FHM Ottawa Senators Historical Challenge, March-April 1998: Playoff Push
Can the Sens clinch their first postseason berth?
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 installment 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 finish the regular season, with March-April of 1998!
You voted to complete the trade, and so we did. Pavel Bure is an Ottawa Senator.
The new and improved lineup looks as such, and looks even better when one considers that Alexei Yashin and Martin St. Louis are out due to injury.
The effects weren’t immediate, as the first game post-deadline ended in a 4-1 loss to the New York Rangers. Rob Zamuner scored the only goal, but Bure tallied an assist.
Hedican, who was acquired while injured, is ready to return.
We get back in the win column, with a 3-1 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks. Glen Wesley, Nik Sundstrom, and Jozef Stumpel lit the lamp in the effort.
Our hard-fought divisional battle against the Pittsburgh Penguins continues, this time ending in a 5-3 loss. Our former goalie Damian Rhodes got the better of us, but Wesley and Markus Naslund did damage, along with Bure’s first as a Senator.
A reversal of fortunes was found against the struggling San Jose Sharks, in the form of another 3-1 win. John Madden, Stumpel, and Daniel Alfredsson scored for the good guys.
The top teams continue to give us trouble, though, with the New Jersey Devils being one goal better than us on this night. Madden got us on the board, but Marty Brodeur had himself a night.
Back-to-back losses were found in Buffalo. Again, a hard-fought battle, but goals from Stumpel, Bryan McCabe, and Bret Hedican weren’t enough to overcome the Sabres.
On the bright side, look who’s back.
What a way to welcome St. Louis back to the lineup. Goals came off the sticks of Stumpel, Bure, Wesley, Madden, and Robert Lang, to beat up on the Boston Bruins by a score of 5-2.
Getting one back against the Penguins is always great. Stumpel scored twice, along with goals from Bure and Markus Naslund, to give us a 4-1 win over our division rivals.
Now comes three straight ties, so I’ll just tell you who scored:
Miroslav Šatan, Alfredsson, Bure, Zamuner.
Alfredsson, Sundstrom, Bure.
Zamuner, but Bret Hedican will miss some games with shin splints.
Oh, these ones are always nice. Not only did we beat the Habs 4-3, but check out that injury column. You hate to see it. Bure, Madden, Wesley, and Weinrich lit the lamp. Weinrich also played in his 600th game, while Šatan achieved his 150th career point with an assist.
And what better way to close out the regular season, than with a win over Buffalo? Bure scored again, and Jeff Friesen added the winner.
Just in time for the postseason, Hedican is back.
In other news, our own John Madden is a finalist for the Selke trophy!
Ruslan Salei is also on the road to recovery. Could have him back for Round Two if we get that far.
We finish the regular season with a record of 36-32-14, good enough for 86 points, and sixth in the Eastern Conference. This also secures the Ottawa Senators their first ever playoff berth, and a date with the third-placed New York Rangers. Here’s how the entire 1998 playoff picture shakes out:
Round 1 Preview - Ottawa Senators (36-32-14) vs New York Rangers (42-26-14):
Lineup - Senators
Extras: Arvedson, St. Louis, Salo
Lineup - Rangers
On paper, this is a tough matchup for us. Not having Yashin really hurts against a lineup with this much skill, but we actually won the season series against the Rangers 3-1. Couple the newfound scoring ability with a great season from Ron Tugnutt, and we could absolutely steal this thing.
Since there’s not much to be done but watch, what are your predictions?
|Ottawa in 4||1|
|Ottawa in 5||0|
|Ottawa in 6||17|
|Ottawa in 7||10|
|New York in 4||1|
|New York in 5||14|
|New York in 6||18|
|New York in 7||3|
I am SO excited for this matchup of youth vs experience. Make sure to cast your vote on who you think will win, and check back for the first round edition next week!