As if we needed one, today's Ottawa Citizen offers us yet one more reason why the Senators are trolling the depths of the standings rather than administering righteous bitch slaps as is their birthright. It would seem the boys have been bacon-ing up the butter, and for quite some time at that.
After five months of skating, from the first days of training camp in September to game No. 52 of their National Hockey League season tonight against the Buffalo Sabres, it's almost unbelievable to think the Ottawa Senators could be out of shape. That, however, is exactly what has become apparent. Their conditioning has been allowed to slip.
Now I'm the last guy anyone should come to for anything to do with physical fitness (my last blood test came back with the note "57% lard -- By rights, should have been dead last Thursday") but it would seem to me that if I were...say...the coach of a professional hockey team, I would ensure that my players remain at the peak of their conditioning throughout the season, if only to save my own job (and before the bleating Mimis chime in about how multi-million dollar athletes should know better consider this...you can do all the weights/cross training/cardio you want during the offseason, the rigours of an NHL schedule won't allow you to maintain it).
Remember how the media howled "Coach KILLERS!" after Coach Craig was canned? Sure you do. Remember all of those pretty words from both Hartsburg and Teflon John about how they didn't understand how the team just "couldn't compete" every night? Sure you do. And remember the last time you heard about the coach putting them through a Jacques Martin-esque bag skate following yet another crappy performance? Sure you...oh wait. I can't remember that at all.
Still, Clouston was surprised to find NHLers struggling to maintain the quick practice pace he favoured...[He] said it's simple: Teams play the way they practise. The Senators haven't played hard enough, despite daily exhortations from Hartsburg, and it's reflected in their record.
"You can't expect them to do it in a game if you don't do it in a practice," Clouston said. "That confidence and foundation is created in practise. Obviously your goal is to translate that into a game situation."
You know, the more this Clouston fellow speaks, the more I seem to like him. Suck it up, Butterguts.
Time to Shape Up, Senators [Ottawa Citizen]