The Ottawa Senators will have the eyes of a lot of fans around the NHL, with the changes they made in the off-season and the fact they will be looking for a real identity now that they have moved their second captain in two summers.
There will be many nights of excitement, but also many nights of disappointment and frustration. There will be many questions that need answers, mainly 1) will they be able to keep the puck out of their own net better now that Jason Spezza is gone?; and 2) Will they be able to score enough on a nightly basis to be competitive?
Here are 5 games to watch this season:
1. Thursday January 29th – The Return of Spezza
Spezza will not likely get the heroes welcome that Daniel Alfredsson got, mostly because he never got the respect he deserved while he washer, so why will it be any different when he sports the Stars uniform. Oh yeah, it will also be the return of not-so-longtime Senator Ales Hemsky.
2. Thursday, October 16th – Home Opener
The first opportunity for the fans to see the new-look team will come against the best team in the West (at least from last regular season), the Colorado Avalanche. The young Avs have had a steep learning curve and should be a powerhouse in the making and will be a good test for the Senators, who will hope for a similar rise.
3. Saturday, February 14th – Hockey Day In Canada
Valentine’s Day will not be one for romance for a lot of Senators fans as they will get to see the Sens host the Edmonton Oilers and then go out to see the other Canadian Teams in action. The Senators get back to facing a Canadian opponent for HDIC after facing the Rangers last season. This will be the third time the Senators and Oilers meet on Hockey Day In Canada, and the Senators hold a 1-0-1 record.
4. Thursday, December 11th – The Champs Are Here
The defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings will make their lone appearance in Ottawa. The Kings are traditionally a regular season sleeper and don’t wake up until April.
5. Thursday, October 9th – Opening night
The first real opportunity to begin the love affair with the “Pesky Sens” or come to the realization that you get what you pay for begins when they take to the ice for the first time in Nashville.