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Five Thoughts for Friday

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Fan celebrations, Sens season tickets and Good Ol’ Parity

Vancouver Canucks v Ottawa Senators Photo by André Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images

On the NHL standard for statements

While 2021 has proven to be a better year than 2020, it still had its fair share of bad turns and tragedies. The past week was tough for people in London, Ont and by now everyone knows what happened there. The NHL released a statement in support of the community and on social media I immediately mentioned that it was a “huge step” for the league. The first response I got was it really wasn’t good enough. I disagree and for one main reason: we want this league to be better but it is trying to recover from years of ignorance and a complete lack of awareness. Maybe the statement itself wasn’t very bold, or maybe a mandated moment of silence before games would have been a nice gesture, but the fact that I was “shocked” to see the statement should tell you how low the bar is set. I’m not saying the NHL is a horrible league, but it falls under “needs improvement” under almost every category outside the game itself so when we see them trying, especially on very delicate social issues and events, we should show how much it matters so they finally understand that the fans expect it. Now for the Sens, it took them a good 3 days to realize they needed to release something, so... baby steps for now.

On fan celebrations

The success of the Montreal Canadiens is not something many Sens fans are happy to see beyond this year’s first round. That being said, this is a team that barely made the playoffs and was the underdog in both the first round and the second round where they completed a clean sweep. We may not like it, some may not even want to respect what they’re doing but for the love of hockey, are we really at a point where we’re mad at fans for being happy about their team exceeding all expectations? Habs fans took to the streets in massive celebrations with brooms and jerseys which many decided it was the right thing to mock them. You didn’t win the Cup they said, oh well you’re going to lose against the Golden Knights next round anyways. Who cares? If they feel good about where their team is now, LET THEM CELEBRATE. After everything we’ve all been through the past 15 months, you would think we would start appreciating the little things in life even more.

On the flip side, the Tampa Bay Lightning expectedly beat the Carolina Hurricanes a few days ago. In the past few years, both the Canes team and their fans have been winning the hearts and respect of many hockey fans around the league. Rightfully so, the fans gave their team a standing ovation and loud cheers after the loss. Oh but how dare them? Their team lost! Yes, winning is fun and what we all hope our teams do every single game but that’s not going to happen. A hockey fan will love their team no matter what they put them through (just ask Sens fans) and while being angry, frustrated and heart broken is part of the package, they are our team. Canes fans should be proud of where the Canes finished and how well they played and the Canes should be very proud and grateful for their fans. Let’s stop finding reasons to bring people down, sports can get feisty and competitive as it is but once it’s all said and done, if someone can find joy in the mere existence of their team, LET THEM CELEBRATE!

On team parity

Speaking of the Bolts win over the Canes, Dougie Hamilton had some strong and very honest words about the Bolts after their series win.

He is of course referring to Tampa’s ability to place Nikita Kucherov and his $9.5M on long-term injured reserve until he was conveniently back at the beginning of the playoffs where the cap no longer matters. It’s not a knock on the team, they were allowed to do it and what team wouldn’t have, but Hamilton does have a point. The most successful teams are often the biggest spenders so what is the cap really doing and if it’s not even going to be implemented in a fair way. Can the league still use the excuse of parity to restrain spending when they allow cases like this?

On season tickets

Recently, I’ve been getting emails and calls regarding the status of my season tickets. The salesperson was super nice and completely understanding of my response: “Extend Tkachuk for a minimum of 3 years and I’m in”. I really meant it. I miss the games, the arena, the crowded parking lot. The players miss us too and imagine how insane Sens Sickos would be in live action. That being said, I’ve been burnt by this love before and as much as I miss watching this team, I will not commit to them unless they commit to their own success. That being said, I will certainly be going to more games next season (pending the health situation) but to me I really need that Tkachuk assurance. Are fans ready to make up with the team? What would be a true factor to bring back fans in flocks? We can’t do the under $10,000 attendance much longer.

On Mark Scheifele

I have a lot of respect for Scheifele, I think he’s a great player and a fantastic captain. Every player has dumb moment that sometimes ends up being a complete disaster. Scheifele had one of those indefensible moments at the end of Game 1 against the Canadiens. It was a bad hit and he deserved every game of his suspension. I understand being angry and frustrated at yourself but own it. Own the fact that it was your mistake that kept you off the team for 4 games but don’t try to suggest that you were a victim for getting a suspension that was a 100% warranted. Some fans have said his post-loss comments changed their perspective of him or that he’s a sore loser, but I want to give him the benefit of the doubt that he’s still just really angry with himself. Still, this was a bad look that will be hard to shake.