The Ottawa Senators, for the first time in ten years, are off to the Eastern Conference Finals! Sens fans around the world are shivering with excitement, getting ready to face either the Penguins or Capitals in round three. This post is not for those people, though. Instead, this post is for the rest of you. Maybe your team missed the playoffs, or maybe your team was eliminated in rounds one or two. To you folks, I’d be pleased to invite you aboard the Sens bandwagon! Here are ten reasons why you should join.
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first. Erik Karlsson is not only a generational talent and one of the best players on the planet, he’s also the team leader. Serving as captain since 2014 and with two Norris trophies to his name, he’s the type of player you can’t help support. If you’re one for hair, he checks that box. If you’re one for personality, he ticks that box as well. He’s the full package, really.
New head coach Guy Boucher has been a revelation for the Sens this season, implementing what’s known around here as The System. Although it’s widely known as the type that puts a plug in the neutral zone, the miraculous part is how it can be turned on and off. If the Sens need a couple of goals, Boucher knows how to open up the play. If we’re defending a lead, the switch is turned on and The System prevails. It’s pretty amazing, actually.
We need the $$$
Let’s face it, our owner needs the money, and a few extra t-shirt and jersey sales would really help out.
Like Erik Karlsson, there’s no way you can’t like Mark Stone. His goals are pretty, his celebrations are way over the top (the Andy Murray of hockey), and he’s a wizard with his stick. He’s been far and away the league leader in takeaways since his arrival in the league three years ago, and would be holding all the records if it wasn’t for Pavel Datsyuk.
We’re the underdogs
The Sens have been labeled as the underdogs by the media since the beginning of the playoffs, despite finishing second in the division. While that might have been a mislabeling problem heading into the series against Boston and New York, it will surely be the case once we face either Sid or Ovie in the Conference Finals. Who doesn’t love a good underdog story, and even better, who wouldn’t love to be the underdog supporter once they win?
Pageau has become somewhat of a folk hero around Ottawa, having tied the franchise record with two playoff hat tricks. His four-goal performance against the Rangers in game two was nothing short of legendary, and Pageau has kept up the momentum scoring two more goals later in the series. A big ball of energy with penalty killing and faceoff specialties, JGP is the typer of player that you love to have on your team.
For the emotionally invested, the Sens have no shortage of heartwarming stories that the entire league can get behind. Craig Anderson is a finalist for the Masterton Trophy because his wife Nicholle has been going through cancer treatments. Clarke MacArthur is an incredible story of redemption and perseverance after missing nearly two full seasons with concussions. And who wouldn’t want to cheer for the same team as Jonathan Pitre? It’s easy to develop emotional ties to this team, which make the wins all the more satisfying.
What can I say, the man’s got some pipes.
Of the dozen playoff games the Sens have played so far, nine of them have been decided by a single goal, ten if you exclude empty netters. There have been a combined eight overtime periods as well, maximizing the bang-for-your-buck. Add to that the sheer number of heart-stopping comeback wins this team has experienced, and the Senators have been the most exciting team to follow these playoffs.
Wait, did I say him already? Ah well, he deserves to be here twice.