Are the Ottawa Senators Really Canada’s Team? Well, They Better Be…

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by John McNeill

Midwest Correspondent, White Cover Magazine

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The question posed in the title may seem a little too late or even a little too little. After all, anyone who saw Game 4 between Ottawa and Pittsburgh saw the Penguins flex their almost never-before-seen muscular power in a 9-3 massacre.

If you watched it, you’ve probably consigned yourself to the inevitable conclusion that Ottawa is done and this series is over.

Sure, maybe the Sens can win a Game 5 – maybe they can even win a Game 6? – but they’ll never be able to win three straight against the greatest offensive juggernaut in the last 20 years.

As one unit, that’s what Pittsburgh offers. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin would be enough to handle on separate teams, and James Neal and Chris Kunitz have scored at the pace of all-stars (which they are, despite being relegated to the supporting cast) for the past two seasons. All the Penguins did to fill in for Jordan Staal’s exodus was bring in Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow, and Brandon Sutter. Sure, Marc-Andre Fleury sputtered through four games against the Islanders, but Pittsburgh would have Tomas Vokoun waiting in the wings – the left-handed former dynamo who was a sure-fire top five goaltender at one time with the Nashville Predators.

Fact is, Pittsburgh is good. So was Boston, before Toronto stretched that thing to its utter max (and should have definitely, completely, obviously won). Chicago’s good, too, and Detroit has them at the edge of the world – Toews and Kane are hanging on by their fingertips while Datsyuk and Zetterberg tap them with the soles of their Winged Wheeled boots.

Comebacks can happen. So can surprises and shockers. Upsets, spoilers, and even Ethan Hunt… these things are part-and-parcel with the NHL Playoffs.

And so, with that in mind, Canadians needs to believe.

Forget the fact that nobody was cheering for you two years ago, Vancouver, and try to get over your heartbreaking loss already, Toronto.

Ottawa is the lone syrup sapping team left in the playoffs. The Senators are the last maple leaf standing. It’s an annual tradition every year to ask, early on, “Which Canadian team has the best chance to win a Stanley Cup?”

Well, this time, we know it’s Ottawa.

They’re all we’ve got left, and while not everyone hops aboard the “Canada” bandwagon (we can only imagine the real thing looks like this), it should still be enough to get up, turn on your TV, and believe in the Senators for as long as they believe in themselves (the jury’s out on whether they actually do).

The Senators are a good team, and a fun team. With the exception of a long memory that clouds my opinion of Daniel Alfredsson, they’re an easy team to enjoy and get behind. They beat Montreal because they out-worked Montreal. They were better than Montreal. Kyle Turris has matured as well as any sophomore-turned-senior-turned-youngish-veteran in the NHL. Erik Karlsson is the best defenceman in the world, most of the time. Craig Anderson has been the Walls of Troy since he left Colorado for the Canadian capital.

So what if Pittburgh got their Horse behind the gates? So what if we think it will all come crashing down in an already-decided Game 5?

Are you cheering for Ottawa, Canada? And, if not, explain yourself…

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