Canadian hockey franchises have been painfully unsuccessful for a few seasons now. Last season, not a single team from Canada reached the playoffs. 2 teams made it from Florida. This year, fortunes are tilted more towards the Great White North. Among those teams that missed the playoffs last season, Ottawa is one of 4 Canadian teams with a spot in the Playoffs. The Senators would even have home ice, if the Playoffs began today.
Three of the four teams in the playoffs are there with reasons that you could have guessed by looking at the rosters as the beginning of the year. The Oilers and Maple Leafs are getting excellent production from their highly drafted, young stars. The Canadiens have a healthy Carey Price. The Oilers? they aren’t blessed with a wealth of top pedigree young talent, the best goalie in the conference or even a top forward playing at his best. Bobby Ryan, the highest paid Senator, is currently skating on the third line, producing, though not in the manner in which he earned his contract. The Senators are a lesson in building depth and playing a team-centric brand of hockey. There is less noise to what the Sens are doing. With or without their star, the Senators are on the right track.