• By: Dave Gross

Curing the Blue Monday Blues

So get this – did you realize we just passed, what is considered, the most depressing day in the calendar year? The third Monday in January is labelled “Blue Monday,” and it has nothing to do with the song by New Order.

Nope. The term comes from this ‘makes-sense’ algorithm developed by a British psychologist. In it, he takes into account the amount of debt a person holds after landing that first Visa bill from Christmas overload, the grey, wintry weather, the amount of motivation folks have to continue on with their New Year’s resolution(s) and the return to work without a blip of a holiday on the immediate horizon.

For you, Ottawa Senators Fan, you can add in a lost hockey season.

And to that, this is also the time of year where the media overlords like to publish their ‘mid-season report cards’ on the locals. But there will be no slamming salt into the wounds from over here. Not this year. Piling on’s been put on hiatus for the start of 2024.

Instead, we’ll look at some of the good hockey stories from the past week, even if you’re not necessarily a fan of these teams.



This my friends looks like the perfect fit – a fiery leader to inject some life into a dreary team.

I can’t think of a better situation for Patrick “I can’t really hear what Jeremy says, because I’ve got my two Stanley Cup rings plugging my ears” Roy. The guy’s a firecracker and just what a dull hockey team clogging the drains on a suffering market needs.

Roy’s been waiting for his chance to return to the NHL ranks for a while. This after walking out as head coach of the Colorado Avalanche after the 2016 season, ostensibly leaving the club in the lurch.

“It’s hard for me to get a job because of the way I left Colorado,” Roy said to NHL.com. “I know I made some bad choices. I know the way I left, everything I did, could have an effect on today’s perspective on myself. I have to live with that. I know that I’ve learned from my mistakes. The past is the past but sometimes, you have to live with your past. I understand the situation.”

The NHL is clearly a league that doesn’t forget.

With the Islanders – who last looked exciting during the Mike Bossy era – the combustible Roy is ideal.



There’s Corey Perry.

And there’s Edmonton.

We’ll leave what happened or might have happened in Chicago out of this because quite frankly I haven’t a clue and neither do you.

Let’s talk about the hockey player and the on-ice, in-game product.

One of the holes with the Oilers, and believe it or not there are holes even on a hockey club that’s won 13 straight games, is/was added grit/depth/experience/success. Perry rolls in with all four categories checked off.

Other categories filled in? Memorial Cup win, world juniors gold, two Olympic gold medals, a Hart Trophy, four-time Stanley Cup finalist and a Cup win with Anaheim.

At 38, Perry still has the snarl.

Very good add by Edmonton.



Yeah I get it, you don’t like the Leafs.


Anyone with a heart has to feel for beleaguered, end-of-his-rope netminder Ilya Samsonov. The poor guy hadn’t won a game since Dec. 9th before slapping one into the bank on Sunday night in Seattle.

“I think October to a couple of weeks ago this time is probably the hardest in my life,” he said.

This might be another blind squirrel finding a nut story, but you hope for the guy’s mental well-being, the one win turns into a few.



No, no. This really happened.

Sunday afternoon in Philly with the game knotted 3-3, Ottawa took charge with a pair of late goals to win.

This might be another blind squirrel(s) finding a nut story, but you hope for the team’s mental well-being, the one clutch win turns into a few. (Stop me if you’ve read that sentence before).



Seemingly everyone around Eastern Ontario rides the coattails of a Leafs-Senators rivalry; the much-ballyhooed Battle of Ontario. Honestly though, since the great Colton Orr left town, the ‘battle’ has been ‘blah.’

(Am I the only one who misses seeing Darcy Tucker hop into the wrong bench?).

But Montreal-Ottawa?

Gimme more.

As of this writing, the Habs have recalled Arber Xhekaj and he’ll suit up for tonight’s (Tuesday’s) clash at the Bell Centre. Le shérif est de retour !

Montreal and Ottawa’s been bubbling long and hot: The P.K. slash on Mark Stone, the 5-on-5 playoff brawl from May 2013, the ongoing Hab-fan chants at Tim Stutzle diving, Stutzle-Gallagher, Brady-everybody-else, and on and on.

As Deano Brown always says – hockey with hate is a great thing.

This is great.


THOUGHT, SEEN AND HEARD: Most nights I get a genuine give-or-take feeling for Kevin Bieksa on HNIC. When he’s combatively informative and ‘on,’ the former Canuck is immensely watchable. When the ribbing gets overdone, he does too. That said, his stint on this past weekend’s 32 Thoughts: The Podcast (available on Sportsnet.ca) was sensational. In fact the entire broadcast was enjoyable, including another exceptional segment with Brian Burke . . . And another impressive job by the HNIC crew this year with Hockey Day in Canada (from Victoria) . . . Somebody, somewhere told me this – Red Wing tough guy Klim Kostin is actually a devotee and trainee in mixed martial arts . . . The Western Conference is a soap opera waiting to get written: Edmonton’s stars rising from the ashes; Vancouver’s cast of leading men capturing their dreams . . . It’s not all happy times though. LA’s struggling at 2-11 in its last 13 games.



Tuesday, Jan. 23: Ottawa at Montreal (7 pm)

Thursday, Jan. 25: Boston at Ottawa (7 pm)

Saturday, Jan. 27: NY Rangers at Ottawa (7 pm)

Monday, Jan. 29: Nashville at Ottawa (7 pm)

Wednesday, Jan. 31: Ottawa at Detroit (7 pm)



Photo: Courtesy USATodaysports