Friday, December 13, 2013

In Which Alfredsson Is The Conclusion or Building an Identity, One Puck At a Time

(Photo via the Ottawa Sun)
It took me this long to finally figure it out. Figure out why my interest in hockey has been minimal at best this season. 

It's not because of last year's lockout. The 2013 playoffs were arguably the best post-season from the last decade. So many great stories within so many great series. Boston's remarkable comeback in the Conference Quarterfinals. Iginla's karmic payback after opting for a trade to the Pens, who lost in the Conference Finals to the team that he vetoed to be swapped to. Crawford recovering from a weak glove hand in the Finals to lead the Hawks to their 2nd Cup in 3 years. THAT was an amazing outcome for a (half) season that most thought would be lost due to the CBA buffoonery.

I can tell you who the leading scorer is right now because I know that Crosby is healthy but I haven't scanned the leader board in over a month. I stopped reading some of my fave hockey blogs including Puck Daddy. My only connect to anything hockey right now is the Roto pool I'm in (Note: I'm 5th out of 12). I started watching the NFL a bit more which started to freak out my wife, cause she knows that our Sundays would be lost forever if I got hooked. Like I said, I figured it out: the reason is that Alfredsson left the Senators.

He was my favorite player on my favorite team. I didn't care that he left. I didn't care about the jabs he threw at GM Murray and the team in the aftermath. I've always said that he should have an opportunity to win a cup and that I would be ok with him being traded to a contender. He felt that he had a better chance to win with his countrymen Zetterberg and Franzen in Detroit and I can respect that decision. Alfie was an unrestricted free agent where he made a decision that he's entitled to take. That is what free agency is all about. But with his departure left my interest in the team and the sport for the moment.

I could create a wonderful list of all of the great things that Alfredsson did for the Senators and the community in Ottawa. A list that has been written over and over again which shows his amazing accomplishment during his 17 year tenure. I will instead tell you what he took with him: he took the Senators identity and character to Motorcity. People need to understand that he was Captain for over 10 years. He has always been a leader by example.  He was the Senators and they followed in his footsteps. Without Alfie, the Senators needs to start from scratch and figure out what kind of team they want to ice. Don't get me wrong, Spezza is a very capable Captain. The addition of Bobby Ryan and Clarke MacArthur have been great for this team. The core is strong, including Norris trophy winner Karlsson. The challenge right now is their inconsistency. From the front office to the locker room, they will need to do some serious soul searching and make tough roster decisions. The Senators are a team in transition. This will be painful for fans of the team, myself included.

I'm glad that I figured out what was holding me back from watching the game that I love. I'm hopeful that my team will figure out what's holding them back as well.



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