I am a Leafs fan and I have a problem. No, the problem is not that I am a Leafs fan. I sit watching the playoffs like any fan of any team that’s not in the playoffs – quiet, trying not to get invested, an impartial observer just watching for the “enjoyment of the game”. Bullshit. There’s always a tinge of resentment in watching teams that are not yours in the playoffs. It’s like what I imagine being a parent is like and watching a kid other than yours score a goal. Yeah, good for them, but why the hell wasn’t it my kid? That’s what parenting is like, right? Encouraging animosity between children? No? I probably shouldn’t have kids. Where was I?

Oh yeah, my point is, once your team is gone from the NHL season, it’s hard to get invested in any other team outside of playoff pool implications. So here’s my thing. I’ve found myself being swayed by a certain team in these NHL playoffs and it sucks. It’s not to the point of being glued to the screen and losing my mind every time a goal is scored, but it’s certainly more than a passing interest. It’s not good. The problem? The team is the Ottawa Senators.

Now, I’ve never been once to buy into the whole Leafs/Sens rivalry, at least not since I was 13, and I’ve always found the notion of it frankly ridiculous. An idea cooked up by TSN to hype the match-up. I’ve always found it hard to care about a team that has been on this Earth for fewer years than I have and thought that the whole rivalry was pretty contrived. I’ve also never been one to buy into the whole “cheer for a Canadian team” in the playoffs thing. It’s actually one of my pet peeves. It’s not the Olympics, cheering for a Canadian team to win the Cup just because they’re Canadian is just insane. You have your team, in your city, and your team is your team. You don’t jump ship just because another city happens to exist in Canada. I’m losing my point.

Right, the Senators. So, while I have no real resentment towards Ottawa, it’s still confusing to me to find myself enjoying this team so heartily. Their games haven’t been particularly incredible hockey, and it’s lacked the utter batshit insanity that has been the Pens/Flyers series. But there’s something about watching an 8 seed just push a 1 seed to the brink through just good, solid hockey that is just incredible to watch (I’m not counting the Kings because the Kings are a much better hockey team than their seed indicates). The fact that Craig Anderson (Craig Anderson!) is out playing Henrik Lundqvist hurts my mind, the fact that Jason Spezza is reminding everyone that, yes, in fact, he’s really good at his job is great and their games are just fun. I enjoy my time watching this Ottawa team in the playoffs. And yes, it stings, and I watch every game hoping against hope that one day I’ll be able to be invested in a team I’m invested in. I’d say “go Sens go” but I don’t think I’m there yet and I can’t afford the extra sessions with my therapist.

Links To The Past

  • A eulogy for the Detroit Red Wings, we hardly knew ye. (Puck Daddy)
  • Are we finally seeing some progress in a second NHL team in the GTA? Oh, joy. (Toronto Star)
  • If I’m moderately invested in the Sens, I can’t imagine what it must be like for people who actually care. (Ottawa Citizen)
  • If the Penguins are going to complete their comeback, the key might be Jordan Staal. Can this series go nineteen games, please? (ESPN)
  • The key to the Flyers winning might be their fans. That’s a pretty terrifying thought. (Philly.com)
  • It’s been a long time coming, but the Blues finally won a playoff series. (STLToday)
  • Raffi Torres got suspending for like a billion games. The Blackhawks are pretty happy about that. (Chicago Sun-Times)
  • Nail Yakupov is really good and the Oilers should probably take him. I can’t wait until this team fields 12 incredible forwards with 6 AHLers playing defence. (The Hockey News)
  • Alex Ovechkin does not care for your talk, Boston Bruins. (The Washington Times)
  • This is insane and dangerous and amazing.