The Week Ahead: The blame game edition

by BatMike Wheeler and Joe BoyWonder

A few short weeks ago the biggest divide in Sensland was #TeamTank vs. #TeamAntiTank. It seemed petty and divisive at the time but now? Now it seems like a simpler time. Now we've got to deal with #TeamBlameOttawaCouncil, #TeamBlameLoganCouture, #TeamBlameDaveCameron and #TeamBlameGrybaAndCowen.

Oddly, so far nobody has signed up for #TeamBlameTheInevitableRegressionAfterAnUnsustainableRun. I blame Ian Mendes for that.

Anyway, on to the preview.

Last week's record

  • 1-2-1 - Worst in the history of the NHL probably.
    "An ill wind is blowing across the CTC parking lot..."

This week's matchups

  • Tuesday @ Detroit - No.
  • Thursday vs Tampa - Oh please no.
  • Saturday vs Washington - Oh no.
  • Sunday @ Toronto - WHHHYYYYY???

Storylines to watch

Mike Hoffman: Is He TOO Good?

When the line combinations where announced ahead of Sunday's game against the Florida Panthers, fans' emotions ranged from confused, to enraged, to pants-poopingly enraged. Mike Hoffman had once again somehow found himself on the bottom line with Legwand and Smith. Besides some speculation that this was an act of revenge for an awesome prank that Hoffman must have pulled on Cameron, Sens fans on Twitter concluded that this was an act of desperation by a coach who was clearly pooping his pants.

By the time the Panthers were up 2-0, the experiment had clearly failed and the lines were re-shuffled back to resemble something other than the Bizarro Land combinations with which they had started the game. Lesson learned and everything should be back to normal on Monday, right?
Oh cool. Hoffman's back on the fourth line and the healthy scratch with three points this season should really ignite the slumping Ryan and Zibanejad on the top line. The Senators are now not only pooping their own pants, but the pants of their entire fanbase.

But at least we've got that game in hand!


Actually, you know what? It's going to be fine.

Let's look on the bright side here. The Sens just lost horribly three times in a row, so they're definitely due for a few big wins! And Boston? I doubt we have to worry about them for very long. They've only been nearly as good as the Senators for the last month. Talk about unsustainable! There are a lot of positives we should be focusing on instead:

Anderson's back! Andy posted a .917 save percentage in that one game against the Panthers. Hey! Pretty average! Nice!

Chris Driedger the next Hammond? Even more exciting goaltending stories! When Driedger relieved Hammond for the third period of the game against the Rangers last week, he did not allow a single goal. Not even one! And his NHL career numbers are even more impressive: 1.000 save percentage! 0.00 goals against average! Wow! Will Driedger be able to go on a Hammond-like run and bring the Senators not only into the playoffs but to a Stanley Cup victory despite being in the AHL and surely on his way back to the ECHL? Sources say: COUNT ON IT!

Lack of toughness? Not a chance! Worried about our stars' vulnerably skating around without the protection of Chris Neil? Worry no more, because Alex Chiasson has picked up the slack! He's accumulated a very gritty 65 penalty minutes this season, which is pretty good for a second-line winger. That puts him just 13 minutes behind Chris Neil! How's that for leadership! In fact, the increase in toughness has been a total team effort lately. Ottawa took seven penalties in their last game alone. You know other teams are going to be intimidated coming into the CTC knowing how badly they are going to be interfered with!

Still plenty to be optimistic about this week, Sens fans!

Parting shots

  • Statline of the week: 17 more interference penalties for the Sens since the Florida game ended
  • Imagined Sun headline of the week: Andy's not so dandy! 
  • What Sens fans will be complaining about on Twitter: Chris Neil on Zibanejad's wing

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