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SportsSlow and Steady Sens as Karlsson Watch Continues

Slow and Steady Sens as Karlsson Watch Continues

Slow and Steady Sens as Karlsson Watch Continues

SENATORS: A Week in Review is a weekly column looking back at the week in Ottawa Senators hockey written by OLMSports Dave Gross.


Feature photo Courtesy NHLI via Getty Images

Pick your cliché, but the one I like here is - hurry-up-and-wait.

It's clear - once again - that the Ottawa Senators are a decent, dull team to watch without him.

With him, it's a different story.

As the Erik Karlsson watch continues it appears the prevalent mandate for the Ottawa club is to lull the opposition and fans into a stupor.

Saturday's game versus the Detroit Red Wings was evidence of that (see News, Notes and Notions for more, below).

So the wait continues on arguably the game's best defenceman to return from foot surgery. Even if he isn't the absolute best in everyone's book, Karlsson is the game's most exciting blueliner.

By a mile or 20.

Given the lack of appeal to the ticket-buyers in Ottawa and the surrounding area to watch the Sens sans Erik - both the season opener against Washington and Saturday's clash of the comatose versus Detroit were far from sellouts - the sooner the better for Ottawa's flashy captain to return.

Attendance woes in Ottawa were the talk of not just the town, but the entire league during the playoffs last spring.

The chatter continued through the off-season, culminating with the announcement the team was removing 1,500 seats. The explanation for slapping a tarp on the upper reaches of the arena was baffling - kind of a 'if we cut down the number of available tickets, it will drive up demand' position.

Odd.

And I realize during last season's ticket malaise that, yes, Karlsson was in the lineup, but having him out now certainly exacerbates the problem.

It most certainly doesn't help.

We could roll out the list of excuses why folks aren't showing up. Some are legit, like the savvy marketing by the Ottawa REDBLACKS stealing away the entertainment dollar, while some, like the it's-a-long-way-to-Kanata reasoning are crap. Hasn't the CTC (or Palladium, or Corel Centre, or Scotiabank Place) been sitting in the same spot for more than 20 years?

And hasn't Kanata grown during that time frame from a smallish suburb to a city unto its own?

And wasn't this a tough ticket to land during the Hossa-Havlat-Alfredsson era?

It's a frightening proposition when you enter into Arizona-esque comparisons. I'm pretty sure Ottawa has not truly tumbled into that league of desperation, which includes Florida as well, but the idea has been floated.

And that's troubling.

So hurry back Erik, Lord knows the fan base needs a jolt of excitement.

NEWS, NOTES AND NOTIONS:

Say what you want about the Toronto Maple Leafs (. . . and you probably will) but this is one helluva fun team to watch. After stomaching much of Saturday night's Ottawa-Detroit affair in front of a golf-clap crowd (mind you, there was little to get charged up about), I switched to PVR mode to watch Toronto and the Rangers. The creativity of the young Leaf forwards is marvelous to watch, and boy can they skate . . . It's also becoming pretty clear that William Nylander is a very special talent . . . One knock? That defence needs some major fine-tuning. If the Leafs want to truly progress, a steadying influence is desperately needed. Make that two . . . I know it's been said and written many times before, but is this not the greatest time of the year to be a sports fan? Baseball playoffs, hockey's off and running, the NFL's in full swing and the CFL continues to present some very intriguing storylines as it heads towards the playoffs . . . Interesting stuff from CBC during the weekend when the talk switched to Kyle Turris and his contract situation. The Turris camp reportedly has no interest (and wants zero comparisons) in this becoming a mirror of what happened to the centre in Phoenix when negotiations became dirty laundry. The Senators need to get this deal done. No. 1 centres are hard to come by . . . I remember reading a lengthy piece a few years ago (Sports Illustrated) proclaiming Cleveland as the city of losers (sports teams, people!), and it was justified, at the time. Times have changed. LeBron James brought Cleveland an NBA title, and the Indians are awfully close to matching. Waiting patiently on the resurrection of the Cleveland Barons?

THE WEEK AHEAD:

Tuesday, Oct. 10: Ottawa at Vancouver (10 pm)

Friday, Oct. 13: Ottawa at Calgary (9 pm)

Saturday, Oct. 14: Ottawa at Edmonton (10 pm)

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