This week's power rankings have been published across several sports media sites, including TSN, Sportsnet and ESPN. Not surprisingly, the Sens are in the top 10 across all three rankings. ESPN sees the most power in our boys, slotting them in the #6 spot. Sportsnet likes us as 8th in the league while TSN ranks us 10th overall. Not too bad.
We can take a lot of pride in this as none of these media outlets gave Ottawa the time of day in their preseason predictions. It seems everyone who gets paid to talk hockey felt Ottawa was not strong enough to make the playoffs, even ranking us lower than the Leafs in some cases (who are not surprisingly ranked 30th across all power rankings. Do they have a truculance ranking?). This, of course, shocked everyone is doesn't get paid to talk about the Sens and all the dedicated blog readers.
Are these power rankings such a big surprise? Yes, to some. Some naysayers (see Leafs fans) complain that Ottawa's had an easy schedule. But do you think last year's Sens would be 5-2 this year? Not a chance in my opinion. But this year's different. While the outside world didn't see it, Ottawa's off-season changes were crucial to making improvements. This year's team is making leaps and bounds in several areas that have haunted them the past two season. Better yet, these improvements are working hand in hand, up, down, left, right and centre. They're affecting each other positively. We now have a balanced attack with four capable lines, as opposed to one line carrying the weight of our team. We have a reliable, steady goalie (with great pads) that our boys can play comfortably in front of. Without the pressure of one line and shaky goaltending, certain forward are regaining their confidence and having rebound years. This confidence is contributing to a lethal penalty kill and passionate defensive play. There are no rumours about rampant drug use or headlines of white Hummers, aka less drama and divide in the dressing room. This cohesive dressing room is showing on the ice with hard work for 60 minutes, allowing us to create and protect leads. And, while an early prediction, it appears all of this is leading to having one coach for the entire season.
All that combined has made for one powerful team to date, and hopefully they can harness that power for the remainder of the season.