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.