Quick, name the last Canadian team to go to the Stanley Cup Final.
The last one to win the President's Trophy?
The last one to embarrassingly collapse under media expectations?
None of those describe the Ottawa Senators. The 2nd most-popular NHL team in Ontario and probably the 4th or 5th most popular hockey team there is exactly what is implied here: they're not even top-tier losers. The Nashville Predators of the Great White North run themselves like a budget farm team with none of the built-in training wheel excuses of their southern brethren about how they're not seated in a part of the country that's crazy about hockey. They lose money because they suck and they suck because they're stupid.
What to Like About them
The good news about the Senators is that their fans are by-and-large way less-pretentious about hockey than Leafs or Habs fans. The team is run by a former Wings assistant coach in Paul MacLean and Erik Karlsson is a lot of fun to watch.
What to Hate Most About Them
They live up to the title of the Predators of the North not only by having David Legwand as their best center, but also in their love for delivering cheap headshots. Currently the captaincy of the Sens is vacant, but I'm fairly confident they're going to give that position to Chris Neil, a guy with more career penalty minutes than brain cells. Jared Cowen was born when lightning struck a VHS cassette tape recording of his dad cheering for the mercenaries in Die Hard 2.
How to Take the High Road
When it comes to flipping shit at an opposing team or its fanbase, it's important that you act with a bit of grace and dignity. We should strive to keep the topic to hockey itself. It's even better if we have an opportunity to grab a position from the moral high ground while we're at it.
Eugene Melnyk runs the team into the spending basement and drives his last two captains out of town with the help of a press corps that's more interested in carrying water for them and reporting on fake Sidney Crosby arrests than they are in reporting the truth and there are STILL fans who blame Daniel Alfredsson for leaving or who call Jason Spezza a traitor. It's unbelievable the lengths some fans will go to for them.
How to Deliver the Low-Blow
While I never ever EVER support taking cheap shots at your opponents' expense first. Sometimes they ask for it. You can pretend to cast your eyes down at them from your ivory tower or you can jump in the muck with them. Here's how to do the more-fun version.
It sure is nice how the Senators are giving the Maple Leafs three extra chances this season to play in front of a home crowd. Canadian politeness knows no bounds.