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Ottawa Senators

Ottawa Senators Season Begins

Ottawa SenatorsI have been waiting over three months for this day. Ever since my Ottawa Senators took an unceremoniously early leave from the playoffs last year – after a particularly lackluster season of coaching changes, scoring issues, and egos – I’m looking forward to this season.

But the off season wasn’t a particularly relaxing time for Sens fans, either. After being disappointed in the team’s response to coaching by Craig Hartsburg and suffering through a Dany Heatley shoulder injury at the same time as Alfie and Fisher were all nursing various injuries, we finally saw some stability when Heatley returned faster than expected and everyone seemed to like Cory Clouston.

Towards the end of last season, Bryan Murray picked up Pascal Leclaire in response to our continuing search for a #1 goaltender (earlier rumors had the possibility of a trade involving Jason Spezza for Roberto Luongo from Vancouver, but that was not to be). While Leclaire was healing from an injury, goaltenders Alex Ault and Brian Elliott played well, but not quite where we would have liked.

The 2008/09 season didn’t start off very well, but ended okay and while we didn’t make the playoffs we knew that we were ending the season better than we had started and that the 2009/2010 season would be better.

No one ever anticipated that Dany Heatley would ask to be traded. He claimed that it was because of his diminished role on the team. Dany Heatley had been playing on the 1st line with Alfredsson and Spezza and for the most part they played well together. But last season the spark just wasn’t there as it had been and when Cory Clouston came on board he decided to shake things up a bit and spread out the scoring. One of the main complaints all season had been the lack of secondary scoring. Once we got all the goals out of Alfie, Heatley and Spezza on the first line, there really wasn’t much chemistry or production on the other three.

So, Cory Clouston moved Dany Heatley to the second line and we saw an immediate improvement. The chemistry seemed to be there and people were comfortable. As fans saw it – and Cory Clouston saw it – Heatley’s role hadn’t diminished at all. It had simply moved to being the front scorer on the second line which needed a strong “pick-me up” and someone to lead that line.

Somewhere between the end of last season and June, Dany Heatley became convinced that Cory Clouston’s decision to put him on the second line meant a decline in his playing time and role on the team. While the coaching staff and fans begged to differ – once Dany had expressed his displeasure it hovered over everyone all summer.

We were further insulted when Heatley was offered a trade to Edmonton (my sentimental favorite since the years of Gretzky, Messier, Coffee, and Grant Fuhr). First he says he wants to be traded – when we didn’t want to trade him – because he didn’t feel appreciated and then he decided he wanted to pick and choose who he was traded to.

As the opening for training camp neared and no trade appeared on the horizon speculation abounded whether or not Dany would be welcomed to play in Ottawa since the fans felt so slighted. There was certainly tension mounting in the locker room over all this, as you can imagine. Many fans felt torn. We had traded Marian Hossa for Dany Heatley – basically one hot shot for another (Hossa was getting too expensive) – and Dany had performed well for use leading scoring in all the seasons he played with us. He proved to a leader even though he never wore a C or A on his jersey. Dany Heatley was one player you could always count on when the team needed a boost. His goals were cheered higher on the Richter scale than anyone else’s except perhaps Alfie.

Finally, word arrived last weekend that Bryan Murray had secured a trade for Dany Heatley to San Jose in exchange for Jonathan Cheechoo (a Canadian boy from a town only a couple of hours away) – I personally am really looking forward to seeing him play – and Milan Michalek.

Senators fans and teammates are breathing sigh of relief to see this come to an end. We were already on a high from signing Alex Kovalev from our arch rival, the Montreal Canadians.

As for Dany Heatley, he is a good all around hockey player. Perhaps a change is what is needed to get both Dany Heatley and Jonathan Cheechoo back to scoring 50 goals again. In all I think it was a great trade for both teams. I think both rosters will benefit. As a true hockey fan, I will hope this move will give Dany Heatley what he wanted and that he will play well there as he did for us when he was here. I will still wear my #15 shirts with pride because that’s the kind of fan I am.

Puck drops at 6 EDT in Halifax against the Florida Panthers – not a usual hockey venue, but Easterners love their hockey too (many of them are still Leafs fans, but what can you do? Perhaps with our new roster a few Leafs fans may see the light).

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Discussion

8 comments for “Ottawa Senators Season Begins”

  1. I sure hope we don’t have any Heatley drama - last year our locker room chemistry was at an all time high, and it was GREAT!

    Posted by sharksfanNo Gravatar | September 15, 2009, 4:40 pm
  2. Heatley has always shown himself to be a player of integrity and talent. We were very glad to have him. I would be very surprised if he didn’t play the same way in San Jose.

    It was one of the reasons why his wish to be traded caught us all off guard.

    Although with the acquisition of Kovalev we were $2-4 million over the salary cap so we would have had to trade someone.

    Posted by KeeperNo Gravatar | September 15, 2009, 4:46 pm
  3. Hi there great blog! I bet your glad to see the back of heatley? I don’t think I have seen you here before are you new? if so welcome aboard! I’m the canucks blogger.

    Posted by CanuckulheadNo Gravatar | September 16, 2009, 10:47 am
  4. Yes, I’m new. Thank you for the welcome. (I love Luongo. 12-year contract huh?)

    As for Heatley, we’re glad the whole thing is over, though not necessarily glad to see him go. Most of the fans loved him, loved to watch him play, wanted his number on our shirts and jerseys.

    So, we were rather hurt by his wish to be traded. And the longer he stayed the more hurt we became.

    It was not an amicable parting. We just wanted to get back to the basics of hockey without having this uncertainty hanging over the team and the season.

    Still a great hockey player. I, for one, will miss him.

    Posted by KeeperNo Gravatar | September 16, 2009, 11:04 am
  5. Thanks for the post and welcome! We look forward to hearing from you through out the season!

    Posted by pittpenNo Gravatar | September 17, 2009, 2:19 pm
  6. Thanks, Pittpen. By the way, I love Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin. Always look forward to seeing them play when they come to Ottawa. They typically get a good reception and I find myself cheering for them.

    They were the only ones that kept me watching the playoffs last year.

    Posted by KeeperNo Gravatar | September 17, 2009, 2:23 pm
  7. Sorry that would be Evgeny Malkin. I often get Malkin and Ovechkin mixed up. *head shake*

    Posted by KeeperNo Gravatar | September 17, 2009, 2:24 pm
  8. Keeper,

    Well that certainly is impressive due to the fact most people outside of Pittsburgh don’t seem to be too fond of Mr. Crosby. I don’t care who’s team a player plays on it can always be fun to watch super stars go at it. Of course, preferably against someone else’s team:-)

    Posted by pittpenNo Gravatar | September 30, 2009, 5:51 pm

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