Musthafa Ebadi
This Year Ottawa Senators Were a Better TEAM!
by Musthafa Ebadi on August 25th, 2011

Friday, April 23, 2010

When the 2008 - 2009 regular season wrapped up Ottawa Senators failed to clinch a spot for playoffs. Their lack for success early on in the season and their inability to win close games cost them a berth in Playoff Express Journey.

The lack of playoff qualification was a big failure for the franchise and their fans since over the last 11 years Ottawa Senators finished in the top echelon of teams every year,they won division title six times, won the eastern conference and president’s trophy once. To couple this success Ottawa Senators had a trip to Stanley Cup finals less than 2 years ago.

The Senators received another big blow when on the eve of Stanley Cup finals the disgruntled yet top winger Dany Heatly demanded a trade from Ottawa after signing multimillion dollar deal and signing bonus couple of months ago.

This distraction was a big enough shock, surprise, and dejecting for the organization and the fans, however, all the three aforementioned expressions were multiplied exponentially when the trade was made public.

The rest of the summer was consumed by distraction of "Dany Healty Trade" saga before he was finally traded mid way in training camp. At the beginning of the year all the experts predicted that Ottawa Senators will miss the playoffs for second year in a row due to the distractions of summer, losing a 50 goal scorer, lack of proven goaltending, and a defense that lacked chemistry. The only group that picked Ottawa Senators to make the playoffs was their loyal fans.

On April 1st 2010 when Ottawa defeated Carolina Hurricanes in overtime by 4 -3 the Senators clinched a playoffs spot and reunited themselves with Lord Stanley. When it was all said and done Senators not only made the playoffs the finished 5th overall in east with 94 points an improvement of 11 points from last season.

To me there was one big difference between this year's Senators and last year’s Senators and I have one word to describe it: TEAM.

From the end of the last season to the distraction of Danly Heatly saga to losing their top players to injuries in training camp there was one common phrase used by everyone in Senators organization and that was that they were a team.

The credit of improvement from last season goes to the adoption of team mentality and the credit of making bringing that mentality and playing, functioning, behaving, winning, and celebrating like a team goes to their coach Corey Clouston as :

• As soon as Clouston took over he brought a system that he believed in and started to get his players buy in
• He identified a structure and defined roles for every player on the team
• He encouraged and motivated the team even when the chips were down such as having 5 core players down for stretch of 7 games
• He held the players accountable for their performance and their role in the team
• He worked on bonding the team and made them closer with each other
• He rewarded his players who performed and recognized them for their hard work
• Further he also brought a winning attitude and transformed it to most of his players

Looking back at the season the above mentioned points ensured that Ottawa Senators made the playoffs after losing over 200+ games to man injuries during the course of the season, losing a 50 goal scorer, and having nine new faces in the starting twenty player roster.

What I want to convey from this post is that every organization achieves its goals as a team, surpass the expectations, can reach the heights that no one can predict if they perform as a team.

In order for the organization to bond, gel, work, and achieve as a team you have to have the right leadership to bring what Cory Clouston brought to Ottawa Senators regardless of setbacks, distractions, and adversity.

Way to go coach and this is just the beginning of many great things to come to you and Ottawa Senators!

I will once again give the credit of my success in life to my teams that I have had.
All I did was to bring the leadership to make them a true team and they did the rest.

Thanks for reading.

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