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Weekly Question: Who Will Be This Year’s Biggest Rival?

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Let us dispense with the holiday spirt, for a moment.

Montreal Canadiens v Ottawa Senators Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images

Allow me to preface this piece by saying that I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and that your holidays are providing you with some much-deserved peace and tranquility, as this tumultuous year draws to a merciful conclusion. Life’s been hard. I hope you’re doing okay.

Though it seems like forever since the Ottawa Senators last took to the ice, a new season is finally on the horizon, with the team currently set to kick off their season on January 15th, in a back-to-back home series against the vaunted Toronto Maple Leafs.

An All-Canadian North Division is going to present an extremely unique year for our scrappy young Sens. Though we won’t see them take on perennial contenders like the Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Vegas Golden Knights in 2021, their mettle will be tested in 56 games against their Canadian counterparts. It’s a division that promises nothing less than stiff competition, with Ottawa being the only squad among the seven not to qualify for this past summer’s postseason bubble.

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens both made offseason additions that have them looking stronger, at least on paper. While the Calgary Flames, and Vancouver Canucks saw notable subtractions, additions in net will have them eyeing another push for postseason success. The Winnipeg Jets are finally healthy, and the Edmonton Oilers’ firepower is always dangerous. If the upstart Senators are going to have any success this season, it is not going to come easy.

One thing is for certain: rivalries will be ratcheted up to 1000 in 2021. While there won’t be fans in the stands, at least for the time being, these players will be seeing more than their fair share of each other, which will almost certainly be a breeding ground for animosity.

The Sens have already engaged in some heated battles with the Leafs and Canadiens, respectively, and one can only assume that with the team beginning to forge their own identity, this is a trend that will only continue upward.

But why stop there? Ottawa will have far more opportunities than usual to get acquainted with the Canucks, Flames, Oilers, and Jets, making for plenty of reasons to become annoyed with each other by season’s end.

Even individual players like Brendan Gallagher, Carey Price, and Auston Matthews have drawn the ire of the Senators, and their fans. Brady Tkachuk is also looking down the barrel of numerous battles with this brother, Matthew, in Calgary, and one can only imagine the possible fireworks those matchups could produce.

So, with plenty of options on the board, who will emerge as the Ottawa Senators’ biggest rival in 2021? Will the Leafs, or Canadiens continue building upon recent animosity with Ottawa? Or will a new, more Western contender emerge as the Sens’ biggest adversary?

Let us know what you think.

Poll

Who will be Ottawa’s biggest rival in 2021?

This poll is closed

  • 39%
    Montreal Canadiens
    (111 votes)
  • 50%
    Toronto Maple Leafs
    (141 votes)
  • 4%
    Calgary Flames
    (14 votes)
  • 0%
    Edmonton Oilers
    (0 votes)
  • 1%
    Vancouver Canucks
    (4 votes)
  • 3%
    Winnipeg Jets
    (11 votes)
281 votes total Vote Now