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.
(hard at work in Florida)