An awful lot of people woke up in the nation’s capital today with this weird contrast in feelings.
On one-hand, it is really difficult ignore the heartache and hollowness that stemmed from glorified shitbag Chris Kunitz’s double-overtime game-winning goal, but just think about the fact that the Senators were just one goal away from an appearance in the Stanley Cup Final.
That is insane.
As an organization that lives on the margins and has repeatedly pursued their short-term prospects in the belief that once you get into the postseason anything can happen, anything almost happened!
Of course, there’s something to be said about luck playing a significant factor in the playoffs.
The structure of the NHL playoffs affording the Senators an easier first round matchup against a depleted Bruins team. Henrik Lundqvist uncharacteristically was unable to cover his porous blue line’s gaffes and Pittsburgh’s injuries almost caught up to them.
All of those assertions are fair, but you cannot take credit away from the Senators simply because they successfully took advantage of the situation afforded to them. Similarly, it’s not like they played this season without any adversity of their own.
Having endured the Hamburglar run during the magical 2014-15 run, I never thought I’d see such the resiliency of this organization match the levels demonstrated during that improbable stretch of hockey.
The 2016-17 Senators were incredibly resilient and their goaltender, Craig Anderson, was an embodiment of this.
The Masterton Memorial Trophy finalist missed stretches of games, so that he could be by his family’s side as his wife Nicholle dealt with nasopharyngeal carcinoma – a rare form of cancer that necessitated chemotherapy and radiation treatments. When he was available to play, he was the rock that kept the Senators in games that they had no business winning.
Despite not playing in a regular season game since October 14, 2015, Clarke MacArthur went from an afterthought to passing his concussion protocol in the last week of the season to becoming a key component who scored the memorable series-clinching goal against the Bruins.
Erik Karlsson spent the duration of the postseason playing on one leg.
Having already proven that he could put up points and be a productive player following his return from an Achilles injury in 2013, no one should have been surprised by his ability to dominate and influence games, but finally, FINALLY, the talking heads around the league finally began to give him credit for being the freakish all-around defenceman that he should have received credit for years ago.
Bobby Ryan’s career looked VSA (vital signs absent), but he was a different player during the postseason. He stopped playing like a perimeter player and found ways to engage and use his combination of size and skill to make the most out of his opportunities.
There were so many good stories to come out of the playoffs, but I’ll delve into all this in the 2016-17 Ottawa Senators eulogy.
It’s going to take me a few days to get to let thoughts marinate and process everything, but I’m hopeful to publish it early next week.
In the meantime, I just want to thank everyone and anyone who has checked out this corner of the interwebs over the 2016-17 season. Thanks for taking the time, writing comments in the comment thread and continuing to support this little site.