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Sens Season In Review (Pt. 1)

 

“I hope they don’t charge us for the clinic.”

That was coach Paul McLean after a 6-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins that saw the Ottawa Senators ousted from the 2013 playoffs in five games.

The Penguins may have easily beaten Ottawa, however, that shouldn’t take away from the success Ottawa experienced this season. Many people may not remember, but on Feb. 2, the Sens were in first place in the eastern conference after a 5-1-1 start. In a full season, being in first place at that point isn’t all that significant. In a short 48-game season, that start might’ve been the difference between playoffs and an early send-off.

Perhaps the Senators’ season may have ended differently had they not lost the likes of Erik Karlsson, Jason Spezza, Craig Anderson, Milan Michalek, and Jared Cowen to injury at one point or another. Injuries to that many top players would have sent most teams to the bottom of the standings, let alone into a playoff spot in the eastern conference. Paul McLean was absolutely integral to that short-handed success and has the Jack Adams pending for his efforts.

Considering the major setbacks and the fact that the team was and remains largely in rebuilding mode, a 25-17-6 regular season record doesn’t seem too shabby.

The team also went through not a goalie controversy, but a surplus. Craig Anderson, Robin Lehner and Ben Bishop all had save percentages well over .900 and when Anderson went down with a high ankle sprain, the other two stepped up. Big time. When the league hit the trade deadline, the team had a commodity in Ben Bishop and with him, they acquired Lightning forward Cory Conacher who lead the league in rookie scoring at one point and finished 7th.

On the topic of rookies, Paul McLean brought up a valuable point following the series with the Penguins.

“We got two years in one as far as development goes this year,” he said while highlighting his young players’ performances despite early-season injury adversity and the playoff experience they got. It could be said that the team’s newcomers put on a clinic themselves; one on how to overcome adversity with hard work and little experience.

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 24: Mika Zibanejad #93 of the Ottawa Senators moves the puck up ice during the first period against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Consol Energy Center on May 24, 2013 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA – MAY 24: Mika Zibanejad #93 of the Ottawa Senators moves the puck up ice during the first period against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Consol Energy Center on May 24, 2013 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)

With young talent already playing at the NHL level like Erik Gryba, Cory Conacher, Mika Zibanejad, Jakob Silfverberg, Robin Lehner, and Jared Cowen, and players on their way up like Cody Ceci and Mark Stone, Ottawa has a serious shot at being a contender down the road. Pageau has been left out of that list for now, but not for long. He will be sure to get at least a training camp opportunity after his performance in these playoffs. With that amount of young players, do not forget that trades may also be made. As per Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) of the Ottawa Sun, Bryan Murray has the option to package prospects to acquire some scoring ability.

Ottawa’s 2013 season in review will continue next week with part two: the future of Ottawa’s veterans and who’s in and out.

 

 

Jordan Mady
Jordan Mady grew up playing hockey and is now aiming to make a career alongside it through writing. He is currently a journalism student at Ryerson University in Toronto. Jordan is also a video blogger and author.
Jordan Mady
Jordan Mady
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