Sens fans, I know you may feel a little confused right now. Things were going so well, then it all went wrong.
The trade deadline wasn’t just a metaphor for Ottawa’s second-half slide, it was the culmination of a lot of bad mojo, management hubris and several black cats being allowed into the Scotiabank Place, where they proceeded to walk under ladders and break a few mirrors.
If anyone tries to soft-pedal what happened Tuesday, cast them the dirtiest look you can. For Ottawa, the trade deadline was an unmitigated disaster.
The sum total of activity resulted in the acquisition of veteran right winger Martin Lapointe, he of three goals and seven points this season. Lapointe has been pitched to Sens fans as a character guy and leader who can clean up the mess of a dressing room the Senators currently reside in.
No offense to Lapointe, who is, after all, a two-time Stanley Cup winner (albeit a decade ago), but with his on-ice contributions at this point in his career, the Sens would have been better off signing Dr. Phil to a deal if all they needed was help in the dressing room.
Unfortunately, the Sens needed more.
Ottawa has been shut out by division foes in the past two games; 5-0 to Toronto and 4-0 to Boston. Goaltending was once again not up to championship standards in either game, and naturally, it goes without saying the offense wasn’t there.
On top of that, word around the campfire is coach John Paddock needs to turn things around fast, lest GM Bryan Murray usurp him.
If there is a silver lining to the week’s events, it’s that Montreal did not get better. The Habs dealt goalie Cristobal Huet to Washington on Tuesday, a surprise move which essentially crowned rookie keeper Carey Price (rated the NHL’s overall No. 1 prospect by The Hockey News in our most recent edition of the Future Watch magazine) as the Great Young Hope, much like Ken Dryden or Patrick Roy before him.
Far too much praise for a freshman? Well, obviously playoff results will be the gold standard.
The goal for Ottawa now is to find a favorable first-round playoff opponent. Right now, the New York Rangers would be their dance partner; a team with similar dysfunction running through it. Should the Canadiens take the Northeast title, however, the Sens likely would matchup with the Pittsburgh Penguins or New Jersey Devils. Which begs the question: Who would you rather face in a seven-game series; Crosby, Malkin and Hossa, or the greatest goaltender of all time?
If the Sens want to make it out alive, they better hope Montreal can’t keep pace with them in the standings.
This column also appears in the Ottawa Metro Newspaper.
Ryan Kennedy is a writer and copy editor for The Hockey News magazine, the co-author of the book Hockey’s Young Guns and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Wednesdays and his features, The Hot List and Year of the Ram, appears Tuesday and Thursday, respectively.
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