Habs Fans Boo Stutzle in Ottawa

Habs fans

I’m wondering why Habs fans felt the need to be so disrespectful and tacky when playing the Senators in Ottawa last night.

The loud booing by the considerable number of Habs fans every time Senator’s superstar Tim Stutzle touched the puck was annoying and disrespectful. The booing was a result of Habs’ Brendan Gallagher’s comments after the last time the two teams met. Basically, Gallagher alleged that Stutzle fakes injuries to draw penalties. Ironically, I saw a statistic today that showed Gallagher and Stutzle have the same number of diving/embellishment penalties, meaning Gallagher’s criticism is the pot calling the kettle black, so to speak.

The penalty in question was a dirty, potentially career-ending knee-on-knee hit delivered by Nick Suzuki. Stutzle did lie on the ice after the hit but recovered sufficiently to continue his shift. He did miss two subsequent games due to the injury though. Who remembers way back at the beginning of Sidney Crosby’s illustrious NHL career when Don Cherry ragged on Crosby for his “turtle” reaction that drew penalties? I do, I bet Crosby does too. He appeared to learn from that criticism; perhaps Stutzle will learn something from Gallagher’s comment and the booing fans. Stutzle’s obvious talent will draw enough hits from frustrated opposing players, he does not want to encourage more.

Ottawa began last night’s game with a touching (and yes, respectful) tribute to the late Guy Lafleur, a hockey legend that led Montreal to most of their Stanley cups. Lafleur never played for the Ottawa Senators, the gesture was to show respect for a Habs hero. To top it off, Senators goalie Anton Forsberg stopped 44 shots on net last night to lead his team to a (nother) win against Montreal.

Habs fans tacky and disrespectful in loss to Senators

Back to the previous game…Suzuki apologized for the hit the next time he met Stutzle in the faceoff circle. Well before Gallagher’s rant and the Senator’s victory.

Now that’s classy on Suzuki’s part.

Habs fans could learn something from both examples of respect and sportsmanship. And lose the tackiness.

Owner’s Commitment to Winning

The owner’s commitment to winning (or lack of) says it all. Another top player is leaving the Ottawa Senators; it was just announced minutes ago that Mark Stone was traded to the Las Vegas Knights. Stone is the third player within the last week to announce they are leaving, with Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel the two other Senator stars we would have preferred to hold onto. After all, these three players rack up the majority of the team’s points.

The (most telling) reason for Stone’s decision was the “owner’s commitment to winning” in Vegas. Without mentioning Ottawa Senator’s owner Eugene Melynk by name, Stone implied that personal relationships (or lack thereof) make the difference in the locker room and on the ice.

As well as the top three performers on the ice this season, the Senators traded Erik Karlson and Mike Hoffman recently as well. All Sens fans suspected that the Senators owner’s commitment to winning was obviously absent. These last few trades made it painfully obvious. If the owner is not willing or not able to finance these top players, why not sell the team?

I cannot wrap my head around trading an excellent player for a possible draft pick. Take Erik Karlsson for example. Opinion within the hockey world is that Karlsson is the best defenceman in the league. So, trade him to get a draft pick for someone that may be as good, someday? Sounds counterproductive to me, even for a team in “rebuild” mode. Giving away your top five players leaves your team pretty depleted.

Senator fans are quickly losing faith in their team. And what about the (predominantly) rookies and few veterans left as the dust settles? They must be absolutely deflated and discouraged with the changes.

I can picture the Senators players currently left in the dressing room, all wondering if they are back in the minor league.

A Score and More for 44, Pageau Shines

The Ottawa Senators beat the Las Vegas Knights to serve them their third three-loss streak last night in a flurry of goals that did not make either goaltender look especially strong.  Sens number 44, JG Pageau scored a one-timer from the blue line, not a common occurrence for him.  JG also won the last few crucial face-offs of the game in their own end when the Senators were struggling to stay up a goal.

I for one am glad Pageau is still with the Senators as his work ethic is so strong.  He always puts 110% into a game, something that cannot be said for many NHL players.  His short-handed and faceoff prowess round out his skill set, not to mention he has been known to score some goals.

Erik Karlsson’s three assists in the game, including one where Burrows redirected one of his shots for the winning goal, were painful reminders (for Vegas fans) of why the Vegas expansion team (and many others) were so keen on acquiring Karlsson before the recent trade deadline. Most Senator fans however are very happy Karlsson is still our captain.

Another name tossed around in the recent trade rumors racking up multiple points was Bobby Ryan.  With a break-away goal (set up by a beautiful pass from Mark Stone) and two assists, Ryan also showed how he might be able to help the Senators (despite a massive contract) moving forward.  If he can stay healthy.

Players not mentioned as possibilities in the trades included Mark Stone and Matt Duchene.  Both had great games.  Stone contributed the first goal and hit Ryan up for a perfect pass and goal.  He also contributed with multiple takeaways, stealing the puck from Vegas players, frustrating both the players and their coach.   Matt Duchene’s goal added to his impressive (and much appreciated) tally of points he has accumulated since his arrival in Ottawa.  He also appears to be a penalty magnet (drawer) as opposing players try desperately to take him off his game.

Erik Karlsson stays put with Ottawa Senators

Looks like Erik Karlsson is staying in Ottawa with the Ottawa Senators.  At least for now.  His contract is not up until next year, so we may go through all of this stress again then.

I must admit I have mixed emotions about the possibility of trading him.  On one hand, I realize the financial shenanigans (reasons) may make sense to the bottom line of the Senators’ budget.  On the other hand, however, why would you get rid of a franchise player, arguably the best defenseman ever, in hopes of acquiring another good defensive player with a few bonus players thrown in?

Many teams (apparently) lined up to make their offers of what (who) they thought Erik Karlsson is worth to them, but (again apparently) none of them were willing to add as many bonuses we thought he is worth.

It is true that this season has not been Karlsson’s best (by far) This can be explained and even expected by the fact that he was not able to attend full summer training with the team due to his foot/ankle injury.  It probably did not help that he played on the injured foot during last year’s playoffs where the Senators were as close as an overtime loss in game seven to making the Stanley Cup finals.  I’m sure the Pittsburgh Penguins led by Sidney Crosby were sweating big time (extremely worried) that game.

The Senators are not expected to make the playoffs this season.  So hopefully Erik Karlsson can recuperate (heal) properly and be back to his former glory next season.  I for one am glad to see him stick around.  His skill level is awesome to watch on the ice and he is a charismatic leader on and off the ice within our community.

 

Sesquicentennial Medal for Community Service

Sesquicentennial Medal

My nephew, James Sliter, was recently awarded a Sesquicentennial Medal from the Senate of Canada for his volunteer role in making our community a better place to live.  He was nominated by the current Senator and former police chief of Ottawa, Vern White.

James has shown dedication and commitment towards the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Ottawa organization (BBBSO) for many years.  He is a former big brother, a former Board President, and currently sits on the business development committee.

Unfortunately, there was controversy swirling around the dispersion of the rest of these medals. These awards were supposed to honor community activists and volunteers or unsung heroes.  The Canadian Mint created the medals as part of our 150 birthday celebration.  That’s where the name sesquicentennial medal comes in.  Our 93 Canadian Senators were each supposed to nominate 12 deserving individuals to receive the 1500 medals.  However, many of the Senators, 47 to be exact, kept the medals for themselves or gave them to former senators.  The last time I checked no senators can be termed volunteers or unsung heroes.  This is pure greed on their part.

Regardless of the controversy, Vern White got it right with his nomination of James.  The rest of my family and I are extremely proud of him!

A new Mantra in Ottawa Tonight

There’s a new mantra in Ottawa tonight.  If you are an Ottawa Senators fan or an NHL lover, you will know exactly what I am talking about.  It goes like this:

“PAGEAU, PAGEAU, PAGEAU, PAGEAU….PAGEAU, PAGEAU”  sung to the tune of that other popular NHL chant OLÈ, OLÈ, OLÈ, OLÈ….OLÈ OLÈ

The Ottawa Senators beat the visiting New York Rangers, 6-5 in double overtime, after being down 5-3 with a little over 3 minutes left in regulation time.  What a comeback, what a game!  The win puts the Senators ahead 2-0 in a best of 7 game series, round two in the NHL playoffs for the Stanley Cup.

The reason for the mantra is that Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored 4 of the 6 Ottawa goals, including the OT winner.   To be more precise, 4 goals in 4 shots on the net.  I would love to know Henrik Lundqvist’s (the Rangers’ goaltender) thoughts as he saw Pageau streaking down the ice towards him in overtime.  Maybe, “oh no, not him again”

new mantra in Ottawa

The fans serenaded him a few times tonite with the mantra (after each goal) but none louder than during his solo skate as he was announced the first star of the game.  It was absolutely deafening, in fact, you could not hear the announcer declare him the first star.  Not that he had to, we all knew who the best guy on the ice was tonight.

The fans were still chanting as they cleared out of the CTC, to the parking lots and beyond, honking their car horns and waving their flags…

My voice is hoarse; I too was chanting and cheering at the top of my lungs.

Hockey Fans can be Obnoxious

hockey fans

There is nothing worse when you go to an NHL game to support the home team and there are more (and louder) hockey fans supporting the opposing team.  This happens a lot at Ottawa Senators’  home games.  It is bad enough watching on TV, but when you are actually at the game it is brutal.  Last night was a great example when the Senators hosted the Montreal Canadians.  If you were listening to the game from a distance (not right in front of the TV) you could not tell which team scored when the commentator yelled “scores!”

I assume this bipartisan crowd phenomenon is because anyone that has moved to Ottawa for work as an adult is old enough to have grown up with another team as their favourite.  On the flip side, anyone younger than 30 years of age living in Ottawa has grown up with the Senators as their home team since the Senators franchise was only revived in Ottawa in 1992, after being off the NHL radar since 1934.

I grew up in Cornwall, Ontario a small city a little over an hour east and south of Ottawa.  In the sixties and seventies, if you lived in Cornwall, you either cheered for the Montreal Canadians or the Toronto Maple Leafs.  The choice was predominantly based on whether you were French speaking (Montreal) or English speaking (Toronto).  My father was an avid Toronto Maple Leaf fan, so we six children were too.  When I moved to Ottawa and had three sons, as soon as they were old enough to love hockey and the Senators, I was a convert.

However, when I moved to Ottawa and had three sons, as soon as they were old enough to love hockey and the Senators, I was a convert.  It is hard not to get caught up in the excitement of a local team, especially as we live 5 minutes from the Canadian Tire Center, the arena the Senators call home.

hockey fans

Whatever happened to home-ice advantage?