So here we sit, wedged uncomfortably between the worlds of epic disappointment and hopeful anticipation.
Every club interview, game and media analysis leaving fans imbued with both frustration and excitement, caught in an emotional tug of war, fanatically switching between rage against the current reality and energized by the opportunity for change.
Watching hockey is supposed to be entertaining and, like it or not, this is entertaining. We, as Senators fans, have been through the no hope years (pre-1996), the some hope years (1996-2001) and the elite years (2002-2007), those combined era’s being like a jet liner take off, slow at first, but building into a thrilling lift off.
Then, from 2008 to present, the jet hit turbulence. We real fans having buckled in for the resultant ups and downs, suffering more than a few bouts of nausea, and discombobulation for our efforts, but steadfast in our support of the club.
But what does the future hold? Will we be back to the era of some hope?, no hope?, or are we entering into an entirely new epoch in the writing of this young franchises history, the era reasonably steady flying, with no worries of crashing and burning, but the ability to finally reach maximum altitude?
You see, that’s the excitement of it all, the unknown.
Or is that concept an impossibility?
No, it’s been done, most recently by the Philadelphia Flyers, and before them, the Anaheim Ducks. One could also point to the Boston Bruins as another example of a team making great strides without first having made a crash landing.
But there are plenty of examples of the opposite.
Their does exist the very real possibility of years of middling performances, with little or no progression, a la Toronto Maple Leafs, Florida Panthers, Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Islanders or St Louis Blues.
I for one remain absolutely hopeful in a expeditious re-tooling of this club, with a soon to be return to not just the post season, but post season success.
I say here’s to embracing the excitement of change, the anticipation of renewal, all while holding those who pilot this jetliner to the high expectations we’ve come to expect of the Ottawa Senators.