Ottawa Senators Off-Ice Power Rankings – May 2015

May is a land of contrasts. The Senators of summer – those deathless kings of the beach, chowing down on foot-long hot links aboard their Sea-Doos – have yet to emerge fully, only now poking their heads out after a long winter like so many baby robins. Yet with the season finally over and emotions from the first round just beginning to fade, the last thing we feel like talking about is actual hockey, isn’t it? We’re all gradually disengaging from the game, remembering only to check in on each increasingly-satisfying Habs playoff loss, ready for something, anything different.

May is not the time for 3,000 words about why black-on-black doesn’t work for Patrick Wiercioch, is what I’m saying. So no ruminations this month, no philosophy, no prose – ten quick hits and we’re out. Let’s go!

1) Erik Condra (last month: NR)




“Goodnight to the rock ‘n roll era” – some band, probably

We’re sending off pending UFA Erik Condra the only way we know how, at the top of the power rankings one last time. Goodnight, sweet Michigan prince. Flights of angels will sing thee to thy rest, on the third line in LA, or Chicago, or some other team with an analytics department and $1.5 million dollars.

2) Erik Karlsson (last month: 1)



We could talk about Karlsson-family secondary sex characteristics and genetic predispositions to wispy facial hair, or how Karlsson’s brother looks like Jeff Sweedy, but I just want to point out one thing. The man on the right has the genes of an elite Swedish defenseman, and he’s taller. The last time the Senators had a guy like that, they traded him for Kyle Turris. Bryan! Call up Kenny Holland and tell him you’ll give him a Karlsson for Anthony Mantha! I could be a GM.

3) Cody Ceci (last month: 8)



“I’ll use your tub for as long as I want, thanks. Pay you? Bro, you should be paying ME for this. What do you mean you’re closed tomorrow?”

4) Telling a Sad Short Story Through Official Team Merch (last month: NR)

“For sale, playoff towels, used thrice.”

5) There is No #5 This Month (last month: NR)

6) Curtis Lazar (last month: NR)

I have to admit I was a little disappointed when I saw Courteous Lazar being photographed with an unwashed truck this month. After all, this is a guy who shows up to interview day with healthy snacks, throws gentle shade at his billet’s hairline with adorable marker sketches, and even manages a winning smile when he’s caught in a candid during a night out with his orthodontist. Then he goes to Carp for bingo but can’t be bothered to wax his Ford Venator-class Star Destroyer the next day? Didn’t we scout this guy carefully?

7) Chris Phillips (last month: NR)

Why does Chris Phillips NEED to play hockey next year, anyway? He’s already hit the sweet spot most players only dream of when they’re grinding it out in junior; entrepreneur, dad-charity stalwart, beloved local icon holding court with a double-double everywhere he goes. He’s basically Ottawa’s Johnny Bower, but with 50 more years to enjoy it. So just enjoy it, Chris, and think about how furious we’ll all be when you’re gone, and the team immortalizes you with a #4 under the ice, and some dumbass blogger makes a cheap, tasteless joke about it.

8) David Legwand (last month: 3)

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We talked last month about how David Legwand is a man cheerfully out of time, a man without social media or a tinker’s cuss about what the younger generation thinks. Add a comb to that list, I guess. Christ, Legwand. You look like Bobby Ryan if he got frozen in a glacier for 20 years with a pair of jeans from the 90s.

9) Our Friend, Amelia (last month: NR)

actual art

Second-last but not least, we’d be remiss if we didn’t salute Amelia L., who’s moving on as the managing editor at Silver Seven after several years of making it the go-to blog for Sens analysis, insight, and a number of other things that have nothing to do with WTYKY. Amelia helped a number of great young writers get into blogging and was never afraid to take a chance on a highly-unpopular feature. Best of luck with what’s next, Amelia; you will be missed.

10) Andrew Hammond (last month: 4)

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Is it possible that a man who uses a selfie stick could still be paid a lot of money very soon? Sure, what the hell – see you next month!

NOT RANKED: Eugene Melnyk; hot tips; the classic combo of white socks and grey sweats; when the prom chaperones can’t tell you’re high AF; getting shaved by a bear; tweeting while slumped against your condo door, oranges casually spilling out of your overturned brown grocery bags as well-heeled neighbours hurry to the elevator.

Ottawa Senators Off-Ice Power Rankings – April 2015

I’m not gonna lie to you, folks – the Senators’ social media was pretty thin gruel this month. Is it time to retire the power rankings? The paper-thin conceit upon which we’ve always relied is that when social media lets us observe our favorite Senators in their natural environments – the golf course, the boat show, the bottomless scampi basket – it lets us understand them more as hockey players, and maybe even understand ourselves in the process. But what happens when the players start turning the tap off? When tweets become less and less frequent, Instagram accounts go private, and the real action ends up being lost in the ether of Snapchat? Do I need to get a cellular telephone now?

I mean, are they on to us? On the ice, this past month was probably the most successful the Senators have ever had, and yet in the past, those sorts of good times usually translated into at least a few players tweeting blurry pictures involving a stretch Hummer, coconut Skyy, and a guy who looks suspiciously like Gordon Lightfoot. Not this month, though. Have we disrupted a delicate ecosystem by observing it too closely? Have we breached the Prime Directive? Does anyone remember laughter?

So is it time to shut this operation down? Convince me otherwise, guys. Convince me that there’s still some profligacy and a lack of self-awareness in the world, as long as we look closely enough. Convince me, one more time, that the only thing keeping us all from living our best lives . . . is us.

1) Erik Karlsson (last month: 1)



Whatever, that’s like, the cheap Lambo.

2) Partying with dogs (last month: NR)

Let’s dial down our expectations a little, maybe. We all have dogs. How have our favorite Senators recently been partying with dogs? Let’s find out.




Okay, this doesn’t look like much of a party, although in this guy’s defense, he does have a concussion (the man, not the dog). MacArthur is more excited than Apollo here, perhaps because he’s looking forward to his morning garbage can full of cereal in the background.

Also not much of a party, because it’s not clear Mike Hoffman’s bulldog is fully on-board with his particular brand of amorousness. It’s not exactly discomfort; it’s more of a perfunctory expression, like when you’re still mad about the fight over the credit card statement earlier but he’s making a big show of kissing you in front of everyone at the dinner party that you couldn’t cancel. Come on, Hoffman. Don’t put her on the spot like that, especially when you’re only moralizing about her Visa charges because you bought those new Callaways with cash. That’s right, she saw them, hidden in the garage behind the snow tires. So stop being such a jerk and just back off for a couple days.



Okay, it looks like this is as turnt as we’re going to get this month, and it still involves a large man tenderly kissing a small dog, in this case right after mastering the seamless “just turn everything off for three seconds” beatmatch. Forget it, let’s move on.

3) David Legwand (last month: NR)



Maybe we need to consider less usual suspects, so let’s consider David Legwand. David Legwand doesn’t participate in social media, probably because he’s old enough to remember polio. We can see how this decision sets him apart from Mike Hoffman, a man nine years his junior, in this Hoffman selfie – there’s no scarf, no product placement, no carefully styled hair . . . just a man, going about his business, probably reading Field and Stream.

It’s nice to find a throwback every now and then, isn’t it? To know that some people stay true to themselves rather than chase every little trend? Remember when K-cars were everywhere and ugly? The worst, right? But how awesome is it in 2015, the rare time you see a working K-car still on the road, its driver hanging a cigarette out the window in the middle of February? “I bet that guy parties,” you say. That K-car is David Legwand in this picture.

4) Andrew Hammond (last month: 6)

Hey, you can be 15-1-1, but that doesn’t mean the big sponsorships start rolling in right away. This tweet is great because it gives us an athlete who could not be more popular right now plugging a company that could not have less juice. It’s like seeing Harrison Ford shilling for invisible Japanese beer, or getting Erik Karlsson in your web commercial after you let him sit in your rented Lambo.

5) Bobby Ryan (last month: 5)

Yup, even the alleged swagger from our #1 this month turned out just to be product placement. Karlsson didn’t bother to hashtag the company, though. That’s juice. Less juice? When you make $7M a year but have to hang around an H&R Block in full gear hugging strangers, and Lazar still comes off more likeable than you, because of course he does. How many takes do you think they filmed for this commercial? Two?

6) Kyle Turris (last month: NR)

Karlsson and Ryan’s cheesy commercials remind us how low-budget, how milk-and-water, how ordinary the Senators were this month. So hang on, because now we’re entering the “Stars: They’re More or Less Similar to Us!” chunk of these rankings.

turrisHere’s the Senators’ #1 centre in his role as celebrity pitchman for his city’s fancy new department store. Pretty cool, right? Sure, until he starts making clarifying remarks about NCC road closures. How Ottawa is that?

7) Patrick Wiercioch (last month: NR)

Then there’s his buddy Patrick, making his first tweet in seven months, but only because he lost his wife in that same department store. Patrick! It happens! Maybe do some browsing while you’re there? Maybe buy some slim-leg trousers that don’t look like you could use the cuffs to sail a Bermuda-rigged sloop?

8) Cody Ceci (last month: NR)

hat

Okay, this guy wins.

9) Following the rules (last month: NR)

Fine, I can accept that the Senators clearly didn’t do anything exciting last month, but at least they won the games, right? And at least they didn’t lecture us about how we were celebrating those victories inappropriately, right? Wait, they did? Well that tears it.

Look, burger-throwing is silly, but it’s a relatively harmless and definitely short-term bit of fun, not to mention one of the only Senators fan rituals I can think of that actually developed organically following a variety of ham-fisted attempts by the team. The same team, by the way, that was more than happy to promote said burger-throwing by playing up some now-iconic moments. But then somebody pointed out that some moron also threw a Filet-O-Fish, and everyone agreed that was gross, so all the fun had to stop immediately. You know how the conversation went, too:

“The fans are going to think we’re typical, no-fun Ottawa if we tell them to stop throwing burgers. How do we sell this?”

“Get Karlsson to do a video. He’s cool.”

“You’re right, he took some pictures in a rented Lambo the other day. Good idea. But who does the French?”

“Chiasson?”

“Can’t, he’s serving a double-minor for high-sticking right now.”

” . . . it’s 10:15 in the morning.”

“Weird, right?”

“Okay, Pageau?”

“Who?”

“Ah, let’s just get Methot.”

“Perfect, those guys have great chemistry. I’m sure neither will look completely embarrassed telling fans how to celebrate responsibly now that the team’s finally put together a few wins after underachieving for most of the year. Alright, margaritas?”

“Again, 10:15 in the morning.”

10) Mark Stone (last month: NR)

Is Mark Stone in a state of urinary urgency the appropriate note to end on? Sure, what the hell – see you next month! Maybe.

NOT RANKED: Eugene Melnyk; when knitting looks more realistic than your bobblehead; #wood.

Ottawa Senators Off-Ice Power Rankings – March 2015

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)

Russell Crowe IS Bryan Murray in the upcoming biopic "Shawville Redemption".

Russell Crowe IS Bryan Murray in “The Shawville Redemption”.

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)

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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.

WORST!

#3: Robin Lehner
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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
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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
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This suit looks like it’s made out of a barbecue cover.

BEST!

#3: Erik Karlsson
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Obviously.

#2: Milan Michalek
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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
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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)

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Vince-sanity #AirCanada @codyceci

A post shared by Mike Hoffman (@mhoffy68) on



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.

Ottawa Senators Off-Ice Power Rankings – February 2015

One of the things I’ve come to look forward to during the doldrums of winter and the despondency of another unsuccessful season is the reprieve afforded by events like All-Star Weekend and the Winter Olympics. There’s nothing like a week-long break from watching your favorite NHL team lose more games than it wins, especially when its replacement is superstars palling around and playing world-class hockey. And for the guys who had to stay home? Surely they got up to all kinds of crazy things during their time off, right? Let’s find out!

1) Erik Condra (last month: 1)
condraAre you just doing this interview so you won’t get fined?

2) Erik Karlsson (last month: 4)
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If you’re like me, you felt a warm, nostalgic glow swell within you when you saw this picture of a 12-year-old Erik Karlsson, only to have it dissipate gradually into a subtle but unshakeable feeling of familiar, quiet dread. Because ultimately, this picture reminds us that, like you, like me, like our loved ones, like the Ford Focus we’re still paying off, Erik Karlsson is getting older. Less time elapsed between the day this picture was taken and Erik Karlsson’s draft day than between his draft day and today.

This picture reminds us that having a plan is important. We look at this picture of a 12-year-old Erik Karlsson the way, soon, we’ll look at a picture of the 24-year-old Erik Karlsson, as a snapshot in time, a brilliant moment gone forever. When we remember that, how should we spend our time together? As a series of stops and starts, not-quites and good-enoughs, until all that’s left is pictures? Or in a considered, respectful way, a way that recognizes we’re on an all-too-brief journey with the only 24-year-old Erik Karlsson that will ever exist? This picture reminds us that Erik Karlsson, the hockey player, isn’t a tangible asset; he’s a palm full of sand we can only hold for so long.

A Senators fan has two reactions to this picture. The first is “Awwwwww.” And the second, whispered, is “Hang on, Karl. We’ll get you some help.”

3) Kyle Turris (last month: NR)

Just what the world needs, another smartass 25-year-old Hill staffer.

4) Bobby Ryan (last month: 7)


All-Star Weekend is a good reminder that, if you’re an NHL superstar, it really doesn’t matter where you live. We all move to take a job somewhere, start a family, travel for work too much, and have a little neighborhood Italian restaurant we think is our secret, and that experience is largely similar in any number of cities, whether that’s Pittsburgh, Tampa, Raleigh, or Ottawa. The Senators are offering seven years and $50 million? Let’s do it – we’re already here, and I love the chicken parm at that place around the corner.

If you’re an NHL superstar it doesn’t matter what city you choose to make your home in, because the real party, the get-together with your colleagues with whom you share so much in common, only happens once a year, always in a different city. We’re doing it in Columbus this year? Sure, why not – Foligno keeps telling me about the osso buco at this hole-in-the-wall red sauce joint he likes.

All-Star Weekend reminds us that we can be comfortable living almost anywhere, as long as we make plans to get together with old friends every now and then. Where you go almost doesn’t matter; pick a city, pick a weekend, and it’ll be just as fun as it was last year. It’s a worthwhile break from work, and when you go home, wherever that is, you’ll always have the pictures, and you’ll still have that great local pizza margherita waiting for you.

5) Chris Phillips (last month: 8)
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Chris Phillips had his bobblehead night at the Canadian Tire Centre last month, and I’m just going to let James take the mic for this one:


6) Mark Stone (last month: NR)

Welcome to the power rankings, Mark Stone! Everybody talks about how Mark looks like Quentin Tarantino, but for some reason no one’s asking why he looks nothing like his brother. Anyway, here’s Mark reviewing the point totals of Ottawa’s pending RFA forwards:

RFA


Lookin’ good, Mark!

7) Curtis Lazar (last month: 5)

See, this is how Spezza and Heatley fell out.

If you hadn’t already heard, Curtis Lazar went and won himself a gold medal as the captain of Canada’s world junior team, putting him in the esteemed company of teammates Mika Zibanejad, Kyle Turris, Clarke MacArthur, and Chris Phillips (twice!). For a guy who’s still only got one goal in 34 NHL games, things are pretty good for Curtis Lazar at the moment, huh? He just turned 20, his GM thinks highly enough of him not to trade him for three months of Antoine Vermette, and gas prices are so low right now he can literally just drive around all day. It’s almost enough to make you forget how young Lazar really is, until you see him looking like he’s a ward of the Big Brothers program on his way to the All-Star game or dressed like Tintin as he rides cheerfully on the back of a flatbed cart.

So what’s the next phase for Lazar? When does he have to start answering the tough questions about expectations, about performance, about finding his own condo? Next year, right?

Okay, probably never.

8) Mika Zibanejad (last month: NR)

We can compare and contrast the profile Lazar enjoys with that of fellow gold medallist and first-rounder Mika Zibanejad. Whereas Lazar is already universally beloved, we see here that after three years in the NHL, Zibanejad, though popular, still hasn’t risen above being co-billed with war criminals Florida Georgia Line, although he does manage to grab headlines over Rob Schneider. But hey, even Alfredsson needed ten years to win this city over, right?

9) AR-15 Rifles

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Shooting range #AR-15 #🎯

A post shared by JG Pageau (@pagertrain) on


Here we see J-G Pageau and Cody Ceci at the range, each having chosen a rifle Wikipedia describes as “popular among civilian shooters and law enforcement forces around the world due to [its] accuracy and modularity.” Wikipedia goes on to note that the AR-15 features a “butt stock that [does] not swell or splinter,” suggesting it may also be a good choice for Marc Methot. Thanks for reading.

10) Proving you’re close, personal friends with Jake Gyllenhaal

Sure, what the hell. See you next month!

NOT RANKED: Eugene Melnyk; missed connections; setting your filter to “Spanish-Language Romance Novel Cover”; when keeping it 100 goes wrong.

Ottawa Senators Off-Ice Power Rankings – January 2015

Thanks for coming, everybody. Let’s get started.

1) Erik Condra

C’s first Christmas tree 💞🎄🎅🎁 He couldn’t be more excited!!!! 🙊 @econdra22

A photo posted by Ryan Condra (@ryan_r_condra) on Dec 12, 2014 at 1:34pm PST



Even though the power rankings have been gone for a few months, we’re rebooting them in the traditional way, which is with Erik Condra winning. I know what you’re saying; Chet, Erik Condra is from Michigan, there’s no way that’s his first Christmas tree. Yet so often we forget the sacrifices these men have to make to get to the NHL.

2) Dave Cameron

“Knock knock, Legwand!” “Who’s there?” “Killa Cam!” “Killa who?” “Killa Cam! Hustler! Grinder! Gorilla! True? You’re off the PP, by the way.”

You know how it is when you get a promotion. There’s just a little more spring in your step those first few days, a little more volume in your voice, a little extra twist in your coffee order. You’ve earned that nutmeg, buddy! Even at work, you look at the mess your predecessor left you only with optimism, like a half-assembled IKEA bed you’re convinced you can salvage. There’s a way to make those flimsy, disparate parts work together, and you’re going to figure it out.

After a month, is Dave Cameron still in this first stage? Or has he already transitioned into the second stage of being the maybe-interim coach a bubble team, where optimism gives way to weary resolve, and he starts showing up at press conferences with the drawn, far-eyed stare of a man who believes that if he can just crest that next hill, maybe he can roll forever? It’s the look you see on the face of aging gunslingers, and most dads.

In coaching’s circle of life, of course, eventually even that resolve is just replaced with a sarcastic twinkle, which is pretty much where Paul MacLean lived for the last year. But for now, never lose that feeling, Dave Cameron. Stay positive, stay hopeful, eyes and heart and mind opened as wide as you can, as long as you can, as long as they’ll let you. There will be a game in March, in Winnipeg, on the second half of a back-to-back, where every defensive assignment will be blown, every forward lazily caught offside, every player limping tiredly back to the dressing room, when you’ll be tempted to close them. At that moment, do your best to remember these days, Dave Cameron, driving home through Stittsville, CHEZ 106 just a little louder than usual, nutmeg in your cup.

3) Paul MacLean

No, that’s not my daughter. Let her cook, though.

You know how it is when you get fired. The last thing you want to do is give anyone the impression that your life isn’t an uninterrupted stream of success. So you put some new suits on your line of credit; you act like you’re on an important call when you see a former co-worker at Farm Boy; you actually start returning wine bottles so the neighbours don’t see how many are piling up in your blue box. Or, if you’re Paul MacLean, you say to hell with appearances and just keep showing up at the rink even though you’re being paid not to work, like any other disgruntled buyout, or the Edmonton Oilers.

Paul MacLean has made no secret of the fact that he thinks the Senators gave him a raw deal, and when he finds another job, which he will, he’s going to do everything he can to show them up, as he should. Because when he’s behind the bench next year in Columbus, or Phoenix, or Philadelphia and the Senators come to town, you don’t think his new team will be jumping over the boards a little quicker knowing they’re facing the team that thought their coach over-deployed Chris Neil? Yeah.

4) Erik Karlsson

Erik Karlsson used to win these rankings almost every month. But you know what? He’s the captain now, and if the media is to be believed, that means the goalposts have been moved a little. So in that context, let’s examine Erik Karlsson’s performance in the team’s annual Christmas video.

Well, it’s not great. His line readings are stiff, his mugging is a little over-the-top, and he never really sells the premise of Erik Karlsson, choosing to relax after a hard practice by watching Christmas movies, in a CTC lounge into which no one else is apparently allowed, in a universe where this is considered typical. In contrast, last year, Jason Spezza – former captain? Tall guy? Going bald? Anybody? – last year Jason Spezza sang, loudly and poorly, but in a way that made you believe no one could possibly have more Senators holiday spirit. And most people didn’t think much of him as a captain! Then you’ve got Karlsson running through this thing like he’s already late for his weekly pore mask.

I can make excuses for Karlsson here, trot out the usual defenses. He’s a creative playmaker being forced into a framework that stifles him; he’s being shackled to inferior talent; we’re taking for granted all the little mistakes he doesn’t make. Enough. The Senators did something they rarely do, which is take a small, measured risk, by making a young Swede captain over a few Canadian veterans in a town that’s likely to magnify every fault he has for years until it decides he’s a beloved, faultless icon sometime in his late 30s. That’s unfair, but it’s true. So you’re that young Swede, what do you do? You start by selling the hell out of the team Christmas video.

While we’re on the subject, the winners in this video are Phillips, Borowiecki, and Turris. The losers are Lazar, who for some reason has to take his shirt off; MacArthur, who doesn’t get an actual part but instead gets his head stretched in widescreen; and everyone trying to re-enact a music video that came out ten years before they were born, after it’s explained to them what a “music video” is. Condra’s a push, because despite the strong performance here, he’s still making up for this thing.

5) Curtis Lazar

Then you’ve got guys who can seemingly do no wrong from day one. I like Curtis Lazar, but we’re not asking him the tough questions yet. Questions like, “why do you need to drive a truck that looks like something used by the Ferguson police?” Why do we keep turning a blind eye to the ongoing militarization of our hockey players’ vehicles?

6) Cody Ceci

This picture is amazing. Here you’ve got long-time Senators favorite Jason York sweating, glowering, and staggering into this picture like he’s at the end of a four-day creep, clutching what appears to be a large stack of money, or possibly Uno cards, next to a bemused six-year-old hockey prodigy who’s already wearing sleeveless tees. And then a plastic Jean Coutu bag blows into the frame, reminding you there’s so much beauty in the world, sometimes your heart can’t take it.

Cody Ceci is a fan favorite, and it’s in part because pictures like this with York, or others with early Senators megastars like Brian Smolinski, Damian Rhodes, or this guy, form a kind of origin story. Remember that pretty much every NHL player, when he was growing up as a junior hockey star, was a fan of the local NHL team. In most cases, childhood pictures of them decked out in this team gear are little more than historical curiosities. But in the miniscule chance a player is good enough to make the NHL, and then, even more rarely, is actually drafted by his hometown team, and then his Mom gets on Twitter, well, it makes those pictures seem more like predestination, doesn’t it? Looking at this picture in 2015, that’s no longer sweat on Jason York’s brow . . . it’s the water of baptism. Hope you’re staying hydrated, Jason.

7) Bobby Ryan

A lot of this space used to be about parsing Bobby Ryan’s every move in an attempt to ascertain whether he, y’know, liked us. Sure, maybe it’s silly and a little sad when you lay it out like that, but who’s the one who’s already read this far?

Anyway, it’s over; we won. I know that news is months-old, but I just got back, and anyway, it sets up a larger point – what now? Bobby Ryan is, currently, the longest-signed, highest-paid player on the Senators roster. Is he still a Senator in 2022, at the age of 35? Is he somewhere else, by his own decision or by the team’s? Is he Dany Heatley?

Right now we’re still in the honeymoon period; Ryan isn’t even the highest-paid player on the team yet, and won’t be until late 2017 given the way Erik Karlsson’s deal is set up. But it’ll start before that – as a seven million-dollar man, is he enough of a leader? Is he an expensive luxury on a team that should be rebuilding? Is he too streaky? Too one-dimensional? Does he speak French yet?

You know what? It’s pointless worrying. We’re all streaky and one-dimensional, in our own ways, we can all be better leaders, and most of us aren’t anywhere near as personable in general, or as talented at anything, as Bobby Ryan is. And the occasional expensive luxury, even in a city as puritanical as Ottawa, provides a necessary bit of fun every now and then.

8) Chris Phillips

Pretty cool to find Big Rig in Washington DC. #fortheloveofbeer #longwayfromhome

A photo posted by @cphillipsfour on Dec 12, 2014 at 3:11pm PST



“Sir, you can take that beer to Washington with you, but it can’t be in your carry-on. It’s the rules, I’m sorry.”

9) Marc Methot

Has there ever been a period while Marc Methot has been an Ottawa Senator that we’ve known less about what’s going on with him? I don’t mean the mysterious on-again, off-again haunch injury no one’s prepared to speak to that has him playing one day and then out of practice for the next month. Nor do I mean the negotiating no-man’s land he and the team find themselves in as his contract year ticks down with no certainty about his health. No, I’m referring to the disappearance of the Methot we all grew to know and love these last two years, the one who took shirtless pictures with the mayor, live-tweeted his haircuts, and vigorously took on any and all Twitter chuckleheads.

Methot has entered an unusual period of social media silence while he’s been skulking around the edges of the Senators’ season, Cape Fear-style. He doesn’t tweet much, he set his Instagram to private, and whatever he’s up to, he’s keeping it to himself. He’s around, sure; he’s on the road trips, he’s skating alone after practice, and he’s even behind the bench “coaching” at the skills competition. But if that consists of bird-dogging the first few rows and offering Gryba a sip of whatever’s in his water bottle, he’s not letting on.

But would you? If you were trying to extract long-term money from a team that’s already rumoured not to love your attitude, and you had something going on, haunch-wise, that kept you from demonstrating your value on the ice, and there were further rumours about the team not loving your attitude vis-à-vis your commitment to working through whatever’s going on, haunch-wise, would that be a good environment in which to post last weekend’s pictures of you and seven other shirtless guys in the back of a stretch Hummer, empty bottles of NOS and Red Berry Cîroc littering the floor? What do you think?

So what’s to be done? Well, it’s not likely Methot will start putting the good stuff back online until he’s convinced the Senators to give him that safe-bet, long-term money, which won’t happen until he starts playing regularly again, which won’t happen until he’s healthy, which brings us back to whatever’s Methot’s got going on, haunch-wise. And when put in that context – when you consider that Methot’s mysterious haunch injury isn’t just affecting his future with the Senators, or the stability of the team’s defense, or even perhaps their status as a playoff contender this year, but also the quality of Methot’s social media branding – you realize how much is actually hanging on Methot’s haunches this year. Get well soon, buddy.

10) J-G Pageau

On the one hand, getting excited about a pallet of flavored coconut water would seem to throw into sharp relief the amenities gap between the AHL and NHL. On the other hand, is this demonstrating the kind of positive, team-first attitude that finally gets a guy called up? Sure, what the hell – see you next month!

NOT RANKED: Eugene Melnyk; wearing the same shirt everywhere; getting caught with a joint in your mouth; little dogs; big dogs; stealing other peoples’ jokes.