Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Looking on the bright side of the Ottawa Senators season

"Yes, we have a plan. It involves us
repeatedly assuring you we have a plan."
The Ottawa Senators may have finally hit rock bottom.

The team has fallen to 27th place, miles out of the playoff spot they'd expected to contend for. They have the worst goal-differential in the entire league. They've lost six in a row at home, most recently an embarrassing 7-1 disaster at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens. The roster is old and expensive. And fans are screaming for heads on a platter.

So sure, things could be better. But is that any reason to get all negative?

Long-time readers know that I reject the online culture of cynical pessimism, and instead choose to always look at the glass as half full. So I reached out to my various contacts within the Ottawa organization, and they helped me put together a list of feel-good stories.

Cheer up, Senator fans. You have so much to be thankful for:
  • Team salespeople report that the idea of renewing their season tickets apparently makes Senator fans really happy, since whenever you call to ask them about it they just laugh hysterically into the phone for hours.

  • Making his only start of the season, third-string goalie Mike Brodeur recently gave up four goals in a half game's work and was then immediately sent down to the minors, which this season means he can be referred to as "The Good Brodeur".

  • The players should be rested and ready to go next year thanks to an extended four-month offseason, as opposed to the three-and-a-half-month offseason that they're used to.

  • The team has saved a ton of money on their office supplies budget in recent years by just giving every new coach the same generic "miscellaneous interim head coach" business cards.

  • Let's just say that the franchise-record seven-year streak of not losing to the Maple Leafs in the playoffs shows absolutely no sign of ending any time in the next decade.

  • The team is almost certain to have a top ten pick at this year's draft, so get ready to say hello to the next Brian Lee.

  • Veteran defenceman Sergei Gonchar is having a career year, in the sense that at his age it's pretty much a given that every other season over the rest of his career will be even worse than this one.

  • All in all, you have to admit that the players have actually done a pretty good job of dealing with the crushing pressure of playing for the city's third most popular NHL team.

  • Anyone who's watched him play recently would agree that Alexei Kovalev is ridiculously, embarrassingly, horrifically overpaid at $5 million per year, which should make it especially entertaining when he gets $6 or $7 million as a free agent this summer from the Rangers.

  • Thanks to the purchase of an insurance policy that pays $100 for each Pascal Leclaire injury, the team will turn a profit on the season of roughly seven billion dollars.

  • The front office is unlikely to have to make any offseason choices between a future Norris winner and a future overpaid minor leaguer, which is good news since they tend to have a little bit of trouble with that one.

  • Daniel Alfredsson just guaranteed that no team would be crazy enough to give up anything decent for a struggling 38-year-old with two more years left on his contract, so, ka-ching!

  • Ownership is confident that the community will continue to support the franchise during a rebuilding phase, since other than the Rough Riders, Rebel, Loggers, Lynx, Renegades and maybe a dozen more at the most, Ottawa sports fans have never abandoned a losing team.

  • They're about to embark on a thorough rebuilding of an Ontario-based team under the leadership of a former Anaheim Ducks general manager -- how could that ever go wrong?


  1. Nice post.

    Ironically, even though they're less than a week into it, the Sens are further ahead than the Maple Trees in their rebuilding process, having a first round draft pick this year, and several decent prospects in the minors.

    So there's that.

  2. "They're about to embark on a thorough rebuilding of an Ontario-based team under the leadership of a former Anaheim Ducks general manager -- how could that ever go wrong?"
    ZING Love it. Wait Oh Crap :(

  3. So, the Post won't allow you to do Leaf-only articles, but this is okay? Just wondering.

  4. @The Realist
    whatever makes you feel better, buddy.

  5. "All in all, you have to admit that the players have actually done a pretty good job of dealing with the crushing pressure of playing for the city's third most popular NHL team."

    Ouch. True, but ouch.

  6. LOL... So mean. Love it.

  7. lets combine this team with the other spectaculure Ontario team and generate a mediocure rec hockey team

  8. Wow, people sure run to defend their team by bagging on the Leafs. News flash, DGB newbies: HE MOCKS THE LEAFS TOO!


  9. I think DGB means fourth most popular team, after the Habs, Leafs and the original Senators, you know, the ones who actually won the cup... 84 years ago!

  10. Cue outrage from Sens fans. Oh wait, it's already happened.

  11. Actually, I'm more disappointed he's still using material from the 2004 playoffs (Alfie's guarantee).

  12. Andrew and Senators fans everywhere, we'll let you know when his "2004 material" on Alfie stops being funny.

    (Helpful Hint: It will always be funny.)

  13. Not even a gladiator joke from 2008? I found that much more awkward as a Sens fan.

  14. I'm a Sens fan and I found this funnier than hell. Especially the part about the head office's problems at choosing which player to keep.

  15. I'm a Rangers fan, and there's no way Sather is dumb enough to sign Kovalev again.

    Wait, really? Of course he is! Oh crap.

  16. From one Rangers fan to another, please, lay off Slats. I know he makes wacky free-agent signings and all that, but when you look at the team as it is currently constructed, he deserves more credit than mockery. Look at the guys in the lineup he got just via trade:

    -Brandon Prust, tied for the league lead in short-handed goals(or at least he was a few weeks ago, not a stat I keep up with) and developed under Torts from a decent fighter into one of the best third-liners in the game today. Got him as a throw-in from Calgary in the Olli Jokinen trade. In which Sather gave up....Chris Higgins and Ales Kotalik's 3-year/9 million dollar contract of death. Yikes.

    -Brian Boyle, 6'8 18-goal scorer at the All-Star Break, who he got from LA for a third-round draft pick.

    -Ryan McDonaugh, very promising young defenseman who has already started playing big minutes in his first 8 NHL games. Got him, again, as a throw-in for SCOTT FUCKING GOMEZ from Montreal. Also got Pavel Valatenko in the same trade, another promising young defenseman, and Chris Higgins who we've already established turned into Prust later.

    -Steve Eminger, who somehow went from barely a third-pairing defenseman in Anaheim to solid-as-a-rock, nearly 20-minutes-a-night d-man in Gotham. Sather somehow got him for Aaron Voros, who by the end of his tenure as a Ranger had seen his position go from "Left Wing" to "Press Box Tour Guide".

    I'm not even including the recent Woliski-for-Rozsival trade because I actually liked Rozy and I'm not sold on Woliski yet, but there's that too. As good as Rozy could be at times, especially late last season and parts of this year when he wasn't hurt, he was still kind of overpaid at 5 million. So he fits into a pretty significant pattern of Sather somehow convincing every other GM in the league to take his overpaid trash and give him significant pieces back in return (or just Todd White in the case of Brashear, but let's ignore that one). If he did sign Kovalev for 7 million, within a year he'd be somewhere in Canada and somehow gotten the Rangers three big prospects back in return.

    And yes, I know this is a long, serious reply on a DGB post. SHUT UP, YOU.

  17. @anonymous: I'm the first Rangers fan. Up until this season, Slats has deserved all the scorn he's gotten. He has been truly *awful* as a GM. I don't know why this season is so different; he truly has done a bang-up job, but that doesn't excuse the previous nine seasons of terror.

    Plus, it's fun to make fun of Sather. What idiot hires Bryan Trottier as coach?!?

  18. Back in the day when 'Slobbering' Bryan Murray was down in Florida, we used to have a little chant that would take over the venue. "HEY BRYAN MURRAY....YOU SUCK". Buttons and shirts were made to show our support. I have always wondered why Ottawa picked him up if Washington, Detroit, Florida, and Anaheim had dropped him like a drool rag. Granted he did get Bure in a Panther jersey. But still....NO CUP! Suckers.

  19. The good Brodeur. aha had to laugh at that.

    The best line: Kovalev to the Rangers for $6-7M. He's an ex-Ranger, so you just never know...

  20. When defending Glen Sather, you can't include trades he made with equally boneheaded GMs like Sutter and Gainey. Nobody in their right mind would willingly trade for Gomez or Kotalik with their respective current contracts.

  21. CoolJ90, I disagree. Sather is an idiot with free agency, okay, sure. That costs the team cap space and Dolan a lot of money, but who cares about that? When's the last time you can remember Sather trading away real prospects to other teams for literally nothing? I can think of only Sanguinnetti (boy I'm probably spelling that wrong), and at least we got a draft pick back. The fact that he can somehow entice other GMs to give him good players and/or real good prospects for his overpaid garbage on a consistent basis is something I feel like a lot of his detractors overlook when talking about him.

    Is he the best GM in hockey? Not by a long shot. Is he the worst GM in hockey, as many, many people online would have you believe? Not by a long shot, either. He's terrible at free agency and great at trades, used to have a terrible scouting department too but they've really turned it around of late (look at all the draft picks on the team, with more on the way). I'd say that puts him slightly above the middle of the pack.