Ottawa Senators Off-Ice Power Rankings - January 2014

by Chet Sellers

If you were an Ottawa Senator last month, you did two things: you lost more games than you won, and you withdrew considerably from social media.  December was a wasteland for good off-ice material, folks; usually-ebullient guys like Marc Methot and Bobby Ryan more or less went to ground, while November Twitter virtuoso Robin Lehner never even picked up his instrument. It’s almost as if Paul MacLean sat these guys down and told them, “Until you goldbricks can focus enough to win two in a row, no more Snakechat, no more Pentagram, no more Twister.” I like to think that MacLean made a special exception for Erik Karlsson, just so Karlsson could keep brandishing swords in his onesie, arguing with the Popsicle corporate account, and cooing slow jam lyrics at Marc Methot.

So what are we going to do? Thanks for asking. You see folks, lucky for us, late last month the Senators realized that if they were ever going to get anywhere this season, on the ice or on the internet, they needed to do it as a team. And that’s when they got together and made their greatest team Christmas video ever.

I know what you’re saying - it doesn't mean much to call this video their greatest ever, when the idea of a hockey team showing the world its lighter side through a social media-driven Christmas video is a relatively recent phenomenon. And yes, it’s possible that earlier Senators teams could have made videos that stand up to this one, if only they'd had the technology we do today. But they didn't – when they wanted to let loose, all they had was the cover of Bodycheck magazine. And folks, that’s a reality I can’t change. All I can do is address the Christmas video we’ve got in front of us. And tell you that they nailed it.

We’re going to use this month’s power rankings to count down the Senators’ performances in their 2013 Christmas video. Yeah, I know it came out last week and you already saw it, but we’re still within the twelve-days-of-Christmas window, and this time, we’re gonna watch it together! Let’s do it!

10) Robin Lehner (last month: 1)

Precipitous drop for Lehner from last month’s top spot, but I want to make one thing clear here: if you’re going to be in my Christmas video, I want to see Christmas spirit. In fact, go back to the titles at the beginning; this isn’t just a video from the Ottawa Senators, it’s a message. And the message I get from Lehner’s two line readings at the end of this video is, “Very well, I will half-sing this line you have given me into your small camera. Oh, you are asking me to try it a second time. I will do so, but know my enthusiasm is now dampened.” I get the feeling asking Lehner for a third take here would have ended something like this:

“Screw your North American Christmas! Real Christmas is the 24th! Real Christmas is Donald Duck and burning a giant straw goat!”
9) Milan Michalek (last month: NR)

That's more like it. No one's ever been as happy to be in a video as Michalek is here. No truth to the rumour this was filmed right after Michalek was told he'd be playing on a line with Mika Zibanejad for the foreseeable future.

8) Bobby Ryan (last month: 2)

Matt Kassian works out how many minutes are in a fighting major.
Ryan's approach here isn't bad either - he comes in with the antlers on, big smile, hits the punchline . . . and then he's gone, leaving Kassian to keep singing a line about Ryan. You want to talk about the perks of being a skill player instead of a grinder, this video is exhibit "A". Although on further reflection, the way Ryan seems so comfortable coming in hot, saying all the right things, and then jetting . . . hang on a second. *curls up into fetal position*

7) Chris Phillips (last month: 4)

Would you believe, looking at the picture above, that Joe Corvo is actually older than Chris Phillips? Would you believe anyone is older than Chris Phillips? He sings like Thurl Ravenscroft, for crying out loud. You can’t see it happening, but Corvo’s standing close enough to Phillips here that Phillips’ dad gamma rays are slowly turning Corvo’s chest tattoos into a tweed cardigan.

7) Denis Potvin (last month: NR)

Denis Potvin makes his debut in our power rankings with a four-second singing cameo. Sounds about right. And Denis gets into it, doesn't he? In fact, he's making this month's list on the basis of the last half-second of his performance alone. He half-closes his eyes, leans forward, and you can't see it out of frame, but I'm pretty sure he's taking his left hand out of his pocket and extending it in some kind of barbershop quartet move. Basically what I'm saying is that Denis Potvin is being wasted in colour commentary when he's clearly a natural, old-school entertainer. He can't be kept behind a desk or in a booth; he needs to sing and dance. He's Robert Preston in The Music Man. He's Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. He's Denis Potvin.

It's great that the team managed to get guys like Potvin and Lyndon Slewidge (who demonstrates he's a pro's pro, by the way, by not going overboard with his singing chops in an amateur video) but where is Paul MacLean? Where are the Murrays? Why isn't there a scene near the end of this where Bryan Murray trades the first day for another appearance from Bobby Ryan?

6) Marc Methot (last month: 6)

When Methot introduces his hipcheck montage, he's wearing antlers and his bridge is out. When the video cuts back to him afterward, he's got neatly-combed hair and a full set of front teeth. Is this a continuity error? Or is Methot just showcasing his versatility here as part of his sizzle reel? He's clearly demonstrating that he has the range to go from wild physicality to genteel sophistication in seconds, like Batman, or Air Bud. I like it. I think Methot has shown enough in this video, and in his headshots, to at least deserve a walk-on role on something like Murdoch Mysteries.

5) Kyle Turris (last month: NR)

Voluminous bounce you just can't get in the dry heat of Phoenix.
Nailed it is right. Step aside, Marc; based on this scene, and Turris' breakout role in last year's "Young Guns" video, I'm prepared to declare him the finest natural actor on the team. His performance here, from the comb toss to the last, smoldering glance at his own reflection, is practically Method. If you're wondering, the official list of good and bad Senators actors (for whom we've got enough of a sample size to judge) goes as follows:

Good Actors: Turris; Zack Smith; Colin Greening; Jason Spezza; Bobby Ryan.
Bad Actors: Erik Condra, Chris Neil, Craig Anderson (all for the Young Guns video alone); Chris Phillips; Jared Cowen. Also, this year's lifetime achievement award is awarded posthumously to Jarkko Ruutu.

4) Erik Karlsson (last month: 3)

Okay, the onesie. Onesies were everywhere this month, whether in Karlsson's sword picture, in the immediate vicinity of Karlsson, or in roving Michigan gangs. That said, as far as I know Karlsson's the only player with enough swagger to wear one in public, which is probably good since for the rest of us mortals, wearing pajamas in public is often referred to as "giving up". And yes, Karlsson is wearing a onesie under his jersey in this video, but it's a different one than the one in his pictures on Twitter. Which means he owns a minimum of two onesies.

Just as an aside, you know who else says "obviously" almost as often as Karlsson? Every other player on the team. Although I'm pretty sure I heard Greening use "incontrovertibly" once.

3) Jason Spezza (last month: 5)

If you look carefully, you can actually see proof that Patrick Wiercioch is in this video.
#1 in this video, #1 in our hearts, but still only #3 in the rankings. I want to rank Spezza higher, I really do. As the captain, he kicks the video off, brings it home at the end, and shows up to sing his line another ten times in between. He's the face of the franchise and he's the face of this video.

And he cannot sing worth a lick. Seriously, the Barking Dog Christmas record has better pitch control than Spezza does in this video. But you know what? That's why he's captain material. Whether it's singing poorly in a Christmas video or dealing with the media after your coach calls out your team's leadership, Spezza is prepared to show up and wear it. So why he is only #3? Because he's not ON FIYAAAH like our next entry:

2) Mups (last month: NR)

One question: if Clarke MacArthur doesn't know what mups are, how could he have done this?

1) Erik Condra (last month: NR)

Sure, what the hell. See you next month!

NOT RANKED: Eugene Melnyk; Boxing Day madness; when family members don't make it home for Christmas; getting caught pinching.
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