Growing up as a child in Ottawa, ON and playing minor hockey for years, the one constant thing that remained the same throughout my childhood was the fact Saturday Night was Hockey Night In Canada. A lot has changed since then, which brings me to my point for writing this article.
With NFL, NBA, NASCAR and so many other pro sports, why must the Americans, mainly NBC, take our passion and love for the game, to televise in what they like to call Primetime when approximately 7% of the population will actually tune into the game to watch it. North of the border will be another story. When the Ottawa Senators take the ice today in a Game 5, with the opportunity to thrust themselves into the Stanley Cup Finals, not only will they have the hometown and capital of this beautiful country behind them, but the majority of the population as well.
The chance brought before them today is something even bigger that the Stanley Cup birth, they in fact have the chance to lay claim to the game all of us grew up watching on Saturday night, not mid day Saturday. For if the Senators in fact take this game today, there will be celebration well into the night and justifiably bring back Hockey NIGHT In Canada back to it’s loyal patrons. In no shape or form, is this an attempt to belittle or call out our cousins to the South, but I will say this. Just as you have laid claim to MLB, NFL and NBA, we North of the border live, breath and bleed hockey and today we hope to take it back with authority.
After failing to clinch the seven game series in a sweep, the Ottawa Senators journey back to Buffalo to face the most potent team in the league in hopes of taking all 3 games in their barn. Despite the valiant effort of Ryan Miller to keep his team alive to fight another day, it has for the most part, been the Senators who have dominated this series. It is my belief that Senators will earn their 1st ever Stanley Cup Birth on this day (Saturday, May 19, 2007) for the following reasons;
1. When Ray Emery has what most feel was a shaky start, he 100% comes back the following game with a Houdini type performance.
2. Although Ryan Miller has been the best player in this series, just like Martin Brodeur, he is susceptible to sub par performances and today I feel is one of those days.
3. The playoff point streak for the big three (Heatley, Alfredsson and Spezza) came to an end last game, look for the three to put on a masterful performance today/ Alfredsson has taken his team upon his shoulders and carried them this far, its now time to take them to the promise land with authority.
4. The shut down team of Phillips and Volchenkov will once again be called upon, but this time they will shut down a newly formed offensive machine in (Connolly, Drury and Roy).
5. The following players, in my opinion, will do something great today that will lay heavily on the outcome. Wade Redden, Mike Comrie and Dean McCammond.
Without a doubt, today’s game will be a battle of titanic proportions. The teams the Senators have faced to date have all been formidable foes to say the least. First off, we dusted the best player in hockey with Sydney Crosby. Secondly, we disposed of arguable the greatest goalie of all time, in Martin Brodeur. Now we are set to eliminate the Presidents Trophy winners and the team who knocked us out last year, in the Buffalo Sabres. Today these players must realize, they are not only playing for themselves and their loyal fans, but for the country as a whole. Opportunity does not knock that often; today is your day to answer the call.
BE RED! BE PROUD! GO! SENS! GO!