Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Same Old Playoff Heartbreak

So, this year, in the playoffs, I actually had the opportunity to cheer for someone other than the Ottawa Senators.

Throwing my support behind Wade Redden and the New York Rangers, I had hoped that maybe, just maybe, Wade and I might shake the haunting Sens playoff runs of the past, which always ended up in inevitable hearbreak.

Not even making it to the Finals in '07 was good enough. Having rolled over all the teams we face in the East with such ease, it was a slap in the face to be so brutally out-muscled and out-played by the eventual Stanley Cup Champions, the Anaheim Ducks. And while that was certainly the proudest Spring we went through with the Sens, it was still not what we had all been hoping for.

With the Sens out of the playoff picture this year, I had hoped that perhaps, even though they wouldn't get a chance at glory, that maybe our ol' pal Redden might get a shot at it.

Last week, up 3-1 in the series over the Washington Capitals, it looked like the Rangers were on the brink of advancing and I'd have a little more time with my favourite player (even though I do STILL don't think he looks right in Ranger Blue...)

I shouldn't have got so excited. Or cocky. Because I should've known. I never get to be happy with hockey this time of year. It's just not in the stars for me. Even my "adopted" team chokes and dies.

While I wouldn't consider this the worst I've felt in late-April - not even close - it still made sad to see Washington score late in the third period in last night's thrilling Game 7, effectively ending the season for the Rangers. Even worse was that Wade was he last man back, the only one between Sergei Federov and the goalie, Henrik Lundqvist. Redden was in perfect position, and I don't believe he touched the puck with his stick - essentially, the goal was not his fault.

But why oh WHY does he always have to be the last man back on these horrible game- or series-ending goals?! It literally breaks my heart!!

So yeah...Another playoff season comes to an end for me. Who will with the Cup? I don't give a damn.

Hockey sucks.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bring on the Wolves!

Here's a quick Blog for those of you desperate for some action around here!

First of all - having recently been wrapped up in all things Twilight, I'm anxiously awaiting the November 20 release date of the next film, New Moon. Up until just yesterday, I hadn't been sure if I'd like the movie, as it was my least favourite book in the series. The reason? A severe lack of Edward in the story.

You see, in New Moon, Edward leaves Bella in an attempt to save her from his dangerous world, and she struggles to get over him. She becomes close friends with Jacob Black, a member of the Quieleute native tribe, who we soon find out can actually morph into a werewolf. I know, I know, you didn't think it could get worse than vampires, right? If anyone had told me I'd be reading about vampires and werewolves and actually enjoying it, I wouldn't have believed 'em either. But trust me, the addition of yet another supernatural creature to the story doesn't make it any less awesome.

So anyways, while I did enjoy the New Moon section of the saga, I didn't really enjoy being Edward-less for so much of the book. How could I possibly survive a movie with so little of "RPattz" (that's what we coolios refer to Rob Pattinson as, apparently) in it??

Oh yeah. Hot wolves, baby!!!

I've been drooling over this photo, featuring Alex Meraz as Paul, Chaske Spencer as Sam, Bronson Pelletier as Jared, and Kiowa Gordon as Embry. These guys make up the rest of the wolf pack, along with Taylor Lautner, returning from the first film, in the role of Jacob.

I'm officially ready for New Moon to hit the big screen. November seems so far away...
Oh, and in a brief Stanley Cup playoffs note - WOO HOO RANGERS!! Up 3-1 in their series vs. Alex the Great & the Washington Capitals, life is good for this sorta-Rangers Fan! And better yet, I picked Wade Redden in my playoff pool, to much laughter and teasing from my family, but guess what - Reds got an assist in the first game, which is one more point than several other players I had chosen. Go Wade!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I'm Still a Sens Fan...

...But boy, it sure sucks knowing the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs begin tonight and I'm not going to be there.

No butterflies in the stomach. No giddy dreams of parades in June. No rushing out to buy tickets. No flippin' nothin'.

For the first time since I threw my allegiance behind the Ottawa Senators on the eve of the 1997 playoffs (after seeing Wade Redden's picture in the Ottawa Citizen), I won't be watching my beloved team compete for hockey's Holy Grail. For those of you counting, that's eleven years of playoff hockey for this kid. I don't know how to deal with anything else.

Early playoff exits at the hands of the Leafs? Sure, I can handle that.

Giant disappointment in the Eastern Conference finals against Jersey? Bring it on.

Even a heart-breaking dismal run against Anaheim in the Stanley Cup Finals...I'd take it.

I'd take anything over this empty, hollow feeling that I have right now.

The good thing? It's not like this comes as a surprise. It's not like we were in the midst of a dogfight up until the final buzzer sounded, and just at the last minute, we found out that some other team came up with an extra point that put us on the outside looking in. Now, that would be shattering. Fortunately (I guess you could say), this has pretty much been a known fact since fairly early on in the year. The Sens spent most of the season below .500, and while there were faint glimmers of hope after Cory Clouston took over behind the bench, their making the playoffs would have been a miracle. And while we optimists prayed, I don't know if any of us truly held any strong belief that it could happen. At the end of the day, this absence from the playoffs comes as no great shock. It's something I've been preparing for since, oh, Christmas maybe?

Still doesn't make this feel any less surreal. Me. Not excited about the playoffs. No team to cheer for. No passion and excitement. BLAH.

So, while most other Sens fans are finding alternatives, likely throwing their support behind another Canadian team, perhaps the Montreal Canadiens, I have another choice.

You see, every year that the Ottawa Senators played for Lord Stanley's Cup, there was one familiar sight on the blueline: Wade Redden's #6. And lo and behold...Guess who's keeping his streak alive? Yup. You got it. Redden's Rangers will be taking on the Washington Capitals in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, which means that every year that he's played NHL hockey, Wade Redden has been in the playoffs. (Every year, except 1999-2000, when he missed the playoffs due to an ankle injury).

And while I won't be able to cheer for my Sens this Spring, one thing will remain the same.

I'll be cheering for Wade Redden in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Do I care about the New York Rangers? Not really. And according the tiny bit of research I've done, it's not likely that the Rangers will even make it past the first round, going up against one of the hottest teams in the NHL in Alexander Ovechkin's Washington Capitals. Their record against the second-place team in the East this season was 0-3-1. Oh, and they have that doof Sean Avery, so it makes it even harder to get excited about them. (I really hate that guy).

But Wade is more important to me than any of that.

So while I struggle with this empty, hollow feeling of not having the Sens in the postseason, I do still have him. And I wish him the best. Should he somehow manage to hoist the Cup this year, it will the most bittersweet of moments. I dreamed of watching him do that in Ottawa, and seeing it happen with any other team will be heart-wrenching.

Still, I would be thrilled for him. Maybe a little jealous, but thrilled nonetheless.

I am still a Sens fan. But for now, all I can say is...


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

"Mike, Baby, I Wish You Were Here!"

So, there hasn't been a whole lot about the Ottawa Senators this year that's had me interested. I've Blogged about all the reasons - pretty well wore the topic right out, in fact.

Now, it's official - we're definitely not making the playoffs. And despite some greatly-improved team chemistry and a fairly impressive record since Cory Clouston took over behind the bench, it's all too-little, too-late. The 2008-2009 Ottawa Senators are hopefully a horrid blip on what has otherwise been a pretty cool past decade for the fans and the organization.

That being said, there's always some fun stuff to chat about in the land of the Senators.

First of all - I'd like to say kudos to the lads over at TGOR for catching me pretty good last week with their on-air April Fools' gag. While getting ready for work, I heard them announce that plans were in the works for Alexei Yashin to return to the fold with a 5-game try-out to finish off the season, and if all went well, they'd sign a contract with him for next season. They reasoned that while the fans would be upset, he'd actually had a great season in the KHL and that he'd come at a decent price. I was so wound up over it - caught between wanting to laugh and scream at the ridiculousness of it all. They even had a soundclip from Bryan Murray justifying the decision, which I thought authenticated it.

Walked into Mom and Dad's for breakfast, broke the news to them, and my mother promptly grinned and said, "April Fools". D'uh. I couldn't believe I fell for it!

Another fun thing about the Sens this season? Well, when word leaked out that Mike Fisher was dating Carrie Underwood a few months ago, it was pretty much the talk of the town. Then, around trade deadline day, management brought Mike Comrie back to the line-up, with his "good little hockey girlfriend" Hilary Duff in tow. Imagine that. The Ottawa Senators, now boasting two Mikes with hot celebrity girlfriends. You'd swear it was the LA Kings or something!

Just the other night, at the Academy of Country Music Awards ceremony, Carrie Underwood was presented the Entertainer of the Year Award, and in her acceptance speech, our little Fish got his very own shout-out: "Mike, baby, I wish you were here!"

It's almost too much for this ol' Sens fan to take.

Well, "Mike Baby" was busy kickin' Hab butt last night, along with his good buddy Dany Heatley, who scored twice, only 38 seconds apart, in the third period, to clinch a 3-2 victory. It's always nice to beat Montreal, even if it means nothing to us. Truthfully, the Sens seem to be enjoying their role as spoiler now that they're out. They certainly aren't acting like they don't care, and that's nice to see. Looks like they're trying to lay a solid foundation for next season, and hopefully Murray won't mess with the team too much over the summer.

You know it's rough being a Sens fan when even the 3-year-olds are bailing ship. That's right... My nephew Caden, who has been a huge Sens fan and loyal supporter of Alfie since he was able to stand up and hold a hockey stick, has recently declared that he now cheers for "The Toronto Weafs". It's the fault of his Grandpa Provost, which doesn't make sense, as he's a Sens-slash-Habs fan, but apparently he thought it would be funny to switch the kid's allegiance and annoy his dad. I told Caden if he keeps this up, he's out of the family. To which he prompty replied, "No, Jilly, YOU'RE out of the family!!"

*sigh* I just can't win this year.