What Have I Done?

I’m starting to worry that I’m the one responsible for the Ottawa Senators’ good form in Round 1 of this year’s playoffs. After all, if a confirmed Sens hater can pick them for the Stanley Cup, surely nothing is impossible, right? Right. And so, in a desperate attempt to counteract the good karma which I (unwittingly) bestowed upon my least favourite hockey team, I dug up a picture of a recent Senator playoff collapse (which was easy). I’m also comforted by the knowledge that Ottawa demolished their first-round opponent last year as well before bowing out meekly in Round 2. Plus, New Jersey was 3-1 against the Senators during the regular season…so it’s all good, right? Right??

Well, no–because as much as it pains me to admit it, I still think this year’s Senators team has the mettle to get through New Jersey. Martin Brodeur is clearly a better goaltender than Ray Emery (which isn’t an opinion so much as a statement of fact), but the Senators’ offense is vastly superior from top to bottom. The Devils are still strong defensively (a hallmark of all the Lamoriello-era teams), but they’re not as physically intimidating as they used to be. Plus–and this is important if you’re a Senators fan–Jeff Friesen plays for Calgary now…and Calgary was eliminated last night. New Jersey probably wasn’t your ideal next round opponent (I’m sure most Ottawa fans would’ve preferred the New York Rangers, even if they’re one of the hottest teams in the league right now), but as the saying goes, if you wanna be the best you gotta beat the best. I think New Jersey will be a good litmus test to see how far your team has come.

And that said…I’d rather cheer for Al Qaeda than the Ottawa Senators. If you’re desperate to see “Stanley come home” (whatever that means) please direct your energy out west, where the Vancouver Canucks are still very much alive in their series against the Dallas Stars. And if not, then join me in attempting to undo all the positive energy I’ve been directing towards Kanata. For my sake. Please. Modified predictions for the rest of the playoff series to follow. In the meantime–and only after vomiting in my own mouth–I’m picking Ottawa in 7.

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15 thoughts on “What Have I Done?

  1. I love how you’ve gone from “the Devils scare me” to “we’re gonna sweep ’em!” in less than a week. I love Sens fans; you guys are the best. Although, for your sake, it’d be great if you could see them clinch on home ice. I’ve been to two non-clinching games (well, for the Leafs at any rate… :@) and they’re electrifying as it is. But for your sake only. Everyone else can go fuck themselves.

  2. Steve, you gotta get over your “I hate Ottawa” bullshit, man. You scare me like GWB does. Why do you hate the Sens so much when we have so much fun beating them in the playoffs? (that is, ahem, when we can ice a team that can even make the playoffs).Leafs fan my whole life, but I have no desire to see Bettman’s NHL succeed south of the border. Under another Commish, maybe, but not Bettman. Go Vancouver/Ottawa

  3. Kev, you’re right: that *did* trigger my gag reflex. My favourite part:“The Penguins have become the model of how quickly teams can turn things around in the new NHL. After finishing 24 games under .500 last season (22-46-14) and last in the Atlantic Division for the fourth-straight season, the Pens came within two points of the division crown and finished fifth in the East with 105 points.”You’re right: all those years of futility, top five picks and the fortuitous luck to win the Crosby lottery had absolutely *nothing* to do with it. I hate the NHL.Gulley, your patriotism is to be admired. But how is a team like New York or Detroit an example of Gary Bettman’s NHL? They both predate the two remaining Canadian teams by at least fifty years. Surely they’re worthy Cup winners, as well? As for my Sens hatred…well, can *you* imagine what Sens fans will be like if they win the Cup before Toronto? I mean, CAN YOU IMAGINE? You may be immune where you are; I’m right in the line of fire.And even if I’m not, I’m sure I’ve said enough things in the last few years that people will find me either way.

  4. Two more things, Gulley:1. George W. Bush?2. If you scroll back to May 2006, you’ll find my opinion on the subject from last year’s playoffs…and it’s remarkably unchanged.One more thing:3. Have you heard about Sean Hill? If not…uh, find out about him. As a Leaf fan, your blood outta boil.

  5. SteveWhilst you have no issue with the city of Ottawa (I presume),you hate the Sens. I don’t see the big deal. Its exactly the same with me and Man United. I love Canada but what I don’t get about it is the Patriotism that goes with the Stanley Cup. For one thing Americans for the most part don’t care about it so who are you really competing against for pride except for yourselves. How many Canadians are on each NHL team anyway? I am sure, it is roughly equal. It’s the same reason that I don’t understand why they play National Anthems before each game. That is one North American thing I will never get. C’mon I’m sorry but if you’re playing NHL you’re not representing your country, you’re representing a city. If you want to play an Anthem, play something that represents Ottawa, Toronto etc. There are few things that give me greater joy than being at an Ireland rugby game and belting out the Anthem before kickoff because it actually means something and the players generally respond in kind. Anyways, just my rantings in support of your position. Whilst I am not entirely sure of why you hate the Sens, there is no reason that patriotism (which I believe to be misplaced) should stand in the way of that hatred!!

  6. In response, Tim: no, I do not hate the city of Ottawa. Yes, I do hate the Ottawa Senators. They’re my favourite team’s rival; of *course* I hate them. As far as the Canada/U.S. dynamic when it comes to Stanley, it’s something I’ve never understood either. Gulley sent me a long, masterful E-mail last year which explained his position on the issue, and while I don’t agree with his views (or your views, if you’re reading this Gulley ;)) I can at least appreciate them. But I’m with Tim on this one: teams represent cities, not countries. I mean, theoretically a team can represent whatever you want it to represent–a city, a province, a country, the sacred feminine, whatever–but to me, it’s never had anything to do with nationhood. Rooting for Team Canada is one thing; turning, say, the Calgary Flames into a de facto Team Canada doesn’t make sense to me, although I get it in an abstrat sense.As for the national anthem, no one really knows why they keep getting played–I think it’s something to do with a war (so many from which to choose!) and it’s persisted ever since. Which, of course, leads to anthems being booed in some of the classier joints in the United States…but that’s a whole other issue.

  7. Don’t get me wrong dudes. I’m not blindly patriotic to Canada. I’m not an unwavering supporter of all things Canadian, because I think self-analysis is one of the most crucial human elements missing in today’s society (except in myself, of course!).However, I’ll put my thoughts again in a nutshell: Steve-o, you’re absolutely right about New York and Detroit, but unfortunately, they’re victims of the ‘bigger picture’ syndrome here. In the past few decades, we’ve seen the NHL being transformed from a wonderful game and sport into a business which is concerned with the bottom line only. In this case, the bottom line can be represented by an elusive big American TV contract. Bettman Inc. (aka: the NHL) has tried everything to land this, including actually endorsing the use of goon players who have no reason to be in the league (Steve, I heard about Hill, and 20 games for that, compared to 3 games for Janssen’s hit on Kaberle…come on!). He’s also tried everything from flashy flame streaks on TV, to ‘new and improved’ uniforms endorsed by Sid the naive Kid, to physically removing teams from Canada and placing them south (in the process, Quebec missed out by ONE YEAR the chance to celebrate a Stanley Cup victory…though it could be argued that they never would have won the Cup there). My main stance is that the game has its roots in Canada, the Stanley Cup was donated by a Canadian, and the majority of the players are Canadian. Bettman has never supported nor tried to sustain any legitimate market in Canada, and now look at his interference in the great Pittsburgh move debacle. The whole situation is a joke. I would like to see more teams in Canada, plain and simple. Bettman has spurned the Canadian market every step of the way, and we’ve come back and asked for more each time. It is my wish for a Canadian team to win it every year (unrealistic dream) so that the fringe American market dries up completely, and Bettman comes crying back to us (because you and I both know we’ll take him back). Detroit and New York (and Boston etc…) are perfectly sustainable hockey markets, but unfortunately they’re victims of my hopes…until Canada’s voice actually matters in the NHL again, and isn’t consistently deafened by the rustle of American greenbacks.That’s an awfully big nutshell, I know!

  8. Gulley, *why* aren’t you in journalism? Why? That’s one of the best things I’ve ever read about hockey–like, seriously. At the risk of giving you a virtual tongue-bathing, I’m rather in awe of you right now.And as for Sean Hill…I mean, I know this is sour grapes and all BUT, if the Islanders were missing their #1 (or is he #2?) defenceman in the run-in to the playoffs, would the Islanders *really* have gotten in? There is no way–NO WAY–the league didn’t know about this well in advance. But, y’know, you gotta have your big market U.S. teams make the playoffs. Hockey is only actually exciting when it involves big market U.S. teams. Preferably, they play the entire game on special teams and it goes to a shootout; that’s the only way to watch hockey nowadays. btw, yesterday’s Game 7 was a farce–at one point in the 2nd/3rd period Dallas was charged with six penalties, about two of which could be reasonably construed as legit. And so it continues.

  9. No humouring at all, dude–that was actually really good. It’s a shame it’ll never see the light of day since, y’know, you just can’t make disparaging (sp?) comments about the “new” NHL in the Canadian media. You just can’t. The new league is BETTER, Gulley. It’s BETTER. It has SHOOTOUTS. That’s all that matters, don’t you know? And who cares if the games are being officiated to within an inch of their lives? All that matters is that 0.00000001% more Americans are tuning in. That’s actually the only relevant issue here. IT IS BETTER WITH GARY BETTMAN./irony

  10. I like potatoes.(Irish Tim, you can appreciate that.)Also, I don’t understand the “Cup BELONGS to Canada” mentality. Sure, it would be really nice to see a Canadian team win the cup, but I don’t feel the need to proclaim that it MUST be here. Many of those who think the cup has to be here also think the original six (with 2/3rds of its teams in the US) was the epitome of hockey. Well, we’re not far off that proportion now, with 4/5ths in the US.And as for the argument that the Stanley cup was donated by a Canadian – the Statue of Liberty was donated by the French πŸ˜‰I too would love to see more Canadian teams, and fewer teams in unproven markets down south, but I don’t think it’s in the cards.

  11. And, if we’re picking nits, Lord Stanley of Preston was an Englishman. πŸ˜‰ But all that is irrelevant in light of Gulley’s masterful rant. Hey, Gulley, would you move back to Canada if I could *guarantee* that you’d be commisioner of the NHL?

  12. If Gulley became commish, I’d do one of two things;1) Apply for a job as league disciplinarian. No more of this 20 game nonsense for substance abuse. Anyone caught taking steroids has to immediately take the steroids at dosages that would make horses feel sick. Once a few NHL’ers heads explode and their balls shrivel up to the size of raisins, you’ll see it become the cleanest sport north of the NFL.2) I’d become an Arena Football fan. In a HURRY.

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