Friday, April 4, 2008

How we can make this up to Sens fans

As some readers know, I'm based in Ottawa. So when something interesting happens between the Leafs and Senators, I feel uniquely qualified to offers some perspective.

First things first: I actually like Daniel Alfredsson. I think he gets a bad rap from Leaf fans. He's a great player and a hard worker, he generally plays clean, and the fact that he's been booed by Leaf fans ever since his fake stick-throw has always seemed silly to me. While guys like Spezza and Heatley float their way through most games, Alfredsson gives an honest effort every night.

It's no big secret that Alfredsson has been playing hurt during the second half with hip and back problems, and that's been the biggest non-goaltending reason the Senators' collapse. If he's ruled out for the first round, the Sens are screwed. The Leafs said they wanted to eliminate the Senators from playoff contention last night, and they may have done it.

So as you'd expect, Ottawa fans have already gathered the torches and pitchforks. Government sub-committees are being formed to examine the problem. Cars around town have their ridiculous Senators window flags lowered to half-mast. And Sens fans want somebody to pay.

And this puts them right in their comfort zone. Sens fans may not be especially loud, and they may still rely on the scoreboard and PA announcer to tell them when to cheer. But when it comes to demanding suspensions Ottawa fans are the best in the league by a longshot.

Sens fans have yet to see any incident involving one of their own players going down that did not warrant a swift and serious suspension. Even those most innocent scrum -- recall Tie Domi's facewash on Magnus Arvedson -- deserves immediate action from the league. Sens fans will light up the radio call-in lines for days, write mouth-frothing blog posts, and hold midnight candlelight vigils until justice is done.

Never mind that Mark Bell's hit was virtually identical to Chris Neil's hit on Chris Drury last year, which Sens fans swore was squeaky clean. This is completely different, because this time it's their guy who's down. (And besides, Bell's hit didn't give Alfredsson any time to react. Neil's hit was clean because he was nice enough to wait an extra few seconds.)

As Toronto fans, I don't think we should take any special joy in Alfredsson's injury. Whether he misses one game or one month, it won't change the fact that the Maple Leafs' season was another embarrassing writeoff. Seeing a rival team's fanbase feel as miserable and hopeless as we do shouldn't bring much comfort.

We should be looking for a way to cheer up Ottawa fans.

So here's my proposal: Let's tell Ottawa fans that Mark Bell has been sentenced to six months in jail for hitting Daniel Alfredsson.

Think about it. Sens fans don't really follow the day-to-day news for other teams, so I think we can get away with this. Tell any Senator you know that Bell is heading to the slammer to pay for his crimes. Solemnly tell them that you sincerely hope he will learn the error of his ways.

When TSN runs a story on Bell reporting to prison in a few weeks, Ottawa fans will nod happily (although a few will insist he should have got a year). Then they'll go back to shovelling their roof and trying to figure out which pothole their car fell into.

Everybody wins. Leaf Nation, let's make it happen.


  1. It is really hard to be the bigger man with Sens fans today. I mean, I try to be diplomatic, I try to tell them that I'm sorry that Alfie was hurt (because I don't want to see anyone hurt) but god damn. It's like talking to a wall, I'm a dirty Leaf fan and because I thought it was an awesome hit (because it was) I should burn in hell and every other 41 year, 3 playoffs yadda yadda hey crap comes spewing out. It's not worth it to try and comfort them.

  2. i agree with jared...i'm not taking any happiness from the fact that alffie was injured...i'm just excited over one hell of a hit on a hockey player whom i really don't like all that much...

    it is a bit douche baggy of me to see the joy in it, but with the times we find ourselves in, i don't have much...

    it is what it is...

    at the end of the day, they're going to the dance, we're sitting at home they do get the last laugh...that's all they have to say

  3. Brilliant plan. I've already sent an e-mail to a friend telling him that TOPD is investigating the assault of Daniel Alfredsson.

  4. I like that, although there are some Sens fans out there intelligent enough to know the difference, it's still a good idea. I'm with jared on this one--I don't like seeing anyone hurt like that, but at the same time Mark Bell has done two things this whole season: Jack and shit. This was one of the few (if not only) time Mark Bell has been on a highlight reel at all this season, I'm not saying that's a good thing, it's just a statement about Bell: he can hit a guy (on occasion)

  5. Thanks for the thoughts. Yah, I know the real story but I like yours better. Maybe I'll mail Bell some Sens-Soap-on-a-rope :). Cryin' in Kanata. I guess Alfie has lots of time to heal now.
    ~ Karen