FAVE FIVE: The greatest moments in Sens/Pens history
by Rob Poirier (@RobFeature)
Welcome to the inaugural edition of FAVE FIVE, a series where I take a look at what I consider to be the five greatest moments in a particular segment of Ottawa Senators history. Today, I'm focusing on their rivalry with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Will your favorite moment make the list? Read on to find out!
5. Crosby's first taste of the playoffs
Sidney Crosby played the first post-season game of his NHL career in Ottawa on April 11, 2007. The game itself was relatively unremarkable... Crosby was held scoreless and his team lost 6-3... but it marked the beginning of the Senators' most-successful playoff run to date, and remains a treasured memory of a time when the Sens were really, truly good (plus, I was in attendance, so there). They plowed past the fabled "next one" and his team in just five games on their way to the Stanley Cup final, and all while being led by their very own wholesome Canadian, about whom no one has ever had anything negative to say: Dany Heatley.
4. Carkner's triple-OT goal
The Senators followed up the glory that was their aforementioned 2007 Stanley Cup run with a string of disappointing seasons. Most of these ended in the first round of the playoffs, but some didn't even make it that far. One of the few moments of light in these dark, dark years came on April 22, 2010. It was game five, and the Sens were already on the brink of elimination. Their opponent was a Pittsburgh Penguins team that was very different from the one they had vanquished in 2007. All tied up, the game headed into triple overtime. Things didn't look good. It was then that Matt Carkner, hard-working everyman, fired home a goal that extended the Senators' season. They would bow out in their very next game anyway, but at least it gave us the following video, which I watch every time I need to pump myself up to ask my boss for a raise (no luck so far).
3. Alfredsson's swan song
The Senators locked horns with the Penguins yet again in the 2013 playoffs. After dismantling the cowardly Canadiens with ease in round one, the Senators found themselves similarly outmatched by the Pens in round two. Their aging Captain, Daniel Alfredsson, ensured that the team would not be swept by scoring with just 28.6 seconds left in game three: the lone game that Ottawa would go on to win. Fans couldn't help but notice when a dejected Alfredsson collected the puck at the end of game four, leading them to speculate that he would retire in the summer. That's just what happened, of course. Alfredsson retired a Senator, never played a game for another team, was awarded an honorary Stanley Cup, and I did NOT endure a painful psychotic break. On to the next moment!
2. Crosby is drafted in Ottawa
Hockey fans were buzzing in 2005 as Sidney Crosby, the long-awaited successor to Wayne Gretzky, prepared to be drafted into the NHL. Crosby himself was ecstatic. You see, the draft was to be hosted in Ottawa that year, and Crosby, a lifelong Senators fanatic, took this to be a good sign. One can only imagine his disappointment when the lottery-winning Pittsburgh Penguins elected to make him their cornerstone player for the foreseeable future. The heartbreaking image of Sid the Kid taking the stage with tear-stained cheeks while clutching a Spartacat plushie... the haunting sound of him screaming "THIS ISN'T RIGHT!!" in front of the fans and city he still refers to as 'the greatest in the world'... these things keep me up at night. They say a part of Crosby died when Pens GM Craig Patrick finally forced that hideous yellow and black jersey on him...
|The day the dream died (@Capital_Gains65)|
I'll never forget where I was. Laying on the sticky floor of a Broadway Bar and Grill. That's because I had blacked out. Blacked out from anger. The date was February 13, 2013: the day that Matt Cooke severed Erik Karlsson's Achilles tendon. For a couple of reasons, it was a tough pill for Senators fans to swallow. For one thing, Karlsson had just won his first Norris Trophy, and was far and away the franchise's brightest star. For another, the awkwardness of the collision that caused the injury made it difficult to concretely blame, or punish, Cooke. Luckily, Senators owner Eugene Melnyk had a plan. In what many called a 'strange' and 'pointless' move, he hired a team of forensic investigators to examine the incident. Sure, this would have seemed totally bizarre if the investigators had not gotten results... or if, say, we simply never heard about them ever again... but to Melnyk's credit, his plan worked! The investigators presented their findings to police and Cooke was arrested! He is currently serving 25 to life for attempted murder, making this the greatest moment in Sens/Pens history!
|'Mad' Matt Cooke is led away by the authorities (@Gerv_Rebrand)|