Five Thoughts For Friday: End of Season Edition

Some end of season thoughts, and some women’s hockey talk

This final edition of Five Thoughts before the end of the season is brought to you by lack of sleep and the adrenaline of having just submitted two massive papers. Let’s go!

It’s finally (almost) over!

Well, here we are, folks. We’ve almost made it. 81 games down, and only one more to go. Tomorrow, the Sens will face off against the Columbus Blue Jackets for their final game of the season, and then we will all be free of them for a few more months.

(also, guys, if the Blue Jackets lose tonight, we will have the opportunity to eliminate the Habs tomorrow with a loss to Columbus. So. Sorry Sens.)

I want to say that it’s bittersweet, but it isn’t really. This season has been awful from start to finish, and it’s not because there haven’t been any good moments. Obviously there were positives this season. But the thing with this season is that we knew right from the beginning how it would end, and what it would take for any lasting change to occur. There was never any suspense about whether or not they would make the playoffs, and since they don’t have their first round draft pick, it’s not like their place in the standings ever mattered at all. It’s a very strange feeling to go into a season with that attitude, and equally strange to finish that season feeling like pretty much everything you thought would happen, happened.

It almost doesn’t even feel like the offseason, because we still have roster moves and press conferences and tons of drama to look forward to, and honestly, does anything else even matter with this team?

The end of the CWHL and the future of women’s hockey in Canada

Who says I can only talk about the Sens here? This was the most requested topic when I put out a Tweet asking for potential Five Thoughts topics, and I guess we should at least acknowledge it at some point on Silver Seven. The biggest story in hockey this week was the very sudden end of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL), and the reactions of the NHL and the NWHL. While I would consider myself a casual fan of women’s hockey, and of the CWHL in particular, I am by no means an expert, and I would urge you all to go check out The Ice Garden and The Victory Press for the really good coverage.

Still, I do want to say that it was very frustrating to see the way it was talked about by people who have always paid very little attention to women’s hockey, and in fact most of whom have not said a word about the Women’s World’s, which started yesterday and are always a ton of fun.

As I’m sure anyone who reads hockey blogs and engages with hockey fandom is probably aware, media coverage has a really big effect on how we watch sports. Knowing who the players are, how the team are doing, what the big storylines are, all makes watching games more enjoyable. So does a high-quality broadcast. I don’t think women’s hockey has ever been given a chance to find an audience, and as someone who really enjoyed CWHL hockey and isn’t super confident in the NWHL, it just really sucks to lose what was quickly becoming my favourite sports league.

The news that the NWHL is expanding to Toronto and Montreal is good, and I’ll be the first person to campaign for a team in Ottawa, but without support from investors and commitment to better coverage by the media, it’s really hard to see things getting much better for women’s hockey any time soon. Women’s hockey has proven time and time again that it can draw an audience, and yet it’s still being ignored. It just sucks.

It’s also hard to understate the effect this is going to have on Hockey Canada. A lot of Olympians will be forced to choose between their jobs in Canada and a chance to play in the US, and not having a team in Calgary, where the Olympic team trains, is huge.

Also please watch the Women’s World Championship!

Not because women’s sports are some kind of charity case and you need to support them, but because it’s really freaking good hockey and the first day was SO much fun. Sens fans. Trust me. You need to watch good hockey. For your own sake.

Also, Marie-Philip Poulin is injured but she’s still dressing for games so that she can sit on the bench and yell at her teammates, which is very funny and adds to the suspense because who knows when she will finally take the ice? What we do know is that when she does she’s going to score immediately.

Playoff bandwagoning?

With the regular season drawing to a close, it’s time to start thinking about the playoffs, and with the Sens most definitely not in the playoffs, we all have the opportunity to pick a bandwagon team.

Now, I tend to approach the playoffs with a hater attitude, and I don’t see that changing any time soon. I want every single team to lose, because I hate every team. I look at each matchup, and I pick the team I hate the most, and I cheer against that team. I don’t cheer for anyone. I only cheer against. It’s actually quite fun and lets you enjoy the fun of the Stanley Cup playoffs without the sadness that comes with seeing your bandwagon team lose.

I’m assuming that most Sens fans will be adopting that attitude with all four games the Leafs will end up playing, but beyond that, I’m actually pretty curious about who people are pulling for.

A lot of people pick their bandwagon teams based on former players that they like a lot, and… um… Sens fans have a lot of those options. Erik Karlsson and Mark Stone are going to play each other in the first round. Are we cheering for or against them? I honestly have no idea how I feel, because on the one hand I really want these players to succeed and I harbour absolutely no ill will against them, to a point where seeing them lose would make me extremely sad, but also I absolutely cannot handle the idea of either of them winning with a team that is not Ottawa. So I don’t know.

I think the team I’m the most into right now is the Hurricanes, just because they seem fun and I like the “bunch of jerks” branding.

End of year press conference

On the topic of the end of the season, I want to give a shoutout to Silver Seven writer Spencer Blake, who had the genius idea to make a bingo card for the Sens’ end of season press conference. I was thinking of a drinking game, but this seems much more wholesome.

Here are my predictions:

  • The future is very bright
  • Thanking fans for being patient
  • This is all part of the plan
  • Something something trying to build a culture
  • We were very impressed with [insert player]
  • Next season is going to be much better
  • The fans aren’t actually as upset as you think/

What are your predictions for the end of year press conference?

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