Considering how nothing is going on in Ottawa these days regarding the Sens, I figured I’d throw up one of my first pieces that some of you probably never have read. Given the current lack of sports news (baseball resumes tomorrow and the Heatley trade talks are sucking the life out of the city), I figured it’d be alright to run this piece again that touched on the Ottawa sports scene. Anyways, hope some of you enjoy it.
Oh to be a sports fan in Ottawa. We’ve endured some painfully awful seasons from our respective franchises. The Sens were absolutely anemic for their innaugural season. With a record of 10-70-4, Ottawa finished the season with an astounding 24 points. Blessed with the likes of players such as Mark Osiecki, Ken Hammond, Tomas Jelinek and Daniel “the Bandit” Berthiaume, cheering for the Sens during the 1992-1993 season was like watching Apollo Creed get the shit knocked out of him by Ivan Drago in Rocky IV. At the end of the first period, you were almost half-hoping that the Sens wouldn’t come out to start the 2nd period, you just knew their opponents were going to kill them. On a similar note, has their ever been a goalie who had a tougher season in the NHL than Peter Sidorkiewicz? Not only was he hit with more rubber than the average porn star, in his last start of the season (April 14, 1993, vs. Boston) he seriously injured his shoulder in a goalcrease collision. After the season, Sidorkiewicz was dealt to New Jersey and he would never play significant minutes in the NHL again because some rookie named Marty Brodeur was called up to replace him.

However, the season wasn’t a complete waste of time. We finished dead last. We “earned” the right to draft 1st in the upcoming NHL draft. Could it be true? Alexandre Daigle, the francophone consensus #1 pick was coming to Ottawa. The tool necessary to draw in fans from across the Ottawa River. The savior of the franchise! His junior numbers in Victoriaville were staggering:
91/92: 66 GP, 35 goals, 75 assists, 110 points
92/93: 53 GP, 45 goals, 92 assists, 137 points
Despite Daigle’s junior production, not all within the Sens’ braintrust were sold on Daigle’s value. According to the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch, Mel Bridgman (the current GM) wasn’t completely sold on Daigle and had a draft-day deal in place that would have netted the Sens a package from the Quebec Nordiques that would have included Peter Forsberg. Fortunately, the Sens were not only blessed with shitty players, they had perhaps the most dysfunctional management (this was the same unit that decided that their expansion draft strategy should be to draft as many former first round draft busts as possible). In a marketing decision, ownership decided that drafting the francophone, Daigle, was the best direction for the franchise. Subsequently, on the day of the draft, Bridgman was fired and replaced by Randy Sexton (who later signed Daigle to an assanine $12.25 million deal). Senators management sucked so much that we were directly responsible for the 1994-95 NHL lockout. Management notwithstanding, our marketing department was also responsible for some disturbing shit that you could never have come up with yourself. Alexandre Daigle in a nurses outfit anyone? I still get a kick out of that shit. Apparently that’s how much we thought of Habs fans back in the day, our first marketing department decided the best way to convert francophone Habs fans from Quebec was to create some homoerotic vibes. Fuck, no wonder Daigle stopped caring about hockey – look at what we did to the kid! This is right up there with the shit the New Orleans Saints put Ricky Williams through. Is there any coincidence that these two aforementioned athletes turned out to be fruitcakes?

Hilariously enough, bad management was symptomatic for other franchises in Ottawa. Not only were the Roughriders (and later the Renegades) the whipping boys of the CFL, these organizations were operated worse than the Senators.

While the Sens were responsible for drafting one of the league’s most historical first round busts, Sens management never had the disctinction of drafting a dead person. (Ironically enough, this wouldn’t be the last time in CFL history for this to happen. In 1995, the Montreal Alouettes drafted a player who had succumbed to cancer a few months prior.)

Fortunately, you wouldn’t even have to envision what it would have been like to be a fly on the wall when management discovered that their faux-pas. It would probably have mirrored that scene from the movie Major League:

Board Member 1: I’ve never heard of half of these guys and the ones I do know are way past their prime.
Charlie Donavan: Most of these guys never had a prime.
Board Member 2: This guy here is dead.
Rachel Phelps: Cross him off then.

Speaking of Major League, I watched this movie after the Sens/Habs game the other night and couldn’t help but notice the similarities between the characters on the Indians and some of the current members of the Ottawa Senators.

Pedro Cerrano: No one on the Sens is more representative of the Voodoo practitioner than Heater. Cerrano would disappear in games because he could never hit the deuce, however, if he ever got that fastball, he’d capitalize on it in a second. Heater is the same way, he’s our modern day Brett Hull, he’s just a pinball-flipper. Like Cerrano, who hit the game tying bomb against the Yankees, Heater is clutch. Last season, with his pivot out of the lineup, Heater elevated his game. It wouldn’t be too hard to imagine #15 looking at his stick at the time and saying “Fuck you Spezz, I do it myself.”

Eddie Harris: Harris was the crafty vet who would do whatever was necessary to gain an edge and succeed. Harris was also primarily responsible for leading the Tribe during pre-game prayers. Who better to characterize as Harris than our very own Quaker, Mike Fisher? Not only is Fisher our virtuous town bachelor, the guy puts his ass on the line and plays on the edge each and every night.

Rick “The Wildthing” Vaughn: Perhaps the best way to summarize Ray Emery would be to borrow the quote from the Indians’ assistant coach upon seeing Rick Vaughn show up at spring training. “Take a look at this fucking guy.” While Ray isn’t sleeping with teammates’ wives (like Vaughn did with Dorn’s wife), he is the Sens’ resident lightning rod for criticism and controversy. Ray at one point even had a shitty haircut (dyed it bleach blonde), fortunately Bryan Murray told him to ditch it.

Jake Taylor: An all-around good guy who was brought in to mentor the younger less-experienced members of the Tribe? Ottawa doesn’t have too many of those, one fits the bill perfectly. Luke Richardson was thought to be washed up years ago when he was a trade deadline acquisition by the Buds in 2006. While Richardson didn’t receive significant minutes in Tampa last season, he has been a consistent blue-collar presence on our blueline this season.

Willie Mays Hayes: “You may run like Mays, but you hit like shit. Every time you don’t hit a ball on the ground, you give me 10 pushups.” If only Paddock would take a similar approach every time Spezz made a blind tape-to-tape pass onto an opponent’s stick. Spezz, like Hayes, is all about the pizzazz.

Roger Dorn: Similar to Dorn, “No-Trade Wade” has been absolutely unwilling to sacrifice his body for the good of the team. Wade must have the same agent that Dorn had. Dorn refused to do any calisthenics, Wade refuses to do any strength and conditioning. Seriously, people rave about the ability of Randy Lee to whip Senators players and prospects into phenominal shape. I’d hate to think that Redden’s geneology is the only thing holding back his ability to put on size and muscle. Nothing describes Wade Redden better than this conversation between Lou Brown and the general manager, Charlie Donavan:

Lou Brown: I thought you said we didn’t have any high priced talent.
Charlie Donovan: Forget about Dorn, he’s just high priced.

How to Lose a Wade in 10 Days:
Appoint Ray Emery as Wade’s personal life coach & guidance counsellor.