Living in Ottawa, it was natural I would become a Senators' fan after years of cheering for Steve Yzerman and the Wings... Heck, finally I could rant and rave about a team in my own backyard! I could randomly run into players from the NHL on nearly a weekly basis (gotta know the right clubs)...
But, a few years back the team took a huge step in the wrong direction for my liking, and divested itself of a vast number of European players that I really identified with. See, I'm not big on the bang-and-crash style of the NHL, and prefer a possession game like you now see in Russia and in other Euro-leagues.
Anyway, I jumped ship on the Sens, and am now a Rangers fan. Vertical hockey!
The local playoff run last season was more proof to me that I made the right choice. I went with my heart, and stayed away from the huge party that was going on all over town, especially Elgin street, where the Sens-Mile had oh so predictably set up shop.
Now, only 20-odd games into the season, I'm hearing the same kind of talk around town that I heard near February of last season.
"I can't wait until they bring it home..."
"Will the parade be on Bank Street, Elgin, Wellington, or somewhere in (ugh) Kanata?"
So, the fans know it's already in the bag, it's just a question of where to run the parade...
Well, it is November, and the quote for this month according to my "Monthly Sayings" calendar tells me that there is an a propos expression for this kind of chatter:
"Lest We Forget".
This is the same fan base that talked ad nauseum about trading Alfie early last season, and making massive overhauls to the defence and goaltending positions...
This is the same fan base that was an utter no-show at the "Sens Mile" on the night of game 5, with the home town heroes trailing their series to the eventual champs from Anaheim by a 3-1 margin...
And yet, this is the same talk we heard all too often last year. Only one thing differentiates this team from last season's edition:
Oh let that fateful die be cast that sends the Sens spiralling down the standings for a fleeting moment...
It would make me very happy to hear the nay-sayers again take the forefront. Let's face it, negativity breeds better radio!
But, the reality is that Ottawa is a very good team, if not one of the best. They will likely not falter for more than a handful of games in a row at any point of this season.
However, I can see a big build up followed by a short playoff run.
I won't elaborate on it any further, save to say that this team seems like it's peaking far too early in the season. They need adversity, and they need it sooner rather than later.
Here's hoping for disappointment!