Top Ten Tuesdays will be a weekly post in the off-season, celebrating the good and perhaps remembering the not so good of the past 18 seasons of Senators hockey.
Last week was the Top 10 tough guys, this week I count down the top 10 SENemies, those people that members of Sens Army have grown to hate the most over the years.
10. Lindy Ruff
Being the coach of a divisional rival for 13 straight years, you are bound to have your run-ins. That is why Lindy Ruff makes the list, as he has been involved in numerous incidents between the teams over the years. He is a vocal person who isn’t afraid to speak his mind and in doing so rubs opposing fans the wrong way. Perhaps the greatest example of his role in the Sens-Sabres rivalry was the infamous Buffalo-Ottawa brawl. upset by a Chris Neil hit against his captain Chris Drury, Ruff sent out a line of Adam Mair, Patrick Kaleta and Andrew Peters against Jason Spezza‘s line, and as soon as the puck was dropped Mair attacked Spezza. Fights erupted, as did a yelling match between Ruff and Bryan Murray. Here is the video from that incident (I know I included it in last weeks Top 10, but since I can never get enough of it, I assume you can’t either):
9. Chris Pronger
When Alexandre Daigle pronounced that nobody remembers who was picked second, Pronger was that guy. Perhaps the greatest mis-step in franchise history, selecting Daigle over Pronger has haunted the Senators for years. His level of hatred, however, reached a boiling point in the 2007 Stanley Cup finals, when he was dubbed a bully for his physicality that included knocking Senators centre Dean McAmmond out of the playoffs with a huge elbow that somehow escaped punishment by the NHL. Seeing the one that got away raise the Stanley Cup after defeating the team that should have drafted him was a dagger in the hearts of Sens fans.
8. Bryan Berard
Bryan Berard was regarded as the top offensive defenseman available in the 2005 NHL draft. With the first pick, he was selected by Ottawa, who chose him over the #2 pick Wade Redden. After he was drafted, he informed the Senators that he didn’t want to play for them and that he would not report. Fans who were excited about Berard’s potential and took his refusal to report as a slight against the city, not only the team. Berard was eventually traded for Redden, and found his way to Toronto, where he was the unfortunate victim of an errant high stick that cost him the sight in one eye. The Maple Leafs used the injury as a rallying cry for years after the incident.
7. Steve Downie
Steve Downie is a thorn in many teams’ side, and the Senators are no exception. He is most remembered and loathed for the run he took at Dean McAmmond in the 2007 preseason, that earned him a 20 game suspension. Since then, he has had many run-ins with the Senators, and he has fought Chris Neil 3 times, as well as Matt Carkner, Jarkko Ruutu and Mike Fisher.
6. Dominik Hasek
Dominik Hasek‘s unorthodox style and seemingly slinky-like spine tormented the Sens for years as he patrolled the crease for the Buffalo Sabres. That was all supposed to change the day John Muckler announced that he had signed Hasek for the 2005-06 season. This was supposed to be the tipping point, the one ingredient that Ottawa had never had…a top flight goaltender. He started the season in spectacular fashion and was the alleged savior of the Senators. Cue the 2006 Olympics and Hasek sustained a torn adductor muscle and would be sidelined for some time. He ended up missing the rest of the season, and despite practicing and showing well in practice, he did not feel up to suiting up for the playoffs. Teammates pleaded with him to return in the playoffs, but Hasek wouldn’t play if not 100%. He never played in Ottawa again, as he signed in Detroit after the 2005-06 season.
5. Carrie Underwood
Ms. Underwood is a country music superstar who was the darling of Ottawa while dating Senators centre Mike Fisher. They got married last summer and started building a house in the area. However, on February 12, 2011 the moment that Fisher fans feared came to reality and the player was traded…to Nashville, Underwood’s current city. There was a massive backlash against Underwood, thinking she somehow forced the deal. People calling her the Sens’ Yoko Ono & at least one radio station banned her music from being played and that ban is still in effect 2 months later. She went on Jay Leno‘s talk show and the topic even came up on the show:
4. Pat Quinn
The guff, surly coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs during the heyday of the Sens-Leafs rivalry, was never shy with the media and liked to stir things up. He repeatedly maligned the Senators players, while defending the actions of his own. He is perhaps best known for continually bringing up Marian Hossa‘s accidental high-stick, that cost Bryan Berard his sight in one eye, as an example of the Senators’ “dirty” play. However, Quinn guided Canada to its first gold medal in 50 years in Olympic Men’s hockey in 2002, and was at the helm of Team Canada during the 2009 World Junior championships that were held in Ottawa. Pat Quinn is still the face of the epic battles of Ontario and his success in the playoffs against Ottawa makes him a SENemy to this day.
3. Alexei Yashin
The Senators’ first ever draft pick was also the team’s first legitimate star. He was the leading scorer on the ice and one of the more talented forwards in the league. However, off the ice was a different story and his legacy is tainted with contract holdouts, refusals to honour existing contracts, and demands to be the team’s captain. The final straw in the community was a shady deal in which he made a $1 million donation to the National Arts Centre. That donation was great, but what wasn’t so great was the stipulation that Yashin’s parents be put on the NAC payroll as consultants with a contract worth almost half of the donation. The scandal sunk Yashin’s reputation in the city and he became public enemy #1. The Senators traded Yashin at the 2002 draft in exchange for Zdeno Chara and the pick that became Jason Spezza.
2. Dany Heatley
Heatley came to the Senators and was an instant success, setting club records for goals and points, and being a major part of the Senators run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2007. Then came the summer of 2009, when for reasons that may never be completely known to the public, Heatley requested a trade. The trade request became public, and tied Bryan Murray‘s hands in terms of getting value in return. Murray finally found a taker and had a deal with the Edmonton Oilers, but there was a catch. Heatley had a no trade clause, and decided that while he didn’t want to play in Ottawa, but he wanted to go to Edmonton even less. The player who demanded to be traded exercised his no trade clause to block a trade. This enraged Ottawa fans and when the trade with San Jose finally was completed, the plane couldn’t take off quickly enough for Sens Army.
1. Darcy Tucker, Tie Domi, Shayne Corson, Mats Sundin, Bryan McCabe, Gary Roberts
This group could have been a top ten all of their own, but for fairness sake, I have put them together as a group. The Maple Leafs version of a wolfpack was a thorn in the side of Senators fans for the early 2000’s. This was mostly because whatever the Senators did and how much more talent they had, the Leafs somehow found a way to win in cruch time. Every time, for four straight playoff appearances. And this group of players were the ones who peeved off the Senators the most, with their bullying attitude, style of play, and numerous Sundin “facewashes” after the whistle. Roberts was hated as a Leaf, but he was the one name that came up over and over every year at the trade deadline, as THE player the Senators were missing in their lineup.
Did I miss anyone?
Thanks for reading and as always, comments are welcomed.
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