Hello, it's still summer.
Listen, your father and I would like to talk to you about the Ottawa Senators for a moment. HEY! and just where do you think you're going? OUT!? Ahhhh nuh, nuh, nuh, nuh, nuh. Sit right down young lady/man/no judgments. Do you have any idea how hard your Varada and I work to put a blog over your head and opinions on the table in mid July? Well, okay then…where was I…
I remember a friend making an interesting observation about the Sens during a time when things were going not so grand for the boys..lets call it “around 2010-2011″. He said, “It just seems like Ottawa isn’t a fun team to play on anymore.” He was right. Morale seemed very low among fans and players alike. I mean no moment encapsulates what my friend (that’s right) was getting at more than Erik Karlsson getting told that he just made the All Star team (via the6thsens.com). Ugh…I can hardly stand watching that clip as there is just so much sharing of the laughter and love. Nothing says congratulations like “Take your sock off” and a terse, unsmiling handshake.
I don’t want to put it all on Clouston but he was definitely the figurehead of those stern times. No disrispeck, but in the post Dan[n]y Heatley era…how to put this delicately…the team was filled with strong silent types. Look, I’m not saying Martin Gerber isn’t a barrel of laughs. His Chaucer puns are not going to be replaced by Robin Lehner overnight but I think ;) is a great start to a new chapter. Seriously though, before we move on was there ever a more boring player on the Senators than Martin Gerber? Sound off with your choice in the comment section!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that there is still a veteran core to keep things balanced. I am happy to say, however, that the days of Erik Karlsson sitting alone at the kid’s table while old Uncle Phillips takes time out from telling old Uncle Kuba stories about the how you couldnt get tin while we were chasing the Kaiser during the Great War to remind King K that he isn’t leaving the table until he finishes every last one of his vegetables.
I’m sure it’s no surprise that I’m going to talk about social media now. It makes a lot of sense that as the youngest team in the league a lot of players would be using twitter but really your account is only as engaging as you make it right, Shean Donovan? Not only does Ottawa have a lot players on twitter but they have several who are quite good at it.
Erik Karlsson hasn’t even been tweeting all that long and has already started a fan favorite hashtag with #lalala. Note: I’m also a fan of his lesser appreciated #whocares. He’s sayin what we’re all thinkin! His picture game is pretty tight as well, what with his posts about his “funky” new shoes or sharing his drunk faced antics with Andre Petersson (a player that used to be considered a top prospect in Ottawa’s system). Ek, unlike many star players, is a really worthwhile folllow.
Also enjoyable is the endless chirping between Marc Methot, Z Smith and Matt Kassian over who is the biggest hipster on the team. (Spoiler: None of you are! You’re all hulking millionaire pro athletes!) Not to mention that fake account devoted to making fun of Jim O’Brien run by Kassian. I mean I thought that was my job but still, game recognize game!
Considering new addition Bobby Ryan has around as many followers as the average member of the Wu Tang Clan, not only does the profile of the team get raised it also allows we followers an opportunity to get to know the players’ personalities a little bit in a way that a post game interview doesn’t. Turns out they actually have personalities!
It’s not all fun and games though…Mika Zibanejad’s website remains fucking TERRIBLE.
Despite this so far being a post about twitter that’s not entirely the point I want to make. To me the changeover in team culture extends beyond getting a window into what wedding Erik Condra is attending.
The most significant shift in attitude has been behind the bench in my opinion. His Jack Adams win kind of speaks for itself but can you honestly imagine a better fit for the squad than Paul MacLean? He did more to boost morale in his first press conference than Paddock, Hartsberg or Clouston did in their respective tenures in Ottawa.
The way he handled Therrien and Prust during the series with the Habs? I haven’t felt swagger like that in Ottawa since the days of Ray Emery’s Steve Harvey inspired zoot suits and his dropping of rap singles on our heads back in 2007. Who wouldn’t want to go through the wall for a guy like MacLean? He knows what it’s like to be a player and knows what it takes to win as a coach. You can tell by the way he carries himself, what he says and how he treats his players.
When a coach doles out nothing but toughness I think it loses it’s effectiveness pretty quickly. It’s requires balance. Under the impression Paul MacLean is a big softy that can’t get real talk with his team? Ask Latendresse, Regin, O’Brien, Filatov, or Butler what being in his doghouse is like. He doesn’t like your play, he’s not afraid to bury you in the press box indefinitely. Something tells me it means a little more when Big P loses his shit with you. Like you’ve really let the guy down. With the league getting younger and younger and Ottawa being it’s youngest overall team a father figure like P Mac is such a great fit and so far, it shows.
Lastly, ugh…I don’t know how I’m going to do this…*siiiiiiiiiiigh* okay, there’s only one way to say it, Doniiiii Brennan wrote an article the other day about Spezza making a great choice for captain that I….that I………………………..that I really agreed with. THERE ARE YOU HAPPY? I SAID IT. I READ AND LIKED HIS ARTICLE OKAY, GOD.
I do think Spezz would be a great choice and one that the team wouldn’t regret.
Do I think Spezza would make a better captain than Daniel Alfredsson? I think their personalities/legacies are almost too different to compare. I am open to the idea that Spezza’s personality might be a little more suited to leading this particular young group. He’s been in the league long enough to be considered a veteren, he has the performance cred to back up his position as leader but he’s still young enough to relate to the pups. He’s hip for a dad! He knows what the new rapping songs by The Skrillexes are. He has a tamagotchi. In fact he has two. See, cool. Leadership. Synergy. Willenium.
With the departure of face of the franchise Daniel Alfredsson, 2013-2014 will truly be a new chapter for the franchise. I still haven’t fully come to grips with how we’re about to see our first games without Alfie in nearly 2 decades. Will it be better? Well, with no Stanley Cups and as a person who tunes into games uhhh, yeah, I frigging hope so. There’s no guarantees but I do know that the past two seasons have been as exciting to watch as any other in my recollection. This team looks fun and exciting to be a part of again. On the heels of their deepest playoff run since 2007 I’d say that this year the Sens are coming in hot. I just made that up.