This is a guest post by Nick - Dirty Dangle's Ottawa Senators Devil's AdvocateIn recent memory, I have been unable to recall the benefits of cheering for a team destined for a lottery pick. Sure, there have been tumultuous seasons in the past few years, but a complete season marred by underachievement? No.
The Ottawa Senators started the season out on the wrong foot and look determined to complete it in the very same way. Woes are plentiful and have taken their toll on every aspect of the team: goaltending, defence, offence, and coaching. You could also toss general managing into the mix if you were a relatively bitter supporter of the team. But, I’m not.
I find little sorrow in the way the Senators season has unfolded. Labelled a playoff team (by some) at the start of the season, this team would only go as far as Leclaire could carry them. And if any fans believed Leclaire could make this team a Cup contender, I have a colleague I would like you to see that specializes in delusions of grandeur. The fact that we’re past the trade deadline sitting in one of the last three spots in the NHL is rather comforting.
I’m confident the feeling will eventually pass, but let me outline why I’m currently seeing things through rose-tinted glasses:
’s cleaning the house (before he, himself, gets cleaned out). Do you know how exciting all these trades are? Forget winning games! A trade a day keeps the pain at bay. Even if it’s not a particularly good trade (e.g., Ruutu for a 6th round pick), each is slightly thrilling for a few moments. Fallsview Casino has nothing on this. Murray
2. NUMBNESS TO HUMILIATION: Rivalries are on hold. That means, any embarrassing losses to the Leafs, Habs, or Sabres really have no depressive consequences as it pushes the Senators further and further toward the first overall pick. Of course, things could change based upon one hit, but until then, a loss to a long-time rival: no biggie.
a. Lottery hype is fun! Larsson, Couturier, Nugent-Hopkins, and Landeskog are each projected to be excellent NHLers and even if the forwards are no Stamkos or Tavares, the hype fosters positive feelings for the future.
b. The TSN draft lottery show is not the worst one-hour of television.
is currently scheduled to make eleven selections in the 2011 NHL entry draft! I would expect more to come in the next couple days or so as well as an effort to compile picks for the 2012 draft. Why is this so great? Well, draft day joy becomes more of a two-day event when there’s a greater chance you will be familiar with one or two players your team drafts in the second and third rounds (if you’re reading this saying “I frequently know players drafted in the fourth and fifth rounds” then kudos to you). Ottawa
4. STRESS FREE FINISH: There’s no nail biting leading up to the final games of the regular season. As hockey fans, we carry a moral responsibility to look out for our fellow hockey friends, regardless of team. So please, check up on your friends in early April who cheer for any of the following Western Conference teams:
Anaheim, Calgary, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Nashville, Phoenix, or . Your San Jose Vancouver and friends should be alright. Detroit
5. CREATIVITY: Following the trade deadline, head over to HFBoards and check out the abundance of fans posting their ideas for what should be done next: who to draft, who to trade, and who to sign. You can guarantee there will be creativity aplenty (i.e., if #1 overall, trade down to either #2 or #3 following a bidding war between Edmonton and New York for Larsson then draft Landeskog; re-sign Anderson; allocate a spot on the third pairing for Lee; sign Laich or Glencross... just my idea, not that you asked).
6. NO TRIPS TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM: Let me explain how. The Senators lost a game in the playoffs - so, I think it’s a very expectable reaction to punch something… though blocks of wood can damage your hand and may result in a three-hour wait in a Toronto ER while doctors prioritize more needy patients. However, I will say that I was in disagreement that the gunshot to the other fellow was indeed fatal, but I’ll leave that medical conspiracy theory to a different day. With bottom feeders, there’s no heartbreak from just barely missing the playoffs or getting eliminated in the playoffs.
7. BANDWAGON JUMPING IS HARMLESS: Most sports fans will jump on another team’s bandwagon when theirs is eliminated. This process can be repeated several times as the playoffs unfold. It’s so easy to switch allegiances when your favourite team isn’t in it anymore as the level of devotion for the replacement team is marginal in comparison. I will be cheering for the following teams (in order) should they make the playoffs:
Washington, Boston, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Detroit, New York Rangers, Anaheim, and . Tampa Bay
That probably wraps things up, but before Leafs fans begin berating me with “you won’t be saying this after missing the playoffs for five seasons in a row,” let me say that I would rather the Senators experience several seasons of utter nonfulfillment now and stockpile young prospects and players than attempt to compete via overpaying free agents in July. Whether or not the Los Angeles/Dean Lombardi approach pays off is yet to be seen but their patience has been promising and I truly hope
follows a similar road. Ottawa
A Happy Fan of a Bottom Feeder