This year, I thought I’d best get it out of the way before I suffer through yet another Senators season.
Drawing from two back-to-back, seemingly unrelated Ottawa Citizen front page stories this past August, one about athletes such as the Senators’ Chris Neil being more prone to violence because of their fat square faces and the one about Jason Spezza purchasing a McKellar Park mansion, it just dawned on me that perhaps there is indeed a correlation between those bits and pieces.
I can’t help but have this overwhelming hunch that the 2008-09 season will be the first of many seasons in which the Senators miss the playoffs. Why? Too many smiling faces like Spectator Spezza and not enough fat faces like Humpty Dumpty Neil. Add an aging and lead-footed defensive corps to two number two goalies and throw in an alarming lack of offensive punch after the Pizza Line and you get an instant recipe for stiff pies.
Could it be that the party’s over before it even began and that the future for Ottawa’s NHL hockey club is suddenly so dark that no one will ever need to wear shades at night again, not even exiled goalie Ray Emery?
This mediocrity will only get worse, especially if there are no immediate changes at the helm of the club. When exacerbated by mounting fuel prices and lower disposable income, this might even cause the season ticket base to decrease to well under 8,000 in the not-too-distant future. Under such a gloomy scenario, even Tina Fey cannot assure us that the team is here for good.
(Editor's note -- a little alarmist, maybe.)
So perhaps owner Eugene Melnyk would be wise to consider not spreading himself too thin with his soccer pipe dream for a hockey-only town and instead concentrate on getting his own house in order. Hopefully, he will finally come to his senses and realize that one cannot aspire to win a horse, er, hockey race with two old nags like Roy Mlakar and Bryan Murray neighing at the strings.
The puck’s in your stable, Mr. Eugene, waiting to be kicked around. What game shall you play this year?
Oct. 1, 2008
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