While fans of the Ottawa Senators are trying to find some aspects of this team to get excited about, the season is slowly fading away with each passing game. However, no week is free from important thoughts we need to discuss.
Player jinxes, real or a fan myth?
There is no denying that Eugene Melnyk is the root cause of all the Sens problems, but can we humour other factors in the Sens destruction? My opinion of Matt Duchene hasn’t changed since he was drafted — he’s talented and exciting. The Sens acquiring him was one of the happiest days of my Sens fandom. Losing Kyle Turris? Well, initially I thought this was the high price you needed to give up for elite talent. Was it worth it though? Some people have hinted about the pattern that follows Duchene around, and while I believe it’s all a coincidence, I can’t ignore it. Especially with the way the Blue Jackets have performed after he joined their team.
I remember a time where I believed Matt Cullen and Ben Bishop were jinxes. The Bishop syndrome was bad on my side and I still don’t really like him. Records don’t lie, but sometimes it's something more; a fan gut feeling. Do you believe in players being jinxes? Do you think the trade for Duchene had anything to do with the Sens ultimate destruction?
“We’re in no rush to name a captain.” - Pierre Dorion
Maybe it’s because he traded away all the best options? At this point, does it even make sense to pick a captain? I generally wouldn’t care especially after Mark Stone’s departure, but there has been a sense of “prepping” happening with Mark Borowiecki since September. People’s opinion of Boro will vary but naming him captain may just be the last last last straw for me.
The problem is, I’m not even sure who fits the role at this point. Logic says give it to Chabot since he’ll be carrying the team anyways. But then doesn’t Jean-Gabriel Pageau also make sense? This team is in desperate need of real leadership and honestly I don’t see it coming from anyone on the current roster, especially Borowiecki. Maybe Craig Anderson, Zack Smith and Pageau are voices of reason in the locker room, maybe Bobby Ryan is more outspoken than we think, but I really have a hard time pinning that C on any of them.
Come back King Karl.....
Who should be the Captain of the Sens next season?
Dorion and Ruszkowski
Sometimes I envy Pierre Dorion’s delusions. To be able to come out on a consistent basis and say all the wrong things possible yet still not be held accountable must be a great position.
a) The team will spend as the team improves. Will invest in players, player development, scouting, analytics - Dorion.
Does Dorion not know how sports teams or any business works? Does he not understand that common sense dictates that a team improves with the resources it has not the other way around? This is why the fans have lost all faith in this management team leading the rebuild. Dorion goes on to defend this organization by saying they’re not the Expos of the NHL which frankly, I thought was pathetic.
b) “We are the most affordable NHL hockey experience in Canada.”- Ruszkowski.
I don’t know where to start with this. Does he realize he has stripped this city of any true hockey experience? Ottawa is the most affordable Canadian hockey experience because the management/ownership is consistently lowering the value of this team. Lowering the prices of the tickets to beg the fans to come back isn’t an affordable business model, it’s a failing one.
c) The Senators have one of the best scouting staffs (amateur and pro) in the league. - Dorion.
I will leave this here and let you digest it for a second.
The New “Vets” and Fan Excitement
It seems young Brady Tkachuk is quickly growing and was a key factor (alongside Chabot) of convincing Max Veronneau to sign in Ottawa. These kids are young and I hope they’re not rushed into roles larger than they can handle, but it’s nice to see them step up. I’ve become wary of being attached to any players but if Tkachuk is convincing people to come to Ottawa, it’s a good sign he still sees some hope in this organization. Or maybe it was just a call for help. I’m excited to see Tkachuk become the new face of the franchise and I think he will fit that image quite well.
It doesn’t take much to get hockey fans excited. For Sens fans, it’s been a little harder to impress. Last night we saw two key members of the Sens future in action, Erik Brannstrom and Max Veronneau. Both seemed to leave a positive impression on Sens fans, but is it right to be excited? I hate this feeling, everyone was already wowed by Erik yet I felt nothing. Is he actually ever going to be as good as Karlsson or as valuable as Stone? Even if he does, how long will he be in Ottawa, and can I even start liking him? This is the worst part about what Melnyk did to this team. Apathy is one thing but fear of liking this team is a whole other beast.
I mentioned it in previous pieces but I am personally a big fan of Chris Tierney. He doesn't particularly stand out or dazzle but for the most part he’s been good. Most games he’s quietly been strong and steady, and while it’s not always what the Sens need, it’s important. He is having a career year yet his style of play isn’t impressing a lot of Sens fans. It really is interesting to see the mixed opinion on him and deciding what kind of player he really is and where he fits. He’s only 24 years old and I see a lot of potential for him to grow into a more defined role under the right coach. He may not put on a highlight reel show on most games but he does provide a bit of stability for a team so desperate for some structure.