Saturday, October 07, 2006

Predictions: If I don't say they'll win, will they FINALLY win?

I don't believe in fate or karma or any of that new-age Yanni business, but it seems like anytime I make a point to watch a team I'm interested in, they'll find a way to break my heart. Team Canada got eliminated by Russia at the Olympics, the Sens got eliminated by Buffalo last year in the playoffs. Really, I must be some sort of bad luck charm.

So, for the love of my team, I'm going to say that the Ottawa Senators will not win the Stanley Cup this year. There, I said it. Paint me with the harlot brush now. If you want me to give you a rational explanation for that you a) obviously don't know that me and rational don't always go hand in hand and b) it's only the start of the season and I'm trying to not to get too ahead of myself here seeing as how last season I predicted a San Jose-Ottawa final.

The truth of the matter is, being the favourites year in and year out yet failing to deliver is bound to put pressure on anybody. And every year they fail to deliver the media and the fans will come out and be able to point to something that caused their downfall. Their toughness, their lack of goaltending, the fact that their jerseys are really not that attractive. But I don't think it's fair to say that management hasn't tried their darndest to address these issues.

Everybody thought last season was their season to do it. They had Chara, they had a hall-of-famer in net. Well unfortunately, Chara, despite being a honking piece of lumber, managed to disappear during the playoffs again and Hasek's groin which was held together by crazy glue and duct tape to begin with found an early end at the Olympics. Last year, every pronounced hockey expert got pwned by their season predictions because they didn't really know what the heck this prolific new NHL could offer up.

And really, if there's anything we learned from last season is that the new NHL is very unpredictable. The 'Canes won hockey immortality with a middle-class defense team and a rookie netminder with abysmal regular season numbers. Even though Tom Preissing + Joe Corvo does not = 7-foot Slovak, I don't think the loss of Chara will hurt. Talent has never been an issue for this team ever since they transformed from "sad excuse for a franchise" into the perennial favourites. If anything, the team needs to be kicked in the pants a couple of times during the regular season so they don't develop the attitude going into the playoffs that complete and utter world domination will just fall into their laps.

It seems like with their free-agent signings this summer they managed to plug some holes that were left, especially in net with Martin Gerber. This team seems perfect for the new NHL: fast, speedy forwards with natural scoring ability complimented by puck moving defensemen and physical defensive forwards. But nothing is guaranteed in this new game and if those crappy Stanley Cup commercials from last season taught us anything asides from the fact that the NHL Marketing Department is really dumb, it's that the Stanley Cup is not something you deserve, it's something you have to claw, fight, and occassionally bitch slap for.

So, if not this year, then next year...definitely. I'm determined to see Spezza, Redden, Fisher and the other Sens regulars win this together. People always talk about how important the post-season is but don't start talking about the dance before you even get there. Taking it one step at a time is the way to go. Plus by not setting the bar too high it'll save me from waking up the morning after they're eliminated in a gutter somewhere, nursing a hangover and draped in a Leafs flag by some smart alec passer-by. We can all at least take solace in the fact that the curse is over:

In the early years of the NHL the Ottawa Senators (Silver Seven) were the most dominate team in hockey. Winning more Stanley cups than any other team. The team was a powerhouse that couldn't be beaten. No one was better than their star player, King Clancy.

Ottawa received $35,000 and 2 players in 1930 to trade Clancy away to rival Toronto.

Clancy whose feisty play was legendary had made roots in Ottawa and was infuriated by being traded for more money then they were going to pay him.

As he was boarding the train to Ottawa he was overheard shouting at Ottawa's coach by his former team mate Frank Finnigan.

"Mark my words! I will be dead for at least 20 years before they lift that cup again!"

King Clancy died in November of 1986. Over a month before I was born....dude was old.

As for who will win? I'll jump on the bandwagon and say that it's a Buffalo-Anaheim final with Buffalo taking the eventual crown because if my theory proves true, this means that they'll crash and burn. Think of it as retribution for eliminating my darlings last season and for introducing the Buffaslug into reality. Or Anaheim. For a team with such an unfortunate name and jersey, they do have a pretty stacked team. Although if that does come to fruition I can't promise that the next time I visit the Hockey Hall of Fame I won't be armed with a purse full of Liquid Paper.


Jordi said...

That's it. Help the Buffaslugs not win! Anaheim's got a pretty neat team but considering how they got slaughtered in the playoffs - it makes you wonder if they can make that playoff transition. But they have Pronger AND Niedermayer. I mean compared to all those other teams begging for a number one D - they have two! But like you said, the Canes were pretty much mediocre and Cam Ward was not the best goalie in town. But he stepped up to the occasion and now he's got a shiny bling to show it. (And Brind'amour... well he still gives me the heebie jeebies)

I actually have high hopes for the Sens - I just think they look pretty neat. But I guess we shouldn't be making solid predictions yet.

aquietgirl said...

I just want a decent goalie.

If we just get slightly more than adequate goaltending from Martin Gerber, I think a domino effect will follow with the offense & defense and we will just glow with confidence.

Unless we shit the bed like last night, but let's not talk about that.

I'm very, very worried about Phillips. What's wrong, horse-lashes? Missing Chara?!

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed watching the run-and-gun offense that Ottawa had last season. Based on past history, the team always seems to disappear to some degree come playoff time. Last season, where was the fearsome Alfredsson-Heatley-Spezza line during the playoffs? They barely registerd on the radar. Don't get me wrong - i want to see the Sens succeed so I hope they go further this season.

Christy Hammond said...

I understand about having a team expected to win it all and then they crash and burn in the playoffs. The Wings seem to love making my cry...

I'm thinking the Sabres & Ducks in the finals too, but my ideal SCF would be the Wings vs. Rangers.

Sherry said...

Jordi - I think Brind'amour gives his own teammates the heebie jeebies

Have faith in Gerber, AQG! He shut out Team Canada, remember? [Although I try hard not to]

Jonathan - Murray decided to split Alfredsson up from Spezza and Heatley to distribute the scoring but I agree, alot of them disappeared during the playoffs and I just don't quite understand why.

My ideal SCF would be....Sens vs. Sharks. I want redemption, dang it!

Anonymous said...

That's good - at least Murray is trying to split up the Sens scoring
Unlike my hometown Canucks who are doing the opposite and putting all their eggs in one basket by sticking Naslund with the Sedin twins. To be fair to Vigneault, we didn't have very many eggs to start with - compared to past seasons. I still lament the fact we didn't resign Anson Carter - that would have solidified their second line (which on many night was better than Naslund's line last season)