FHM Ottawa Senators Historical Challenge October 1997: New Beginnings

The 1997-1998 season is underway!

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!

It’s time to kick off Year 2, starting in October of 1997!

More decisive votes, I have to start making life harder for you folks.

No Domi.

The new campaign is underway, with a hard-fought 3-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens. Miroslav Šatan and Chris Phillips hit the back of the net, but the Habs were just one goal better on home ice.

An update from the coaching staff, letting us know that while most prospects are on the right track, Maxim Afinogenov and Jarkko Ruutu will likely take a little longer to develop.

The first win of the season was found in Philadelphia. Martin St. Louis and Šatan scored, paving the way for Rob Zamuner’s first as an Ottawa Senator to be the game-winner. Ron Tugnutt had another solid evening, stopping 28 of 30 for the 3-2 victory.

The newly-minted Carolina Hurricanes spoiled the home opener, with netminder Andre Trefilov stealing his team a 2-2 tie. While Andreas Dackell scored against his old team, it was Markus Naslund getting his first of the year, and Phillips adding another for the good guys.

We got back in the win column three nights later, however, with a 4-3 win over the Sharks in their own Tank. Glen Wesley scored twice, finding his 100th career goal, and first as an Ottawa Senator on the same evening, to clinch the game for his new squad. Alexei Yashin and Alexandre Daigle each lit the lamp for the first time season, as well.

No repeat performance two days later, with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim staying undefeated on the back of a 2-0 win.

Losing consecutive contests is never fun, especially when it’s back-to-back shutouts.

A return to home ice proved to be just the remedy to snap the skid, as the Sens earned a    3-2 win over the New York Rangers. St. Louis scored, with Yashin adding two more, to give Damian Rhodes the run support needed for his first win of the year.

After losing two straight, why not win consecutive games of our own? We did just that, with Ron Tugnutt shutting out the New Jersey Devils, by a final score of 2-0. Goals were found from Eric Weinrich, and Miro Šatan.

The winning streak extends to three games, with Ron Tugnutt putting forth another stellar performance, in a 4-1 win over the Dallas Stars. Yashin scored twice, with Phillips and Wesley combining for two more.

It ends with the home stand, however, with us finding a 3-3 tie in Toronto against the Maple Leafs. Robert Lang and Michael Nylander hit the board for the first time in the new campaign, and Wesley scored once again. As you can see, Rhodes stood on his head.

The Florida Panthers got the better of us the very next night, skating to a 3-2 win in Ottawa. It was an all-Swedish scoring effort, with Daniel Alfredsson nabbing his first, along with Markus Naslund’s second, but it wasn’t enough to get by the Cats.

Finally, in our second season, we beat the damned Canadiens. It took all the firepower we could muster, as well as Ron Tugnutt getting the hook after allowing three quick Montreal markers, but we earned a 5-4 win over the division rivals. Yashin scored twice, including the game-winner, along with St. Louis, Wesley, and Bryan McCabe potting his first of the year.

The scoring frenzy continues into Tampa Bay, with a 6-2 defeat of the Lightning. Rob Zamuner beat his old team, along with goals from Wesley, Phillips, Alfredsson, Nylander, and Daigle.

We continue to struggle with the Panthers, however, having to settle for a 2-2 tie. Yashin and McCabe hit the scoreboard, with Rhodes turning aside 35 of 37.

In terms of games, that’s the first month of the season down. We’re kind of in cruise control, as it stands, but I still have a question for you esteemed readers.

First up, let’s talk about the left wing position. Our third and fourth-line guys are Michael Nylander and Magnus Arvedson, respectfully. Both are solid options, but their potential each tops out around 2 stars - currently Nylander has a 2 star ability, while Arvedson is at 1.5 - and having a forward core of guys all 2.5 stars or higher is really beneficial in my experience. So, if you folks want to upgrade, I’ve identified some possible targets:

Guys with higher ability and/or potential will almost certainly cost more, but we have later-round picks, and expendable assets within our system that we could part with. We could also wait for the draft or free agency to yield the assets we’re looking for, but we’re also starting to look pretty solid right now. As always, if you vote to trade for one of these players, I’ll ask you next week what you’re willing to give up:

On Left Wing:

Trade for Friesen25
Trade for Peltonen3
Trade for Renberg20
Trade for Axelsson7
None, hold off for now11

At the end of October, the Sens stand at 7-4-3 and 17 points. Good enough for a three-way tie (PIT, MTL) for first in the Northeast, a four-way tie (PIT, MTL, NYR) for first in the East, and a six-way tie (PIT, MTL, NYR, DET, PHO) for third overall.

Top Performers: Alexei Yashin (14GP 8G 7A 15P) Glen Wesley (14GP 6G 8A 14P),              Daniel Alfredsson (14GP 2G 6A 8P), Miroslav Šatan (14GP 3G 4A 7P), Rob Zamuner (14GP 2G 5A 7P), Ron Tugnutt (9GP 5-3-0 1SO 2.47GAA .920SV%),

Worst Performers: Honestly, couldn’t pick anyone this month. Even the worst guys were solid.

Who to Watch: Martin St. Louis (14GP 3G 0A 3P), John Madden (14GP 0G 5A 5P),         Markus Naslund (14GP 2G 2A 4P)

Farm Report:

That’s October in the books! Make sure you vote on the poll, and catch November next week!

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