According to a report in the Ottawa Business Journal that was fueled by comments from the Mayor's office, the City of Ottawa will be throwing its support behind the team as it attempts to bring an outdoor game to Lansdowne Park.
The idea is to have the Senators face off against the Montreal Canadiens, according to Ottawa Marriott general manager Daniel Laliberté, a member of the committee helping plan the city’s offerings for 2017.
Just chatted with NHL's Gary Bettman and said it's time for Ottawa to get the outdoor classic! He said when you get a new stadium, it's coming.
It should be noted there had been rumours Ottawa was a likely team to face off against Vancouver in a Heritage Classic in 2013 at the newly refurbised BC Place, commemorating the 1915 Senators-Millionaires Stanely Cup Final.
With Lansdowne slated to open in 2014, the intended 2017 date certainly lends itself to stale jokes like, ‘maybe there will be NHL hockey by then’ or ‘maybe Mika Zibanejad will finally have recovered from the flu by then’.
More importantly, the date allows the Senators organization an opportunity to shore up its alumni team. I mean, have you looked at the Senators’ alumni roster, it’s littered with players who have never even played a game for the team. Billy Smith? Mike Eastwood? Garry Galley? Dan McGillis? With all due respect to those guys and careers of other players who have done much charitable good with the alumni association, they don’t warm the cockles of my heart. Mike Bullard? Isn’t he that terrible Canadian comedian who once got his big break making an appearance on the Camilla Scott show? Forget these guys, I want to be me reminiscing about the good ol’ days when Jacques Martin would gaze up at the clock and my dad would bitch about Wade Redden’s play before it ever became fashionable.
Give me Ministry of Offence with Shawn McEachern, Alexei Yashin and Andreas Dackell. Reunite Peter Schaefer, Todd White and Daniel Alfredsson. Bring back prized first round picks like Radek Bonk and Alexandre Daigle and former captains like Randy Cunneyworth and Laurie Boschman. Bring in some puck-moving defencemen like Norm MacIver and Steve Duchesne. See if Brad Marsh can match or top his offensive output from the 1993 NHL All-Star Game in Montreal. Bring back Wade Redden and let this one game count towards his pursuit of 1,000 NHL games. Feature a Dennis Vial and Rob Ray tilt during the first intermission that inevitably ends with both of them being half-naked. Recruit Ron Tugnutt and Patrick Lalime as the goaltenders. Playing against Montreal in a heritage game, we don’t have to worry about the repressed memories that could be stirred by the participation of a Derek Plante or a Joe Nieuwendyk. You can even hold out hope that the likes of Marian Hossa, Martin Havlat and Mike Fisher will be retired and available by then.
The 2017 date does have some historical significance, as the original Senators played the Montreal Canadiens on December 19, 1917 at the old Ottawa Arena in National Hockey League game number one. Maybe by 2017 people will be up for celebrating the NHL's birthday? Things are kind of raw at the moment...
Ignoring the inferior quality of the actual game that accompanies playing on an outdoor surface, the ambience and nostalgia factor that comes with watching hockey be played outdoors is unmistakable. It brings everyone back to our youth when we would lace up the skates and take to the canal, nearest pond or backyard rink.
The Senators may be unwilling to comment officially on the story, but like John Muckler’s presence over the 2007 Cup Finals team, you can’t quell my excitement damnit!
Taking into account the presence of the annual Winterlude festival (mmmmmmmm Beavertails), the thrill of walking into a football stadium full of fans and checking out the various historical player names that are on the backs of the jerseys (whomever owns a Grant Ledyard jersey, I'm looking at you!), the efficient and fluid way in which the 2012 NHL All-Star Game was pulled off and then throw in some tailgating and adult beverages for good measure. And at the very least, it will also help put a temporary end to those insatiable, cantankerous asshats who incessantly feel compelled to piss and moan about the location of ScotiaBank Place in the comment threads in the Ottawa Sun - a place where opinions are heard and respected!
Get it done Ottawa.