There are a few things that drive me nuts about the Ottawa Senators fan base. I am not excluding myself completely from this equation, as I sometimes fall into the trap as well. One of those things is the fact that many (not all) “Sens Fans” would rather see the Leafs lose than the Sens win.
Another thing that drives me nuts is the ease at which the fan base, more than any other I can think of, points the finger at the guys wearing stripes for the Senators’ incompetence or lack of success.
A majority of the reaction to Saturday’s devastating loss in Montreal has been about the officials and the penalty call on Kyle Turris or the failure to blow the whistle quick enough when Robin Lehner apparently had the puck frozen. Sure, maybe it was a dive that resulted in Turris heading to the box, but the fact is he had his stick in the wrong place and the player went down. It was a judgement call for the officials to call the second penalty for embellishment or not, and in that case they have to be sure to make a call like that. Obviously neither referee felt it was enough to make an even-up call. While one fan base is irate, if the tables were turned and it had been a Senators player called for embellishment in a similar situation there would be equal outrage.
As for the failure to whistle the play down, that is also a judgement call. The puck was visible from overhead, and the referee was in good position.
The fact of the matter is, with a 3 goal lead with less than 4 minutes left in a pivotal game, there should be absolutely no reason to cough up that lead and choke away the game. The Senators allowed themselves to get caught up in the moment with the referees and lost sight of the goal.
Pointing the finger at the guys in stripes is all too common among Sens fans. I have done so on occasion myself, and usually hate to do it. I am not saying I am right or wrong when I have done it in the past, nor do I apologize for it. But it seems that every time something happens, it is the fault of the guys in stripes. They are by no means perfect, but there have been as many occasions where they have been the beneficiary of calls as have cost them. Think P.K. Subban‘s hooking penalty in the dying moments of a game earlier this season to give the Senators a power play heading into OT. I didn’t hear any Senators fans declining the penalty because it was a questionable call.
I have laid the blame on the official before, and will probably do so again, so this might be a little hyppocritcal. But at some point the Senators fan base has to look at the team they support and see that it is more their doing than the guys in stripes. The referees didn’t allow the goals that turned a 3 goal lead into a 1 goal advantage. And when officials let things go in the dying minutes Sens fans are the first to jump on them for not making a call if it would have worked to the Senators’ advantage. It goes both ways.
The Senators as a team blew it, not the officials, and to look at it any other way is a cop out. I am including myself in this group as well. I have been part of the problem, but not this time.