I can’t believe this story isn’t getting more play. In my mind, it’s bigger than the subway series and V.C. back in Toronto and Wayne breaking Gordie’s record in Edmonton combined. Maybe ESPN will pick up this top-notch piece of video journalism to run in the downtime between dog fights at the Mexico estate.
I don’t know many people who admit to being fans of the Ottawa Senators. And that fact shouldn’t really come as much of a surprise considering that the Leafs, come playoff time, generally have their way with the Sens in much the same way that a drunken tourist does with a Guatemalan hooker; which is to say, without expending a great deal of time, money, or effort. But there is one such fan that I know of. The only problem is: this particular fan just happens to be anchoring the third defensive pairing on the only thing standing between his childhood favourite team and what will quite possibly be that team’s only chance to sip from the greatest trophy in all of sports. The drama is unrivalled. The tension: practically palpable. The level of energy in Almonte? It’s frenetic.
One of the greatest moments in the storied lore of “The Oar House”; the finest sports bar that Oakville, ON has ever seen; was the 3-0 dismantling of the Ottawa Senators at the hands of the Toronto Maple Leafs in game 7 of the 2002 playoffs. There was a line up out the door, and Sully and Jay were giving away shots of Jagermeister like they were tickets to a Toronto Phantoms Arena Football League game. The only soul brave enough to sport those ridiculous Sens colours (what those colours are exactly, I haven’t a clue)? Our boy Huskerdu.
I will never forget the look on his face after the last seconds mercifully ticked off the clock, leaving the boys in blue with a 3-0 triumph and a perfect 4-0 record in series’ versus the lowly Sens in hockey’s second season. The man was inconsolable. I actually felt sorry for him, having suffered through a lifetime of cheering for teams who were perpetually defined by their inability to get over the proverbial hump (the Leafs, the Bills, the XLF’s Memphis Maniax). If I’m not mistaken, after tossing back his third post-mortem pitcher of Coors Light, he promised us that his team would one day hoist the cup (that last part may or may not have happened, but it makes for an interesting segway).
Which brings us to this week. Not only is the town of Almonte divided, but Kent himself must surely be equally torn. There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll be pulling for the Husker and the rest of the boys in… whatever the hell colour the Ducks wear. But don’t be totally surprised if, in the midst of a 3-3 tie late in the third period of Game 7 sometime next week, Almonte’s favourite son just happens to cough up the puck on his own blue line, allowing a streaking Daniel Alfredsson to go in all alone for the single greatest moment in the history of his lifelong favourite team. ..
But I doubt it.