goals as all of last year.

The Sens just need a couple more players to have above-average seasons in order to ensure themselves a playoff spot. That means Nick Foligno contributing more offence on the third line, and Cheechoo at least hitting 15 goals this year.

It's no secret that it takes a whole-team effort to make the playoffs in the NHL, and if even two lines contribute the offence, the third still has to make its contribution.

PS: I saw my first instance of someone calling Pascal Leclaire 'inconsistent' today. Does that make him a good goalie that sometimes plays poorly, or a bad goalie that make the occasional incredible save? I hope it's the former.
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