After the Senators lost last night and their season came to an end, I listened to the Team 1200 Post Mortem with JR for a while. There was the usual questioning of earlier trades, and the use of the goaltenders over the run of the season and all the usual “what ifs”.
The overwhelming sense I got from the fans while listening on the web from my hotel room in Boston was that they were disappointed “for” the team and not disappointed “in” them. Two very small words which make a very big difference. Years ago after the 4 game sweep at the hands of the Leafs fans were disappointed in that team. The compete level, the emotion level, the courage, in fact everything was questioned.
Losing to the defending champs in 6 games, 2 of which went to overtime, is no shame. Especially considering Ottawa was missing one veteran top-4 defenceman (Kuba), two top-6 forwards (Kovalev, Michalek) and the captain played the entire series with a torn abdominal muscle with a rookie defenceman logging the most minutes in the series.
Their compete level was high. The emotion level was high. The resolve to beat the odds was high. Their grit level was high and for all those reasons there is no shame in this loss.
Now more than ever I believe these players became a much better team the day Heatley was traded. They swapped a me for a we and traded goals for character and this team had plenty of that against Pittsburgh.
See you at the rink.