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Senator shake up

The Ottawa Senators will have a new coach for their next outing after starting the season 17-24-7. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

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The Ottawa Senators will have a new coach for their next outing after starting the season 17-24-7. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

Boy, what Ottawa Senators fans would give for a good old-fashioned post-season flop right about now.

For the Sens to choke in the playoffs, they’d have to first make them, of course. And unless Cory Clouston – hired to replace dismissed coach Craig Hartsburg – has a miracle up his sleeve, this will be the first spring since 1996 that Ottawa doesn’t even have the chance to disappoint during a best-of-seven series.

The Sens have been mired in a complete swoon since November of last season, following an appearance in the 2007 Cup final. When a team is that bad for that long, a complete shift in the organization’s direction is usually a viable option.

But with Jason Spezza, Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson all signed to long-term deals, Ottawa management finds it hard to face the fact the team should do a ground zero rebuild rather than attempt to reload around the three pillars.

If that mentality continues to hold up through February, the Sens could be the first team to be a buyer at the trade deadline, while simultaneously in the hunt for the first overall pick. 

THE HOCKEY NEWS POWER RANKINGS
RK.
TEAM
LW
OVERALL
L10
THE SCOOP
1
San Jose Sharks
1
36-7-5
7-3-0
Milan Michalek becoming another threat for the Sharks with nine points in his past seven games
2
New Jersey Devils
2
32-15-3
9-1-0
Eight straight wins for the team that was given up for dead when Martin Brodeur got injured
3
Boston Bruins
5
37-8-6
7-1-2
After losing 12 consecutive regular season games to the Habs, Boston has now beaten Montreal in four straight contests
4
Calgary Flames
4
30-14-4
7-3-0
Mike Cammalleri has at least a point in each of his past eight games
5
Detroit Red Wings
3
31-11-7
4-4-2
The Wings, who have dropped five straight, had a six-game losing streak in February last year. Apparently this just isn't their favorite time of year
6
Washington Capitals
6
32-15-4
5-4-1
Ovie is on fire, but Mike Green is red hot, too, scoring 14 points in his past nine games to tie Andrei Markov for the league scoring lead among defensemen
7
New York Rangers
8
29-18-4
5-4-1
On Tuesday, Adam Graves will become the fourth member of the '94 Cup-winning team to have his number retired.
8
Chicago Blackhawks
9
27-13-8
5-4-1
Three games into a stretch that sees them play 11 of 12 away from home
9
Philadelphia Flyers
7
26-14-9
5-4-1
Antero Niittymaki's numbers are better than Martin Biron's, which means goaltending is once again a story in Philly
10
Florida Panthers
14
23-18-8
6-2-2
Twenty-year-old Michael Frolik starting to really make his presence felt
11
Montreal Canadiens
10
28-16-6
4-6-0
Lost five of six and now without leading goal-scorer Robert Lang, who left Sunday's game with a severed Achilles tendon
12
Dallas Stars
18
23-18-17
6-2-2
Saturday's win over Columbus featured defenseman Andrew Hutchinson's first goal of the year and forward Brian Sutherby's first tally in 23 games
13
Buffalo Sabres
12
26-19-5
6-4-0
Tim Connolly has 16 points in 16 games this year; here's hoping he actually stays healthy for the rest of the season
14
Anaheim Ducks
17
25-22-5
4-6-0
Bobby Ryan's point-per-game pace is making him a late contender for the Calder Trophy
15
Columbus Blue Jackets
16
24-21-5
6-3-1
First freshman Derick Brassard is lost to shoulder surgery, then rookie stopper Steve Mason is diagnosed with mononucleosis. For now, the Jackets are going to keep giving Mason starts
16
Carolina Hurricanes
15
25-21-5
4-6-0
Strong showing on three-game western road trip would help Canes' playoff push
17
Edmonton Oilers
13
25-21-3
6-4-0
Most of the league was mad when Edmonton signed Dustin Penner in 2007; more and more, Oilers coach Craig MacTavish sounds disappointed with the decision, too
18
Phoenix Coyotes
11
24-22-5
5-5-0
Weak power play continues to plague the Coyotes
19
Minnesota Wild
20
25-21-3
5-5-0
Rookie Cal Clutterbuck has one of the best names in hockey and hits anything that moves
20
Pittsburgh Penguins
19
24-22-5
4-5-1
Meet the latest team to lose its way after representing the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup final
21
Tampa Bay Lightning
21
17-23-10
6-4-0
Bolts are getting some blueliners back, which should help limit the kind of performance like the one that saw Tampa give up six goals to the Flyers at home last Friday
22
Nashville Predators
28
22-24-3
5-5-0
If Nashville is going to make a playoff push, now is the time; the Preds play 10 of 14 at home through the rest of this month
23
St. Louis Blues
23
20-24-4
6-3-1
Two of backup Chris Mason's past three starts have been shutouts
24
Toronto Maple Leafs
29
19-23-8
3-5-2
How much is GM Brian Burke hurt by Tomas Kaberle's broken hand?
25
Los Angeles Kings
26
20-21-7
4-5-1
Kyle Calder has made the most of a promotion to the second line, scoring seven points in his past five games
26
Ottawa Senators
22
17-24-7
4-5-1
An organization that was once the model of consistency has now fired coaches in two straight seasons. How much more time does GM Bryan Murray have?
27
Colorado Avalanche
24
23-26-1
3-7-0
Tyler Arnason has been a healthy scratch thanks to the fact he has one goal in his past 38 games
28
New York Islanders
30
15-29-5
3-6-1
Goalie Yann Danis helps Isles put together a three-game winning streak. Wade who?
29
Vancouver Canucks
25
22-20-8
1-5-4
As a coach who wasn't hired by his GM currently guiding an underachieving team that's lost eight straight games, Alain Vigneault has to be getting a bit nervous
30
Atlanta Thrashers
27
17-29-5
4-6-0
Thrashers haven't got the memo that the less talented your team is, the harder you have to work

The Hockey News ranks the teams 1-30 each Monday based on a combination of last week’s play and a squad’s overall outlook.

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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