Jarkko Ruutu isn’t the only thing that bites for the Ottawa Senators. Reality does, too.
And the reality is the Senators are far better positioned to get John Tavares or Victor Hedman in June than they are to make the playoffs this season.
Going into Thursday's game against the Boston Bruins, the Senators are the proud owners of just 32 points, just four points ahead of the 30th place New York Islanders, who have played three more games than the Sens.
Looking up, the Senators trail the eighth-place Buffalo Sabres by 13 points and their playoff hopes look more grim by the day. Since the lockout, it has required an average of 93 points to qualify for the playoffs in the Eastern Conference and the magic number should fall in that range again this season.
That means the Senators will need 61 points in their final 44 games just to even be in the hunt for a playoff spot. Therefore, a team that has sported just a .421 winning percentage to this point will have to play .693 the rest of the way and even that might not be enough to squeeze into the eight slot.
Mike Fisher has a better chance of getting a date with Carrie Underwood than that happening. Hey, wait a minute…
In any event, the Senators are in a deep, deep hole. If they continue to bumble their way along this season, they’ll undoubtedly have a high draft pick and the summer to decide whether or not they want to blow up a roster that will likely be about 25 points worse than it was the year before.
Or they could decide to do that now and could start by firing coach Craig Hartsburg and hiring Pat Quinn, who just led Canada to the World Junior Championship.
That, at least in the opinion of this corner, would be a mistake. For whatever reason, Hartsburg has been unable to change the culture of a dressing room rife with a sense of entitlement and a country club atmosphere. If nothing else, Quinn is a player’s coach when what the Senators need now more than anything is someone who will make them all accountable and instill some strict structure in their play.
Quinn isn’t the man to do that.
This column also appears in the Ottawa Metro newspaper.
Ken Campbell is a senior writer for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Wednesday and Fridays and his column, Campbell's Cuts, appears Mondays.
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