Say what you will about the years of futility and ridicule we endured as a fanbase under the Melnyk/Dorion regime here in Ottawa but you cannot deny that we always had something to write about. Anytime I mentioned in conversation to an acquaintance that I contributed to this site they would inevitably ask if I got tired of writing about a team that always loses. And, yes, the recaps get tedious but other than that, writing about the Melnyk/Dorion era Sens basically took care of itself. The subject matter just poured in constantly. We always had some hilarious new story to break and it made this job a lot of fun. And as much as I enjoy and appreciate this newfound stability and confidence in the epoch of Andlauer/Staois—holy crap it's boring to just lose without any of the peripheral shenanigans. All the good juice we've had this season (the Evgenii Dadonov thing comes to mind) carried over from the previous regime. Now we have silence. Losses and silence. So in the spirit of diversion, I present you with some hypothetical storylines for the 2023-24 Ottawa Senators.
You know what doesn't happen enough in hockey? Cheating. And if you think that's because cheating is bad for the sport then you may want to talk to the NFL and MLB. Sure the Patriots and Astros cheated, and got caught, and you know what else? They got to keep their rings. Everyone knows they cheated. Everyone hates them as villains. I know I do. But it made for an entertaining product so the league could not care less. Now in hockey I don't know how a team could go about stealing signs but I'm sure you could figure it out if you tried hard enough or you could escalate to the organizational level like the Cardinals did. We live in a time when most NHL teams have embraced the data movement to some degree. Steal some scouting reports or something. Come on, how on brand was it that the Senators last made headlines for divulging scouting reports as opposed to stealing them? Who on earth wants to steal information from a team that has performed so badly for so long, anyway? Try cheating, Ottawa.
Okay now I should first explicitly state here that substance abuse is a very serious issue both in sports and our society at large and I don't want to make light of this problem. Performance enhancing drugs can ruin a person's life just like any other addiction. But maybe we can have something of clerical error or lab mix-up or something? I'm not about to go injecting the Sens with roids for the sake of a story and besides it would fit in way better with the reputation of this organization to have a wrongful accusation shelf a player or something innocuous like that. For whatever reason, hockey doesn't lend itself to PEDs or cheating the same way football and baseball do but those sports seem to generate a lot more revenue than hockey and I see a business opportunity for the Sens here. And we all know the Ottawa Senators have a reputation as trailblazers in hockey.
Wacky Business Ventures
I thought professional athletes were supposed to open more restaurants? Is that still a thing? We haven't had an Ottawa Senator open a restaurant in a minute. And Brady Tkachuk opening a Chuck E Cheese writes itself. Did you know that Ryan Braun and Aaron Rodgers opened restaurants together in Wisconsin and then Rodgers tried to take the high road when Braun got busted for PEDs? And then Rodgers—was himself ever since. But anyway, restaurants don't make for an interesting story. Artem Zub opens a bunch of dental clinics. Jacob Bernard-Docker finally gets his own law firm. Zack MacEwan becomes a gas station mogul. You gotta get creative with it, folks.
Non-Hockey Related Injuries
This seems like a tall ask in a post-Craig Anderson paradigm and I again want to clarify my satiric intentions here and that I would never genuinely wish injury on anyone. Remember when Curtis Lazar missed time with mono though? What an adorable little guy. It turns out that professional athletes are people too. They get their wisdom teeth removed. They get ingrown toenails. They sleep funny and just feel all outta wack sometimes. For the sake of blogging, it feels like we haven't had one of those to write about in a while. We need a more accident prone roster, folks.
Back in the good old days, the UBER days, the Ottawa Senators hockey organization understood that no publicity was bad publicity. When you don't want people to write about how your team loses every night, you find a way to divert that attention. This year's Senators seem way too complacent giving boiler plate interviews and just going through the same motions that every bad NHL goes through: fire the coach, speculate about roster turnover, promise that things will get better. Every now and then you need a Mark Borowiecki interviewing Eugene Melnyk video just to catch the people off guard. Steve Staios just doesn't put his foot in his mouth the same way Pierre did. We want to know about iPads and girlfriends.
Look, I know you didn't sign up for this kind of article today. This season hasn't gone the way any of us had planned. And maybe a lot of you have out the past behind you and embraced that we now exist in the realm of a normal, functional, competent Ottawa Senators organization but I guess for me, all the losing has made it that much more difficult to say goodbye to the good old days when every dumpster caught fire and every team was a we are a. Thank you for attending my tedtalk.