Terry's blog: Sens have what it takes
Published Wednesday, April 14, 2010 1:26PM EDT
It would not surprise me in the least to see the Ottawa Senators move into the second round of the playoffs. Here's why. The Pittsburgh Penguins have gone to the Stanley Cup final two straight years. Talk to any player who's played four rounds of NHL playoffs -- it's a grind.
Put yourself in the Penguins' shoes…or skates. They were nearly to the top of the mountain two seasons ago. They made it to the top a year ago and realized the work it takes to win the Stanley Cup. Here they are, standing at the bottom again and thinking man…that's high.
I think the Senators will be hungrier to go the distance. By missing the playoffs last year, the veterans realize making the playoffs is not a slam dunk. You don't want to blow an opportunity that may not come again.
Do they have the talent? Maybe. Yes, Malkin and Crosby are world class players. It takes more than a couple of superstars to win hockey games. The Senators have a good collection of character players. Alfredsson, Fisher, Spezza, Phillips, Volchenkov and Michalek would be top players on any NHL team. The days of powerhouse hockey teams are over. The Senators have holes. So do the Penguins. So do all the playoff teams.
Goaltending? That's a wildcard. Brian Elliott has never played an NHL playoff game. If he handles the pressure, the Senators can play with anybody. If he buckles under the pressure, good luck. Fleury for the Penguins is good when he's on. If he struggles, the Penguins can be in trouble.
Most of the experts will be picking the defending Stanley Cup champions. The Ottawa Senators are good enough to have a long playoff run. Now they have to prove it.
What's your take? Tell us by posting a comment below . . .