Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Forget about your Sens, give the audience a grin

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)


GoGades said...

Wow, all class this morning !

Sportsdump said...

I guess not everyone is wearing a Senators Moustahce.

Andrew Bucholtz said...

+100 for the headline;).

Dennis Prouse said...

Wow - feel the hate. What is it about the Senators that attracts so much weird, negative fan and media energy? This has been one of the most consistently successful teams in the League, with 11 consecutive playoff appearances. There isn't another Canadian NHL city that can hold a candle to that number, yet you would swear that this team was wallowing in last place for years.

You can tell that Simpson isn't a hockey guy when he reverts to that old chestnut of, "they drafted player X, and passed on players Y and Z in the same year." You can go to EVERY team in the league, and call them out for "missing" on a certain player. Every team misses on guys, as evidenced by the fact that barely half the first round picks in any given year go on to sign a second NHL contract. All you can in evaluating draft records is to look at a team's five year record, and see how many of their draft picks became NHL regulars. Then compare that number to that of other teams. It's the only reasonable measure, and not coincidentally it's the one the teams themselves use.

Anonymous said...

Other teams treat their fans with respect and dignity. Voila Monsieur Prousse.

Docteur Ballard

sager said...

The Universal Cynic has had some things to say about how the Senators organization needs a dose of humility. There's that, and the fact Ottawa is home to the big "gubbermint" and people just plain don't like that about us.

Tao of Stieb said...

"You can tell that Simpson isn't a hockey guy..."

Actually, Simpson IS a hockey guy, a passionate and intelligent fan who has written on the game over the years.

It's not necessarily his "beat", but that doesn't mean that he can't make salient points on the franchise, does it?

Anonymous said...

Well said, Tao of Stieb.. and of Gance Mullinorg.


eyebleaf said...

go leafs go

Dennis Prouse said...

I'm sure Simpson is a passionate fan, and on surface issues he's a pretty knowledgeable one. Rapping a team for "missing" on drafting player X or Y, however, is simplistic bar stool populism. Anyone who knows the draft knows that this happens to all teams, and a lot of "great draft picks" are really just pure luck. Either Simpson knows this, and was just gratuitously piling on the Senators, or he doesn't, in which case he really isn't as smart as he makes himself out to be.

Let's take Milan Lucic in Boston as an example. Sure, they saw something in the kid, but let's be clear -- he was a second round pick, 50th overall, in 2006. No one in their organization expected him to make the team at 19 and have the kind of season he had, and to become the kind of impact player he has turned into today at age 20. Congrats to the Bruins, but that is more luck than good management.

J.P., I would also be indebted if you would tell me just how the Senators insult their fans, or don't treat them with respect. I see an organization that, on the community relations and marketing side, works as hard as any team in the league. On the ice, they have made the playoffs 11 years in a row. Other than the Red Wings, Devils, and perhaps the Avalanche, you can't name another NHL franchise that has delivered that kind of consistent on-ice success to their fans in the last decade.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I don't know. It's just a gut feeling. Can't say for sure because at the Lodge, we are not allowed to venture past Churchill Ave. and consequently, I have not set foot at The Stash since the pre lock-out "somniferes". But I hear all these things almost every week about marketing and PR gaffes and when these are exacerbated by inept management that could not even help a troubled youngster and in fact blamed him for last year's self-destruction, then my back gets up. Then again, it's the same organization that ran their best player out of town by painting him as a villain when all he wanted was fair trade money verbally promised to him by a rookie GM. Need more.

Hooray For Mr. Not So Clean

GoGades said...

wow, defending Yashin *and* Emery in one post. Never thought I'd see that.

Sens did all they could to help Emery - what he really need was a good beatdown but the only guy that could deliver it was his best friend (McGratton). To pretend that Emery was hard done by the Sens is pure comedy gold. As the cliche goes, this is a bottom line business: he wasn't stopping the puck, and he was acting like a twit off the ice. He's lucky he didn't finish the season riding the bus in Bingo.

re: Yashin. "all he wanted was fair trade money verbally promised to him by a rookie GM." If Yashin's agent screwed up and didn't get the purported promises down on paper, that's on him, not on the Sens. When *I* do financial transactions, anything over $100 I get it in writing - either there were NO promises, or he's an idiot. Besides, if Yashin is so concerned about fairness, then you'd think he'd given the Islanders a refund. Somehow, I doubt it.

This is a good blog - I really enjoy the CIS coverage and focus on local stuff. However, when it comes to NHL hockey, it's pure trolling, every time. I guess if you're looking at getting more comments, I fell in your trap. But that shit gets old pretty fast. I already skip the Allard garbage anyways, so there's always that.

If you want to bash the Sens, there's plenty of legit material available anyway, what with their inability - to this day - to land a #1 goalie, or signing the likes of Mike Fisher to a massive deal for ... well, who knows why they did that.

To sum up an already too long post: posts like this kind of hurt the credibility of an otherwise decent blog, IMO.

Not even a Sens fan.

sager said...


I respect your opinion 100% because you're always straight up, but I agree that anything we post on hockey is trolling ... it was just an attempt to poke fun at a column and a columnist that was ripping the Senators without putting any of the team's problems into context.

With hockey, there's more common ground, general knowledge, so you can joke around since most people know the turf pretty well.

I'm under no illusion that we're in a league with the hundreds of hardcore hockey-dedicated sites. All I can really give is a window into what it's like to be a fan of the game, and maybe steer some people toward some good resources online.

The Simpson column was bound to be a talker. The point I wanted to make is that I have heard many Ottawa fans complain that the "Toronto media" never pay enough attention to the Senators. And now they are!

Tao of Stieb said...

Wait a second...when did Simpson become the "Toronto media"?

sager said...

Well, where are the Globe's offices?

Mikey said...

Simpson lives in Ottawa and is often at Sens games (I've seen in the 300 level no less) wearing a Sens jersey.

Sens fan he is. Or to be more correct, angry Sens fan he is.