The reaction came fast and furious. Fans of the Ottawa Senators – and formerly fans of Daniel Alfredsson – began violently gnashing their teeth in the instant following their Captain’s decision to bolt.
Threats of an egged house, burned jerseys, etc., etc., were plastered across Twitter in the wake of the news. And while it’s hard to completely blame fans for said reaction, we can certainly hold them to account for it.
The reaction was (sort of) understandable. Over the Senators brief history, there has really been only a (small) handful of players the franchise can really call its own – Alfie, Phillips, Neil, Spezza, Redden, Fisher… and Daigle maybe? (albeit for all the wrong reasons).
After that the well starts to run pretty dry. Hell, even Fisher might be more of a Predator by the time he’s done with the game.
So with this in mind, why, as a fan base, would you nail to the cross one of the only players who’s ever embraced Canada’s cold, staid capital?
There’s no good reason really. So in this case we’ll just have to chalk it up to anger.
And make no mistake – anger is easily one of the more complicated human emotions.
Often we use anger as a means to create an emotional distance – a barrier to the pain we’re caught in.
So in this case the hatred just feels like an effort to mask the pain of losing the only thing such a young organization has ever had the chance to be proud of.
Was the situation embarrassing? Certainly. And having Alfie basically call the team a non-contender on the way out of town hurts all the more.
But, the #SensArmy’s (or whatever the hell they are) irrational, unexpected, and vitriolic reaction is sure to leave a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.
Think it out, Ottawa. We’ve see this kinda thing before. In 15 years will anyone ever call Sundin a Canuck, or Iginla a Penguin? No. And Alfie will be a Senator… you’ve just made a little more awkward because of some anger issues.
To any Sens fan, I would offer this advice: Try focusing your anger towards something more productive – like how Leafs fans come into your barn and boo your team on their home ice. That’s more embarrassing than a Captain leaving town.
You have a Jack Adams coach, a young, Norris-winning blueliner, and you just got that Bobby Ryan guy. The future is perfectly bright, it’s just captain-less… for now.
Ed. note: This was written shortly after the Elliotte Friedman article that’s hyperlinked in the above text. It just wasn’t posted till now… I’m busy, okay?