You know who is probably more excited that there’s a game tonight than I am: the Ottawa Senators themselves.
Not to quote Frank Sinatra too much, but as he once sang in his classic song:
This town is a lonely town
Not the only town like-a this town
This town is a make-you town
Or a break-you-town and bring-you-down town
This town is a quiet town
Or a riot town like this town
This town is a love-you town
And a shove-you-down and push-you-’round town
This town is an all-right town
For an uptight town like-a this town
This town, it’s a use-you town
An abuse-you town until-you’re-down town
There, I got that out of my system. But in all seriousness, that’s what Ottawa is. You’d almost think that Frank was singing about Ottawa and the woes of being a hockey player here when he belted out those lyrics.
The Senators lost on Monday (not sure if everyone in town knows that yet), and they’ve had three days off to talk about everything that went wrong when they faced the Stanley Cup Champions who just happen to remain undefeated on the road and have beat some very good teams in the process. But hey, that doesn’t matter right?
I’ve taken a look at the schedule though, and I’ve got some healthy advice for the Sens on what games should be designated must-wins. That way we don’t need to talk about the sky falling anymore.
Saturday October 17- Ottawa Senators @ Montreal Canadiens
- 5 days off in between games. And it’s Montreal. If we don’t win this one, the media will be calling for Bryan Murray to bring in more players of Ryan Shannon’s stature, and bumping up Erik Karlsson to play more than 30 minutes a game. As well, Pascal Leclaire will be asked to smoke as many cigarettes as possible, while putting his fist through a wall
Saturday October 24- Ottawa Senators vs. Boston Bruins
- Another 4 days off in between games, but if Ottawa loses this one, they’ll likely be subject to several editorials suggesting that Ottawa could use a player of Zdeno Chara’s stature. Cue the fans calling for Jared Cowen to make the trip from Spokane immediately.
Tuesday December 1- Ottawa Senators @ San Jose Sharks
- There’s not a lot of time in between games here, but if Ottawa loses this game, expect the Jason Spezza/Joe Thornton comparisons to resonate across the continent. Strangely, nothing will be mentioned about Dany Heatley.
Sunday February 14- Ottawa Senators @ New York Islanders
- The last game before the Olympics and the Ottawa Senators have to play the New York Islanders. I’ll be watching the Olympics for the next two weeks, but I don’t want to hear a word about how Ottawa couldn’t close it against the Islanders.
Tuesday March 9- Ottawa Senators @ Edmonton Oilers
- It’s time for Ottawa to march into Rexall Place, and show Penner, Smid, and Cogliano what they’ve been missing and that they should have pressed Dany Heatley harder to waive his no-trade clause. Also, if they lose this one, expect to hear why Pat Quinn should have been named head coach here in Ottawa after hugging the Eugene Melnyk at the World Juniors last January.
Tuesday March 23- Ottawa Senators vs. Philadelphia Flyers
- 3 days off in between games here, but if Ottawa loses this one, I expect that the fans will be calling for Bryan Murray to trade for this Ray Emery character that Philadelphia just pulled out of the KHL. He’s probably pretty affordable, no?
Saturday April 10- Ottawa Senators vs. Buffalo Sabres
- Other than the fact that this could make or break the playoff standings in the Eastern Conference, nobody wants to lose their last game of the season, and listen to all the doubters talking about why Ottawa doesn’t stand a chance in the first round.
So there you have if folks. The must-win games for Ottawa. I will say this though; Ottawa tends to play better when people expect them to lose. I’m not sure if it’s because they’re playing above expectations, or if they actually play better with a chip on their shoulder. So maybe they shouldn’t listen to me at all.
Stay classy, knee-jerk Ottawa fans.