Breaking down the trade: a dystopian look at the Sens' future

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

by Rob Poirier (@RobFeature)


The year is 2021. The wind rages against the windows of my hovercraft. It is a cold wind. I don't have to feel it to know that.

The line moves. I accelerate briefly, then hit the brake hard. I wait.

"This all used to be green fields," I say, gesturing out the window at the sprawling metropolis once known as Lebreton Flats. "Did you know that?" 

In the passenger seat, my son's eyes barely move from his iPhoneX. 

"What?"

I frown.

"Nothing..."

An hour passes. Finally, I pull up to the booth.

"That'll be 40 credits," the attendant tells me.

"40?! Last time it was 32!"

"And now it's 40," he replies. "Are you going to pay, or are you going to leave?"

He doesn't even look up from his monitor when he talks to me. He knows I have no choice. I notice how big his fists are and sheepishly plug the transfer cable into the port on my neck. Sometimes, I swear I can feel the money being siphoned away...

The city never finished their light rail project. After the trade happened, workers simply walked off the job, leaving unfinished tracks and tunnels in their wake. They gave up. In some ways, I guess we all did. So now, you either park at the arena, or you risk getting caught in a radioactive snowstorm. And that's something you don't want to do. 

We find a spot and I power down the craft. It shudders violently, then gives a strange THUD. I sigh. That's going to cost me. 

We begin the long walk to the Robillard Cheering Center, where the league-worst Ottawa Senators play.

@Gerv_Rebrand brings this horrible vision of the future to life  
"It's going to be an exciting game," I tell my son. "Lindberg and the Leafs are in town. He won the Art Ross last year. You know what that is?"

I can't tell if he hasn't heard me, or if he just doesn't care to answer. He taps away on his iPhoneX like he's sending morse code. And maybe he is. Damned if I know how those things work anymore.

Without warning, the sirens blare. People rush past us. A child cries. The snowstorm approaches.

"We have to go. Put your phone away."

"But dad--"

"Put it away!"

He gives me one last scathing look before he finally pockets his precious device.

"I wish you never would have brought me here!"

There will be time for hurt feelings later. Now, we're running. 

Trees line the entrance to the area. On each one, the face of Eugene Melynk is projected, smirking.

"Greetings, Sens Army! Just a reminder that your captain, Dion Phaneuf, will be making another $7 million credits this year! As such, expect to see increased ticket, concession, and parking prices! Come on, you know how hard it is for me to make a cyberbuck in this town! But don't fret! The minute we show some sign of being competitive again I'll definitely spend! You can trust me!" 

We storm past the smirking Melnyks and dive through the doors just as security rushes to bolt them shut. Some aren't as lucky. We hear them banging on the other side of the glass. We pretend we don't.

"Is that true, dad?"

I am taken aback, not by the question, but by the fact that he's speaking to me at all.

"Huh?"

"What Mr. Melnyk said. Will the Senators ever be good again?"

My mind races. What should I say? Do I tell the truth, knowing Melnyk's sentries are all around, listening? Do I accept the consequences, and show him what it means to be a man? Do I even know? How could I...? 

I refuse to meet his gaze.

"Well, son... hearing is believing."

Jared Cowen: A Video Tribute

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

by Steve On Sens (no seriously...I actually created content)


Today, Jared Cowen was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Let's all take a moment to remember Jared Cowen. We laughed, we cried, we scored on ourselves. 

Senatorial Cartoon

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

by Mike Wheeler (@TheMikeWheeler)



Bell Let's Talk

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

by Eric Doty (aka @BonksMullet)


Hey folks,

It’s Bell Let’s Talk day, and by now I’m sure you’re all familiar with the annual event, which is in its 6th year. It’s incredible to see how much better we are at talking about mental health since the initiative started in 2011, or at least how much better we are at talking about it with some frequency. It seems to be helping the public perception of mental health, and at the very least it’s raised a butt load of money for mental health initiatives.

This is a Very Not Serious Jokes Website, but I try to use this platform to help in any way I can. I’m no expert in mental health, but I did 2 out of 5 years of a PhD, so 40% of me is technically (not at all) a doctor (I was not studying medicine), so maybe this will help you. Mathematically, 60% of this will be horrible, so read at your own risk. This is long, and mostly just exploration of my own feelings, so I won’t be upset if you just close the tab.

I like Bell Let’s Talk because it gives you a sense of the entire spectrum of people dealing with mental health issues. Yes, Olympians, TV stars, and successful businesspeople suffer from depression and anxiety, but I’m always struck by the amount of “regular” people on Twitter with a story to share about their personal struggles. Everyone struggles with their brain at some point, because brains are mushy computer blobs that sometimes get a little too mushy in the wrong places, and it becomes seriously shitty to deal with. Not all of us are suicidal or clinically depressed, so we don’t always feel like we belong in these discussions about mental health, but everyone has days, or weeks, or years where things seem especially mushy. We don’t know much about how to fix the mushiness, so we do what humans do when we want to solve a problem, we talk about it.

Where Was I Going With This

I wouldn’t call it a battle, but my personal skirmish with mental health has been going on for 4 years now, and I think it’s a fairly typical, even mundane story. How’s that for a pitch? I had just moved from Montreal to Philadelphia to start the aforementioned PhD. First mental health tip: Never do a PhD. Kidding. Sort of.

Anyway, I had an incredible network of friends in Montreal, and then overnight I had nobody. I’m a social guy, so I met enough people in Philly, and many of them were great people, but anyone in their mid-20s knows it’s hard to make connections with new people in the same way you did with the folks you grew up with. Combine that lack of a support network with an overwhelming sense of definitely not loving my future career path, living without a roommate for the first time, missing the culture back home, and a general feeling of loneliness, these things slowly chipped away at my mental well-being.

On the outside, I was fine, but I could feel my passion for life and my ambition slowly slipping away. It took a long time for me to realize it though. It was mostly through things like Bell Let’s Talk that I realized something wasn’t right. It was hard to reconcile with. Nothing traumatic had happened to me. I was smart enough and talented enough and privileged enough, and I was Doing All The Right Things, but I didn’t feel like I had made that worth anything. I had huge expectations for myself and I never felt like I was enough. It felt like people around me knew what they wanted from themselves and I didn’t. I still can’t really pinpoint the feeling I had. I didn’t feel sad though. Just empty-ish.

Here’s the part where I hope someone relates to this and then has a huge revelation about what to do next! Consider your spirits lifted!

The First Uplifting Part

Let me stress here that there doesn't need to be an uplifting part in this story. It can be enough to have recognized that things weren't totally okay, and maybe that's where you are. It may seem like it was easy for me, but that's just because I have the liberty of putting this into an uplifting story arc.

Anyway, Bonk’s Mullet was one of the ways I channeled those crappy feelings into something positive. I connected with people again. I made people laugh. I took creative risks without fear of the consequences. I took off my pants in public. I did radio interviews. I raised money for charity. Anything and anyone that struck me as interesting, I put my creative energy into. I started a website! I sort of hired people! I felt a little bit like an impostor the whole time, but I just went with it. I didn’t think it would lead anywhere, but that wasn’t the point. I was letting myself feel excited about something and I was learning a lot about myself in the process.

At times it all felt a little too surreal. This was all make-believe internet stuff from the comfort of my couch. To make the world of Bonk’s Mullet happen, I had deferred my exams and all of my real-life responsibilities. I stopped cleaning my apartment. I didn’t go to sleep on time. I didn’t wake up on time. I felt a little better about myself when I’d show up at school and let my friends know what antics I got up to on the internet the night before, but I certainly didn’t feel like a functioning adult. I knew I was on my way to something better, but I wasn’t quite there yet.

The Upliftinger Part

And then in late 2013, I was followed on Twitter by a young lady named @Mariia19 from Calgary, Alberta. Or maybe I followed her. We still don’t agree on this fact. At one point I unfollowed her temporarily because she seemed highly likely to drop Breaking Bad spoilers that night. We don’t agree on this fact either. Eventually we discovered the two of us were both heading to the Leafs-Red Wings Winter Classic in Ann Arbor. I needed somewhere to stay, so I asked Maria if she had any ideas. She did.

Our conversation went a little better than I expected and a few days later we had a 21st century first date on Skype. Our date consisted of trying to name 10 players from each NHL team as fast as we could, one team at a time. Try to name 10 Dallas Stars from 2013. It's impossible. Naturally, I won though. This is the last time I ever beat Maria at a game, and not for a lack of trying. One thing led to another, and somehow, some way, through the magic of the internet and phones and letters and presents and drawings and 30 hour Skype calls, we fell in love. And we even had the courage to tell each other...without ever having met in person! Were we crazy!? Yes! Definitely! Talk about things feeling surreal.

Thankfully, this was for real. Maria and I eventually met at the Toronto airport and, somehow, nothing went as horribly wrong as I had planned. The 10 minutes I had to wait for her on the other side of the sliding glass doors while she waited for her baggage were the 10 most stressful minutes of my life, but it was all worth it. I’ll never forget the first moment that I saw Maria in 3D. It was beautiful and strange. I told her she was real about 30 times in 10 minutes. She already knew that though I guess.

Maria and I instantly understood each other, and helped each other through a lot of pain over the next few months as we dealt with our separate, but connected lives. We also created a lot of pain for ourselves by living half a continent apart. We became experts of the online relationship, but naturally, there came a time where that wasn’t enough anymore. I had reached a tipping point where I hated where my life was going unless it was going to be with Maria (and in the same room). I had finally found something (or someone) that made me happy, and I had been learning for the past year to follow that sense, and to take a risk.

I did the scariest and yet least scary thing I’ve ever done: I quit my program, packed my life into a suitcase and a few shoddy cardboard boxes, and Fed Exed my life to Calgary. My Xbox broke on the journey, but luckily Maria had one too. I was living the blogger dream, living in Maria’s parents’ basement. I leveraged my work at Bonk’s Mullet into a job managing web content at a publishing company, and managed to fumble my way through a proposal at the top of a mountain. Maria and I are happily engaged now (in our own apartment), and no, we still don’t know when we’re getting married, but it is going to be lovely as heck when we do. I kept up with Bonk’s Mullet and my Sens Money on the Board charity initiative and eventually discovered I could do that as a job, sort of. I now work at Kids Up Front Calgary, where I help distribute tickets and experiences to deserving kids in Calgary. It's awesome and I love it.

Maria truly changed everything. I never knew the kind of security and comfort that love can bring. I lost that sense of not knowing or who I was or what I cared about. I know I care about her. That constant provides so much stability in my life. Maria has tremendous passion for everything she does and I’ve learned a lot from her. I can’t really do it justice in this blog, because my point here wasn’t to brag about being in love, but I’ll just say I feel better now. I still worry about not being good enough, especially now that I have to be good enough for two, and maybe more some day, but I have better control of those feelings than I did when I was alone. Thank you Maria for being there for me, and putting up with me ignoring you for two hours while I wrote this. You improved your K/D ratio in Call of Duty quite significantly over those two hours, so I doubt you’re too upset.

The Bulleted List

When I started writing this, I thought this was going to be a coherent set of feelings with a coherent moral tied in a nice little bow at the end, but I guess real life stories don’t have an ending and therefore don’t end up so tidy. I’m watching Milos Raonic play tennis at 3 in the morning with Maria next to me on the couch, so my life is pretty good, even if I'll regret it tomorrow. Here, I’ll make a bulleted list to wrap this up, because it will seem like I had a plan all along.

Here’s what you should take away from my story, keeping in mind that I have no idea what I’m talking about:
  • Sometimes you can have your shit together as best as you possibly can, and you’ll still feel a feeling of emptiness, loneliness, sadness, other kids of -nesses. It sucks. It’s probably not your fault. That’s just how our brains work sometimes. Just try to face those –nesses.
  • When you’re in a rut, follow your creative nose. Write. Paint. Build. Read. Channel those feelings into something you actually like doing. If you love spending time on the internet, create something on the internet, don’t just consume it. Connect with someone. Try to make something. If you don’t have any passions, start saying yes to things more often. Maybe it will open doors for you. It did for me.
  • Take risks if there’s a high payoff. Don’t be afraid to admit there’s a high payoff. Try not to rationalize your way out of things that may help you. Safe is not always better. What you consider a risk may not even be a risk.
  • Falling in love can crush you, but it can save you too. Don’t feel like you have to be in love to be happy -that wasn’t really my point. Follow things that make you happy.
Thanks for reading. That ended up being a little more Tolkien-esque than I had originally planned, but hopefully that helped someone learn something about themselves. My story isn't particularly interesting or difficult or unusual, but I think there's value in those stories too. I find them to be more relatable.

Thank you to everyone who’s been with me for this weird journey of mine.It's scary to write about feelings, and I really appreciate that there are people out there who are interested in what I have to say, even if it’s normally just about the Sens. You can see how positively it has influenced my life.

If you have a story to share, tweet at me and I can help you share your story too.

- Eric


EXCLUSIVE: Details of competing Lebreton Flats bid REVEALED

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

by Rob Poirier (@RobFeature)


Everybody in the city of Ottawa is both hooting and hollering these days. Why, you ask? Is it because Garth Brooks is coming to town and playing something like 17 shows in a row? No, that's not why. Fact is, people in Ottawa have been going nuts ever since Eugene Melnyk announced that he was going to try to build a big ol' hockey arena at Lebreton Flats! 

And as if that news wasn't exciting enough, Ottawans soon learned that a competing bid had been submitted... one that (allegedly) featured another NHL-caliber rink. Well, my boy Gene had a big fit when he found out. No one was going to steal his cash cow horrible, money-bleeding burden! But just what was in this bid that got Euge so fired up? Everyone wants to know! Well, the good news is, I'm a real journalism, and I got THE SCOOP . 

Citing frustration over trolls, Chris Neil is "done-sville" with ICQ

Thursday, January 21, 2016

by Joe Boughner (@McLlwainsWorld) and his friend colleague Mike Wheeler (@TheMikeWheeler)


Later, haters! Photo by Capital Gains.

Following in the wake of another high-profile social media shutdown in the Ottawa Senators' locker room, assistant captain Chris Neil announced that he's quitting ICQ.

Uh-oh!

"I'm done-sville with that crap," Neil explained. "I used to have good chats on there but these days it seems all I get there are offers to help African people move money around and offers for hot sex with dirty girls."

"Like, who are you guys and why are you contacting me?"

RBM's Ottawa Senators' Midterm Report Card

Thursday, January 14, 2016

by Joe Boughner (@McLlwainsWorld)


With the Senators crossing the mid-point in their 82-game season recently, we here at Radek Bonk's Mullet Dot Com thought it was a good time to look back on the first half of the season and make up arbitrary rankings based on little more than what makes for a good joke.

So sit down, strap in and get ready for the (probably?) first ever instalment of the RBM Ottawa Senators' midterm report card!!


The Forwards


As America's favourite precocious perpetual preteen Bart Simpson first rapped in the '90s, let's start at the start and take it away. Looking at Ottawa's forward group, one really must divide the bottom from the top. Ottawa's top six has more or less consisted of the names you'd expect: Turris and Zibanejad down the middle with Hoffman, Stone, Ryan, Michalek and Zack Smith taking turns on the wings. Ryan, Turris, and Stone are all on pace for at least 20 goals, Hoffman is already there and Michalek has looked pretty okay when healthy. Smith, meanwhile, has been returned to the bottom six despite leading the league in stealing hearts with his steely blue eyes.

The notable omission? Former Sabre and Leafs stalwart Clarke MacArthur. C-Mac (as his friends may or may not call him) made the regrettable decision to pay homage to another probably Scottish Sens journeyman Dean McAmmond and has been out of the lineup most of the year with a concussion.

The bottom six? It's been a bit of a dog's breakfast. For starters, it turns out that Alex Chiasson might not be very good at ice hockey, which is a shame since he was primarily acquired in the Jason Spezza trade to be a hockey player. Curtis Lazar is smiling his way to a second straight six-goal campaign and Jean-Gabriel Pageau is handicapped by not being allowed to play against Montreal every night.

Chris Neil continues to bring much needed Neilership to the roster (he even got a Gordie Howe one night that totally didn't cost the team even a little bit) and the addition of sparkplugs like Max McCormick and Mark Borowiecki (wait what?) have given Ottawa more options for players who like to punch other players but in general most Senators fans are pining for the glory days of Erik Condra (which were totally a thing).

Final grade: C+


The Offencemen


Erik Karlsson, having already pretty much locked up his third Norris Trophy, is now getting Hart Trophy buzz. He continues to be amazing at hockey. Film at 11.

Final grade: 110%


The Defencemen


Everything is fine here. Totally fine. Ottawa's got lots of depth at this position and to a man they are viable NHLers. Nothing to see here.

Ok are they gone?

Friends, the defence is something of a raging tire fire. Except at least a tire fire gets hot sometimes. Marc Methot has been fine so of course he's been bumped back to the third pairing a few times. Chris Wideman has been surprisingly reliable for an undersized rookie so he's obviously had to come in and out of the lineup. Freddy Claesson finally got his shot and he's been pretty good, actually, so he was scratched on Wednesday night.

Insiders say Cowen has seemed even less engaged since being evicted
from his ritzy Kanata condo. "The bank sent me some stuff," Cowen told
reporters, "but I didn't read too much into it."
Photo by @Gerv_Rebrand
But Cody Ceci has either taken a step back from previous years or he's plateaued alarmingly early. Either way, at the rate his stock is falling he may soon have equal trade value as perennial AHL'er Jonathan Drouin. Patrick Wiercioch is suffering from the patented World Championship hangover. Mark Borowiecki is doing as well as you can expect from a forward forced to play defence but grit and heart will only get you so far (read: permanently in the lineup).

And then there's Jared Cowen. He's looked slow, distracted and disengaged. And that's just in scrums. The organization believes in big #2's potential but most fans now regard him as simply a number two.

As in poop.

Will he finally find his game and become the rugged d-man that he was once projected to be?

<AlfieProbablyNot.wav>

Final grade: 2/5 stars.

The Goalies

Anderson is this team's MVP and everyone knows it. Hammond? Well turns out that a summer of eating Big Macs wasn't the best training regimen but he's coming around. Which is good because while he might be the Hamburglar, it's Matt O'Connor that's the most like a fast food burger.

In that he needs a lot more seasoning.

*Shows self out*

Final grade: A thumb and a half up.