Coming into 2015-16, there was some hope that the Ottawa Senators could build on their amazing late season run from 2015, and everyone on the Silver Seven staff but one predicted they would make the playoffs. To say what has transpired this year has been disappointing is an understatement. Once again Ottawa finds themselves in no man's land, where they certainly are not bad enough to be a true tanking team, but they also are clearly not a playoff team.
After watching terrible outings throughout the year, arguments galore on Twitter, and frustration towards the coaching staff and management, this season is mercifully almost over. There are three games to go, and on Saturday afternoon we can officially put to bed the nightmare 2015-16 season. Since we have been out of the picture for a while now, why should fans even watch these remaining games?
It's a fair question that I'm sure many of you have already answered for yourself. But even if you are fed up with this team in general and don't like where they are headed you should still watch, because guess what? You won't be able to watch this team for another six months.
It will be an excruciatingly long six months where we can only hope and wonder what the team is going to look like next year. Bryan Murray says changes are coming, but can we really expect much if he's still at the helm? For two and a half months, the Senators cannot even make any moves, and instead we have to watch other teams get the glory in the playoffs. Then finally once the Cup Finals are over, a very interesting off-season will begin.
Although it will be interesting, Twitter may be a nightmare. If you are a regular on Twitter, you'd know just how exhausting these discussions can be, simply because they are so depressing. Imagine if there aren't even games to talk about, and instead we have to discuss hypotheticals for months? Yeah, it won't be fun.
At least last summer we had some hope that the team could make the next step. But now I think it's obvious that the current group is a wildcard team at best, and that some bigger moves need to be made. Unless some real change does happen where there is a new GM and coach and some quality players are added, there will be lots of questions amongst the fans throughout the summer.
The teams play itself hasn't been unwatchable or anything, but the fact that we have seen this team miss the playoffs four times in the last eight years now plays a big factor in fans discontent. And believe me, I realize that it has been frustrating this year, but in the first week of August when there's nothing on TV and you have nothing to do, you will miss the Senators.
Perhaps if you are a Blue Jays fan and they do well this year then that will fill some of the void. Still though, there will always be a missing piece. How are you not going to miss one of the best defenseman of our generation? The man is a human highlight reel.
Karlsson goal pic.twitter.com/2CCsr5tH6j— Stephanie (@myregularface) March 11, 2016
We won't be able to see this man play until October!
HIIIIIIII HATERRRZZZZ https://t.co/Ucgbm5fVmh— Callum Fraser (@CallumFraser18) April 1, 2016
Mark Stone is my favourite person in the world. https://t.co/F4MynMJWMw— Callum Fraser (@CallumFraser18) February 26, 2016
Mark Stone: Like a lion hunting down a gazelle. https://t.co/n8L7ZeJTrS— Callum Fraser (@CallumFraser18) February 26, 2016
Those two are such a treat to watch, but even guys like Mike Hoffman, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, and Bobby Ryan can be exciting. It's not as if this is a New Jersey Devils-esque team that has little talent. Many of you don't want to admit it, but you are going to miss watching these players.
Even the experience with fellow fans won't be the same in the summer. There won't be any guys with big heads to comment on!
There won't be anything funny to talk about in the hockey games, and that's the best part of Senators Twitter---when we can all laugh at something and there isn't a divide amongst fans. Instead, all we will be able to talk about is the future of the organization.
Are we going to miss this mediocrity? Certainly not. But with three games left, we should savour what little amount of hockey we have left. I still don't want them to win too much just because every lower draft position lowers their chances for getting a top-3 pick. Still though, we can cheer for individual performances. Let's cheer for Karlsson to get to 82 points, for Mika Zibanejad to get to 20 goals and 30 assists, and for Mike Hoffman to get to 30 goals.
If hockey is your only sport, it'll be a long summer. If not, it won't sting as much, but once the season opener comes around you will be so glad that the team is finally back---and let's hope that it actually is a different team that can be a contender. So let's gather around, watch three games of Senators hockey and pretend like we are going to the playoffs next week.