Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Go Sens Go! Because you never know!

There is a difference between being a fan of a team and being deluded. There are many fans in Ottawa (they call us every year) who suggest that to be a true fan, you have to support your team, win or lose. What, exactly, does that mean? If they win their playoff series, we cheer for them and have a parade? And if they lose, we go to Wade Redden's house and hold him while he cries? How, exactly, does one continue to "support" a team when they lose? They've lost. They're gone. There are no more games to watch, no parades to attend, no rallys in which one could participate. So...we say "we'll get 'em next year", and move on? Many of these people believe that anything short of rabid, deluded fanaticism is not true fandom. That the proper way to be an Ottawa Senators fan is to assert, vehemently, at every turn, that this team will win every single game 8-0 on their way to a Stanley Cup finals sweep of the San Jose Sharks or whatever poor sucker comes out of the West and has to face our powerhouse team.

By this logic, acknowledgement of the fact that since Game 20, Ottawa has been the worst team in hockey, is not good support. It is counter-productive. If the team hears us say this, they will curl up into a ball and quit. The only way to make sure they play as hard as they can is to constantly tell them they are the greatest team in the history of professional sports, and they can do no wrong. And if, by some CRAZY fluke they are knocked out by the Penguins in the first round, then we will continue to testify in the streets, claiming that...what? They must have been robbed, because no team ever has been as good as Ottawa? And we see to it that the Senators are presented with their awards, because it's Everybody Gets A Trophy Day in hockeyville? Come on. True fans understand their team. They know the players, they know the history, they get the ins and outs of a season and they are critical. The Toronto Maple Leafs have been terrible, for a long time, because their fans are NOT critical. They are rabid blue-and-white blinder-wearers, who will sell out the ACC every game, win or lose. They don't demand success. Therefore, there is no incentive for Maple Leaf brass to deliver success. The best they can hope for is to squeak into the playoffs and get the revenue from that first round series.

For us, it has been different. For years now, Ottawa has been a powerhouse team with disappointing playoff runs. (Until last year, of course.) And yet, when all of a sudden we are no longer that powerhouse, depsite the fact that the players are exactly the same, it might be time to question the direction of the team. Any team that starts out the regular season at a record pace, winning more games to begin than any other team in history, and has to get help from Florida on the last day of the season to squeak into the playoffs backwards, is not doing well. There are major questions with this team, not the least of which is goaltending. Now, Martin Gerber has never before been given a chance to be a playoff goalie. He was relegated to backup status with the Hurricanes when Cam Ward took them to the Cup. Again last year, as Ray Emery took us to the final. So maybe he has something in him that people just haven't seen yet, and maybe he can raise his game in a huge way.

But he still needs people to play defence in front of him. And Redden, Meszaros, and Volchenkov have had pretty lousy years, by their standards. He still needs the offence to put the puck in the net. And without Alfredsson on the first line or Fisher on the second, that could be a seriously tough prospect. Two of our four best players are out, and Chris Kelly is no slouch either. So...where does the optimism come from? How can anyone seriously look at this series and say they think the Senators will win? Crosby, Malkin, Hossa, Staal against Spezza and Heatley. That's what it comes down to, and that does not look good for us. Of course we are going to cheer for Ottawa. I will be there for every game, in front of the TV because I can't afford playoff tickets, pulling for the Senators and cheering when they score. And I will hope against hope that they win this series, and every other series as well. It COULD happen. And the Green Party COULD win the next election. I will be pulling for that to happen as well. But if it doesn't...it won't exactly come as a shock to me - and it shouldn't for anyone else, either.

4 comments:

  1. Supporting your team, "win or lose" = Not giving up on them afer a loss... or two... or three. :) Keep the faith. Keep cheering them on. Like you said, "who knows?" Maybe nothing will come of it. So what? Maybe something good WILL come of it?

    Band wagoners turn off the TV the moment the other team scores. "Aww crap.. here we go again.. it's hopeless now. Waaaaahhhh..." They can go F themselves, as far as I'm concerned.

    As for the team squeaking in because another team lost... put a positive spin on it -- EVERY team is in the playoffs because another team lost at some point in the season. Aside from the fact that most of them happened earlier in the season, it's still the same thing.

    Be an optimist.

    Have a read of Ian Mendes's blog:

    1992-93 Montreal Canadiens:
    The Start: 16-5-3
    The Slump: Won only 7 of final 18 regular season games
    The Result: Won Stanley Cup

    http://www2.sportsnet.ca/blogs/ian_mendes/2008/03/05/they_can_still_rebound/

    GO SENS GO! :D

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  2. Grrr it cut off...

    Try copying and pasting this link into your browser:

    http://tinyurl.com/5s3vfe

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  3. That is the only thing, as a fan you SHOULD do. Cheer. Watch the games. Hope they win. Even down 3-0 I hope they win. But this year, I just don't think they can. Watching last night's game, I don't think THEY think they can either.

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  4. Oh, yeah - I read that article too. Here's the thing. 1992-93 Montreal Canadiens - 4rd in the conference with 102 points. This year's Senators - 7th, with 92 points. Also...Martin Gerber = Patrick Roy is a suspect equation...

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