Depending on the night you tune in to watch the Ottawa Senators, you may see a very different looking team. Their season-long struggles with consistent hockey have provoked many pre-game thoughts like, “What team are we going to get tonight?”
The Simple Things
Consistency. 60 minutes. 200-foot game. It’s starting to sound a lot like a broken record player. These are the simplistic terms that head coach Dave Cameron spews out to the media after every lackluster performance the Senators have delivered so far this season. Likewise with the fan base, people are desperately searching for a way to describe the Senators’ disturbingly inconsistent play.
A broken record or not, it seems like the team finally caught wind of what they needed to do to illustrate their success Sunday afternoon against the New York Rangers. The Senators had a tall task in front of them when facing the third ranked team in the Eastern Conference – who came into the contest on a two game winning streak.
Ottawa certainly got the result they were looking for, shutting out the Rangers with a 3-0 victory. Out of the gate, the Senators were playing like they had something to prove. The only thing that didn’t sway in their favor was the shot count. Despite being outshot 35-33, Ottawa dominated most of the game and generated an abundance of scoring chances.
Mike Hoffman just told me he thought that was the Sens best 60-minute effort this season. I would tend to agree.
— Ian Mendes (@ian_mendes) January 24, 2016
So that was the team that showed up Sunday afternoon. Doing so despite missing three key contributors in Kyle Turris, Marc Methot, and Milan Michalek – all out with injuries.
Mark Borowiecki Gets The “A”
For Cameron, it seems that the effort level displayed from defenseman Mark Borowiecki has been what he’s looking for. So much so, that in Turris’ absence, he placed the “A” on Borowiecki’s jersey for the first time in his NHL career.
“One of the things you do when you come in as a coach is you try to develop culture…and Mark is my definition of culture…His play says it all. He empties the tank, he’s courageous, he plays within himself, he protects his teammates, plays for his teammates,” – Dave Cameron (NHL)
Borowiecki has never been a player to shine on the scoreboard. And whether you agree with them or not, it’s clear that the Senators value his presence both on and off the ice.
Bobby Ryan’s Honesty
The words from Bobby Ryan must’ve struck a chord. It was after the Senators’ 5-2 loss to the New York Islanders that Ryan labelled the teams play and their struggle to play a consistent 60 minute game as “embarrassing”. And just like Cameron’s simplistic terms, they must’ve held weight to his teammates.
Though at times Ottawa’s season has taken some ugly turns, contrary to popular belief, they still have lots of time to make things right. Yes, they might want to bear down fairly quickly and replicate their effort from Sunday’s performance against New York, but, they still have 33 games left to show which team they really are.
Don't look now, but 10 of Ottawa's next 14 games are against non-playoff teams. Currently 3 pts out of the payoffs with lots of time left.
— Callum Fraser (@CallumFraser18) January 24, 2016
Amidst a tight race in the Eastern Conference, the Senators’ currently sit just three points back of a wildcard playoff spot, while only nine points separate them from the Atlantic Division leading Florida Panthers.
Which team will they be going forward?