Well hockey fans, the day has finally come. This week marked the beginning of the NHL regular season, and with it, a new season for the Ottawa Senators. As a Sens fan, and a hockey fan, I had a few things on my mind this week.
1) Hockey is back!
Yes, this one is obvious. Finally, the regular season is upon us. No more preseason, split-squad games in London, ON. These games matter, even if they are the first of 82.
It. Is. On.
The Sens, on the other hand, started their season on Thursday against the Nashville Predators. I would personally like to thank the NHL for leaving Ottawa out in terms of big season openers. But this is not the time to complain.
2) Who do you dislike more?
With one of the premier match-ups being between two of the Sens' biggest rivals, I heard a lot of fans talking about which team they dislike more: The Habs or the Leafs.
For me, this is a no-brainer. I grew up with the Leafs being the big, bad rivals. They met the Sens in the playoffs in what felt like every year, and always had our number. As a child, this was one of the first hockey rivalries I ever experienced, and therefore remains the strongest rivalry, for me.
There are plenty of younger Sens fans who don't remember the playoff meetings with the Leafs, or who didn't take those losses as seriously as I did. They feel a stronger hate towards the Habs due to their recent (and awesome) playoff series against the Senators.
So who do you dislike more, the Leafs or Habs?
3) Senators vs. Predators
Well the Sens started their first game of the season looking pretty strong, and it was wonderful, for the first period. After going up 1-0, the Sens began to fall apart about half-way through the second. A few mistakes from the Sens defence (cough.. Cowen... cough) led to the team going down 3-1. On the bright side, we did get to see Alex Chiasson net his first goal as an Ottawa Senator, in his first regular-season game. That should take some of the pressure off him.
Chiasson's goal wouldn't make much of a difference, as the final score was 3-2 for the Predators, and the Sens started off their season 0-1.
While the team looked pretty good in the first period, a lot of familiar problems reared their ugly heads after the second. Sens fans were quickly reminded of just how unreliable this defence can be. But we must all remember, this is the first game of the season. The team is going to work on these issues, and hopefully solve them as the season goes on.
*Removes hand from panic button*
4) New NHL coverage
With the start of a new NHL season comes the start of a new hockey broadcast landscape. As we all know, Rogers purchased the NHL national broadcast rights for the next 12 years. So, Sportsnet is going to cover a lot of those games. We all got a preview of what that coverage is going to be like, and it was... interesting.
Did you know they have new camera angles? Angles like the Sky-Cam, Ref-Cam and Lord-Only-Knows-Where-Else-Cam, let fans experience the game in a whole new way, or so we're told. But aside from the new, much talked about camera angles, the in-game coverage was not that different from Hockey Night in Canada. Craig Simpson, Jim Hughson and Glenn Healy, love them or hate them, made the game feel very familiar. Then came the intermission.
Doug MacLean and Nick Kypreos took it upon themselves to debate whether or not Crosby is the best player in the NHL, while in the middle of an all-Canadian, season-opening match-up. If you can make sense of this, please enlighten me.
It's certainly no secret that many people were not happy with the intermission commentary, or the game coverage in general. A flashy set and all the camera angles in word could not make up for the lack of quality intermission analysis.
Sportsnet needs to listen to fan feedback early in the season. They hold these broadcast rights for another 12 years, and in case they didn't notice, hockey fans kind of care about who is covering their team. Now is the time to fix whatever issues there may be. I believe hope that this feedback will make its way to the powers that be, and they will do something to fix this... eventually.
On the bright side, that round-table discussion between George Stroumboulopoulos, Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews and Henrik Lundqvist was great. We actually got a glimpse at their personalities, which is extremely rare for hockey players. I think more of this would make the next 12 years a lot more enjoyable. Personally, I think Strombo will fit nicely into the role as host of Hockey Night in Canada.
5) New Prime Minister mascots
The Senators revealed some new mascots this week. It looks like they are going for an MLB-inspired former country leader race between periods this season. Needless to say these mascots garnered some mixed feedback from fans.
What do you think of these new mascots? Creepy? Funny? To be honest, I really don't know what to think and I would love your thoughts.