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article imageOp-Ed: Do or Die Road Trip Begins for the Ottawa Senators

By Mark Alexander     Dec 26, 2008 in Sports
The Ottawa Senators are facing an uphill battle to make the NHL Playoffs. Their upcoming western road trip will go a long way to determining the teams success this year and even the make-up of the team come next season. This is Do or Die.
After the Sens last game in Philly, The Sens have a daunting task ahead of them to get themselves into the the Playoff race. The Philly game game me heart attacks, hope, joy, elation then utter frustration. The team found yet another way to lose. Daniel Alfredsson of all people gave the puck away with a boneheaded play to gave away also a hard fought point and effectively kill the Sens comeback. The Chris Phillips goal moments before to tie the game late in the third period sent me in to an amazed euphoric happy dance only to throw myself to the ground, riling in agony mere moments later. Some strange coaching moves in this game, including pulling a successful powerplay unit off the ice after on 25 seconds of time and scoring a 5 on 3 goal. More ammunition for the Fire Hartsburg Petition, perhaps?
If this road trip yields less than half of its possible points, look for big changes on this team. Firing Hartsburg is one option as is the always mentioned and incredibly stupid move to trade Spezza. This is a guy whose talent is so rare and under the right coaching, is a superstar. He was drowning under Jacques Martin, flourished under Bryan Murray and is struggling, albeit in a minor way, under Craig Hartsburg. Spezza is what he is and when allowed to play his game, he will mature in to one of the greatest playmaking centres in the game.
What I do see transpiring and as a more sensible option is trading Antoine Vermette and Brian Lee to Florida for Jay Bouwmeester. Jacques Martin's man crush on Vermy is legendary and he may see Lee and a project who could help replace the loss of Jay Bo. If Bouwmeester is dead set against signing in Florida, which is reported to be the case be his father of all people, GM Jacques is not dealing from a position of strength and this would probably be the best deal he will see as the Sens are also dealing from a weak position. Hopefully the Sens can sign Jay Bo to a decent contract in the 3 year/$16million range after the trade. Here's hoping. Good luck in the road trip, boys. You have the tools to succeed and if you put it all together, you WILL make the playoffs and could last a round or two.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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