For the first time in the regular season, the Ottawa Senators looked like their usual pesky, comeback-combatant selves on Wednesday night in Phoenix.
After tuning into the game partway through the second, and seeing that the Coyotes had a 2-0 lead, I almost thought that this season might be in jeopardy.
But after a natural hat trick by Jason ‘Cappy’ Spezza and a beautiful OT winner from Cory ‘Honey Badger’ Conacher (on a stick-tape, side-net feed from Methot), I immediately remembered why I love this team:
They rarely blow out their opponent and they rarely get blown out, themselves – but they always make it interesting and they are always in the hunt for the win.
But what I find most hilarious, about this tumultuous ride that is the life of a Sens fan, are a few factoids:
1. If you talk sh*t about the Sens, and even in the most constructive manner, fans of other teams (especially Leafs fans) love to say things like ‘Relax, man! It’s still early!’ or ‘Dude – you need to chill. Your team is gonna be fine!’ (which is easy to say when their teams enjoy 5-0 and 5-1 victories on a nightly basis).
2. If you talk sh*t about the Sens in a more closeted, cautionary and less truthful way (i.e. The Ottawa Citizen, The Ottawa Sun, etc.), you are praised as a smart sports writer.
3. If you talk sh*t about a specific Sens player in anything you write (i.e Spezza), even from a perspective of tough-love, the daggers start flying at you and you are forever labeled as a ‘doubting Thomas’ or a ‘non-believer’.
I don’t mind being attacked – I have big shoulders.
But what I don’t stand for are veiled attacks against a team who I have stuck with for 20 years, and seeing descriptors like ‘flat and lifeless’ thrown around to describe a squad that has gone further than any Canadian NHL team in the past two years.
As much as I love Ottawa, and as much as I love this team, the Senators are hard-pressed by playing in a market where the public and the press never really stand behind their team.
They wait in the shadows and see if they are winning, and when they do come through, phrases like ‘I never doubted them’ come from the mouths of those who were chastising Bobby Ryan in GAME NUMBER TWO.
(Like there was every any doubt that Bobby Ryan would start scoring goals. Idiots!)
What the sporting community of Ottawa needs to realize is that this team is a contender – right now.
Not in 10 years or even five – but right now.
A record of 2-2-2 doesn’t even begin to describe the talent and depth of this young squad. Anderson hasn’t even played to his potential yet this season, but when he does (and he will), the pharisees will be coming out of the woodwork, shouting praises to their netminder.
The road to recovery is never as long as it seems, and a comeback win in Phoenix is the start of great things for this team. I just hope that the competitive Sens can establish a viable fan base and continue onward, instead of going the way of my favourite baseball team of all time – The Montreal Expos.
I’ll be at the home opener on Thursday, October 17 – and I’ll be wearing my red and black jersey with pride.