Ottawa Senators: Put the Blinders On and Put Your Head Down

What a disappointing few weeks it has been. Since the highly anticipated trade deadline that failed to meet any of its expectations for Ottawa Senators fans, it seems like it’s now coming in waves.

Having gone 6-3-1 in their last 10 games, you might think spirits could be high. But, after a 2-1 loss to the Dallas Stars on Sunday, Ottawa has gone 1-2-1 since the deadline. Their one win came by the skin of their teeth when they scored the game-winning goal in the dying minutes against the half Toronto Marlies and half Toronto Maple Leafs team. That might’ve felt like the most unearned win they’ve had all season.

This team has seemed to be on a downhill slope since the deadline, where rumours of shooting for Jonathan Drouin and the general sense that GM Bryan Murray was (once again) determined to land a forward to help the club long term fell through. Instead, Murray dealt away a young promising prospect in Shane Prince in what was a confusing deal to say the least.

The Disappointment In Losing Shane Prince

Prince was dealt away to the New York Islanders, along with Ottawa’s 7th round pick in 2016 in exchange for a 3rd round pick in the same year. In his first year in the NHL, Prince looked very good (13 points in 44 games) despite not getting the chance to play big minutes, or play with any of the Senators’ top players. The reason this deal became so confusing was because Prince was a proven NHL’er that was drafted in the 2nd round. Now, the team has gotten rid of him – and a 7th round pick, just for the heck of it – and in return, they’re taking a gamble.

Prince simply wasn’t treated well in his time in Ottawa. It was clear that Cameron wasn’t his number one fan. A more in depth look at the Prince move can be found here.

Senators’ Signing Scott Gomez

Yeah. It just keeps coming. After failing to land a forward at the deadline, it appeared as though Ottawa’s management hit full panic mode when, on that same day, Kyle Turris announced he was out for the remainder of the season with a high-ankle sprain. Two days later it was announced that Gomez had signed a deal to play the rest of the season as a Senator.

Pardon me if I’m not impressed.

When the rumoured names bouncing off the wall are young players like Drouin, or Edmonton’s Nail Yakupov, it is safe to call it deflating when a ghost-town of a deadline day is followed by the signing of a 36-year-old veteran who has spent most of his year in the AHL on what started as a PTO. Instead of calling up someone from within the organization – because, let’s face it, Ottawa isn’t making the playoffs this year – they decide to sign Gomez. I guess Dion Phaneuf’s veteran presence hasn’t quite cut it? Just keep breathing. This year is almost over.

Mishandling Mike Hoffman

Almost. But not just yet. Ottawa has faced a plethora of struggles this year. There are many reasons why this team is not (and does not deserve) to be playoff bound. Of those many, you can certainly make a case that the Senators’ top six forwards have struggled to stay consistent. Mike Hoffman has cooled down since his incredibly impressive start to the season. He has scored only seven goals since the beginning of 2016. But the treatment of Hoffman has hit the sore spot.

After what was a considered a poorly-handled arbitration agreement in the offseason, he has responded incredibly well, showing he is worth much more than the $2M he is making. Despite his recent goal drought, Hoffman still leads the team in goals scored with 25, while he sits fourth on the team in points with 46.

Throughout the debacle of his contract and the blunt disagreement many have had towards his plummeting power play time, Dave Cameron reached the tip of the iceberg with Hoffman when he benched him for the entire 3rd period on Saturday night against Toronto. Following that – as though he had still not “learned his lesson” – Hoffman was demoted to the fourth line alongside Curtis Lazar and Chris Neil when the Senators’ faced Dallas the following day.

And where is really gets good? A goal was disallowed in that game because Hoffman was found a half-step offside following a coach’s challenge. After all that has transpired, you can’t be shocked if that move earned him more time with the checking line.

Oh, look.

What a way to treat one of your top players.

The season really is almost over. Put the blinders on and put your head down. You’ll get through it.