I've been pretty quiet on the Sens front this season thus far, mainly because I've been less than enthused. So far the 2010-2011 Ottawa Senators have been a terribly inconsistent bunch. They strung together, like, four wins about a month ago and had me excited for a few weeks, but otherwise...dismal. Very, very dismal.
You know they don't win much when Amanda was overheard whispering to Luke during last night's game, "Have they won any games yet this year?"
They have. But not many.
Granted, there has been a lot going on off the ice in the past month, with the unexpected passing of assistant coach Luke Richardson's daughter. For a while there, it could be said that their minds and hearts were elsewhere. It was excusable.
But last night, they should have been pumped. There was no excuse for a lacklustre, half-assed effort. Because one of the biggest villains in Ottawa Senators history - right up there with Alexei Yashin - was in town.
It was the return of Dany Heatley. And Sens fans had been forced to wait for this reunion for over a year and a half. They were ready.
Too bad the team wasn't.
While Ottawa has been chastised for not selling out last night's game, they were 18,000 strong, and they came prepared. Chants of "HEATLEY SUCKS" rained down before the first puck-drop. They came armed with signs spewing all different kinds of malice. This one was my favourite:
They booed him when he touched the puck. They ran down to the glass in groups and chucked their old Heatley jerseys on to the ice. Those who chose to still wear theirs blacked out certain letters so it instead read "HATE 15" on the back. They roared when he took a penalty for high-sticking his former teammate and buddy, Jason Spezza. The booed loudly when he was credited with an assist on one of San Jose's four (unanswered) goals.
By then end of the night, they were even chanting "DANY DOUCHEBAG! DANY DOUCHEBAG!"
So it really is a shame that the team on the ice didn't display the same intense fervour and passion as their fans did.
Rather than celebrating a huge win and rubbing Heater's face in it, this morning the papers and sports call-in shows are all talking about what an embarassing game it was. What a massive disappointment it was. People are pushing panic buttons. (Literally, on the Team 1200 morning show TGOR, Steve and JR were actually pushing a panic button, with sirens and robot voice and all.) Fans are calling for them to completely blow up the team and start over. Names like Fisher and Alfredsson - cornerstones of the franchise - are being tossed around as trade bait.
Earlier this week, even in the wake of that pathetic loss to the lowly Oilers, it was fun to be a Sens fan again. The hype of Heatley returning to Ottawa was easy to get swept up in. It was exciting to see the anticipation build, and hear about what people were going to put on their signs, and what they were threatening to throw at him.
This morning? The hype is all gone. And all that's left is the sick feeling in my gut, knowing Dany Heatley - slimy little vermin that he is - got the last laugh.
And as the Sharks head out of town, we're left with this mess of a team, and no sign of hope.
No. It's not a great day to be a Sens fan. Not at all.