Playoff Amnesia: The Absence of Post-Season Hockey in Ottawa


Written By: Derrick Brose

It is that time of year again for hockey fans. Spring has sprung, the days are getting longer and warmer, and for the fans of sixteen NHL clubs, the real fun begins. Yes indeed, the Stanley Cup playoffs are mere days away. And while there is still a lot to be determined in the few remaining games of the regular season in terms of match-ups and who exactly the bottom-seeded combatants will be, for your Ottawa Senators, it will be the end to a very long and difficult year.

For the second time in three years, the Sens will be on the outside looking in when the battle for Lord Stanley’s coveted trophy begins. The team has two games left on the sked, against the Canadiens and Bruins, and they hope to finish with some gusto and pride. But while playoff teams are fine-tuning their game plans, the Sens will be clearing out their lockers. And when the puck is dropped on April 13th to kick off the “second” season, Sens’ players will be teeing off on their golf season.

For Sens fans, the end of the season and lack of post-season play in Ottawa is bittersweet. Playoff hockey is unrivalled – the intensity is ratcheted up, the energy in and around an arena hosting a playoff game is palpable, simply knowing that the Cup is but sixteen wins away heightens the senses that much more.  The bite stings even more with the reality that the Sens were only three wins away from hoisting the ‘greatest prize in hockey’ back in 2007. But unlike when the team missed the playoffs in 2009, the outlook isn’t as bleak this time around. Given what has gone on since this season was declared unsalvageable in early February, missing the post-season  and finishing in the bottom five in league standings isn’t overly distressing to Sens fans.

When the writing was on the wall and the on-ice product terrible, ownership and management decided to cut their losses and make the most dramatic personnel changes in the organization’s history. Since that time, there has been a clear cut youth movement in Ottawa, and with that movement, more energy and aggressive play have followed. Many Sens fans, myself included, have embraced the concept of a rebuild, and it is that concept that makes missing the playoffs a little more bearable.

While the future may look promising, the hockey fan is a hungry animal, and hungry animals cannot simply wait for some arbitrary point in the future to be fed. So what is the average Sens fan to do in the meantime? What can the hungry animal feed on in lieu of playoff hockey in the nation’s capital? For answers to these and other questions, I give you

The SenShot Survival Guide to Life Without Ottawa Senators Playoff Hockey:

  • The Draft Lottery:  On April 12th, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly will hit the airways with his giant cue cards – and this time, the Senators will be on one of those giant cue cards. Currently sitting 27th in the league, the Sens have a 10.7% chance of snagging the first overall draft position. Will it happen? Tune into TSN to find out.
  • World Championship Tournament:  Many of your Ottawa Senators will no doubt be participating in this international, year-end tournament. Ryan Shannon has already been asked to join Team USA. Cheer on Team Canada and Sens players in this exciting showcase beginning on April 29th.
  • Binghamton Senators post-season hockey:  While the NHL Senators might be out of it, Bingo is on the verge of securing a playoff spot. Follow the organization’s young talent on their quest for a Calder Cup in the American Hockey League playoffs.
  • Watch other NHL playoff games:  Even though the mighty Ottawa Senators are absent from this year’s playoff tree, NHL playoff hockey is still one-of-a-kind. Why not pull up a chair and enjoy some non-partisan hockey at its finest.
  • Ask your Leaf fan friends what to do:  Having missed the playoffs for six consecutive years, Leaf fans have a wealth of experience when it comes to coping without local playoff hockey. They will surely have some useful  tips for the lean days ahead.


Thanks for reading and as always, comments are welcomed.

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