This is a weekly feature that takes an uncharitable look at the Senators’ upcoming opponents.
Tuesday, December 29 – Senators @ Bruins
Got a lot of reader mail last week – thanks, readers – asking why there was no Brad Marchand mention in Week 12’s list of reasons to hate the Bruins. But Brad Marchand almost goes without saying, doesn’t he? Brad Marchand is just the baseline calibration test for hate meters, to make sure yours is working correctly. You’re getting a positive reading? Okay, everything is normal. Now we can focus on what’s wrong with the rest of the Boston Bruins. Brad Marchand being hated is just Brad Marchand doing his job, like a bug light.
What else? The Senators just beat the Bruins on Sunday, in a game where – are you sitting down? – the Senators may not have iced their optimal lineup. Did Sens Twitter tell you about this? Apparently making Zack Smith a nominal first-liner created a disturbance in the force so great that even Alec Guinness was going to crawl out of his grave to tell you about it. But it prompts a question: if Erik Karlsson sets up a beautiful Mark Stone goal in a forest but Dave Dziurzynski plays more minutes than Shane Prince, does Sens Twitter make a sound? We tested this Sunday, and it does; that sound is, “Happy they won, but [ed. note: “Happy they won, but” will be the “actually” of 2016] this isn’t going to last.” Well, neither did the Velvet Underground.
PREDICTION: Don’t do it, Chet, you’re saying. Don’t turn your guns on Sens Twitter before the season’s even half over. Can’t help it, man. They gave me this hater’s guide and told me to use it, so everybody’s gotta get it at some point. It’s a nasty racket. Look for the Senators to get outshot in this game. Senators 5, Bruins 0.
Wednesday, December 30 – Senators vs. Devils
A Wednesday night home game against the New Jersey Devils, the day after a massive snowstorm, the day before New Year’s Eve, is basically the NHL saying to the Senators, “let’s see what you bastards can do with this.” It’s like a Chopped basket full of lemons, expired ham slices, scrap lumber, and a picture of you as a newborn where your parents look super-disappointed. You might be able to make something out of it but let’s be honest, no one’s going home satisfied.
The Devils are box-office poison, but hey, so is Rob Schneider and he keeps getting work. The Senators will draw a solid crowd for this game, and even though no one’s ever met a Devils fan, there will still be couples in the stands wearing matching Stempniak jerseys and little kids running around pretending to be Andy Greene, and just like the line out the door at Fabricland on Boxing Day, you’ll be wondering where the hell these people came from. Cosplay is big now, apparently. Did you get all those Butterick sewing patterns you were looking for?
PREDICTION: In October the Devils beat the Senators in the shootout, 5-4, which is more goals than the Devils typically score in a week. Look for Andrew Hammond to exact his revenge with a shutout, and for the Devils’ bottom six to make you feel a lot better about the Senators’. Senators 5, Devils 0.
Sunday, January 3 – Senators @ Blackhawks
Eh, to hell with the Chicago Blackhawks. Senators 5, Blackhawks 0.
Season prediction record: 18-12-6
Next week: it’s the third Panthers game in a month! Take more pride in your work, NHL schedule people.