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Five Thoughts for Friday

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Thoughts on the Sens’ captaincy, an early draft and hockey regrets.

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NHL: DEC 19 Predators at Senators Photo by Steven Kingsman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

While it seems like the current situation may never end, we may be seeing some light at the end of the tunnel soon. It will be a while until we experience sports again in the way we used to, but we can still enjoy what we currently have. Here’s Five Thoughts for Friday!

The Ethics of the NHL’s Return

While there are more important issues to deal with at the moment, the NHL is still a business that impacts many peoples’ lives. While it may be exciting to start implementing a return strategy for the NHL, I wonder if it’s really necessary. I fully understand the financial implications of ending the season, but is it worth the potential human impact?

Even with no fans in the stadiums, can the NHL fully guarantee the well-being of the players and the staff involved? Even if it’s only a few chosen cities that would host, how do you keep everyone healthy so that they don’t spread sickness to their families? Does the NHL expect the players to be fully separated from their families to go to the host cities?

Again, it’s not a simple decision, but the complexity makes you wonder if talks of re-opening training camp and the regular season are still way too early.

Tkachuk vs. Chabot

Yes, I know we love them both. However, in a recent article from The Athletic’s Hailey Salvian where she polled fans on various issues, one question in particular stood out to me.

When asked about the Ottawa Senators’ next captain, the favourable response was Brady Tkachuk with 59.5% of the vote, followed by my personal choice, Thomas Chabot, with 27.0%. Yes, Tkachuk is hopefully going to be a very big part of this team’s future, but is he really the guy to stand up as the captain of the team? I’m not saying he doesn’t have leadership skills, but is he not better off wearing an “A” without the burden of being the responsible leader on the team?

Tkachuk’s power comes from his confidence to get under everyone’s skin, to create trouble where he sees fit, and that’s exactly how we want him to continue his career in Ottawa. A captain should be more of a calming factor to the team, a guy who can act as a liaison between the players and refs or even the coach in tough times. To me, a captain should be the one who represents the team, and therefore, needs to be a bit aware of how he acts and what he says. Does that sound more like Tkachuk or Chabot? Do we even want Tkachuk harnessed somehow?

I’ve been on team Chabot for captain ever since Mark Stone left, with his long-term contract extension just making the decision even more sensible.

Chicken Parm Game Anniversary

April 29th marked the three-year anniversary of Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s infamous four-goal playoff game against the New York Rangers. My social media feed made sure to remind me of all the photos and videos I took that day as I had front row seats, and I couldn’t help but feel the pure pain of what could have been. That year could have changed this franchise forever (damn you, Chris Kunitz), but what’s worse is the feeling that we may never get such moments again.

Yes, it seems gloomy now. But realistically speaking, how long do we have to wait until we get another miracle playoff run or even win another playoff series? Patience is a virtue, but in pro sports there is always the possibility of being stuck in that cycle of mediocrity for a very, very long time. Even with all the excitement of the younger guys, the feeling of never truly contending for a long time keeps settling in. Maybe it’s because Pageau is gone and somehow he took the last piece of magic that was left on this team, or maybe it’s the realization that Eugene Melnyk will be the owner for yet another season. But watching those videos, the crazy crowds, the smiles and all the excitement made me feel more sad than nostalgic.

Yzerman’s Red Wings and the Early Draft

It was no surprise that Steve Yzerman announced he would be leaving the Tampa Bay Lightning to go back “home”, which is technically Ottawa but I digress. His first season leading the Detroit Red Wings didn’t go as smoothly as he may have hoped for, but the silver lining is that they’ll likely be adding a franchise-changing forward at this year’s draft.

With the NHL announcing that they might be holding the draft in June before the completion of the season, Yzerman was one of the GMs who spoke out against the idea. While his team still holds the pick with the highest odds of winning the draft lottery, the Senators holding the next two spots poses a real threat to securing that #1 spot.

Regardless of the end result, I selfishly want this draft to happen as soon as possible. And with the way the season came to a pause, it might as well be the best case scenario for us. Whether it makes sense or not, somehow I feel like the NHL, the hockey universe and every GM who fleeced Pierre Dorion the past three years owes us this opportunity to pick first overall. But knowing our luck, we’re probably going to miss on a top-two pick altogether.

Hockey Taken for Granted

I have to say, while I blame Melnyk, I really regret not going to any Sens games this season. Now seeing that it might be a while before we’re able to actually attend one, it makes you wonder what else have we taken for granted in our hockey fandom. What do you miss the most? Even in these tough times, how much of an impact has hockey, or sports in general, had on our lives? What’s the thing you wish you did more when sports was still around? What sporting habits do you think you’ll change when they finally come back?