The farther away we get from the sting of Jason Pominville’s coffin nail, the more I hear Senator fans standing up to say, “I’m okay with the team we have here. I’m willing to roll the bones with this group again next year.”
What’s this? Cooler heads prevailing? I don’t care for this trend. I want accountability! I want my pound of flesh! I want renovations! I demand satisfaction! I...I...I'm starting to agree with them...
(Insert your impression of my catch phrase, "Whaaaaaat??" here. Or listen to me do it myself below)
If we stopped the NHL playoffs right now and yelled, “false start!” and brought everyone back to the start line, I would still pick the Senators roster over most teams. Just give me a healthy Dominik Hasek or another star goalie this time.
Think about it. Once you eliminate the regular season riff raff, there really isn’t much to separate one team from the next in this tournament. It becomes more about momentum and good bounces. Hard work will enhance your chances of securing those 2 things. But it’s no guarantee. Momentum and good bounces fill teams with confidence, making them believe they’re a team of destiny. Once you have that sense, it helps you mow through adversity later on in the playoffs.
But once you’ve lost momentum and the sense of good fortune, imagined or otherwise, that’s when panic sets in and good teams suddenly look brutal.
In a 7 game series, everything is magnified - every game, every period, every goal,every shift and every battle is so important. Lose one game in the regular season, it’s one of 82. Big deal. But each 7 game series is your season. 7 games vs 82 regular season games. One loss in a best of 7 is equivalent to losing about 11 straight games in the regular season. 11 game losing streaks are reason for panic.
Let’s tackle why panic set in on the Sens in round two after the Game 1 loss to Buffalo.
Fear of failing again. The core of this team is sick of disappointing people.
No championship tradition (with apologies to the Sens of the 1920’s). There’s nothing like a few Cup rings around to steady the ol’ nerves.
Lack of a stud goaltender. A star goalie is the best way to avoid losing your handle on momentum.
Until I see these surprisingly good playoff teams of late like Calgary, Tampa, Edmonton and Anaheim establish playoff success two years in a row, I’m not sure I build and model my team after theirs. But what do these teams have in a common? Why is it they’ve recently avoided the heart ripping, momentum stealing losses like Ottawa did in Game 1 of the second round?
They’ve all enjoyed goaltending performances that are crazy good. So good it won’t allow momentum to wriggle away and panic to seep in.
Changes must occur here, simply because of free agency. But give me a healthy Dominik Hasek or some other stud goalie and I’d have been happy to take my chances with this team again next year.