It's getting to be that time of year when I start to ask myself why I cheer for the Ottawa Senators. The Sens currently sit six points behind the Penguins, having played three more games and without the tiebreaker. If you think the Sens need 97 points to make the playoffs (last year the cutoff was 98), the Sens need 27 points in their final 13 games. In other words, it's impossible. Their only hope is for the five teams ahead of them to fade down the stretch.
Last night, I watched the Sens collapse against the Panthers, a good-but-not-great team. What was more frustrating was the way in which the team lost. Poor defensive coverage hurt the team, but it wasn't helped by a lack of offence. I've complained about Mike Hoffman's usage a lot, but even former Cameron favourite Bobby Ryan spent most of the game with Scott Gomez and Ryan Dzingel. It seems like Zack Smith is the only player Cameron trusts to score right now, and to be fair, Smith is scoring. The only problem is that if Smith is your best scoring option, your offence needs help.
So why do I cheer for this team? My typical answer is that I sold my soul to the team before I knew enough about hockey. But that only explains why the Sens became my team, not why I keep following hockey. The cynic in me says part of why I keep watching is that I have to for this website, but even that's not really true. This site is just a big bonus. In the end, I think sports are an escape. There's something ridiculously fun about watching a good game. Watching Mark Stone celebrate a goal is glorious. Seeing Erik Karlsson effortlessly skate around pressure to maintain possession at the offensive blue-line is a joy. And moments like last week's come-from-behind effort to tie it against the Blues was amazing.
As Sens fans, we can remember these types of moments. A couple weeks ago, I went to a Sens game with five strangers here in Calgary. And it wasn't awkward at all. We've been through the same highs and lows, and can talk about our shared experiences. And I think that's another part of it. I keep cheering for them because there is a community behind the Sens. We can share self-deprecating humour and complain about the number of times Ottawa's forgotten by the media. We can argue about trading Smith and playing Mark Borowiecki and the relevance of analytics. In the end we all want the Sens to win, even if we don't agree about the best way for the team to do it.
So if I was really sappy, I guess I'd be saying a big part of why I cheer for the Sens is all of you. Good thing I'm not really sappy.
- How about the awful loss to the Panthers? [Silver Seven, Rank the Performances, SensChirp]
- The team almost beat the Hurricanes on Tuesday, so that's something [Silver Seven, Rank the Performances, SensChirp]
- Trevor's Five Thoughts include one on Mark Stone's face. Make sure to check them out! [Silver Seven]
- Jeff has the B-Sens' 3rd Quarter grades. I can't say it's pretty [Silver Seven]
- Your must-read humour piece of the week: Joe Boughner with a one-act play looking at the source of Zack Smith's goal-scoring prowess [Bonk's Mullet]
- James Duthie was good enough to answer a few questions on a variety of topics for us [Silver Seven]
- Chirp looks at some potential NCAA pick-ups for the Sens [SensChirp]
- Nichols has a great look at Borowiecki's latest comment on bloggers [6th Sens]
- Don't rule out the possibility of a Sens-Habs outdoor game on Parliament Hill just yet [Ottawa Citizen]
- The Calgary Inferno and Montreal Canadiennes are competing in the Clarkson Cup final this Sunday. Side note: our own Michaela Schreider will be a member of the media there, and will have all your updates from the weekend [Ottawa Citizen]
- Meanwhile, the Boston Pride and the Buffalo Beauts are set to meet in the first-ever Isobel Cup final [Today's Slapshot]
- What does it mean when a goalie "cuts down the angle"? Clare Austin explains [In Goal Mag]
- An interesting look at rebound generation under Todd McLellan. We all know intuitively that rebounds give better chances to score, but is shooting for rebounds something that can be coached [Copper N Blue]