Anyone who’s had the misfortune to spend time in Ottawa has had the quintessential Canadian city experience: clean, cultured, and quietly disappointing. All the maple doughnuts and Labatt’s in the world can’t hide the fact that Ottawa is as appealing as lap dance from Marcus Bachmann. Puzzlingly, everyone seems mostly OK with this… albeit in a polite, deferential way. Ottawantarians seem to take civic pride in their shared, outstanding blahness. Just look the Senators.
First, there’s that name. Senators. Yeah, it’s a hat-tip to the first Senators to hit the ice way back when, winning a raft of Stanley Cups before moving down to St. Louis (we’d rather live in Ottawa, thank you) and disbanding after just a year. But then was then: how many teams have the word “Knickerbocker”, or “Stockings”, or “Amalgamated” in their names lately? Only in Ottawa (and tiny, deluded pockets of Washington) do people equate the word “Senator” with youthful male athleticism.
Second, when we think of the Senators, the first people who come to mind are those who aren’t with the team any more. Like the infuriatingly brilliant Jacques Martin, who arguably built up a new team from near scratch and got them Cup-ready, only to be heaved out on his ass by management. Hooray! How’d that work out for you, Sens? Or Mike Fisher, the aging center who, while decent when with Ottawa, we remember mostly for being dreamy. (We hear he’s living with some banjo player down south or something now.) We would continue *cough DanyHeatley cough*, but it’s tedious.
Which brings us back around to the Senators. Boring may be the nicest thing we can say about them. We get that they’re in a rebuilding phase, and that things can get– well– embarrassing. (Like the Detroit Lions for the last… three decades.) Whatever! Being our frosty neighbors to the north, we want to be respectful. But they’re not making it easy.
The Senators are off to a slow start this year; rather like the year before, and the one before that. Their home opener had moments of good hockey, and got them a W, but it’s their only W so far. (And Thursday’s collapse to the Avalanche? Someone get me a bucket.)
38-year-old fossil Daniel Alfredsson (2G, 1A, minus-6) may be a short guy, but he’s solid, and turning in some solid performances so far this season. And what does it say about your team when the old man is the hot one – both on the ice, and off. (OK, not everyone gets the whole ‘ginger’ thing.) Newbie Craig Anderson may not be all that in the looks department, but he’s doing alright in the crease. He’s not posting Neuvy numbers, but they’re still at the low end of meh (.853 SV%, 5.07 GAA, 4 GP). And it seems his groin is holding up, unlike Neuvy’s.
Czech winger Milan Michalek has tallied 3 goals and 2 assists so far this season, all the while maintaining his Bel Ami-inspired hair. Chris Neil‘s (1G, 1A) another player to watch during the game, as would have been Nikita Filatov (although for different reasons)until he received his bus ticket to Binghamton, to play on the Sens farm team. Former Caps D-man Sergei Gonchar is in the mix, but he’s done nothing notable since leaving Pittsburgh.
There’s more players we could go over, but why bother? The Senators have just not been able to make it happen offensively (maybe it’s a Canadian thing?) and– as the Avs debacle demonstrated– they’re hardly better on defense. But I dunno, you do just feel for these guys. Perhaps it’s all the crying we hear coming from their locker room? Sorry– make that stifled Canadian sobbing.
So let’s do something Washington has never done before, eh? Let’s just make a lazy, over-paid, over-nourished group of failures feel un-naturally welcome and self-entitled while we watch and laugh at their buffoonish antics, all while being fleeced for the privilege. Unless you get enough of that on C-SPAN. Anyhow – after our first three games (frenzies) of the new season, we’re certainly due to invoke some Senatorial privilege.