Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Not Ready to Say Good-Bye...

For most people, it's like he's already gone.

With the Senators down in their first-round playoff series against the Penguins 0-3, and with the great possibility that they'll be swept tonight in Game 4 on home ice, many people have already forgotten him.

But I haven't. In fact, today, while most Sens fans are praying for a miracle, or already counting our team out and thinking ahead to the post-season changes that are bound to occur, all I can think about is him.

Tonight could very well be Wade Redden's last game in a Senators uniform.

It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it, but it's true. Earlier in the season, I had hopes that he'd return to the player he was 2 or 3 years ago, carry the team on his back, and lead them to a Stanley Cup this Spring. A few weeks into the regular season, he announced to the local media that he'd even consider taking a pay cut to stay with this team once the season was over. On that day, my hopes soared to new levels.

However, since then, he's had a rather dismal season, and has been the biggest whipping boy on this team, perhaps only bested in that department by the wayward Ray Emery. He's even had to use his no-trade clause twice to thwart GM Bryan Murray's attempts to ship him out of here before the end of his contract.

It's been hard to be a Wade fan this season, but I've hung in there. I'll never cheer for another player the way I have cheered for him.

This morning, all the papers are already saying their good-byes. As the guys on TGOR said this, it's like reading his obituary. Chronicling the ups and downs, the good times and bad, the great things he has done for the community (like "Wade's World", the luxury suite he has purchased every season he's been here where kids from CHEO get to go to watch games), the sad times like the year his mother battled cancer and passed away during the Sens first-round match-up against Tampa Bay.

By stark contrast, I can't help remembering the newspaper I picked up eleven years ago, on the eve of the modern Senators' first appearance in the playoffs, which had row upon row of pictures of each member of the team at that time. I remember scanning the photos, and one of them literally jumping out at me.

"Holy smokes, that guy is hot," I said, pointing out this one picture to my mom.

I watched that playoff round, and became absolutely obsessed with the Ottawa Senators, and that rookie who's photo I had seen in the paper: Wade Redden.

I haven't stopped following his career since, and today, little memories of Wade keep coming back to me: Watching him in that first playoff series vs. Buffalo; meeting him at the 65 Roses Sports Gala (when I got to shake his hand and get my picture taken with him, but could barely speak a work); feeling crushed when he was the last man back on the goal that Jeff Friesen scored in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals when New Jersey beat us; watching him singing "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" on TV during one of the Sens' Christmas visits to CHEO; tearing up when he scored and received first star honours in the game after his mother's funeral; feeling complete and utter joy when I found out the Sens had chosen to keep him over Zdeno Chara two years ago; meeting his brother Bart at a game earlier this season...

I could go on and on.

But I hope I'm jumping the gun. I'm hoping the Sens fight hard tonight and win, so that Wade will live to don the Red, Black & Gold at least one more night.

'Cause I'm just not ready to say good-bye...Not yet.

15 comments:

Johnny Nash said...

WOW!
all I can say Is Jilly, you'll be much better off once he's gone.
(as will we all)

Jill said...

Sorry - I know you guys hate the Wade rambling, but this could be my last chance... :(

And I won't be better off once he's gone. I'll be terrible!!!

Didn't know you were still out there, Mr. Nash. Thought you'd given up on the Blog.

JN said...

Yup, it has been a while since I looked in on things here...

Don't worry, I'm sure you'll find another sen. to pine over.

BTW. you all ready for the tournet this weekend?

Jill said...

No one will ever replace Wade *sigh*

But on a happier note - yes, I'll be playing this weekend, Vikk already told me I could have my cheat sheet - which is a good thing, since I haven't played since last year...I'm figuring I should be on the sidelines after the first half hour!!

Sharon said...

Very nice blog Jill. I don't mind the Wade Rambling... but I will never find him hot. lol

As for tonights game, I can only hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.

priscilla said...

You are always welcome to join the Mike Fisher fan club Jill.

Jill said...

I don't know who I'll chose as my next favourite player - maybe a young guy coming up, like I did with Wade, who has the promise to stay here for another 11 years. I know for sure I won't ever get as "hung up" on someone as I did on Wade...Hockey players come & go to often for me to go through this again - I've been lucky he's been here this long!

KAthleen said...

yeah even I don't mind your Wade ramblings, Jill. They bring me back a few years to that fun place, Heritage. It's probably over tonight as the Sens have really been finished since that win against Detroit.
I hope Wade finds a good home in the offseason. I can't believe all the crap he's had to take over the last couple of years. Talk about a slap in the face for all those years of excellent service. On top of that you have Bryan Murray treating him like total garbage in the media. Senators fans should really be ashamed of the way they've turned their backs on this guy.
You don't need to have a favourite player. I never really have since Patrick Roy left. Sure I love Saku for being the heart and soul for so long and of course there's Carey Price. Then you have Roman Hamrlik who is smoking hot *sigh*. I love them all though, even Brisebois. Hockey is a team game.

Stacy said...

Jill - i was there when you first fell in love with Wade i think - well i remember the birthday parties we would have for him! HAHA!! I agree with Sharon, i dont find him hot, and i also agree with Priscilla that Mike Fisher IS!! You should jump on that band wagon.

Kenny said...

Well Jill if you are looking for the positives with Redden I think a change will be good for him....Alot of great NHL players have played for many organizations Gretzky played for 4 Coffey played for 8 (9 different teams)

I know its killing you that he is done here but for the good of the Sens and Redden moving on is all that is left to be done.

JN said...

Oh BTW laddies...

Fisher, well... is roommates with a (male) chef...

Jill said...

There ya go again...I believe when you first told me that story, it was Wade living with a male chef, then it somehow got switched to Fisher.

pk said...

And he also goes to church so I guess that means he's gay too. He's still hot even if he goes the other way. So is this chef gay?

Jill said...

Yeah, the Chef's gay, Wade Redden's a coke head, Ray Emery's sleeping with Alfie's wife, and Eugene Melnyk is bankrupt. If we believed all the "rumours", it'd be hard to find a saint within the organization...

pk said...

Emery is a coke head if anyone is.