Friday, November 11, 2005

Ottawa Senators Most Dominant Team Since ...

The Ottawa Senators have been a very good team so far this year. Currently, they have both the best goals per game (4.79) in the league and the best goals against per game (2.14) in the league. They have an elite offence led by Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, Dany Heatley and Martin Havlat. They have a very good defence led by Wade Redden ( who I called the best defender so far this year earlier this season - I am uncertain if I still stand by that claim - but nevertheless, Redden is one of the best defenders in hockey) and Zdeno Chara. Dominik Hasek has provided some very good goaltending. They are one of the few teams that have allowed less goals per game this year than they did in 2003/04.

At this point, I think Ottawa is the most dominant team the NHL has seen since the Hall of Famer filled Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup in 2001/02. Ottawa may prove to be even more dominant then this given more time.

I have argued in the past that salary caps punish the good teams preventing dominance and it would be specifically bad for Ottawa. so was I wrong?

No. Ottawa built their team under the old CBA. The only major move mad under this CBA is the Heatley/Hossa trade which although Heatley has been the higher scorer so far is likely a draw at best. The question is can this team be kept together under the new CBA? Under the old one, the biggest question in this upcoming season would likely be whether or not Hasek wants to retire and if he does who will be their goaltender. As big a question as that is, it is better to have to deal only with that then the unrestricted free agency of Wade Redden and Zdeno Chara and the possible trade of a player like Martin Havlat to try to make salary cap room to try to resign them as well as Hasek.

Ottawa built a dominant team under the old CBA. Their dominance was ensured by their deep group of talented players. The question the new CBA leaves us with is will we see a team that is nearly as good next year? Probably not. Ottawa is a team that has the potential (with a little luck) to be a dynasty. This wont happen thanks to the CBA. As a fan, I want to see how good they can get. That would be much more satisfying then seeing them take one shot at the Stanley Cup this year and then get forced to be dismantled.

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