Sometimes in life, and especially in the world of sports, it’s easy to focus on the negative.
And why do we do that?
Probably because it’s often hilarious and revenue-increasing to drop a funny acronym, make a montage video of a blown save or poke fun at a team or player’s shortcomings, instead of focusing on the good aspects.
Positivity doesn’t sell advertising.
A GOOD BEGINNING:
When I think of why I became a Sens fan, it wasn’t for glory, it wasn’t for status and it sure as hell didn’t have to do with hitching a cart to a winning team.
Growing up as a massive fan of Mike Modano, I was a Stars fan, through and through. I first started cheering for the Stars in 1991 when they were still in Minnesota, and when they went to the Cup and got torn apart by Lemieux and the Penguins.
The main reason why I chose them as my hockey team? My brother had a felt green Stars hat (that I basically stole) and it fit well on my massive head. I also liked the fact that it was a different choice. I didn’t know anyone else in Ottawa, or in my teenage life, who cheered for them.
Later on, when Ottawa got a team, I got to see the Dallas version of the Stars play in Ottawa. I remember watching Mike Modano and Russ Courtnall move the puck around like they were wizards and it was an object under their spell – and I was hooked.
But all of that changed when my good, family friend Laurie Boschman (the first captain of the new Ottawa Senators club) came into my life. Working on the same floor as my dad, I had an inside track and I would pick Laurie’s brain about Modano and all of my other favourite players and I was entranced by the response and findings of a man who had actually shared playing time and even ice with those heroes of mine.
But in listening to Bosch talk about all of those players, a funny thing happened. I began to care less about the Stars and more about the Senators. I remember the bad years. The really bad years. And I remember the upward swing. And I remember Chara and a close call against Anaheim. And I remember last year – when a team that was plagued with injuries made it to the second round of the playoffs (further than any other Canadian team, I might add).
Yeah, Dallas went on to win a few times. But by then, I didn’t care. I understood that this team in my hometown was my team, now.
OTTAWA SENATORS – A DECENT START:
Yes – the Sens lost to the Leafs in a shootout, and even blew a 4-2 lead. But this is a team that needs to score – and they did that. Kyle Turris, the 2nd line playmaker, even got 3 points (even though a lot of hockey fans still have no idea who he is.)
Spezza even jumped into the point wave with a decent blast, getting his first goal of the season, and it seems that the riddle of Reimer is finally solved for the Sens.
Anderson looked human, but that’s what happens when your team only gets one power play and the other team gets five.
The game before that, Craig Anderson notched an impressive shutout against a hungry Buffalo team.
They have put 83 shots on goal in two games.
So they are 1-0-1. So what?
All of the headlines I have read about the Sens lately have to do with Mason Raymond’s spinorama shootout goal, and how controversial it was. Who cares?
If I had my way, shootouts wouldn’t even be in the NHL. Putting a fast player on the ice to try and deke out a goalie, in a one-on-one scenario, doesn’t properly reflect hockey. At all. Why does it need to be the deciding factor for a game?
Why do regular season hockey and playoff hockey have to be so different? Does it have to be this way? Can’t there just be endless overtimes?
Philosophical questions aside, it’s important to see the positives, here.
The Sens have a strong team, and no – they aren’t going to miss Alfredsson as much as everyone says they are.
The shortened season provided its own scheduling challenges, but with a normal season at hand, building on the good shouldn’t be a problem.
Heading into Los Angeles on Wednesday, I’ll be cheering for my team and remembering just how far they’ve come since 1992.