Well isn't this a nice turn of events. We are reaching the season's halfway mark and not only is Ottawa still competitive, they are a force. The Senator's 25-16-6 record has brought fans to the edge of their seats during every game and their excitement is only matched by the players themselves. While the 613 was trying to convince itself it was excited about a lengthy rebuild, Paul MacLean and the "Comeback Kids" have used raw energy and a dash (and I do mean dash) of talent to burst into a 4th place Eastern Conference tie with the Flyers.
However, unexpected playoff talk isn't the only thing that have spirits high in the nation's capital. This past WJC was nothing short of a showcase for future NHLers Mika Zabinijad and Mark Stone. We need players that can come up big when it counts and their performance (especially Z-Man's in the finals) suggests we have a bright future ahead of us. Bryan Murray caused a stir during the draft and so far,he is making those who stayed loyal to him awfully smug.
The timing of all of this is oh-so-sweet. Any resident of Ottawa will tell you that this city if littered with Leafs fans and with Toronto playing its best hockey in recent years, the "Sens Army" were dreading the Reimermania, Kessel groupies and Phaneuf freaks more than ever. Last year, these were the only people who asked how the Sens were doing. Unless it was after the Anderson-Elliot swap and Ottawa suddenly started pulling wins out of their ass.
Toss an All-Star Game into the mix and we have ourselves a party. Karlsson deserved every vote and having his teammates with him this year is icing on the cake. I've never been a big fan of the game itself, but it's importance does not go unrecognized. This is huge for the city, fans, players, and team. I'm looking forward to have stars from all around the league storm into the city and put on a show.
While it would be foolish to be too optimistic about a playoff run this early, it has been a helluva ride! Nothing is impossible in the NHL, I learned this when Kuba temporarily came off my poop-list. This is a government city and things get pretty dull but the Ottawa Senators just made this winter a little less long. Thanks.
- Dylan Donovan Parker