In a very surprising blockbuster cross-sport move, the Ottawa Senators have exchanged four players with Associazione Sportiva Roma , a soccer team playing in Rome in the Italian Serie A league! The Roman connection between the Senators and i Giallorossi is very clear, with the Senators sporting a Roman centurion on their uniforms and Roma obviously from Rome. This connection undoubtedly will appeal to the very large Italian population in both Ottawa and Toronto as well as the significant ex-pat North American population in the Rome area.
Going to A. S. Roma will be Jared Cowen, Eric Gryba, Patrick Wiercioch, and Matt Kassian. Joining the Senators will be José Rodolfo Pires Ribeiro Dodô, Federico Balzaretti, Alessio Romagnoli, and Daniele De Rossi .
For the Roma team, the move makes eminent sense according to team manager Rudi Garcia. "We have been looking for considerable toughness and size in our defender ranks. These three big defencemen will form a formidable wall on our backside. We have also wanted to find a way to swing the momentum in our favour during games. We are certain that Matt Kassian will introduce more fighting into the game of football. (Ed. Note – he means soccer, of course.) We will line him up in the midfield so that he can get anywhere on the field quickly to punch out an opposition player. All four of these former hockey players will fit in beautifully on our team. They are extremely fit natural athletes who clearly understand the roles they will be filling with Roma. All we need to do is teach them how to dive properly and our team will be all set for the rest of the season."
On the Ottawa side, general manager Brian Murray was equally happy with the move. "These are valuable assets for our playoff drive. We are very fortunate to be able to make this exchange with our brethren from Roma. This exchange is not a trade, and thus can be done after the NHL trade deadline. All eight players remain on the payroll of their parent teams but are on loan to the other team. We have been listening to the very well informed and clearly intelligent blogosphere commenters, particularly on Silver Seven Sens. We have now cleared ourselves of the marginal production of four players and replaced them with four extremely fit natural athletes who clearly understand the roles they will be filling with the Senators. All we need to do is teach them how to skate properly and our team will be all set for the rest of the season."
In a related move, the Ottawa Senators mascot Spartacat will make several appearances at Roma home games. Surprisingly, Roma has no mascot, though their symbol is a wolf.