Friday, December 09, 2005

SENATORS ON THE TRACK OF RECORDING AN INCREDIBLE REGULAR SEASON

Hasek was arguably one of the most popular figures in the Czech Republic, especially after Nagano 1998 his reputation was comparable to the one of the then president Vaclav Havel. This season he has put heavy-duty individual numbers, and his team is off to one of the best starts in NHL history. He is minding his business very well. In 2004-05 Hašek expressed his desire to be on a club that could contend for the Stanley Cup, and specifically named the Ottawa Senators as a possible destination. The Senators later signed Hašek to a multiyear deal, but he stated that if an agreement had not been made on the 2005-06 NHL season by the summer of 2005, he would retire from professional hockey. A deal was reached on July 13, 2005, and later approved by the players and owners. Hašek returned to play for the Senators. Hasek is a 40-year-old future Hall of Famer who is sporting 1.99 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage so far. The only area his team has to show its consistency is the playoffs. There are still many players here who don't have too much experience and he is the only one to be in the Stanley Cup Finals. This year's version of the Senators seems to be a replica of the 2002 Red Wings, with whom he won a Stanley Cup. The Senators, who have won 21 of their first 25 games in this first season of a post-lockout era created the NHL's most pronounced level of equivalence in years. Despite having playing fewer games than all but four teams, the Senators have scored the most goals in the league. They've allowed the fewest and have outscored opponents by a 2-1 margin in each period of their games. Also Ottawa's No. 1 line is the best in the league, with center Jason Spezza tied for the NHL scoring lead and wingers Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson deadlocked for second. The Senators own the top three player plus-minus slots and five of the top six, and they are on pace to break the single-season record of 132 points set by Montreal in 1976-77. Ottawa has averaged 102 points in each of the past six regular seasons but has flopped regularly in the playoffs.

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