It’s hard to believe that just over a year ago, the Ottawa Senators were one goal away from advancing to the Stanley Cup final. Now, the Senators seem to be a team in shambles.
It’s not just that they had a bad season and didn’t make the playoffs. The offseason has been even worse. The CEO of the team has left. The owner of the team has hinted at moving the Senators and also implied he might scrap plans for a new downtown arena. And now the partners of two of the Senators’ biggest stars are involved in a highly public dispute, including allegations of harassment.
It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which Erik Karlsson, the team captain and one of the best players in the NHL, will not be traded. None of this will help fix the declining attendance at Senators games; if anything, ticket sales could be worse than ever next year. The victory parades of the Washington Capitals and the Golden State Warriors this week show just how much a sports franchise can become a source of pride for a community. Unfortunately, as fans in Ottawa are learning, it can also be just the opposite.