I’ll start by saying that we all hope the Sens’ team doctor Dr. Donald Chow will recover after his motorcycle crash this weekend. Believe it or not, I was just recently watching an old Youtube video of Chris Neil talking about Dr. Chow, and the players seem to have a lot of respect for him. (A true sign that we’re in August and need hockey back is that I’m watching Chris Neil clips on Youtube.) Anyway, the Sens’ conditioning has been praised, and a small market team without kajillions to throw around understandably puts a premium on keeping their players healthy. By all indications, Dr. Chow is great at his job. All of our thoughts with Don and his family.
Our discussion question is Who is your second favorite team?
Those who know me can verify that I liked the Hawks before they won the Cup. This stems from watching them play the then-awful (and, actually, still kinda awful) Blues in a near-empty United Centre about five years ago. Their awfulness approached our dear Sens’ early years; I think Tuomo Ruutu was their best player. Khabibulin was in net (in spirit because he was always hurt). Patrick Sharp looked like a lost and lonely genius on an island of monkeys. This ironic enjoyment was compounded by having seen a transcendently entertaining Bulls game against Lebron and the Cavs a few days earlier, during which I came to understand that the NBA, though I can’t really get behind their product, know how to market an experience. (Pete can speak to this with far greater authority.) Contrast that with the Hawks entertainment brain trust piping in the radio during intermissions.
Anyway, the ascension of Rocky Wirtz is well documented, as is the eventual screwing of Dale Tallon, the drafting of douchbag fratboy extraordinaire (and generally amazing player) Patrick Kane, and the team’s eventual disassembly like Deathlok, Robocop, The Bionic Man and other famous hockey commentators. Now they’re a team that every 8 year old selects when you play an unranked match of NHL 10 online, and so I’m starting to like them less and less. Plus: Turco? Ugh.
Uhhh…Nashville. Another small market team, they always seem to make the playoffs (though they can’t do anything once they get there). Preseason pundits galore predict their horrible demise, and I guess that makes sense: every off season the team lowers their internal cap, lets another integral player go (this time it was Hamhooohuis to Vancouver), but they still seem to get in there around the 8th seed. Just a smart drafting, well-coached team getting it done by outworking their opponents, getting solid goaltending and never giving up. Gotta like that, even if it’s impossible to ever watch them play. Oh: and Shea Weber is unfuckwithable.
peter to me, James
show details Aug 30 (1 day ago)
Consider this an open call for submissions. I had a second favorite team, in the form of the Vancouver Canucks untill two watershed moments caused me to turn my back on the screeching breaching orcas.
1. Moore-Bertuzzi. I remember my initial reaction being similar to one of those play-fight accidents you have as a kid when you realize, oh shit that dude’s hurt for realz. Then to watch thousands of howling fans and then the “man on the street interviews” in the days that followed. It all kinda made me sick to my stomach. The fact that it seemed too serious for anyone to go back and admit, “hey its archaic hockey retribution that got kinda out of hand.” Nope, rather than admit that, it went to court. Which makes sense in this hyper-aware yet refusing-to-acknowldge-the-obvious micro-society that is professional sports. Do you think the dressing room after the game was similiar to the Anchorman scene following the news team brawl? “That got out of hand fast, I think Todd killed a guy?”
2. The way they basically used Markus Naslund like cheap tissue. Once the skills of arguably the most productive player in franchise history started to decline he became the scapegoat for all the team’s failings, particulairly the failure to advance deep in the playoffs. Never mind dragging them into the postseason while waiting for the Sedins to actually pull their weight. Why he was held accountable, while the Sedins got all the time in the world to “develop,” was a mystery. I didn’t appreciate the double standard for a player who had already proved it with productive seasons.
Saving graces: Uniforms so bad they’re good and player introductions set to “For those About to Rock” by ACDC.
I promise to pick a second favorite team by week’s end with a post to explain why…
James to peter, me
show details Aug 30 (1 day ago)
Firstly, I have long known that respect and admiration for Dr. Chow extends well beyond our team, the sport of hockey and the borders of our city. The fact that when I heard the news this morning I said “Oh no! Dr. Chow!” even says something about his reputation. I have never known the name of a team physician before but have been well aware that Ottawa has one of the league’s absolute best for years. Our thoughts are with you and your family, Doc.
On to the subject – hold on let me just check my count down ticker for the season opener – okay, ready – Second favourite teams are fun because, as outlined above, your allegiances don’t really need to make sense nor do they have to be iron clad. When it comes to second string favourites, there is no need to stick out the good times and bad times. One year I just want to see the Caps beat the Pens SO BAD…the next I’m laughing at them for getting bounced by the Canadiens. Speaking of which…
For me, the second team I SHOULD like most is Montreal. After all, they used to be my whole world. I was a St. Patrick and Habs fanatic since I could barely walk/skate. My entire family is from Montreal; all of them Habs fans. It was crushing to be a fan in 1989 and glorious to be one in 93. Some of my favourite childhood memories include eating those one-of-a-kind hotdogs at the deafening Montreal Forum taking in games. Since those times, my feelings for them have greatly faded thanks to over a decade of divisional rivalry. Unlike Ottawa-born and bred leafs fans I did not stick with the team my father raised me on, despite Ottawa being a less-than-sexy choice at the time – Slight downgrade going from Patrick Roy to Petr Sidorkeiwickz in net- also the Sens very first game being those exact teams squaring off was a real baptism by fire fandom moment. Anyway, in 2010 it was cool to see a petite and rag tag Habs squad coached by Jacques Martin make a splash. It is however NOTHING to say that I did not want to see anyone in the North East winning a cup before Ottawa. And I never will. Silver lining: My Habs past has fostered in me a next level hate for Toronto which is a gift.
Currently, I am a little bit betwixt second favourite teams. The last team besides Ottawa that I was ever REALLY into was the 2004 Calgary Flames.
Real Talk: The clutch and grab, trap era of hockey was reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaally dull. Mmmm this New Jersey Devils Sleepytime Tea is delicious! And let there be no doubt the Flames were a defence first squad but hot DAMN there was something inspiring about this lunch pail crew busting up 3 division champs en route to the final. The hard nosed shot blockers were lead by zen master Mikka Kipprusoff who was absolutely mind blowing (Conn Smythe worthy IMHO) and Jerome Iginla the textbook example of what it is to be a team captain and current reigning Nicest Man in Springfield but they were a true team the whole way. They took it as far as they could losing a devastatingly tight game 7 to the flashy Sandwich Bay Lizards or whatever. Ottawa could also have taken a cue from the warm reception Calgary gave their hard defeated Flames. That was cool. As a fan I returned from the labour stoppage excited as ever about hockey and I’ll always in part credit the Flames for a hand in that…also, now I don’t really care about them. (See also: Joikenin, Oli; Going on with their management?, What the f_ck is).
For now, I suppose if and when the Sens get knocked out of the playoffs I will continue to passively root for the team I hate less – and in an 82 game regular season there ain’t many teams that I like by post season. As I always retort when Dad routinely disses the Sens “Hey its root, root, root for the HOME team.”