Disclaimer: I am still very angry after last night's game.
With the Vancouver Canucks being eliminated on Sunday night after just 5 measly games against the Los Angeles Kings, there was left only one of the 7 Canadian teams still with any chance of winning the Stanley Cup: The Ottawa Senators.
This has lead some people to start draping the "Canada's team" moniker upon the Senators. Honestly, I cannot think of a bigger load of BS.
Last year, when the Canucks had their long run in the playoffs, and especially in the finals, I was very much in the minority of people I knew cheering for the Bruins. "How can you not cheer for Vancouver", people would ask, "They are from CANADA" as if I didn't know.
The reason they didn't get my support, is because I don't like the Canucks. I don't like Burrows. I don't like Lappiere. I don't like Bieksa. I don't like the diving and the whining. I don't like the way their fans scapegoat Roberto Luongo even when the Sedins fail to show up. On the other hand, I liked the Bruins. They played hard, physical, playoff hockey. Patrice Bergeron is wonderful to watch. Zdeno Chara gave my Sens many good years of service. Chris Kelly is a guy I can't help but root for.
"Where is this rant going Dave?" you find yourselves asking now. Quite simply this is my feeling on Canada's team. There is only one "Canada's team". That is TEAM CANADA. They play in the Olympics, the World Juniors, the Spengler Cup and the World Championship. They do not qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Now I'm no hockey hipster, I am not against other teams fans jumping on the Senators bandwagon, honestly I am not. I think hockey games are more fun when you want one team to win more than the other. It gives you that emotional, vested interest.
However, I would like fans to get on the Ottawa bandwagon for the right reasons. Because you want to see Daniel Alfredsson win with the city that loves him so much. Because you can't hep but cheer for Jason Spezza, chronic whipping-boy-of-the-media-turned-leader. Because like so many, you've fallen in love with the smooth skating and supreme skill of Erik Karlsson. Because rooting for the team that the media wrote off before it played a single game is fun. Because you are becoming enamoured with Paul MacLean's no-nonsense, one day at a time attitude.
So please, if you are a fan of another team who have the misfortune of being out of the playoffs, cheer for the Senators, we are a hard working, honest bunch. But please, please do not call us "Canada's Team".
Links after the jump.
Last Night's Game:
- Recaps: [SilverSevenSens] [Warren] [Lozo] [Black Aces]
- Normally reserved Henrik Lundqvist went off on the officials about the Spezza goal after the game. He had a point, if the Rangers had scored a goal like that, I would have lost my mind. However, he did take it a bit far and Mirtle wonders if there will be a fine. [Globe and Mail]
- Appears even though he didn't miss a shift, Ryan Callahan may have hurt his finger last night blocking a shot. [NYR Blog]
- Milan Michalek may not be available for game seven in New York. There was an incident last night where he apparently kicked (or attempted to kick) Dan Girardi while the Rangers d-man was on top of him on the ice. There is precedence, Shayne Corson missed a game 7 for the Leafs for a similar incident. In addition, Jeff Skinner was suspended a couple games earlier this year, and Shanahan has indicated he will not tolerate those acts. Would be a huge blow to the team. [Garrioch] [6th Sens]
- Chris Neil may find himself under the microscope of the officials in game seven after some very stupid post game comments about Michael Del Zotto, claiming he's "sure he'll catch him with his head down one of these times" [Puck Daddy]
- Paul MacLean was unhappy with the intensity and desperation level of the team last night. I have to agree with him. After the first goal, the Senators let the Rags claw their way back into the game, and when you have a team against the ropes, you cannot do that. [NHL.com]
- Article on Matt Puempel and his chance to join Bingo at the end of the season to get a feel for the pro game. He had a tough year, with suspensions and injuries, but still remains a promising prospect for the Senators. [Senators.com]
- Finally in some happier news, Daniel Alfredsson (who lost his mind for a few minutes last night) has been announced as a finalist for the Bill Masterton Memorial trophy for dedication and perseverance to the sport of hockey. The other finalists are Northeast rivals Joffrey Lupul and Max Pacioretty. [NHL.com]
- The western conference semi final match-ups are set, and all of the perennial favourites are out. Kings-Blues, Predators-Coyotes. James Mirtle examines this changing of the guard [Globe and Mail]
- Down Goes Brown absolutely nails is again, this time with a "Behind the Scenes of Raffi Torres Suspension Hearing". This is a must read for a laugh. [DGB]
- GM of the year finalists were named this morning. I was surprised to not find Bryan Murray's name on the list, but three deserving gentleman were nominated. Poile (Nashville), Armstrong (St. Louis) and Tallon (Florida). [NHL.com]
- Dan Rosen with a cool feature on NHL.com called Trending. This weeks looks at goalies (Mike Smith, Roberto Luongo), looks at Patrice Bergeron's injury, Claude Giroux and more. Really cool stuff. [NHL.com]
- Lastly Wyshynski looks at whether we ought to have an independent arbitrator who doles out NHL punishments instead of the Shanahammer. [Puck Daddy]
- Only one tonight, Panthers will try to close out the Devils in a series I thought New Jersey would make short work of. Andy Sutton would question my expertise. Puck drop is 7:30, should be a good one! (Note, cheer for the Panthers for two reasons. 1. If the Sens win game seven, and Caps win game seven, Sens would get Panthers second round! 2. Zach Parise would be unhappy with NJ, maybe making him available!!)