Surprisingly, the Senators did their jobs ON the ice in February, but let’s cut right to the chase – did they do their jobs OFF the ice? Why are you even wasting time reading this introduction, let’s go!
1) Erik Karlsson (last month: 2)
This picture’s great because you’ve got the grizzled veteran, gradually accepting the footsteps of the generation coming up behind him, and the young up-and-comer, wondering how he’s going to be taken seriously as an actor after Titanic.
You wanna know why Bryan Murray kept Erik Condra around as a “glue guy”, as an “in-the-room guy”? Because Bryan Murray demands the best from his players and knows how to light a fire underneath them. He knows that Erik Condra wins these power rankings most of the time, and every now and then that absurdity provides Erik Karlsson with the necessary motivation to pull his phone out and show us how the other half really lives. So what are the superstars doing this month?
Getting free, unsolicited caricatures! Us regular folks gotta pay $15 down at the boardwalk for one of those, and for some reason we always get drawn holding a golf club, even though we specifically said we don’t golf. Take some more pride in your work, $15 caricature guys.
Texting while driving in inclement weather! What, you think that kind of multi-tasking is a bad idea? You’re looking at a guy who survived an early-season pairing with Mark Borowiecki; he can steer out of a skid with one hand.
Volunteering with seniors! They just have so much to teach us, y’know?
Wearing sushi shorts! Only 110 euros with shipping, not including customs. Remember: when someone takes your picture in these babies, the pro move is to keep the quadruple Bay Breeze in your right hand just out of frame.
Weighing in on Tom Waits’ discography! Because just when people try to peg you as a Swedish fancy boy who only like EDM and tasteful, beardy neo-folk, let ‘em know you spent last Friday night listening to wild hobo rasps over banged garbage-can lids! Keep them guessing!
Seriously, Erik Karlsson could and should win these rankings every month. But it’s like the Norris – once you’ve won once, you’ve got to be better the next time, even if you’re still the best. And that means that more often than not, someone good-enough, like Erik Condra or P.K. Subban, gets sucked into the very vacuum you create.
2) Erik Condra (last month: 1)
Aren’t you from Michigan? Put your barbecue next to the patio door, Condra.
3) Bryan Murray (last month: NR)
We’ve looked at life from both sides now, so let’s move on to the man who’s agreed to keep Eriks major and minor together, at least for a few more months. We’ve already broken down, though beard-stroking consensus, why Murray’s inaction at the deadline was the right approach, but make no mistake – he’s got plans. Trading half his roster to the Oilers? Possible. Signing Andrew Hammond to an eight-year deal? Not out of the question. Continuing to gaslight Patrick Wiercioch? Of course. Making Jared Cowen the NHL’s first player-coach since 1970? That one might be the most likely, actually. Did you know he’s 6-5?
4) Marc Methot (last month: NR)
Then there’s the other planet orbiting Karlsson’s sun this month, Marc Methot. They sure played up the bromance angle when Methot re-signed, didn’t they? You saw this interview, right? Marc Methot eats early! Tips sparingly! Wears simple clothes! Erik Karlsson stays up late! Spreads his cash around! Dresses like a medieval falconer! But when this odd couple gets together on the ice, it turns out they’re made for each other! I mean, I know these two are now together until 2019, but I’m just saying – nobody ever asked Filip Kuba what he thought about Karlsson’s cranny of hair products.
When these two are pending free agents in four years, will they negotiate with the Senators, or the Las Vegas Black Dice, as a unit? Will their pairing be threatened before that, when Jared Cowen ascends to his destined status as the team’s #1 shutdown defenseman? Will Karlsson ever convince Methot to buy a $500 t-shirt? We’ll soon find out.
5) Bobby Ryan (last month: 4)
Remember what I said last month about finding restaurants no matter where you live? There you go.
Now that Bobby Ryan is finally a homeowner and official resident of Ottawa for (up to) seven years, how else do you think his life is going to change? Will he have his own hot take about the city’s false starts with light rail? Quietly set the high score on Addams Family pinball at House of TARG? Get us a Chipotle?
We all watch the Bachelor – the whirlwind courtship is exciting, but it’s just the theatrical run-up to what’s (ideally) a long-term journey of love. The cameras are off now – no more helicopter rides, no more roses, no more decisions – just Bobby Ryan and the city of Ottawa, alone at last, figuring out a life together. What will they talk about? How will they change each other? And really, what are you more excited about – watching Bobby Ryan develop his on-ice chemistry with Mika Zibanejad over the next few years, or watching him argue with idiots on Twitter about the city’s best sharwarma joint?
6) Bow ties (last month: NR)
Last month, the Sens Foundation held its annual Sens Soirée youth charity event at the casino (official motto: “the only place the Senators ever hold anything”); the theme was “Dixie Bound”, which basically meant all the players wore the same bow tie, just as one would at any antebellum gala, or maybe a boys’ choir recital. What’s that? A worst- and best-dressed list? Okay, if you say so.
#3: Robin Lehner
These two aren’t badly dressed per se, but they look like they’re going to spend all night smoking kreteks, make a few nihilistic remarks, and then leave in a hovercraft. They terrify me.
#2: Kyle Turris
Kyle Turris goes for a fashion-forward cutaway collar that ends up drowning out his bow tie. Kyle! You look like Vincent Price!
#1: Marc Methot
This suit looks like it’s made out of a barbecue cover.
#3: Erik Karlsson
#2: Milan Michalek
Check out Purplesaurus Rex over here. These kinds of bold violet shades, worn carelessly, can make one look like a Dick Tracy villain, but Milo pulls it off by keeping things simple and ends up looking dressed to (penalty) kill. Thanks for reading.
#1: Andrew Hammond
Be honest: on February 5, when this picture was taken, you had no idea who this guy was, right? He’d been an emergency call-up a week before, hadn’t played a game, and spent most of his time wearing a mask, for crying out loud. But when you look closer, you see the confident gait of a man who knows you’re going to know exactly who he is very soon, don’t you? Why else would he come stag?
7) Chris Phillips (last month: 5)
Good on Big Rig for street-teaming their merch like this, but would YOU trust a first responder showing up to your emergency repping everybody’s favorite neighborhood brewpub? Like, “sorry, I don’t have the tools to cut you out of that car, but you’ll need “jaws of life” to wrap your mouth around this signature 8-oz. chipotle turkey burger! … I agree, that is a lot of blood.”
8) Jean-Gabriel Pageau (last month: NR)
Yeah, he’s a little short to be an enforcer, but let’s be honest: he could probably still knock Kassian on his ass.
9) Curtis Lazar (last month: 7)
Curtis Lazar – he’s just like us! Here we see Lazar, who’s previously used Twitter to show himself doing normal-dude things like driving around, helping friends move, and winning the world junior championships, taking a ball in the face from Chris Phillips’ daughter. Unfortunately, the video cuts out before one of Chris Neil’s kids steps up and lays her out shortly thereafter. You have to send a message with that kind of crap.
10) Mike Hoffman (last month: 10)
Speaking of short, Vince Carter is 6-6. Mike Hoffman’s player page on NHL.com lists him as 6-0. Sure, what the hell – see you next month!
NOT RANKED: Eugene Melnyk; when Val Kilmer crashes your date; when people don’t get the “Seger in ’75” thing you’re going for; when you don’t notice the even more awesome “LUVALOT” plate behind you; when you won’t stop bothering the mayor; when even your spitting is perfect; when you tan so hard your swim trunks disappear; when Morgan Freeman says “BAWBEH RYEH” and everything’s okay, for a second.