The day has come, Senators fans. After five months of not seeing our beloved favourite players, we can finally see them play in real NHL action today. I mean, it's only pre-season, but I think everybody will take that at this point. The actual season starts in two and a half weeks, but it doesn't matter. The pre-season still has games being played, and we can catch a glimpse of what the 2015-16 Ottawa Senators will look like.
It's almost October, so stop pretending that your favourite sports team is the Blue Jays and come watch some Senators hockey. Since the last time any of us have watched a Senators game was all the way back in April, you probably forget how it works. You see, the first game is against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Luckily it's a mean nothing game, because with anything on the line you can probably chalk it up as a loss.
In case you also forgot the players, I'll let you know the important ones. Remember Andrew Hammond, the guy who went 20-1-2 in his first 23 career games? Yeah, you're supposed to throw Hamburgers at him after a win. Then there's Curtis Lazar, who will smile at literally anything. Ref gives him a misconduct? He just keeps on smiling.
Oh, and do you perhaps remember some old Swedish player that used to play on the first line? He's back in the front office after retiring. They say his name is Alf, although I'm not sure why he's nicknamed after an Alien Life Form. The starting goaltender Craig Anderson is going to be relied on heavily, but I sincerely hope everybody keeps their knives away from him. He sounds like a bad cook.
For some odd reason the team brought back the British Prime Minister as their head coach (Edit: probably not the greatest day to use that comparison, but I wrote this on Friday), but he did quite well in his first half season. He picked a solid lineup most nights, but I did have one issue with his player usage. Noted team-leading goal scorer Mike Hoffman was consistently on the fourth line. I don't know about you, Prime Minister, but that sounds strange.
Up front, Ottawa's best forward is a self-proclaimed Stoner. It's an odd strategy but it appeared to work, as he notched 64 points in his rookie season. The first line centre Kyle Turris should probably also be a self-proclaimed Stoner though, as evidenced by all of these pictures. If it works it works, and the two of them should be dominant again this year. The $7.5 million man will be under a lot of pressure this season as he tries to regain his 30-goal form, but we know he always comes in hot.
To begin the season, Mika Zibanejad will be the second line centre. But hopefully by the end of the year he can usurp Turris on the depth chart, and he should be able to have hands like Pavel Datsyuk soon because of his otherworldly DJ'ing skills. Don't forget to scream "PAGEAUUU, PAGEAU, PAGEAU, PAGEAUUU!" every time Jean-Gabriel Pageau scores. Just don't do it any other time, because that makes...no sense.
Oh and remember everybody's favourite line? That's right, Colin Greening, Zack Smith, and Chris Neil may have a reunion party this season! I'm sure fans will be thrilled when they see them on the fourth line. Truly a forced to be reckoned with. Chris "Franchise leader in games played" Phillips will no longer be a "victim of playing with Erik Karlsson," mainly because he probably won't play much (if at all) this year.
On the first defense pairing, Marc Methot and Erik Karlsson will be out to troll even more people by showing that Karlsson is the games best defenseman. Can you imagine how angry people would be if Karlsson won a third Norris trophy before Shea Weber and Drew Doughty won their first? Not only will they be trolling on the ice, Methot can continue to troll people off the ice (Thanks, @sens_adnan).
So when the Senators start playing (semi) competitive hockey tonight, you can cheer for all of these characters. The second half of last year was a real blast, and it's a lovable group. They deserve our love, and I can't wait to see them tonight and also in their first regular season game against the Buffalo Sabres.
It's great to be able to watch hockey again, but just as importantly, it's great to be a part of the hockey community again. I don't know about you, but part of the enjoyment I get from following the Senators is Sens Twitter. Get excited for another fun season, because I'm sure the players and fans will make it interesting no matter what happens.
This article was just supposed to be a joke, but in all honesty I am extremely excited to say...Hockey is back!