Instead of giving a recap of yesterday's news, or doing a pros and cons breakdown in this space (they're mostly pros!), I'm going to talk about something that I feel is just as important. Yesterday, I was extremely happy to be an Ottawa Senators fan. Now, I don't know about you, but that's a pretty significant thing for me.
Despite all of the writing, analyzing, and commenting, I talk about hockey because it's fun. It's fun to get frustrated when Jeff Friesen scores (well maybe not) but it's definition fun to feel goosebumps when watching this video of the Senators Cup run in 2007. I think that was missing for me over the past year - since July 5th, 2013. I've grown up in Toronto, and originally started my life off as a Leafs fan - I didn't really have a choice when every single person in my childhood neighbourhood was a Leafs fan. Hockey connected us as a community, and watching Leafs games were rituals carried out by adults, children, and pets. My best friend - we were seven or eight at the time - decided to become a Senators fan in the midst of the 99-00 season when the Battle of Ontario was the "biggest thing", and I decided to follow along. Although it was agonizing for a couple of weeks in the playoffs, it was fun to cheer against our families and friends, wear our Senators jerseys to school after regular season dominance, check the Toronto Star stats page and mimic the leading scorers (the Jagr salute was common), and to just experience hockey for its basic joys.
In 2007, I moved away from this childhood neighbourhood for high school, and went to a school where I knew absolutely no one. Coming from a place with deep-rooted connections that I had harvested over the course of my life, it was a bit of a shock. The Senators had just come off of the high of the Cup run, and hockey was used as a way for me to "go back", and reminisce about the innocent times before. In 2008 and 2009, I went through a really down spell that met the diagnostic criteria for major depressive disorder. I didn't talk much at school, my marks suffered, my connections with friends and family dwindled, and I became emotionally numb. I also became really invested in sports. At its core, sports are like unscripted dramas. There are a number of variables in play - so many intertwining stories and so many things to elicit an emotional reaction in you, both positive and negative. Sports helped me overcome my depression. I started to feel things again - joy, frustration, sadness. The Beijing Olympics were a coming out party. It was fun to watch Heatley - Spezza - Alfredsson, despite the missed playoffs, it was fun to watch Mike Fisher pot 25 goals and jump when Matt Carkner scored a triple-overtime winner after midnight eastern time.
The point I guess I'm trying to make is that it's going to be fun to watch Erik Karlsson lead the time, and I'm going to enjoy watching Bobby Ryan do his thing. It was too easy to think negatively about the Senators last year, so it's nice to see two star players embrace Ottawa and want to play hockey while I laugh and cry. I didn't even need hope in 2008-2010 because I just wanted to feel, but it's nice to have some hope in the organization's future now, because it's funner and easier to connect with all of you and our fantastic community that way. I plan to be around for the long run, and hope that it's only up from here. It's the dawn of a new era [Wayne Scanlan]
Thanks for reading.
- Some dude named Bobby Ryan signed a 7 year deal with the Senators and will be staying in Ottawa (presumably) for the next 8 seasons. Happy to have ya, Bobby. [Ottawa Senators, Silver Seven, Ottawa Citizen]
- Notably, King Erik Sven Gunnar Karlsson (for real) is now the 9th Captain of your Ottawa Senators. Världens Bästa Karlsson. [Ottawa Senators, Silver Seven, Ottawa Citizen]
- The news we were all waiting for! Defenseman Ty Wishart was signed by the BSens, who will feature a very veteran defensive team this season. [SenShot]
- Amelia had a great media round-up from yesterday, and also had some thoughts on the re-signing. Nichols and Jack did as well. [Round-up, thoughts, 6th Sens, SenShot, Ottawa Citizen]
- Here are Bryan Murray and Paul MacLean's thoughts on the signings, from Inside the Senate. [Murray, MacLean]
- Nichols has thoughts the power-play units! [6th Sens]
- Ken Warren on Marc Methot, who still hasn't seen any preseason action and is not likely to due to a recurring back injury (muscle). [Ottawa Citizen]
- Randy Lee speaks from France while eating a croissant on Stephane Da Costa's head. Only one of these things is true. [6th Sens]
- Jeff has a recap of this aforementioned BSens game in France, where they defeated the Syracuse Crunch. [SenShot]
- Sareon has his weekly recap of the local junior teams! [Silver Seven]
- The often-forgotten Milan Michalek has high expectations on himself for this year. [Ottawa Citizen]
- Eden has her second pre-season update, this column markedly different than her last. [The Storied Sens]
- In case you missed it (I did!), the Senators lost to the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday. Here's a recap from Jack. [SenShot]
- Our staff prediction series continues, with questions on Smith + Wiercioch, and Stone + Hoffman + Lazar.
- Also, user Carlyle's Toaster is helping preview our enemies this season - this time focusing on the Metropolitan division. [Silver Seven FanPost]
- Roger is one of my favourite people, and he wrote a fantastic column that I connected with this week, on loving the Ottawa Senators during the reign of Eugene Melnyk. [Silver Seven]
- In conjunction, Sheer_Craziness also had a great piece on the myth surrounding the often-mentioned "cost-per-point". [Silver Seven]