Regardless of whether you live in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton or anywhere else in Canada, the Ottawa Senators would like you to disregard your local affiliations and loyalties and adopt them as your hockey team.
Just for the next little while, anyway.
As they prepare to confront the Buffalo Sabres in the Eastern final, the Sens are urging you to leap onto their bandwagon. They “want to make Canada proud,” screams the headline on their website.
They’d like you to cheer for them. Back them. Support them.
And, oh yes, they wouldn’t mind also if you’d buy some of their merchandise. Wear a Senators’ cap for a few weeks. Buy a jersey. Heck, stick one of those flags on your car.
They’re trying to make you believe that, by rooting for the only Canadian-based team remaining in the NHL’s playoffs, you’ll feel better about yourself and your country.
“Hopefully, we can get some more fans going our way,” Ottawa forward Chris Kelly says. “I think everyone in Canada wants to see a Canadian team do well.”
Ottawa centre Jason Spezza says he’s starting to sense support even from folks in his hometown, Toronto, where the Leafs are the Sens’ top rivals.
“In Toronto, it’s tough,” Spezza says. “They bleed blue and white usually. (But) I talked to a couple of buddies back home and they said there’s a few more Ottawa fans coming around as the days go on.”
• The Sens and Sabres know each other well — and the familiarity has bred contempt.
These teams loathe each other. They were involved, in fact, in the NHL’s worst brawl of the regular season. In late February, they reached 100 penalty minutes after Ottawa’s Chris Neil knocked out Buffalo star Chris Drury with a vicious head shot.
This could be an entertaining series if the teams demonstrate their formidable offensive skills and forget silly goon tactics.
Remember, Buffalo eliminated Ottawa in last year’s playoffs.
• MLB is planning to investigate clubhouse attendants.
Kirk Radomski, a former attendant for the New York Mets, has pleaded guilty to distributing steroids and MLB wants to determine if others are guilty of similar wrongdoings.
A Los Angeles Times piece has added fuel, quoting former Dodgers attendant Dave Dickinson as saying he’d do just about anything to keep players happy and his tips coming.
He’d take players’ phone numbers to women in the crowd, fabricate stories to the players’ wives and would even provide beer during games, storing it in the dugout bathroom so players could sneak drinks between innings.