Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sennies, Santa and Sour Grapes: Out there, people are talking

It is good to pass along a couple alternative viewpoints on a day when Eugene Melnyk is promising the Senators will be a top-four team in the Eastern Conference and Don Cherry's war on dressing down continues unabated.

The biggest, of course, is that Erin Nicks, perhaps as an ├╝ber-obscure homage to early 1990s Saturday Night Live sketches, has written the ultimate kiss-off post over at The Universal Cynic.
The OSHC can continue to lurk around here all they want, but they should know they're wasting their time. It's one thing to suck; it's quite another to put people to sleep in the process. We all know how much the Sens "hate it" when fans and the media pile on. Be very careful what you wish for, ladies. Let's see what happens when observers finally throw in the towel, stop caring and move on to other interests. Check the falling numbers on the attendance. Listen to the frustration and hopelessness of the fans on the post-game show. News flash, Mensas: You're losing them. You're losing your fans in a fairweather town, and you're too damn proud to admit that this time, you f*cked up huge. Bravo.
On the Melnyk front, Puck Daddy has a good summation of the Senators' sputtering season: "Can the Senators really be expected to be contenders with okay goaltending and zero secondary scoring?"

Meantime, Ray Emery was on the FAN 590 talking about his experiences playing in Russia. Why couldn't The Team 1200 score an interview with him?

Meantime, our man Jean-Pierre Allard is taking on a couple of issues revolving around men in loud, red suits. He's got a letter to the editor in the Toronto Star suggesting Cherry be appointed the Senators' fashion consultant, and meantime, he's suggesting a Christmases Future should come with fewer gifts.

In other words, it's just getting good in Hockey Country. It's a helluva toboggan ride.

Dreamy optimism meets harsh reality in embarrassing Ottawa (Sean Leahy, Puck Daddy)


Dennis Prouse said...

Saying that the Senators just have "okay" goaltending is lazy reporting. I know conventional wisdom dies hard, but look at the facts -- Ottawa is 4th overall in goals against. Auld has been outstanding, and Gerber has been solid when called upon. The problem rests solely with scoring -- 29th overall. The gunners aren't really gunning, and never in my life have I seen a team whose secondary scoring completely collapsed like this.

sager said...

Goaltending's not the issue with the Sens, for sure ... the offence is the big sticking point.

Someone pointed this out — the Habs have lost 3 straight and there are players going after each other in practice. The Sens have been in a funk for weeks and there's just a sense of complacency.

Dennis Prouse said...

Good God, Erin, why the hate? It's hockey, for Christ's sakes. It's a lot of fun, and a pleasant distraction from real life, but a little perspective is always helpful in these matters. Compared to people losing their jobs and soldiers dying in Afghanistan, the fact that the home team is stinking it up really doesn't matter all that much.

If by "f*cked up huge" you mean missed their window to win the Cup, no disagreement here. It's glaringly obvious that this team's window slammed shut the day they lost the Cup Final to the Ducks. The pressure from the cap, and the subsequent erosion of the talent base, made a slide inevitable. In a lot of ways, the Sens remind me of the Canucks from about five years ago. They had a window to win the Cup also, but it started to close when they lost that eminently winnable series to the Wild in '03, and came to a crashing halt the day Bertuzzi gooned Steve Moore in March of '04. After the lockout, the Canucks had to rebuild and start over, just as the Sens are going to have to do now.

The good news is that the same cap and early free agency that ultimately destroyed Ottawa's talent base is what now allows a club to do a quick and dirty rebuild on the fly. "Rebuilding" used to mean, "we are going to seriously suck for the next three years, minimum." It doesn't have to mean that anymore. The problem is that Bryan Murray is too closely identified with this core group, and isn't the guy who can rebuild. You need a younger GM for that, someone without any history with our current core. (Hello, Dave Nonis!)

Finally, I feel compelled to speak to the notion that Senators management is somehow the most thin skinned and criticism adverse in all of sports. I would agree that the Senators are way too sensitive to public criticism, but this hardly makes them unique. Do you see that circus in Dallas, where Cowboy fans and management are trying to have an ESPN reporter fired for telling the truth? How about Brian Burke, who had a running feud with a couple of Vancouver media types whom he felt were overly critical towards him and the club. You watch - he'll pull the same stunt in Toronto, picking out some media guy to be his straw man. Sure, the Sens look goofy when they crack on the radio hosts for not waving the pom-poms enough, but again, this is par for the course with many franchises.

The Universal Cynic said...

"Good God, Erin, why the hate?
It's hockey, for Christ's sakes."

There's a big difference between hate and indifference -- the latter being the main point of the post.

"It's a lot of fun, and a pleasant distraction from real life, but a little perspective is always helpful in these matters."

The Senators "fun" and "a pleasant distraction"? We're obviously not watching the same team. You want entertainment via an NHL source? Do what I do -- watch the Blackhawks.

"Compared to people losing their jobs and soldiers dying in Afghanistan, the fact that the home team is stinking it up really doesn't matter all that much."

It's a lovely sentiment, and obviously a relevant point. However, I write a hockey blog. Apples and oranges.

Dennis Prouse said...

Erin, I think it is a shame you don't write more often. 11 days is a long time to go between posts in the heart of the season. Forgive me if this sounds like a lecture from a coach or parent, but I only crab at you because I think you are quite talented. Further, I am a big fan of quality snark, and you do snark extremely well. I just think you would be better served by losing the chip on your shoulder, and blogging more often on a wide array of sports topics, not just hockey or the Sens. (Hey, if your blog drives Senators brass crazy, then do it more often and really send them around the bend.) I'm all for raking self-important hockey execs over the coals when they deserve it. Lord knows many members of the MSM won't do it, lest someone from management give them a dirty stare next time they are in the press box. It's just that your hate-on for the Sens has reached very dark, Keith Olbermann-on-Bush levels, whereas sites like KSK and Deadspin manage to keep the tone a lot lighter while still brutally mocking their targets.

The Universal Cynic said...

Duly noted, Dennis...and thank you. I won't lie to you -- people are looking for the type of reaction I've been providing on the blog. The response via e-mail is more than enough proof for me. Personally, I don't think it's that harsh, but that's where you and I differ. If it were truly based in hate, I'd still be watching their games...and I stopped paying attention to them several weeks ago. They've become background noise to me.

I could tell some really wonderful off-ice stories about their players and the great things they've done recently -- Mike Fisher and Cody Bass in particular -- but see, the Sens trip out to the nth degree when you write about "unauthorized" activities, regardless of nature. The repercussions, which I have personally experienced, are not pleasant. Therefore, in this case at least, the hearts and flowers remain unearthed. *shrugging shoulders*

The only reason why I continue to write about Ottawa is because I'm part of a Sens-related blogger community now. Barring something drastic happening (and I'm talking about more than just a mid-season turnaround/deep playoff run), I see that changing in the very near future. You just might get your wish...unless I decide to stop altogether, which is also a possibility.