There is an upside to Jeffrey Simpson's takedown of the Ottawa Senators in this morning's Globe & Mail.
The Senators rate being ripped in Canada's National Newspaper. Do not push back against this, Sens fans. Do not do as some doofleberries did in the comments section, playing shoot-the-messenger over Mr. Simpson writing that the team's "collapse is the biggest untold story in Canadian hockey ... the culmination of a series of dubious or bad management decisions, not one of which caused the plunge but, taken together, rotted the team."
(Untold story? Mr. Simpson, you have evidently not read Jean-Pierre Allard's invaluable contributions to this site. Speaking as a fellow Queen's Journal alumnus, that hurts deeply, sir.)
This is your just desserts. Many of you in Hockey Country have kvetched for years that the Toronto media didn't give your precious team its due, even when it was going to the Stanley Cup final in 2007. It's taken 18 months and a slide to the middle of the Eastern Conference, but attention is often overdue in coming, c'est la vie.
Point being, try to see the good in the fact that The Globe believed the entire country needed to hear that the Senators, at the quarter-pole in the NHL schedule, are on pace for 74 points, which hasn't been good enough to make the playoffs since the days of the old Campbell Conference. Typically, a dismal hockey team's plight only gets national play if it is the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Senators are established enough to get blowback.
This is a positive, really, so don't lose the lesson. If life in Hockey Country seems jolly rotten, there's something you've forgotten, and that's to smile and laugh and dance and sing, like the way Leafs fans have been known to after the team wins a first-round playoff series. Leafs fans have read a bajillion bits of bombast all over the years, and really, it's slides off champagne off an Anaheim Duck's cheeks back in June 2007. It's called being bulletproof.
So please, let Mr. Simpson have his moment. There is no hay to be made trying to equivocate and wondering what is the difference between someone who's not normally on the hockey beat suggesting Pierre McGuire or Steve Yzerman as a possible Senators GM and the same suggestion coming from some ass-talker with a blog. Try not to get hung up on questions about whether Sens-carving is already dated, whether someone who is on a minor beat such as Canadian federal politics (face the facts, Jeff) should be trusted to write about hockey, since people actually care about hockey. Granted, going from Parliament Hill to Scotiabank Place is an easy switch, since the only thing that moves slower than the wheels of government is Jason Smith.
This is a glorious day, Sens fans. This is a chance to learn that as a hockey fan, you come from nothing, you go back to nothing, what have you lost? Nothing!
You wanted the rest of the Canada to care about your team's ups and downs almost as much as you wanted a Stanley Cup parade down Bank St. Well, you know what they say about being careful what you wish for ... everyone is now supposed to care. So it goes.
(And when is Jeff Simpson going to write that column about the Raptors? Thanks to The Tao of Stieb for the link. By the way, Coming Down The Pipe! has a good primer on Team Sweden for the World Junior Hockey Championship, which start one month from Wednesday. )
A capital collapse; With the Senators swooning, can major changes and a new GM such as Yzerman be far behind? (Jeffrey Simpson, The Globe & Mail)