When the Ottawa Senators changed their jersey and logo to their (kind of) original one with the motto, “Back to Our Roots,” I don’t think they envisioned going THAT far back.
The 1992-93 Ottawa Senators won their first game 5-3 and then dropped their next nine games, including one in overtime. The 2020-21 Ottawa Senators won their first game 5-3 and have dropped their last seven, including one in overtime. The goal differential in the first nine games for the ’92-93 Sens was minus-22. For the ’20-21 Sens, minus-22.
I’m not saying…I’m just saying.
Coming into the season, the bar was quite low for the Ottawa Senators. Obviously in the midst of a rebuild, the team probably wasn’t going to see much of the top of the standings. However, the bar probably wasn’t as low as being better than their first year in the league, but the trends have them going in that direction. Even acquiring Matt Murray, Evgenii Dadonov, and Derek Stepan didn’t tip the needle of this team not being as horrendous as we’re seeing right now.
There’s always the thought of this being part of whatever “process” that the Senators are trying to build. There’s a good pipeline of prospects starting from Thomas Chabot, Brady Tkachuk, and Tim Stuetzle (can’t find the umlaut on this keyboard), who are already on the team, to plenty of drafted talent on the University of North Dakota roster– like Shane Pinto, Jacob Bernard-Docker, Jake Sanderson, and Tyler Kleven, as well as former North Dakota defenseman Jonny Tychonick, who has found some solid footing since transferring to Nebraska-Omaha.
Yet, you have to wonder– will they be able to turn it around on their own as a rag-tag bunch of prospects taking the world by storm. It’s almost setting themselves up to be that way, as Ottawa seems to be quite the undesirable spot for free agents and trade candidates, alike. While it’s one thing to grow the team from the studs up and find success in lower leagues, it’s a whole other thing to do it on the pro level. It’s not impossible, just look at what the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals have done with their prospects; but they also had some helping veterans come along the way to guide those young teams to success. Can Ottawa get that same luck??
Pierre Dorian is doing what he can with what he’s given. Eugene Melnyk has been known to put his hand in the pot a little too much when it comes to decision making, but if you’re writing the checks; my guess is that they can get away with that– even if it can be detrimental to the team in the long-run.
However, I don’t know if it’s a good look for a team trying to get back on the upswing when they’re trending to be as bad as they were as an expansion team. As broadcasters like to remind fans, this team was one goal away from the 2017 Stanley Cup Final…and within 18 months, totally dismantled that team to make it almost recognizable.
Will the fans put up with much more before going completely apathetic?? Personally, my money is that they’re already at that apathetic stage and they’ll sit there catatonic on their TVs watching this team struggle and then have to fend off any rumors– fabricated or otherwise– about their longevity in the area, as Melnyk plays cat-and-mouse with moving the team closer to where people live in the downtown area…but those seems to be dashed.
At the end of the day, you have to do the cliche thing and take it game-by-game. Also, hope that your don’t do as bad as the first ever team. For reference, the ’92-93 Sens didn’t get their second win until game 23. Something for this team to shoot for…and maybe even get before that mark.