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FHM Ottawa Senators Historical Challenge, February 1997: Movin’ On Up

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We are back!

Franchise Hockey Manager 6 is a text-based hockey management simulation game by Out of the Park Developments. It’s a lot of fun, and I find it super realistic. I recommend checking it out if you’re looking for a good way to kill time while social distancing.

In the game, you take over as GM and/or head coach of pretty much any hockey team on the planet, and make roster moves to bring your team a championship. The CPU plays the games for you, but you craft the team.

One of the coolest game modes is the Historical Challenges, wherein you take over as GM of a team at a particular point in their NHL existence, and attempt to relive or rewrite history. For the purposes of this play-through, we’ll be taking over the Ottawa Senators in the Fall of 1996, and attempting to win a Stanley Cup no later than the spring of 2007.

For the purposes of this little exercise, I’m going to play through this mode, trying to win a Cup for the Sens, with help from you - yes you - the readers! At the end of every edition, I’ll ask you questions about key roster moves, and make it based on how you respond!

We’re going to take this on a month-by-month basis, with a new instalment coming out every week, so make sure you let me know in the comments what you want to see, and any suggestions you have to achieve this goal! I want to make this as interactive an experience as possible, so I really want to hear from you!

Let’s kick off Month 4!


After a brief pause, welcome back to our Franchise Hockey Manager playthrough. To catch you up, this is how you voted after January:

So let’s get after it, and continue this rebuild to your specifications.

February begins with a tough loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Not much of note here. Only 16 shots on goal en route to being shut out.

Two nights later, however, a fantastic effort against the visiting Vancouver Canucks yielded a 1-0 victory. Martin St. Louis scored in the first, and Damian Rhodes earned a shutout of his own.

The second half of a back-to-back continued the puzzling trend of ping-ponging with the Boston Bruins. Miroslav Šatan, Alexei Yashin, Randy Cunneyworth, Andreas Dackell, and St. Louis all found the back of the net, but Ron Tugnutt giving up six goals doomed the Sens that night.

No streaks starting here, though, with a 5-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Despite getting outshot, Tugnutt only gave up three, while Cunneyworth scored twice, with Šatan, Jason York, and Robert Lang also chipping in.

A little housekeeping done here, in the form of contract extensions.

One step forward, one step back, with a 4-0 defeat in Buffalo. We peppered Steve Shields with shots, but he stopped all 41.

The back-and-forth stretch ends with a loss on Long Island. Another less-than-stellar outing for Tugnutt, and the Sens were doubled up, despite goals from Yashin, Dackell, and Eric Weinrich.

Okay, this isn’t what I meant by wanting the W-L-W-L loop to break. A third consecutive defeat comes in Philadelphia, with only Yashin scoring in a 4-1 loss. Were that not enough, Andreas Dackell was knocked out of the lineup with a pulled abdominal muscle. Dave Hannan draws in.

Trade time. Jason York’s potential is maxed out, and we need some forward prospects, so we packaged him with a garbage pick to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for Chris Drury.

While we’re pretty deep in the centre spot, Drury’s ability to play the right wing makes him a huge asset. He’ll start in the minors.

The good times keep rolling with the end of the losing streak. Rhodes stole the show stopping 40 of 42, while Chris Phillips and Daniel Alfredsson scored in regulation to set the stage for Alexei Yashin’s overtime winner over the Hartford Whalers.

Is Guy Boucher coaching this team? Because the back-to-backs are ROUGH on them. Hannan and Cunneyworth scored, but again, they were doubled up on the scoreboard. Whalers get this one back.

Aaaaand another shutout.

After falling to the St. Louis Blues only a couple weeks prior, we got one back against one of the league’s better teams. Michael Nylander scored twice, with Šatan also chipping in to lend some run support to Ron Tugnutt’s exceptional 39-save performance.

You asked for it, you got it. While we did end up packaging some picks with Cunneyworth, they’re some of the useless ones. In return from the New York Rangers we got Niklas Sundström.

Sundström is another nice winger with some upside, who was having a great season with the Blueshirts. He’ll fit right in.

Here’s what the new lineup looks like.

The defending Stanley Cup champs, everyone. Another four goals on Tugnutt was too much for Nylander and Alexandre Daigle’s goals to overcome. Radim Bicanek was also lost to a stinger, so Wade Redden will get his first look at NHL action.

Back in the win column three days later, though. Šatan scored twice along with Yashin, Weinrich and Lang, while Sundström tallied his first as an Ottawa Senator to give us a 6-3 win.

Finally, some back-to-back wins. Šatan, Yashin, and Daigle lit the lamp, plus Redden potted his first NHL goal. Rhodes had another nice performance, stopping 32 of 33.

Finally, ending a month on a high note. Now it’s question time.

Let’s talk about Eric Weinrich.

We traded for him early in the season, and he’s been a welcome addition to our blueline. His ability is fairly high, especially in comparison with the rest of our defenders, but he’s 30, and I’m wondering if you think we should ship him off. For what it’s worth, I’m of the opinion that we should keep Weinrich. He’s not that old, and we’ll likely get a few good years out of him while the kids develop. But, as always, I’ll leave it up to you.

Poll

Weinrich

This poll is closed

  • 66%
    Keep him
    (39 votes)
  • 33%
    Trade him
    (20 votes)
59 votes total Vote Now

Now, Alex Daigle.

Despite his ability, his trade value is shockingly low. His performance has been okay, so therein lies our question. He’s up for a new contract at the end of the year, so do we...

Poll

Daigle

This poll is closed

  • 67%
    Extend him
    (42 votes)
  • 32%
    Let him walk, try to sign someone better
    (20 votes)
62 votes total Vote Now

The Sens continue their trend of improvement with a record of 6-8-0 in February, leaving them fifth in the Northeast, 12th in the East, and 24th overall.

Top Performers: Alexei Yashin (14GP 6G 8A), Miroslav Šatan (14GP 6G 5A), Daniel Alfredsson (14P 1G 7A)

Worst Performers: John Madden (14GP 0G 1A), Sergei Zholtok (14GP 0G 2A), Alexandre Daigle (13GP 0G 3A)

Who to Watch: Martin St. Louis (13GP 2G 4A), Michael Nylander (14GP 3G 3A), Robert Lang (14GP 3G 3A) Niklas Sundström (4GP 1G 1A), Wade Redden (3GP 1G 0A)

Farm Report: