We all have one. That player we inexplicably have a soft spot for. Other Sens fans can't understand why you love him: his numbers aren't spectacular, he was never a star with the team, and yet you defend him. Maybe you made sure he was on your first line in a video game, maybe you met him in a mall parking lot and he signed an autograph for you, or maybe you wore his jersey. You probably picked him in a hockey pool - maybe even drafted him with your first pick - despite the fact that no one else would pick him. Whatever the reason, each of us has a Sens player who has defied the odds and found a place in our heart.
Mine is Jonathan Cheechoo. I was a fan of his before he made it big in San Jose and continue to be a fan of his now. I wear my "Cheechoo 41" name and number t-shirt with more frequency than you might expect (it's one of those gross "SNES" ones too) and I still wish things could have worked out differently for him in Ottawa.
It's been more than two years since the Sens bought out the final year of his contract and yet I still have a soft spot for him. Why? It's simple really. We were born in the same place: Moose Factory, Ontario. That's it. While I never lived in Moose Factory (the area's hospital was on the island of Moose Factory, I lived across the river in Moosonee), because of what it says on my birth certificate and passport, we're connected. We learned to love and play the game in the same spot and that counts for something. That's why I was excited when he was drafted 29th overall in 1998 and why I was excited the first time he broke the 20-goal mark. I think I was more excited when he was traded to the Sens than I was when he won the Rocket Richard Trophy. Not because I expected him to regain his 50+ goal form, but because the only NHLer to be born in the same hospital as me was now playing for my team.
Because we are both from Moose Factory, I appreciate how much dedication and determination it would have taken to make the NHL. People from northern communities often lack the competition that is necessary to become an elite player, but Cheechoo managed it. He only scored 5 goals as a Senator, but I loved every one of them.
Which Senator are you most sympathetic to?
- Bobby Kelly has been keeping things afloat with his excellent work. Be sure to check out his recent takes on Sens prospects: Andre Petersson and "Where the Sens Sit" (S7S)
- Draft classes and tanking (WTYKY)
- Scott looks at Cody Ceci's play this season and how Stefan Noesen's suspension problems mean the Sens only have one prospect, Mikael Wikstrand, playing at the WJC (6th Sens)