Hours away from the start of the 2007 N.H.L. playoffs, coach Bryan Murray, was presented with the questions and concerns of past playoff disappointments. The media around these parts, asked about “chocking”; it was Bryan Murray’s response that was of epic proportions and sent a message to those questioning the Ottawa Senators. When asked about an article ran in the local newspaper labeling the team chokers, Murray responded with a sense of annoyance and authority;
"I think it's bulls--t," said Murray.
The statement that followed that, was one of truth and perhaps can put those whispers to bed.
"When you get a chance to play in the playoffs, that's a real good thing for the organization. Ask the other teams that haven't been in (the playoffs) for a few years."; suggested Murray.
It is fact, that the Ottawa Senators have made the playoffs for many consecutive years, however, it is the losses’ to the Leafs years ago that continue to haunt them. The mere fact that those series’ bear any warrant to the make-up of today’s team, holds true today to many, except to the Senator faithful and the player’s that are now on this team today. When there are less than a handful of players that remain on the team from yesteryears and those Leafs playoff matches, it should not have anything to do with this team today. This falls upon deaf ears and blind sight, as media and disgruntled fans of teams who have not experienced much success as of late, continue to label a team that has 4 straight hundred point seasons. I would call that consistency, not choking!
Call it envy, or call it getting a story. The players of today’s Ottawa Senators are doing a fabulous job of deflecting the hype;
"The only way you can get rid (of the reputation) is by showing up and winning," said centre Jason Spezza. "We are a different team than maybe the teams in the past that got beaten by the Leafs. There are not too many guys left in the room that were around then and those guys who are still here are here for a reason: They're good character guys.
"It's been blown out of proportion a bit, but until you do win and you go deep, you're always going to be looked as an underachiever."
It is true that the Ottawa Senators will be labeled “chokers” by those around the hockey world envious of such an accomplished organization, but it may be time the fans and media revisit the definition of the word. The Senators organization may perhaps be the most successful teams in the N.H.L., in the past decade. Although, until they win the Stanley Cup, I fear not much will change. They are a great story, maybe this year, they rewrite their ending.