Senators’ gloomy headlines include suspension for Claesson

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Boston Bruins forward Tim Schaller did his part to make Fredrik Claesson of the Ottawa Senators pay for a hit that hurt Noel Acciari during last night’s win for the B’s. The NHL’s Department of Player Safety weighed in one day later.

The NHL opted to suspend Claesson two games for an illegal hit to the head on Acciari.

You can observe the league’s reasoning for the decision in the video below. Meanwhile, the Schaller – Claesson fight and hit on Acciari can also be seen in the clip above this post’s headline.

Unfortunately for the Senators, this isn’t the only bit of bad press on Thursday.

With four losses in a row and just 30 standings points in 35 games played, Ottawa’s season continues to swirl around the drain. By some measures, they’re dangerously close to digging a hole that’s simply too deep.

Seriously, there really aren’t a lot of happy places to turn to if you root for the Senators, and the longer term doesn’t seem so great, either. (Maybe those assets they gave up to move from Kyle Turris to Matt Duchene would have come in handy, after all?)

Just a lot of ouch.

There is one bright side for the Senators, even if it’s a small silver lining. Their schedule is awfully friendly in the near-term, so maybe they can rally?

Fri, Dec 29 vs Columbus
Sat, Dec 30 vs Boston
Tue, Jan 3 @ Detroit
Thu, Jan 5 vs San Jose
Fri, Jan 6 vs Tampa Bay
Mon, Jan 9 vs Chicago
Tue, Jan 10 @ Toronto
Wed, Jan 18 vs St. Louis
Fri, Jan 20 vs Toronto

That’s seven of their next nine games at home.

Now, it’s fair to argue that home games can be a curse in disguise for a team that’s falling apart and an owner who’s drawing increasing ire from fans. Still, the Senators probably need any little bit of optimism to cling to, so this is a relatively decent burst of sunshine.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.