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Ottawa Senators Best of the Decade: Defining Storylines

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From the Hamburglar to the casino burglar.

Tampa Bay Lightning v Ottawa Senators Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images

Happy New Year Sens fans! The 2010s come to a close tonight, and with that we wrap up our Best of the Decade series. The Silver Seven writers have joined forces to reflect on the best and worst moments for the Ottawa Senators this past decade, and we wrap it up by answering the question:

In the past decade, what defining storyline will you remember most?

nkb: The Hamburglar run was probably the most fun I’ve ever had as a Sens fan so it’s awfully tempting to go with that here, but it’s hard to say the defining story line of the last decade was anything but the instability around ownership. This manifested itself in a lot of different ways, but the most notable were of course the Karlsson and Stone trades. It’s also the slow, gradual, erosion of trust between the team and the fanbase brought on by ownership. I’m hopeful that will change next decade, but you can’t tell the story of the Sens from the last ten years without talking about this.

Ross: Melnyk versus everyone. Seriously though: Melnyk took on Scotiabank, Parliament, Alfie, Karlsson, the city, his business partners, hustle ex-wife, the media, the fans, Dave Cameron, and now a casino and a private jet company. Really the only people he stood by this decade were Bill O’Reilly and Randy Lee, which, yikes.

Brandon: Unfortunately, I don’t think anything’s going to overshadow the two-year salary dump that we saw. Not since the Expos have we seen such an exodus of star players, and couple that with the war the fanbase has waged with ownership (#MELNYKOUT), I don’t think anything else could define this past decade in Ottawa.

Hopefully the tides are turning though, I’m finally starting to feel optimistic again.

thedaigle1: Moreso than the absolute gutting of the 2016-17 Senators: the slow, painful erosion of the mid-2000s Senators. This team needed to tear it down after getting swept by the Penguins in the first round in 2008 and instead just kept tinkering for another decade. From a cold, clinical perspective, the successes of 2013, 2015, and 2017 were never sustainable. While I admire the organization’s confidence, I lament their miscalculation and hesitation.

Shaan: Yeah, I could give the nod to the Sens’ recent purge of star players... or I could write a third article about why the Erik Karlsson trade could be one of the best trades in franchise history. But why do either of those things when I can keep talking about the Hamburglar run? A free agent signed out of Bowling Green State University backstopping the Sens to the playoffs. The long-awaited arrival of Mark Stone. Curtis Lazar eating a burger thrown on the ice. Not to mention, the run gave way to my all-time favourite article written on this site, courtesy of The Artist.

Spencer: Sadly, the defining storyline I’ll remember most is the one that started with Melnyk threatening the idea of moving the team at the outdoor game. It feels like, since that day, I’ve felt far more pessimistic and negative about a team I love so dearly. That day led to the #MelnykOut campaign, the Karlsson and Stone trades and basically everything I’ve been frustrated about for the last few years. I know there’s the possibility of a bright future with this current group of young players — and the draft picks coming in 2020 — but if I’m thinking back on the most defining storyline of the past decade, it has to be the one that brought a ton of sadness and a lack of trust in a team I used to love (and still do love, because you know, love is pain).

Ary: Off the ice? #MelnykOut. On the ice? What thedaigle1 said about the slow erosion of the ‘00s Senators. I loved that 2012 playoff series against the Rangers, but boy oh boy did we accidentally accelerate what should’ve been a proper rebuild with that one. If there’s any solace to be had, it’s that the 2012-14 drafts look terrible with hindsight, while 2020 looks fantastic. We’ll check back with y’all next decade!

N_Dew: How one goal by Chris Kunitz ruined our franchise and how Melnyk finished the job by completely demolishing everything that still mattered afterwards. Hopefully that storyline will soon be re-written.

Colin: It’s impossible to ignore the impact Melnyk’s had on this franchise, and I really hope it changes soon. The 2010s were packed with frustration, and as tough as the past three seasons have been, I think I’ll remember the Hamburglar run and 2017 playoff run even more. It brought the fanbase together like I’ve never seen before, and while my pragmatic side realizes how lucky they were, defying the odds made it all the more fun. It’s been a wild ride, and hopefully we can find that same feeling in the next decade.

But it will all have to start with a team sale.


Thanks for following along with this series! Let us know in the comments: what defining storyline will you remember most?