Silver Nuggets: The Best of Silver Seven 2013

USA TODAY Sports

A look at the best writing from the past year

Yesterday we had our reader awards; today we look at the best writing of 2013. It was a terrific and productive year for the staff at Silver Seven. We added a few talented writers and produced a variety of pieces. From the humorous, the sarcastic, and the satiric, to the analytical and the fancy stats-based, to the angry, the touching, and the tearful, to the just plain visual, the Silver Seven crew had the Senators covered from every angle.

Take a look back at the year that was through the eyes of the Silver Seven team and keep reading in 2014 for all things Senators.

Adnan - Erik Karlsson is better than P.K. Subban - and it isn't close May 2, 2013

"Erik Karlsson is very good. So much as that the good people at Habs Eyes on the Prize are using Karlsson's 2011-2012 season as the benchmark for whether Subban should win the 2013 Norris, and not his competition this year. I can see why Canadiens' fans would obsess over wishing Subban was at a Karlssonian level, but is simply not factually true."

Adnan breaks down the P.K. vs. Karlsson debate using some exhaustive advanced stats. Adnan's piece feels like the opening salvo in a debate that will wage between Habs fans and Sens fans for years to come, with a victorious Karlsson the only possible outcome.

Roger - I Was Saying Boogene Oct. 18, 2013

"Personally, I don't think that booing Melnyk is justifiable ... yet. I do think that his decline in popularity is entirely justifiable: Alfie never should have been allowed to leave, the Casino Wars are grating in the extreme, and one can't help but feel that there's a lot of emotional manipulation going on whenever team finances are discussed. But annoying and somewhat worrisome do not equal ‘terrible'."

In one of his first posts for Silver Seven, Roger takes aim at Eugene Melnyk's vocal critics. Roger aims to be positive in his writing - see his "Silver Linings" series. Will Roger reach a Melnyk tipping point?

Bobby - Are the Ottawa Senators ‘Canada's Team?' I'll take a pass. May 14, 2013

"So, if a Canadian team is going to be the first to win a Stanley Cup since the '93 Habs, I want it to be Ottawa. Otherwise, I would prefer a Canadian team not win the Cup and I don't consider that opinion to be high treason. If you're a fan of another Canadian team who is cheering for Ottawa because it's in Canada, then golly, it sure will be awkward when I don't return the favour. After all, the nation is not expressed through a corporation. And hockey teams, ultimately and obviously, are a marketed product. When it comes to support of a hockey team, protectionist "cheer Canada" refrains from social media or national newspapers ring false and counter-intuitive to the rivalry-inducing environment this country's hockey community otherwise fosters."

Bobby's post garnered a lot of well-deserved attention. Why? Because he wrote a piece for all of us who prefer our players don't make Olympic team rosters for fear of injury; who would rather see the Phoenix Coyotes win the Stanley Cup than a rival, Canadian team. In short, he wrote for those of us who are - at their core - Sens fans above all else.

Dave - Building On a Budget: Why Bryan Murray Has Been Excellent July 9, 2013

"Has it been all roses with Murray at the helm? There was the Dany Heatley debacle, and now the loss of Daniel Alfredsson for nothing. There were the dark days when it seemed Murray would never find a coach. There were a few gambles that didn't pay off - Nikita Filatov springs to mind. But Bryan Murray has built a successful, stable group that is young and anchored by strong goaltending, a superstar defenceman, a point per game centre and a perennial 30 goal scoring winger, all under budget. For that, he deserves our applause."

Dave examines the different stages of Bryan Murray's managerial tenure in Ottawa and explains just how good a job the GM has on a budget. Dave helped kick-off a period of praise for the experienced GM.

Darren - The Ottawa Senators and the burden of expectations Sept. 9, 2013

"The Senators are not the Toronto Blue Jays, by any stretch. They did not undergo the same type of dramatic overhaul, are not the only Canadian team in their league and the hype around the Senators pales in comparison to that of the Jays at the start of the season. But they are still a team that has to learn that what was acceptable in years past may not be acceptable anymore, at least not this year, and that there will be increased scrutiny if the team does not perform. The Senators were not supposed to make the playoffs the last two years, and just doing so was a success. Just making the playoffs this year would not be considered a success for this organization, and that is a lot of added pressure on the players and coaching staff."

The pre-season was a great time for the Senators. After a few seasons of being ignored by pundits and prognosticators, Ottawa was predicted by many to contend in 2013-2014. Darren sounded a note of caution that has turned out to be quite prophetic.

Ryan - A Brief History of Goalie Controversies Nov. 12, 2013

"As is the near-annual tradition in the city of Ottawa and its surrounding suburbs, the Senators are headed for a goalie controversy."

Ryan tackles one of the most conventional Senators problems - goaltending - with his typical humour.

Mark - The Ottawa Senators Made The Right Decision Aug. 16, 2013

"Alfredsson's history is irrelevant. His past contracts are irrelevant. Even his intangibles are irrelevant. Objectively, what matters is what Alfie can do for the team. Just look at what the Senators could get for a similar cap hit: John Tavares, Phil Kessel. Marian Hossa. Evander Kane. Jamie Benn. That's the caliber of player the team should expect for the kind of money Alfredsson was asking for. (Oh, and David Clarkson. Whoops.) And while Alfredsson was once that kind of player, he no longer is."

Mark takes on the most controversial event in Senators history - Daniel Alfredsson's departure in July. He cuts through the nostalgia and concludes that the Senators made the right decision spending their money on Bobby Ryan instead of Alfie.

Peter - What's more concerning about Jared Cowen: His play or his attitude? Dec. 14, 2013

"Arrogance doesn't have to be a bad thing in hockey players, but it's best balanced with the ability to honestly assess yourself and admit to mistakes--it then allows players the confidence that they can overcome the shortcomings and become better for it. But Cowen seems to be demonstrating a level of immaturity in failing to recognize his own faults; if that's a theory that holds water, then he's simply going to repeat them over and over again."

Jared Cowen had a frustrating 2013. Peter wonders whether his attitude has played a role in his stalled development.

Eric - An NHL Ice Rink Broken Down: Ottawa Senators Edition April 7, 2013

"Radek Bonk's Mullet here. Do you find hockey hard to follow? Does the FoxTrax glowing puck only make things worse? Well Ottawa Senators fans, you're in luck. I've compiled a helpful map below to make watching Ottawa Senators games that much easier."

Eric made waves with his first post on Silver Seven. His Sens rink was featured on Sportsnet. It was an early moment in his Sens blogging celebrity but displays the humour that is his trademark.

B_T - Defensive pairings available, gently loved Dec. 5, 2013

"Obviously we won't be trying again anytime soon with Borocop back down in Bingo, but what about other little-used pairings that have had success in their limited ice time together? Is there any untapped potential within them?"

Newcomer B_T plays a favourite game of many fans: line juggling. B_T stays in the present and looks to the future in his posts, especially his excellent weekly series "Week Ahead".

Amelia - Daniel Alfredsson Returns Nov. 30, 2013

"But the alternative is not to commit. Not to care too much about your team and your players. And that too, lessons the experience of sport just as surely as disappointment and betrayal do.

The Alfie legend is certainly part of the mythologizing tendency fans still exhibit when talking about their favourite games and favourite players. I'm guilty of it myself. Collectively, Sens fans were guilty of it the past several years. We talked about Alfie as if he had always been universally loved by Sens fans and as if he would march unquestioning ever forth for the organization. In reality, neither belief was true."

On the eve of watching Daniel Alfredsson's return to Ottawa, I wrote about Alfredsson the man versus Alfie the legend.

On behalf of the Silver Seven staff, thanks for reading in 2013!

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