Another excruciatingly long summer is over. Actual hockey games are on the horizon. Because this is the 265th most widely read hockey blog on the internets, MYFO felt a deep obligation to our dozens of readers to prepare this series of previews telling you about every single team in the NHL. By “prepare” we mean, we found other people to write many of them for us. We were looking for people who (unlike us) might have an actual clue about these teams, but were also eager/willing/dumb/not self-respecting enough to work for free. Within those constraints, we think we did an admirable job.
Today’s preview of the Ottawa Senators is brought to you by Senators Lost Cojones of Five for Smiting. You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.
15 and 2. Those numbers will forever haunt my dreams. The date was November 17th, 2007. MYFO was still five months removed from shedding an awkward adolescence and landing the coveted NHL Closer gig in Leitch’s sandbox, thereby bringing The Game to literally dozens of breathless Deadspin readers. Sarah Palin was just another anonymous moose skinnin’, baby makin’, Jesus lovin’, shotgun-wedding arrangin’ Governor of a state John McCain couldn’t care less about (until they found giant puddles of prehistoric lizards buried under all them purty trees). The Leafs still sucked. And the Ottawa Senators, fresh from a trip to the Finals the year before and happily curb stomping their way through the first five weeks of the season, were 15-2, drawing giddy and slightly hallucinogenic comparisons to the immortal ’76 Habs along the way. Yes, times were good in the Town That Fun Forgot. Then everything went to shit.
Five months of suck, one coach, a petulant, self-absorbed fuckstick of a goaltender, and a seventh place finish later, our season was done. Ass raped by the Penguins in a first round sweep, changes had to be made. The torch and pitchfork wielding mob (of which I am proud to be a card carrying member) would be placated. Lives depended on it, gentlemen. And The Bryan answered our brayers.
Out were Wade Redden and Andrej Meszaros, a defensive pairing so putridly soft, opposing teams could throw out a line composed of a Russian ballerina (hey look! It’s Malkin!), three sock puppets and a wheel of gouda and still score from the half boards. That insatiable attention whore, Ray Emery, he of the giant ego, and proportionately infinitesimal work ethic, exiled to Outer Mongolia. No word yet as to whether his posse (or as the locals knew them: “persons of interest”) were loyal enough to follow Ray-Ray’s nose on its trek to Kazakhstan. Cory Stillman, Mike Commodore, and Randy Robitaille were also purged. Then The Bryan went to work.
First was Jason “Gator” Smith, brought in to spread the leadership love, and the message that a weak-ass stick-check on opposing forwards parked in our crease was no longer an acceptable defensive philosophy, something Wade Redden never quite managed. Then Jarkko Ruutu, a man I once called “the rancid piece of shit caught under the pincers of the tick that once buried itself in my dog’s asshole”, was signed because he’s…well, the rancid piece of shit caught under the pincers of the tick that once buried itself in my dog’s asshole. But this time, he’s OUR rancid piece of shit. And finally, in a trade that will go down in Tampa infamy (sorry, RD), we rid ourselves of a soft prima-donna in waiting and Yashin-to-be and grabbed Alex Picard, a solid prospect who, by all accounts, lives only to seek out and destroy forwards who keep their heads down, and Filip Kuba, yet another shot blocking machine (Smith, Kuba, Philips, Volchenkov…Martin Gerber may not see a shot all season).
Then there are the kids we already have. Remember these names, puckheads, for you will come to know them: Jesse Winchester, Cody Bass, Bryan Lee and Nick “Spawn of Mike” Foligno. Oh, and at the risk of leaving anyone out, remember these as well: Spezza, Alfredsson, Heatly, Vermette, Kelly, Neil, Donovon and McAmmond.
So what can the rest of the league expect from the 2008-2009 Ottawa Senators? In a word…Pain. In two words? Anaheim East. We may not be as good on paper as in years past, but you will hate playing us, and any win you do get will be bought in blood, sweat and tears. And this makes me very, very happy. In the pants.
Even if we’re 15-2 by the 17th of November.