Here We Go Again

The Ottawa Senators got throttled three nights ago 7-0. I understand that teams have bad nights , but this score has been percolating for some now. In the last 23 games they are 13 wins and 10 losses . They have nine wins against teams that have the same winning percentage or better than them and nine losses against teams that have the sames winning percentage or better.The team during this stretch rode hot goaltending and a hot Power Play. In reality they have improved very minimally, in spite of the flashy off season signings .

It has been apparent for years that the Senators can not defend in there own end and can not get the puck out of there own end. These are two entirely different issues, but they are connected. They are connected by a very basic formula. It is feelings over standards.

For years we have been hearing about accountability, player development, and playing meaningful games down the stretch. Well ladies and gentleman they mean diddly squat if you do not have standards. Standards are set by the GM and Coach and when these standards are not met it is because the players do not feel like meeting that standard. The GM and Coach of the Senators have continually permitted this to happen for four years. It is accepted behaviour. The players continually do this because they know there is no consequences for the actions. I am not a huge proponent of benching players , believe that players need to be taught, and continue to be taught. HOWEVER, when a Coach has exhausted every avenue and the players still to continue to do the SOS ( same old sh*t) it is time to get the stapler out. It is really the only weapon a Coach has…..ice time. This hits at the very soul of of a player. Everyone wants to play and compete and when they can’t it really hits home that they have hit rock bottom. In the case of the Ottawa Senators it is too late. DJ Smith has benched his some of his bottom four forwards and five six defenceman this year. That is real easy to do and by doing so he is enabling the top players. They do the same thing as the players who get benched, but do not have to answer for it. That is a very dangerous game to play because it can mess with team chemistry.

The Senators top six forwards are all minus and three of them are double digit. Not once this season has Smith benched one of them. All of his six defenceman are minus, yet he continues to play defenceman who choose not to defend and continually make poor hockey decisions on puck management. This happens because they feel that they are too talented and do not need to pay attention to defence. Tampa Bay, Boston, they are are talented as well, and have not one single player that is a double digit minus! That is because they have team standards that are more important than how the players feel about executing team tactics.

It is too late for the Senators to start benching players. Too late in the season and would certainly cause turmoil in the team and the market. It should have been done in September with this group. Secondly, the team will be sold in the coming months and the new owners will clean house and this Coach and GM will be let go. So really, what’s the point?

Finally in Montreal in the 1970’s when they were winning all those Cups, the players never really liked Scotty Bowman. The Urban legend was they really only liked him one day of the 365 days in that year. What day was that you ask?

When they won The Cup!

Until next time.

Follow on Twitter @Betweentheears2

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