Last night, the clock struck midnight for those pesky Ottawa Senators. The Zamboni turned into a pumpkin, the glass skate broke on the ice, and head coach Paul MacLean turned into a walrus. The Senators fell in game five 6-2 against a very dominant Pittsburgh Penguins offense. To me, it just felt like the Senators had just finally run out of steam. It’s a shame though, they had one of the more amazing Stanley Cup runs we’ve seen in a while (sorry Sens fans, Bruins 2011 will always be first in my heart.)
I bleed black and gold, but you have to give a stick tap out to Ottawa. They had an injury list that was competitive in length with their standard roster. At one point, eight players were out. Some of those players were considered to be out for the season. Erik Karlsson was considered likely out of the game after a freak accident by Matt Cooke severed his Achilles tendon. At best, he was done for the season. He was back in two months. The Bruins have hearts of lions, but I swear the Senators have the physical constitution of a vending machine.
It was odd watching the Senators play, and at times you had to wonder if somehow you were watching the NHL version of a Mighty Ducks movie. Their AHL/NHL squad came together and pushed with tenacity that got them labeled on Twitter as the #peskysens. They kept playing. They kept winning. (Due in part to some otherworldly work by their leading crease policeman, Craig Anderson.)The Senators were evolving under some very difficult circumstances, and a lot of the credit of that success should go to head coach Paul MacLean.
This is MacLean’s second season as the head coach of the Ottawa Senators. In both years as head coach, he has brought the Senators into the post season. Last season, the Senators got taken out in the quarterfinals by the New York Rangers. His team was far healthier then. He took a bruised and battered team and took out the second seed Montreal Canadiens this year. (As a Bruins fan, thanks for doing the honors on the Habs there.) MacLean is a nominee for the Jack Adams Award, the trophy for who the league considers to be the best coach in the NHL. He should win it hands down.
The Ottawa Senators and the Sens Army have nothing to be ashamed of this season. They might not get to hoist the Cup this year, but they taught twenty-nine other teams and their fans the true meaning of determination and perseverance. *stick tap* Congratulations on an amazing season, and I look forward to cheering you on as my second favorite team in the Eastern Division.