Life hasn't gone as planned for Sergei Gonchar.

When the veteran defenceman signed with the Ottawa Senators as a free agent last summer, he had his eyes on another shot at the Stanley Cup, hoping to create offensive magic with a group that included Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, Alex Kovalev and Mike Fisher.

Now, when Gonchar looks around the dressing room, he sees a cast of youngsters with their eyes on the future. Alfredsson is injured, perhaps for the rest of the season. Kovalev and Fisher are gone, chasing the Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators, respectively. Even after beating the Atlanta Thrashers 3-1 on Thursday night, the Senators (22-33-9) rank 29th in the 30-team National Hockey League.