Why Didn’t I Believe? A Rant To Myself In Tuesday’s Tirade


Looking back on the 2014-15 season for the Ottawa Senators, it’s easy to ask “why didn’t I believe?” To be fair to myself though, I don’t think anyone did. Still, I can rant to myself about it in this edition of Tuesday’s Tirade.

Instead of ranting about a certain player or team, this week will be a bit different because it’s directed at me, the author. And the reason I’m partially mad at myself is because I didn’t believe in the team, and I was actively cheering for them to lose. Once things started to go downhill a bit near the end of November, I jumped ship and knew it was unlikely they would make the playoffs.

By the end of December I was hoping that Ottawa would lose games (but I wasn’t necessarily cheering against them) but still play well in hopes of getting a higher draft pick for a stellar 2015 class. It was the consensus thought amongst Sens fans at the time, and there were only a few super optimists even back in January.

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It was realistic certainly, as by mid-February they had only a 2% chance of getting in. It’s not like my views were pessimistic or anything, but looking back it is insane that I was rooting so hard for them to fail and then two short months later I was devastated to see them lose. The season up until February honestly seems like an entirely different team and season, because the team for the last 31 games plus playoffs was incredibly lovable and of course provided the results that made them that way.

It was a daily routine in January and February to look at what teams around the league Ottawa needed to win so the Senators could slip further in the standings. In an awful sort of way, I looked on the bright side for injuries, because the loss of Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner made it look like they would fall into the top five by seasons end.

Then a funny thing happened. Andrew Hammond took over, and turned the season (and essentially the franchise) around. At first, besides his win against the Montreal Canadiens, I wasn’t too thrilled with him stringing a few wins together. Because of course ultimately, that would hurt their draft position! That was my only thinking at the time.

Apr 22, 2015; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; The Ottawa Senators celebrate their victory over the Montreal Canadiens in game four of the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Canadian Tire Centre. The Senators won 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

I can recall being out while the Senators were playing the Kings, and seeing that the score was 1-0 in the third. And I said to myself “if they win this one, then it’ll get interesting. Another win against San Jose on Saturday and I’ll believe and start cheering for them.” The next game they won, and they had a five game winning streak going, including a sweep of California. After that game, they had me hooked.

In hindsight though, I have to ask myself “why didn’t you believe earlier?” Although the results weren’t good at that point, the team looked solid on paper. They were led by a core of Erik Karlsson, Kyle Turris, and Bobby Ryan, and they had up-and-comers like Mark Stone, Mike Hoffman, Mika Zibanejad, and Curtis Lazar. My hopes and beliefs from the beginning of the season should not have faded, especially so early on in the year like November.

I think about all the games I was happy to see Ottawa lose, and I get a bad taste in my mouth. Down the stretch, Ottawa needed every point possible. The thought of not making the playoffs by one or two points is sickening, considering there were multiple losses that Ottawa had where I was happy to see them pick up 0 points. Looking back, I would be crazy to want to see them lose because they were so close to not even qualifying for the playoffs.

The Senators were the last team that I wanted to win, and saying that now is horrendous

It’s easy to cheer for a team to tank and tear the team down, because young players and prospects are exciting. I’m sure everyone got caught up in that, myself included. But winning (especially in the way Ottawa did) is so much better because those are actual results that you want in the end anyway.

Thinking about wanting this team to lose is unimaginable now, as I was so invested in this team ever since they swept the California road trip. I have to get angry at myself because to be honest I had very little faith in the team moving forward, and the playoffs looked impossible. The Senators were the last team that I wanted to win, and saying that now is horrendous.

At the same time, I’m sure many of you had the same feelings as me. So perhaps this is a tirade towards all Senators fans who were cheering for the team to lose, because those losses in January almost caught up to them in the end.

King Alfie said it best:

I did stop believing for a long time, and I shouldn’t have. Shame on me, Daniel.

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