Two years ago, we laid the 2007-2008 Montreal Canadiens to rest and laughed at their premature elevation of Carey Price. Last year we teamed up with Travis Hair to have our way with the 2008-2009 Montreal Canadiens and their ridicously funny centennial celebration. This year, in the interest of ensuring that we are rightly considered the bane of every Canadian-based NHL team's fan's Puck Daddy asked us to turn our scorn on the Ottawa Senators. Enjoy.
Dearly beloved hockey fans (just kidding we dislike most of you), we are not here to discuss whether Puck Daddy is having a slow news day (they are) or if he's in the tank for the Caps or Penguins (because he's a Devils homer). We are here to remember the good times provided by the Ottawa Senators. Every year the Senators bow out of the playoffs our minds wander back to a beautiful day in 2004 when their Captain and part-time Krusty the Clown stunt double Daniel Alfredsson said the following:
"Go ahead and write it, I guarantee we'll win the Cup."
The Leafs may not have won the Cup in my lifetime but I can take solace in the fact that Ottawa's young core is finally dying and Daniel Alfredsson's open ended guarantee goes on unfulfilled. The trio of Heatley, Alfredsson and Spezza that terrorized the Northeast for so long has turned into Alfie's last days, Jason Spezza's creepy giggle, Jonathon Cheechoo and Milan Michalek who's having surgery on his knee and may never play again. It's amazing how little $14M and 180 goals in four seasons doesn't quite buy you what it used to anymore.
At the very least, Senators fans can take solace in the fact that Cory Clouston, Ottawa's longest-tenured coach in club history after his first full season, believes that he's "seen a lot of improvements in his game from Day 1. It's a process with him. He's moving in the right direction." You might remember similar quotations from such periods in Senators' history as "Jacques Martin Frowns as Leafs Eliminate Senators Parts 1 - 4" or "John Paddock's Grumpy Months" or "Craig Hartsburg Is In Over His Head".
Going deeper into the Heatley trade it's odd that he'd want out of Ottawa and even odder than Ottawa would let him go. Though you have to love a player like Heatley who demands a trade out of town and then uses his no trade clause to avoid ending up in Edmonton. The fact is Ottawa got nothing at all in the deal for Heatley besides salary they need to pay. As Canada's brokest team I can't imagine noted purse string opener Eugene Melnyk, upon learning of having to pay Cheechoo while on his private yacht in international waters avoiding another securities commission investigation, is thrilled to have not saved any money trading a goal scorer for two ex-goal scorers. The good news for Senators fans is that Eugene will have a lot of time to focus on the team and that'll allow him to share his own views on team building with successful GM Bryan Murray.
The Philadelphia Flyers catch a lot of flak for their decades-long disaster in net but the Senators are giving them a run for their money. Former Goalie of the future Jeff Glass is now Wendy's Assistant Night Manager of the future, Brian Elliott rode an 11 game unsustainable hot streak to a deceptive save percentage but he was well and truly exposed by the Penguins, and Pascal LeClaire will make contortionists out of Senators fans as they try to argue that 3 games of .920 sv% is more indicative of true talent than a career of .903sv% goaltending. I guess there's always Robin Lehner coming down the pipe. I look forward to Alfie guaranteeing his countryman's future success.
Brian Elliott being anointed goaltender of the future based on a bizarre hot streak wasn't the weirdest thing that happened to Ottawa this year. That dubious honor would have to go to the absolutely laughable notion that Mike Fisher should have been named to team Canada at the Olympics. 896 escaped mental patients lent their voice to the campaign. The groundswell of support was exaggerated in much the same way as another reality-averse group of fans or the demand for playoff tickets. To be clear Canada's four centres were: Sidney Crosby, Jonathon Toews, Ryan Getzlaf and Patrice Bergeron. Fact: Mike Fisher finished behind Matt Stajan in the scoring race the past two years. Another Fact: Matt Stajan is terrible. A Final Fact: Matt Stajan will still make a lot less money than Mike Fisher.
With Ottawa though there's so much more to hate than the team that plays 30 minutes down the highway from a minor city. The National Capital Commission is working on re-branding the area's image. No, they won't be going with "Home of The Dynasty That Never Was" and they won't be going with "'fun', 'dynamic', "modern', 'cosmopolitan', or 'innovative.' in the slogan either. Despite eliminating the kinds of words that might make someone interested in visiting the area the NCC isn't quite going with truth in advertising either. They are expected to position the city as 'interesting' and 'beautiful' despite the fact that the city of Ottawa itself is a complete pit. During the 2009 World Junior Championships one couldn't walk around the "downtown core" (a McDonald's, Don Cherry's bar and four hundred unisex hair salons) without being bombarded by homeless people asking for money. At least in Toronto we have the good taste to round up ne'erdowells and use a bulldozer to push them in to Lake Ontario; aka. "The Giuliani".
Just this morning Chris Phillips announced that he won't accept a Team Canada invite for the World Championships despite not yet being invited. If Team Canada needs someone to score into their own net they'll wait for Dan Boyle to inevitably end up with some free time in a week and a half. Other players declining invites before being asked include Toronto's Garnet Exelby who doesn't want to block Chris Campoli's only shot at greatness.
Before reminding us in the comments that we're just bitter because we're Leafs fan we'll admit that you're right. As fans of a team that hasn't played in the postseason recently and may never do so again we'd like to welcome the Ottawa Senators to the offseason and remind you all that every Sens fan over the age of 25 used to cheer for Montreal or Toronto. Whenever the Dynasty that Never Was decides to face the facts and rebuild Ottawa can look forward to being the 2008-2009 Maple Leafs. Enjoy.