“You deserve better than this and you should demand better than this.”- Ian Mendes
Yes we do deserve better, not just the fans but the players too. Why are players in the prime of their careers being pushed out of the city every time they demand to be paid their worth? Why are they made to be the ones who gave up on the team and wanted to move on?
Many fans say the darkest day in Sens history was the day Erik Karlsson was traded. I disagree, maybe we didn’t appreciate its magnitude at the time but the Daniel Alfredsson departure was the beginning of the end. When you have the audacity to insult a team and city legend the way the Sens did, we should have known better than to just let it go. Maybe Bryan Murray did a good job with trading for Bobby Ryan as a distraction but the truth is, the day Alfie left was the day this franchise lost its identity and we missed it. #MelnykOut should have started back then.
When Alfie left, we got excited at newcomer Ryan and we still had Spezza and the blossoming phenom Karlsson. When Spezza left, most fans were starting to get numb at this point and the organization did a fantastic job pinning that trade on the player. When Karlsson became captain, we had high hopes and they were all met. We were sure we found our next Swedish legend and nobody thought his legacy would end with a trade. We really should have seen it coming. Still, when Karlsson was traded, a large portion of the fanbase had Stone, Duchene, Chabot and a plethora of young and exciting talent to look forward to and to mend our wounds. We even enjoyed being proven so wrong about Brady Tkachuk, who became an instant fan favourite. Now what?
What do we have left to get excited for?
When news that the three big UFAs were going to be scratched last night was confirmed, the fan reaction wasn’t just sadness. It was disbelief, rage and pure hopelessness. It was the realization that yet another cornerstone of this team was going to be sacrificed for Melnyk. I think many people accepted the fact that Duchene wasn’t going to stay, and while it was an embarrassment to the team, we as fans could move on. But Stone? Mark Stone? How do you trade Mark Stone? Forget talent and skill. How do you shake up the only thing left that’s holding this team together. The captain (even if it is unofficial), the glue that held the team and fanbase together. How do you sacrifice all these years of developing a young gem found in the sixth round who became the force of the franchise? For what?
Eugene Melnyk’s ego and empty pockets, that’s what all this suffering is for.
The worst part is that Dorion and Co. left things lingering until the very last minute so they can portray the image of the victims. We gave it all we had, he just didn’t want to stay.
Spoiler alert: he really wants to stay.
I never truly understood the feeling of apathy towards the Sens, until last night. It was a scary and unfamiliar feeling. No interest whatsoever in the game or the result. No interest in what happens next or any trade return. What’s the point? I enjoy hockey, the game Melnyk ruined in Ottawa but not this version of it. I still love Chabot, Tkachuk, Pageau and many of the players remaining but it’s too painful to watch now. It’s too painful to care or to have any glimmer of hope.
I have Spezza, Alfie, Karlsson and Stone jerseys and had almost bought ones of Zibanejad and Duchene at some point. Now they just hang in my room as a reminder of all the disappointments and heartbreaks this team has put us through. How much more can we handle? Why is this is allowed to continue? What’s the endgame?
Maybe this isn’t rock bottom because we hit rock bottom on July 5th, 2013, but we didn’t know it. We didn’t realize that even the 2017 run was just an attempt to climb back from rock bottom only to drop us down further. Maybe rock bottom has multiple depths and part of me feels, we still haven’t even reached the deepest layer of it yet.
I don’t know what will happen with Stone or any of the other UFAs but I’m not putting myself through false hope that Stone will stay. It’s hard to fix a bridge that’s been so badly burnt, especially when dealing with Dorion and Melnyk. I’ll always love Mark Stone, in a way that I loved and admired Alfie. As much as Karlsson’s departure hurt, this cut will be deeper and last longer. As for the team, I miss it. I miss my Sens and I want them back.
We deserve better, we truly do. Don’t let anyone from the media or the organization tell you that we are a minority because we are not. We are many and we are here with all our rage and apathy. In the back of our minds (and hearts) we’ll always care, at least enough to continue to be heartbroken by this team.