Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wade Redden...In New Colours

I've spent the entire summer trying to sort out my Wade Redden dilemma. I've talked about it with friends, I've blogged about it, I've spent many a sleepless night agonizing over it.

(OK...that last part is not really true, but I said it anyways to add some literary flair. Snazzy, huh?)

What to do, what to do? What to do about my boy Wade?

Cheer for him and the New York Rangers? Cheer for the Sens but keep my eye on the Rangers? Turn my back on him entirely and remain faithful to the Red-Black-&-Gold, no matter what?

As of this past weekend, I still wasn't entirely sure how I was going to treat this unpleasant situation I've found myself in. All I knew for sure was that I had never felt so unenthusiastic about Senators hockey as I did this year, entering training camp. A new coach, a whack of new faces, many of the old beloved ones gone. And no Wade.

Absolutely no Wade.

My excitement for NHL hockey, either Senators or Rangers, has been luke-warm at best.

Of course, I've had to face my dilemma head-on this preseason, with the Sens' first two games being a home-and-home with the Rangers. What a sneaky bit of scheduling that was.

I was almost relieved, though, to hear that Wade was not dressing for the first game in Ottawa. I wasn't quite ready to see him in Ranger colours, especially not on home ice. Because no matter who's signing his pay cheques now, you have to think he still considers Scotiabank Place, where he spent 11 seasons, his home rink.

He did, however, make his debut at Madison Square Garden on Monday night vs. the Sens. I was at Stacy & Ricky's playing BINGO, and Ricky switched over to the game on NHL Centre Ice. Within moments, the cameras flashed on Redden as he was skating off the ice with some of his teammates. They zoomed right in on him, and I had the same reaction I always used to have when he had a close-up on TV:

"Oh! It's Wade! Hi, Wade!"

Then I had a moment of bewilderment when I realized I hadn't recognized him at first. It had taken a couple of seconds for me to clue in who it was.

And then I understood why.

I didn't recognize him because of his new colours!!

So used to him in a Sens jersey, I hadn't even stopped to think of what he'd look like in Ranger blue. And then, there he was. Looking like a Ranger...Acting like a Ranger. Yet my heart was screaming, He's a Senator!!!

It was a difficult moment for me. Probably the hardest thing I've had to do since watching him play out his final minutes as a Senator last spring. If I hadn't been sitting at Stacy & Ricky's, I probably would have cried.

It does help to know that he's struggling with this as well. He says all the right things, about how excited he is to be in the Big Apple, and how much he likes the team and his colleagues. But after that pre-season game when he had to suit up against his old friends, he said this:

''I don't know if it was more weird being here for the first time wearing this (uniform) or playing against that one,'' Redden said. ''I got them both out of the way.''

Well, Wade, I sort of felt the same way.

I'm glad it's out of the way for now, so that hopefully when I'm at the game on Nov. 22 for his first official return to Ottawa in the regular season, I won't get all silly and emotional. I still haven't really decided who I'll be cheering for that night, either.

But I still have another few months to figure that one out.


Anonymous said...

Jill - you could always do the best thing and don't choose who you have to cheer for - Sens or Rangers and cheer for the Penguins!! HAHAHA!!


Jill said...

I could never, EVER cheer for the Penguins...My hatred for them is almost as bad as my hatred for the Leafs!! Ick.

Papi said...

Jill, if he would have signed with the Leafs what would you have done?

That is you answer!!

PK said...

I know you love Wade, but he has moved on. Maybe you should find a new young player to follow like you did with Wade? I'm sure there must be some other hot hockey player you can chase! And there's always room for one more in the Mike Fisher fan club...

Anonymous said...

Jill, you will do what's right and cheer for the Sens and wish Wade the best, except for when he plays against Ottawa. Trust me, as an Expos fan I saw a zillion guys leave and I had to deal with it. I still follow a lot of them to this day.
As for the Penguins, I couldn't cheer for them either. They basically tanked several years in a row in order to get all the high draft picks instead of rebuilding the respectable way. Also, no one seems to like them when they are in between superstars, there was talk of them leaving before Mario came around and they were almost bankrupt before Crybaby Sid came around. They have a good young team but I really have no respect for them as an organization or hockey city. They are small time.

Anonymous said...

PK is right - always room in the Mike Fisher club...haha
i dont really follow hockey - i watch Pittsburgh because Ricky is a die hard fan - as you most know...i like buying cool pittsburgh stuff for him and for maddy because I know she will cheer for them one day too!!!
I'd like to hear your answer though from Kenny's question...


Jill said...

The answer to Kenny's question is that if he'd been traded to the Leafs, he would forever be tainted by the Blue & White, brainwashed by them, and become a total, complete LOSER. I would have had no choice but to disown him.

Thank GOD he didn't go to the Leafs!!

Anonymous said...

hahahahaha - ok would you totally disown him if he went to pittsburgh?


Kathleen said...

Leafs have won 13 more Cups than the Sens...just sayin...

papi said...

Actually the Sens have won multiple Stanley Cups. 11 to be exact. Now these are all before the expansion era. Oh wait 12 of the Leafs are too...and the Leafs last Cup came the year of expansion. So really, your argument has no merit to it.
The Sens have been a competitive Hockey team for the last 10 years. The Leafs mean while continue to be satisfied with a losing team that brings in millions of dollars worth of revenue because the fans are to stupid to realize that Ownership cares more about money than winning

Jill said...

Ohhhh...Go get 'em, Kenny!! Not sure why the resident Habs fan decided to throw out a sorta-pro-Leafs statement, but whatev. At least my team should be competitive this year, while everyone has already written the Leafs off...again.

Kathleen said...

The only connection the Senators of old have with the Senators of now is their name. It is not the same franchise so they really shouldn't be taking credit for it. It would be like me taking credit for the Cups won by the Montreal Maroons, but then again at twenty four I guess I don't really need to do that. With all due respect though, the Senators only really won 5 Cups, the others were all before the NHA and NHL came into place. They were however the first real dynasty that the NHL saw.
Yes, the Leafs are currently big time losers but they are one Cup win (ha!) away from being glorious winners. They are original six and like it or not have a rich history and a loyal (if a lil bit dumb) fan base. I've softened a bit towards the Leafs in the last few years because they are so terrible. I preferred the rivalry when they were good, not when they were sad and pathetic. I got dirt kicked in my face by too many Sens and Leafs fans when the Habs sucked so I'm not going to play that game.