This week in the NHL has seen a few things that some might call out of the ordinary: chasing players out of town with pitchforks (not literally), a rally, Ron Maclean channeling his inner Don Cherry, and the Montreal Canadiens winning a playoff series, and cheering for the old guard.
1. Chasing Players Out of Town
There have been rumblings on Twitter, Facebook, and the like about how Ottawa Senators fans and media tend to chase players out of town because of their high demands. Some fans believe that Jason Spezza is leaving (hasn't happened yet) because fans are hard on him. I'm not sure this is accurate. Hockey players are professional athletes paid the big bucks to play a sport - they understand that they're under the watchful eye and might be criticized. The fans, I believe, have little to do with a player being traded or asking to leave. Players tend to move on for other, more "important" reasons: money, losing, internal disagreements with the team, etc. So I don't think that if Spezza leaves, it's because of us fans and I also don't think we have run any other player out of town (although Joe Corvo didn't like the media here the first time).
2. Spezza Rally
The Red Scarf Union (RSU) is holding a rally on Parliament Hill on May 17th to try and save Jason Spezza and show him how much fans love him in Ottawa. If you aren't familiar with the situation, please refer back to Thought #1. Now, I'm, for the most part, a Spezza fan but I'm not going to the rally (I'm going camping - so I clearly cannot). To me, rallies are a way to either promote political views or gain awareness for different causes. A rally to show an NHL player how much we want him to stay in Ottawa, in my humble opinion, is going too far. The Spezza situation, as it stands, probably has nothing to do (or little to do) with fans being tough on him and more to do with what Bryan Murray and Spezza speak about behind closed doors that none of us will ever know about. I do think that the RSU has their heart in the right place, but I don't think their rally on Parliament Hill will create the affect they would like to see. Further, if a lot of people don't show, then Spezza will actually receive the opposite message of what the RSU is intending.
3. Montreal Canadiens Sweeping
I have never been a fan of the Canadiens, ever, never.
But now that that's off my chest, I'd actually like to congratulate them on their first sweep since 1993, which I don't remember since I was four. The Habs actually played a good series and were clearly the better team. They had a bit of help from the Tampa Bay Lightning's goaltending situation and had a few calls go their way, but I don't think changing those things would have served the Canadiens a different fate. Their fast-paced game was too much for Tampa. I look forward to the upcoming Montreal/Bruins or Red Wings series. I think either team will be a good test for Montreal and Carey Price, who was probably one of the weaker pieces during the Habs/Bolts series.
4. Referee Impartiality
People in the hockey world were pretty upset over Ron Maclean's comments about how French referees should not have been working the Canadiens' games. Whether you agree with Maclean's comments or not (or believe that referees are biased towards and against certain teams), referees are paid to be impartial and but their biases aside. Sometimes it certainly appears that refs are bias, but good referees are able to put their beliefs aside and work a game properly. If a referee is noticeably biased, however, teams should still be able to win by playing a tight, clean, and hard game against their opponents. Referees get blamed a lot - heck, I'm often one of their biggest critics - but truth be told, a good team should still be able to win with a bad referee.
5. Cheering for Past Ottawa Senators Players
Once a Senator, always a Senator. I don't know about you, but I tend to still cheer for our previous players (unless I didn't like them. I'm looking at you, Dany). I also like to support them in the playoffs if the Sens aren't in them. Currently, there are a bunch of ex-Ottawa Senators in the playoffs who I still like to cheer for. This year, representing previous Senators are Daniel Alfredsson, Zdeno Chara, Sergei Gonchar, Jakob Silfverberg, Peter Regin, Marian Hossa, Ray Emery, Brian Elliott, Andre Benoit, Sami Salo, Marty Havlat, Andrej Meszaros, Nick Foligno, Ben Bishop (sorry if I missed anyone - I'm sure I did). I wish them good luck in the playoffs, especially #11. Plus, if anyone of them win the Cup, a little piece of the Sens win too - right?
Have a great weekend everyone! Thanks for reading.