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Five Thoughts for Friday

Free tickets, NHL firsts and of course Karlsson

Chicago Blackhawks v Ottawa Senators Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images

With the first game of the season out of the way, it’s time to get my first Five Thoughts on Silver Seven out of the gates as well.

On attendance

How long can Melnyk maintain giving out tickets at a 50% discount or free of charge altogether? The idea that he is so worried about how attendance will “look” rather than how he will fill those seats is concerning. Does he actually believe that anyone will be fooled by his attempts? At this point, everyone in the league is aware about the mess that is the Ottawa Senators and no amount of free tickets are going to save Melnyk’s face. The best part about all this is the amount of people who refused those free tickets. Quite impressive how angry this fan base still is - as they should be. Last night’s attendance was announced at 15,858 which is probably slightly exaggerated and honestly just sad that Melnyk couldn’t even get to 16K with free tickets to the home opener, against a team like the Chicago Blackhawks.

On team loyalty

Do we really have to define what a good fan is? Does team loyalty apply the same way to the players as well? A lot has been debated about boycotting games and what that makes you as a fan. Those who are boycotting games want to be the heroes who bring Melnyk down, but those who continue to attend want to be the ones who say they stood by the team through it all. Is one better than the other? Personally, I think sports fandom can be expressed in so many ways, and the only thing that makes one a bad fan is telling how someone else should feel or act about their team.

Speaking of loyalty, Toronto Maple Leafs president Brendan Shanahan was quoted saying that players should be willing to take less in order to keep the good players all aboard. To what point can you ask a player to take a pay cut when all his peers are getting their value on the market? At the end of the day, players will look out for their own, they really don’t owe a team that won’t value them anything. If a player wants to take a hometown discount, that should be seen as an honour not an obligation; at the end of the day nobody should feel guilty for wanting to be paid their worth.

On Erik Karlsson

After just one game in the west coast, Karlsson is already entering new zones of fame and appreciation. It seems for the past nine years, nobody in California or the western conference in general had seen Karlsson play. By the reactions to his Sharks debut on Wednesday, it seems the NHL awards voting doesn’t exactly boast of integrity when picking nominees and voting for winners. While it’s great that he has everyone’s attention, it is enraging how Karlsson missed out on a few Norris trophies simply because people were too ignorant to watch a few Sens games before making the obvious choice. Just to rub it some more in our face, Karlsson will now win the Norris every single season till he retires.

More on Karlsson, it seems THE trade will not only continue to make us sad, but the amount of rage coming from the aftermath keeps on piling with Wayne Scanlan tweeting yesterday (now deleted) that the Sens wouldn’t offer Karlsson a no-trade clause. First of all, the people who reacted to this tweet saying “Oh, so Karlsson was offered a contract and he just didn’t want to stay” are truly missing the point. This never was and never will be Karlsson’s fault, not including a NTC in the offer meant that Dorion and Co never intended to keep him even if he had signed and they just wanted to shift the blame on him. Second of all, who offers the best defenceman in the league a contract extension with no NTC? How could they have possibly justified not including one in the offer? Like I said, this trade is the gift that keeps on enraging.

On Max Lajoie

It’s no surprise that one of the prospects was going to give us a show in his first game, but a first goal in a first game? We are not worthy of young Maxime. His parents’ celebration alone may be the highlight of the game, although the goal itself and his entire composure and smartness throughout are something worth getting excited over. If we keep getting these stellar performances by the young ones, at least the losses will be fun to watch?

On Boucher’s Old Ways

While the power play did look better last night, probably with the influx of young new blood, Boucher insists on trying to fool everyone that Cody Ceci is anywhere near a 1D. The problem is, at this point Ceci himself may not be convinced. His reactions are too slow for today’s faster and smarter game, he just simply cannot catch up. I honestly like Boucher and it seems he is nowhere near the same page as the evil master and his puppet, but how he chooses to utilize this team will really determine how long of a season this will be. If he continues with his stubborn ways of trusting the wrong players with valuable ice time, he will ruin every shred of confidence or development this team has any chance of. Relying heavily on Craig Anderson every game will end up burning a team that is already on thin ice with every play. If we’re going to lose, let it be because of inexperience of a young team, not because Boucher feels he needs to play the guys who make the big bucks over the the more talented younger players. Still one game in a season that will force Boucher to change his ways whether he likes it or not, let’s see how well he can adapt.