When teams are struggling and nothing is going well, teams often look at their schedule and try and find that one opponent that just plain sucks. Someone that, even on their best day, will still often lose. For the Ottawa Senators, that moment is this evening, a 5pm puck drop in Raleigh against the Carolina Hurricanes.
The injury list that already includes the entire top line has just added Jesse Winchester for a month with a knee issue, and Filip Kuba, who is day-to-day with an upper body injury. I'm not as concerned with the Winchester injury as I am with the Kuba one. I know he hasn't played to his paygrade lately, but his absence means that Campoli/Karlsson draw in as the second pairing. Let's be honest - that's bad. As weak as Kuba has been over the past month, he is still far more experienced and valuable than what we're left with today.
As Carl from the FedEx commercial says, "but I digress". Today needs to be that game where Fisher starts to tweak the twine again. The game where Regin starts to look like the player he was earlier in the year when he won a starting job here. How about Chris Kelly a few years ago when Spezza went down and he stepped into a top line role? Granted he had some Hall of Famers flanking him, he excelled in that role. And for God's sake, Cheechoo! I'm not in the camp that takes a deep breath when he scores; I'm tired and angry that the guy isn't going to have 10 goals this year. That defies any explanation! These guys are not bad players. They are NHL regulars and they need to start playing like it. We used to always fall into the same trap when Alfie was hurt - we skate around in circles waiting for him to come back to the lineup. In our case now, he's said to be a week away, but that doesn't mean that we should shat it up for the next week til he returns.
Dump the puck in deep, paste their defencemen into the third row, cycle the puck, and score some freaking goals. Nobody is asking you to do anything you aren't capable of doing. We're just reminding you how to do it. Skate hard, win a battle, and act like you are a playoff bubble team, because that's all we are. At this pace, it might even be worse than that. I've said quietly to myself and friends that we're not making the playoffs. I wish I were wrong or that I were more optimistic, but this past week has just highlighted why I feel that way. If the boys can put up a nice effort today and lay a new foundation to build from, perhaps my attitude will change a bit.
One more thing that Erin Nicks brought up that doesn't get much attention - what is the deal with Eli Wilson? I thought he was brought in as goaltending coach to satisfy Ray Emery. He was Emery's guy and it seemed that when Rayzor signed his extension and was the go-to goalie, Murray might as well get his coach on staff, too. But Emery is long gone and we've had multiple goalies struggling over the past few years. Perhaps Wilson is truly a great coach, but I just figured we took him on primarily for his relationship to Emery. Whatever he's been working on this season hasn't really been clicking, anyway. As Murray's decisions continue to bomb, I wonder if Wilson is the first to get a pink slip.