Team: Ottawa Senators
They had the best record of any Canadian team; surely that's gotta count for something, right? I fully expect the Sens to have a ceremony to honour this occasion, raising a banner that says: "ELEVENTH PLACE: SUCKED LESS THAN EVERY OTHER TEAM IN CANADA." I mean, their identity is already inextricably tied up in the success or failure of teams that actually matter, so why not just make it official?
As I recall, this was their entire roster for most of the year.
I tried naming some Ottawa Senators pic.twitter.com/RTvFNULnsB— MLB Insider Dinger (@atf13atf) April 2, 2016
Solid roster there.
Your Head Coach
I unno; I heard they got some deranged James Bond villain.
Guy Boucher is back in the NHL! He returns after a three-year hiatus in Switzerland. You may recall that in his last NHL coaching gig, he coached a team to the conference final based entirely on a defensive structure to which every other team adapted. Then his teams not only sucked, but his coaching got thoroughly embarrassed by the FLYERS of all teams:
Yes, that guy! I wonder how that'll turn out for you. The good news is that Ottawa's defense is so terrible, I don't even think the 1-3-1 could work. You'd need all six defensemen, an entire NFL offensive line, and a full clown car to make it even remotely workable.
Oh, and look! Boucher brought in Marc Crawford as an assistant coach in charge of staying as far away as possible from any major goaltending decision. Crawford, you may recall, most recently coached the ZSC Lions and phenom Auston Matthews. They hired the guy that coached the Leafs' new best player nine days after the Leafs won the draft lottery. Is that not just the most Ottawa move ever?
Your Starting Goalie
Craig Anderson, again. Remember Hamburglarmania? Remember how you all thought that would last forever? Curtis Lazar even ate a burger that had touched a bacteria-infested ice surface. OH HOW PRECIOUS!
Anyway, Anderson was a good, but not great, .916 SV% last season, and Hammond was a .914. Did you know that both goalies cleared a .920 in 2014-15? Just to finish eighth! This is basically a playoff bubble team/first round cannon fodder if- and ONLY if- both goalies can stand on their head. Anderson is 36, and Hammond- aside from a 24-game sample in 2015- is largely average, so they're basically screwed.
New Things That Suck
I know this happened in February, but I have not had the chance to properly laugh at you for it, so: YOU TRADED FOR DION PHANEUF AND HIS $7MM CONTRACT? I'm still in disbelief that this actually happened. It's been six months since it happened and it just doesn't feel real. All the Leafs had to do was take on some questionable short-term salary cap, and presto! The team that won't even give its own players good money took on the obligation of paying Dion Phaneuf until he's 35 years old.
It took exactly one game for Phaneuf to look like his old self on his new team, so that's nice:
oh my god henrik zetterberg just owned dion phaneuf pic.twitter.com/Gatb6mzjkg— Kyle M. (@KyleWIIM) February 11, 2016
My favourite part in all of this is watching Sens fans who spent years calling Phaneuf names like "pylon," "phagoof", etc. while with the Leafs quickly do a complete reversal once he joined the Sens. My god; you guys are pathetic. Your politicians don't even contort their positions that quickly and noticeably.
Other than that, the Sens didn't do much. They acquired Derrick Brassard until he's 31 so that they didn't have to pay Mika Zibanejad a lot of money. They brought back Chris Kelly to take away the ice time of someone relevant. I have no recollection of Chris Kelly's existence beyond, like, 2012. Did you know he was in Boston for 5.5 seasons?
Also, Chris Phillips retired two years after you thought he retired, and will go down in history as the only player in franchise history to score a Stanley Cup-winning goal.
Things That Still Suck
Eugene Melnyk is still here. Hey look; he's honouring Daniel Alfredsson this year! Remember when Melnyk was too cheap to give the face of his franchise a decent retirement contract, forcing him to go play a forgettable season in Detroit? Pepperidge Farms remembers.
When Melnyk isn't busy with his failing pharmaceutical ventures, working through his Barbados tax shelter, or issuing forensic investigations, he is either saying something recklessly stupid, or nickle and diming this team into even further obscurity. Eugene Melnyk is the worst; he's probably the only person in the world that you could call "a less likeable Martin Shkreli."
Meanwhile, you guys are still way too hung up on a team in Toronto when there hasn't been a game between these teams of any relevance since John Kerry was a presidential candidate. Your fanbase's entire identity is tied up in another team failing to the point of unhealthy obsession. Fans of your team don't even like this team that much! Their first allegiance is with hating another team obsessively, while just choosing another team to kinda, sorta root for in the interim.
My personal favourite is when you Sens fans complain about the Leafs persistently getting national coverage; do they not know that's the only reason most Canadians watch even a few of your team's games per year? You should thank HNIC's Leafs coverage for reminding most of the country you exist. You're easily the most forgettable Canadian franchise, which is impressive for a league that put a team in Winnipeg.
Why You Might Not Suck
Erik Karlsson. Poor guy; he's a consensus top 2 defenseman in the entire game, and he gets stuck on this team. He's like Mike Trout, right down to playing for the second most popular team in his own city. Except for the part where Mike Trout gets to live somewhere nice for a living.