Ottawa was a feel good story in the first quarter of the season as they started to pile up some wins with some very intriguing pieces which made bettors happy. The strange thing with injuries is there are times where you just do not see it coming. First, there was Jason Spezza, who had back surgery and MAY be back for the end of the regular season. Now, there is Erik Karlsson, who will have Achilles surgery after it was lacerated by Matt Cookeof the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night.
The Ottawa Senators have now lost two of their leading scorers and quite frankly only consistent point producers from a fantasy hockey and bettor standpoint. When a team is entrenched in the playoff mix a quarter of the way through a season, one has to think they will be in it for the long haul. However, in the shortened year, things have a way of turning fast. Craig Anderson gave up four goals tonight and Ottawa looked like the up and down Ottawa team from the last campaign. Can guys like Eric Condra and Marc Methot step up? Its an excellent question because it seems Daniel Alfredsson does not have much left in the tank.
This will leave sports bettors in a dilemma because this is going to have a big impact on money lines and Ottawa will be an underdog in a majority of its games from here on out. The Monday game between Ottawa and New Jersey may approach a -200 for New Jersey which is something rarely seen in the NHL. It has only happened a few times in the early going. As most know, -100 is what we like to call even. Over at william hill hockey betting, you can find where Ottawa and other teams fare on the line and make all your NHL picks there. Ottawa next plays in Toronto on "Hockey Night In Canada" on Saturday night. They expect to be an even bigger road dog now with this latest injury.
Can they weather the storm? Craig Anderson has allowed less than two goals a game currently and must play this well or close for Ottawa to stand a chance of staying in the top eight in the Eastern Conference. People wonder if there is a similar situation where a team lost their best defenseman like this. The reality is nothing can come quite to the level of this injury. Personally I remember what happened to the New Jersey Devils when they lostScott Stevens in the 2003-2004 season. New Jersey went from a dominant team to a .500 team overnight. Martin Brodeur's goals against average went up by over a full goal in the second half of that year. The defense was just not the same.
Ottawa's case may be different. While Erik Karlsson is a great player, Ottawa was still only a little over .500. No one really can comprehend the dual threat loss but this is a team now missing a half dozen players and five regulars in the lineup. They will play a more gritty style but ultimately they are going to fall off enough to likely miss the playoffs. Their betting lines will change, they will cover less, and they will score a bit less as well. If things break right, they might stay right around .500 but do not hold your breath.
Now if Jason Spezza comes back early, that will change the equation a bit. Needless to say stay tuned but this injury has bettors and bookies alike scrambling for meaningful answers.