Five Thoughts for Friday

Some first game thoughts and more

The Ottawa Senators’ regular season is finally underway! While it didn’t quite start the way we wanted, there’s the opportunity to bounce back with a win that would feel awfully good on Saturday night. Last night wasn’t a bad performance by the Sens, just frustrating. Here are some thoughts I had about it and a couple other things:

DJ Smith

Last night might not have been DJ Smith’s shining moment but he isn’t a bad coach, so it was a bit discouraging to see some grumbling about his fitness to lead the team after just one game. This team grew up with DJ Smith and you have to give him credit for the development of our young core so far. I don’t know if he’s the coach for the team long-term but he certainly deserves more than one game to prove his role. Remember: it’s only one game.

That said, Smith can, at times, be stubborn. I get that it was only the first game but why would you keep Motte on the power play when we obviously needed to score there? Why wouldn’t you reunite Norris with Tkachuk and Batherson towards the end of the game when we just needed a scoring spark? I know, testing new lines takes time but in-game adjustments is where good coaching makes a difference. DJ has a lot more tools at his disposal this year than last, he’s earned the chance to show what he can do with them — but he also needs to prove he can be flexible.

Too Nice of a Mentality

The Sens were sloppy for long periods of time last night and you can’t make excuses for that second period performance. That being said, the Sens could have easily won this game if it weren’t for Craig Anderson playing like he was still in the year 2013. We’re going to get stonewalled by goalies throughout the season but here’s where I don’t agree with many others: I’m never giving credit to a goalie for stealing a win from my team. We all love Craig Anderson, probably one of those players who will forever have a special place in Ottawa. That’s where it ends for me. I’m not tipping my hat for him or accepting the loss because “at least it was Andy”. Call me the Grinch, but I want to win!

If you’re not in a Sens jersey, you’re not getting support from me. We’ve spent years watching players move on; Stone didn’t even play a full season in Vegas before saying he’s never had more fun in his career like the Sens never even happened. It’s the Sens vibes over everything and everyone from now on.

Streams and Advertisements

Unfortunately for some fans, they had to miss the first period where the Sens played their best hockey of the game. It seems Bell just completely froze before the game even started. For people like myself who watch on, we had to deal with glitches and frozen screens throughout the game. On SN Now, it seems viewers were taken to advertisements in the middle of a play as commercial breaks weren’t synched with the game breaks. With the amount of fees these services are charging and the large contracts they have signed, how is this still happening? How do you deter fans from going the pirated route when you can’t get the paid service to work properly on a consistent basis? You want fan engagement and growth, you have to make the games accessible to fans. This isn’t a one-time glitch, these paid feeds have been giving viewers trouble for a while now alongside the ridiculous blackout criteria that are out in place for some. With everyone so excited to watch the  Sens again, the quality of the streaming product was more than a little disappointing.

To be honest, while everyone was raging about the board advertisements I didn’t even notice them. I honestly didn’t see them transition or flicker. I understand they could get distracting, but from a fans’ point of view I think the reaction may be overstated. However, if I have to watch that office milk commercial one more time; I will make sure I never spend a dollar on milk again!

Jake Sanderson

I get it, he is the hope of the future and we all want to see him be that guy but I’m still a bit worried about how much hype, and subsequently pressure we’re putting on the guy. He played very well last night especially for his first NHL game. The nerves showed a bit on a couple of occasions early but he definitely got more confident as the game went on and was mostly assertive. His skating stride is one of the best we’ve seen in a while. There were some mistakes (which is absolutely expected and is completely part of the process) but I don’t want him to be the player that we overpraise to the point where there are no areas for improvement. Maybe I’m being harsh because of my pre-existing bias towards him or by my frustration with the game as whole. I did like him but wasn’t knocked out of my seat by his performance. I’d maybe like to see a bit more equal ice-time distribution with Brännström who frankly found a whole new gear last night.

The Home Opener

Lastly, the Senators have announced that tickets to the Tuesday game are selling out, and that they will be releasing additional standing room tickets. I had to read that announcement a few times to process what was happening here. Remember when attendance was less than 10,000? The Sens are now releasing additional tickets! To say that I am proud of this fanbase will do you all no justice, this is great work and I cannot wait to hear the CTC just rocking. More importantly, this is a statement to the rest of the hockey world that we are not a small quiet fanbase that can’t be bothered to show up to games. We are a fanbase that have high expectations of the team and when we see an effort made by the team, we respond and respond big and loud. It’s very important to keep the momentum going especially at the beginning of the season with 19 home games from now until the end of December and a chance to give the team a much needed early season boost. Go Sens Go!

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