Monday, December 3, 2007

10 seconds for the good, 10 minutes for the bad.

Its funny how losing streaks go. When the Senators were winning almost every night, everyone obviously felt good but didn't really talk that much about it. Winning became an expectation the fans and the media knew would continue and I believe it will continue. A 6 game losing streak though certainly gets more people talking than a 6 game winning streak. It is human nature.

On the Team 1200 talk shows callers often will have a 10 second comment about a win or how well the team is playing and a 10 minute comment when the team is playing lousy, that's just human nature. The big difference now is the perspective the fans seem to have. No one is happy with the record or the sometimes dreadful play which caused it, but there still seems to be no sense of panic and I think that's a good thing. It appears the fans have enough trust to know that every team in every season will have hills and valley's. They and the players have certainly had enough of this valley but there are no screams for change. That shows a maturity within the fan base, an understanding that reactionary moves rarely change things long term.

Last years early season woe's raised far more important questions in a far more dire time and yet staying the course ultimately was the right move. That experience for ownership, the team and its players made them better and it also made the fan base more able to deal with this current slide.

There will always be the angry callers to the Team 1200 who want to know why the players weren't skated into a quivering puddle as punishment after a loss. The truth is that punishment skates rarely have the desired affect anymore. Go through the schedule and look at the number of games in the number of days and ask yourself if bludgeoning more energy and emotion out of the players in practise will increase your chances of winning the next game or not. This is about winning not making some philosophical point as a coach. You don't have to wonder if the players feel bad about this or don't care. They know and they care very much.

The teams golf outing in Florida was also a hot topic on the phone lines. I understand that completely. I have kids too. If they misbehave we don't reward them. The difference is these players are not children they are men. The difference is there are corporate responsibilities the club has to a valued business partner that cant simply be canceled because the coach is mad.

The Senators did not organize this golf event. Molsons did. They ran it, they paid for it and they went to great expense and effort to do it. Cam Atchison and Grant Skinner from Molson's Ottawa office flew down to organize the whole thing. With them came 2 of the biggest executives in the entire Molson family and all of that cant be arbitrarily snuffed out because the coach is angry. That is the business side of hockey you cant escape. Believe me, just because the players say the golf was a good way to put hockey out of their minds for a few hours doesn't mean that's what actually happens. If you are a player or a coach or a manager or a president or anyone in the organization, it is something you think about all the time. Oh, one other small point about the Molson golf outing. The Senators have never lost the game which immediatly follows the event. If the Senators beat Tampa tomorow night, Sens Army may actually be asking for a golf tournament before every game.

Right now things are ugly. Right now a team that could hardly find ways to lose 2 weeks ago cant seem to find a way to win. But this too shall pass and the fans know it. That is fan maturity. That is a fan base that knows and understands hockey. That is a fan base that is not happy, but knows this team will make them happy again.

Dean Brown
(hard at work in Florida)


Logan said...

Hey, Dean...welcome to the world of Team 1200 blogging. While I certainly appreciate the thoughts and comments in Steve's blog or even Stu's blog, it is refreshing to get your perspective in a written format since I have been listening to you call games from my first day in Ottawa over six years ago.

Having grown up in New Brunswick, we were always hockey fans at a distance....we had our favorites, we wathced the games, and if we were really lucky, travelled to a cirty with an NHL team to take in a game. That all changed when I became a citizen of Ottawa which eats, sleeps, and breathes hockey 24/7. I even had the good furtune to be Magnus Arvedson's neighbor for two years until he left and got to know hockey players from two sides when many only get to see one. Not only were they superstars, when they dropped by to visit Arvie, they were just one of the guys.

It took a long time to get used to the love/hate relationship of the fans with our team...your 10 minutes/10 seconds comment is right on the money. It felt like people were quick to condemn but slow to praise....almost as though showing some positive emotion was a sign of weakness. Fortunately, after the run to the final last spring, people seem to have found a groove with more patience and acceptance.

I still recall listening to a broadcast about 4 years ago which turned out to be the final home game of the Senators for that year (and fan appreciation night which was unfortunately also a loss). You were working the post-game show when a lady, about as angry as one can get, called and berated the team to the effect of "If this was fan appreciation night, that was no way to show appreciation to your fans." You calmly but sternly set the record straight and told her in no uncertain terms the way things worked. Props for that!

I look forward to reading many more entries throughout the season after wins and losses alike. A bad day at the rink is better than a good day anywhere else.

-Logan, in Barrhaven. Loyal TGOR fan and former fan of "Two Dorks On The Radio" featuring Dean & Gord.

Dean Brown said...

Thanks for the comment. Yours is the first. I just started this thing and was a bit worried about it since I've never done this before. Some of the blogs I have read in the past are filled with the negative, sarcasm and a bizare need to vent venom. It appears that some blogs beleive that the negative is the only thing worth looking for and writing about. To be honest, the only blogs I enjoy are the ones from people who cover hockey and are on the inside. Not because those people are intent on covering up what is really going on and sugar coating things, but rather they have a true perspective on what is going on. Thats not to say they never talk about the bad, but they dont dwell on it. If people are looking for the dirty little secrets they wont get them from me because there really arent that many and we can leave the reckless unsubstanciated speculation to the bloggers who cover hockey from a distance but beleive their microscope is stronger and more accurate from 5 miles away.