Let’s face it: the Ottawa Senators are the team people like to bag on.
The turmoil in their locker room made the soap opera summer fly by and the year ahead was seen by many as a problem in the making. But then October hit and the Senators reached the 21st with a 4-2-1 record and had even defeated the mighty Maple Leafs.
Youngsters were scoring, with Brady Tkachuk and Thomas Chabot lighting the lamp along with Maxime Lajoie. And the “culture” in the locker room, that great intangible, was better according to the team’s leadership. Erik Karlsson was in the rearview, for some at least, and that was that. The Senators were moving on.
But then, the losses came. The team won just won of their next seven and the stats showed the reality.
The Senators are not scoring enough and they are letting in too many goals. As of press time, they sit with a minus-14 differential, second worst in the East. They’re 1-4-1 on the road, which is in part the fault of a power play that is one for 14 when they are not at home. Funny thing is that they are dynamite on the man advantage when the are at home.
They’ve been without Tkachuk for a bit and he could be back Tuesday against the Devils, however, so that could turn things around.
But then came the Uber video.
I don’t typically like reporting on off-ice stuff. I’ve shied away from the theatrics of the game and not just because that one guy always says “who cares” in the comments on social media.
But Monday’s release by the Ottawa Citizen of a video in which several Senators players “rip” coaching staff and the system of the team itself is interesting because it exposes something. I won’t get into much of that here, but you can read more about it just about anywhere.
True, most teams talk like this. Hockey has been minced into our heads as a “team game” so much that we often forget the humanity behind the skates, that there are players who are just as likely to grumble about work as we are. And no, the fact that they are paid a lot of money to skate does not mean they check those facilities at the door.
Leaving aside the fact that the Citizen’s video came about due to an astonishing lack of privacy, you have to imagine this won’t help an already unstable situation. Hearing Matt Duchene say he hasn’t “paid attention in three weeks” will not help his standing and you have to think there will be fallout from this, even as the players involved apologize and the Senators are addressing it as a team matter.
Pile the Uber chat in line with the Karlsson/Hoffman locker room production and the team’s less-than-stellar slide and you’re looking, once again, at a team in chaos. And a team that, right or wrong, people like to bag on. That shows no sign of letting up, especially now.