• By: Dave Gross

Time for Eugene to get serious, seriously

Photo courtesy of NHLI via Getty Images

Took in Saturday night’s game at the Canadian Tire Centre and was stunned.

Well, mildly stunned.

If the Leafs or Habs are in town, you kind of expect it – plenty of fans rooting for the visitors.

But here we are on a chilly Saturday and the rink is clogged with fans donning Detroit jerseys and caps.


Tells you how far this Ottawa franchise has fallen in the eyes of many fans?

Well, yes.

And the next few weeks will be further telling.

Owner Eugene Melnyk is either bailing on this team or he does two things: Sign Mark Stone; sign Matt Duchene.

Throw enough cabbage at this or wave the white flag.

He really doesn’t have a choice. The fan base, or what’s left of it, here in Ottawa is hanging on by its collective fingernails.

Check the chat rooms (HF Boards is a good start) and see the rampant pessimism. Or ‘realism.’

“This season might go down as one of the most incompetently managed seasons of all time. That’s pretty historic.”

“Is it wrong that I paid more attention to the twitter and forum bashing than I did the actual on ice product? Or is that just the state of this franchise?”

“We sit in the basement and get shutout by Detroit…Yet nothing happens, the team doesn’t care anymore…As the brass doesn’t care ….****en useless.”

“Wait until we get closer to rock bottom and other basement teams come in and start laying 5, 6 and 7 (goals on us) nothing beat downs on an absolute no name roster, hope one day we get our team back so the fans can return and feel pride again!”

So there are your ticket-buyers Eugene.    

All they’re saying is ‘toss me a bone.’

Two, in fact.

Stone and Duchene.

Anyone saying they’re not ‘part of a rebuild’ is as thick as five thick guys.

Stone is 26, Duchene just turned 28.

Holy liftin’. We’ve seen turnarounds in the NHL happen lickety-split. Any argument contending Stone or Duchene could not be a part of that because of their ‘advancing’ age is no argument at all.

It will be certainly interesting as we march towards the trade deadline of Feb. 25th. There’s a lot on the table for the dwindling fan base here in Ottawa.

Make a splash Eugene, a big one. You definitely need one in a hurry.

There really isn’t any other choice.

Notes and notions: Credit general manager Kyle Dubas for an absolutely terrific deal in acquiring defenceman Jake Muzzin from the LA Kings. This was a long time coming, but the Leafs are greatly improved without surrendering a skater from their NHL roster . . . . . . The Senators see the Muzzin-added Leafs this week in Toronto. If you think it’s been eons since Toronto and Ottawa hooked up, you wouldn’t be far off. The two last danced on Oct. 6th, the second game of the season . . . Get set to see a sea of blue next month as Toronto invades the CTC twice . . . Had to scratch my head and wonder what these people were thinking. I heard this while listening to the build-up to the Pittsburgh game and had to shake my head (or scratch it of course). One of the hosts suggested the importance of the game was enormous – marching from last overall to 30th overall was paramount; game-changing; earth-moving. OK there, Ottawa . . . Speaking of radio. I was raised (somewhat) in Montreal. Ted Tevan was the man. He hosted a show called Sports Rap and was what a host was supposed to be – informative, contrary, argumentative and witty. There’s very few of those type of personalities left. That’s unfortunate . . . While we’re on it – there’s one guy I can’t get enough of and that’s TSN’s Ray Ferraro. Doesn’t give a hoot if you disagree with his takes, which are usually bang-on.

Senators week ahead:

Wednesday, Feb. 6: Ottawa at Toronto (7:30 pm)

Thursday, Feb. 7: Anaheim at Ottawa (7:30 pm)

Saturday, Feb. 9: Winnipeg at Ottawa (2 pm)