What Happened to the Ottawa Senators?

Remember just two years ago when the Ottawa Senators were one game away from going to the Stanley Cup Final? It might be hard to believe that was so recent, as this team has quickly become the definition of a dumpster fire.

So, what happened?

A True Mess

The most recent mistake on the part of the Ottawa Senators — a move that has earned the ire of their remaining fans — was the trade of star player Erik Karlsson to the San Jose Sharks. Lauded as a pillar of the team and an enormous contributor to their success, the loss of Karlsson might prove disastrous.

For all of Karlsson's talent, the Senators received the underwhelming Chris Tierney in return. Though he's a competent offensive player, his skill in defense is lacking, and few people would affirm that the exchange is in any way equivalent. Supporters of the Senators have voiced this in less subtle language.

One particularly incensed fan tweeted that owner Eugene Melnyk should be "shipped off to Barbados."

Whether that sentiment is justified remains to be seen. Moving forward, this might represent another in a series of poor decisions that have compromised the Ottawa Senators in their pursuit of the Stanley Cup. Either way, if Tierney fails to impress, it won't bode well for the team's popularity.

The thing that bugs fans most about these moves is how clueless the ownership seems to be. Just try to watch this cringeworthy video with Melnyk talking to the fans about how "great" the new season is going to be. First of all, he's not even in the current team's jersey. Then he talks about how even though they were bad last year, they're going to be much better this year. This seems insane to say, being that he's about to trade away his best player and possible more, and over half of the players are new.

Melnyk then goes on to exaggerate draft pick numbers, and send a mixed message between "we're rebuilding" and "we're going to make the playoffs." And don't forget they're having the depth defenseman of all people conduct the interview of the owner.

It's going to take a lot to fill the stadium this year.

Some History

They weren't always this way. The Ottawa Senators — a team established in the late 1800s — has a rich history of success in the rink. The original Senators boasted 11 Stanley Cups, won during their time on the ice between 1917 and 1934.

Many decades later, after the dissolution and re-establishment of the franchise in the 1990s, the Ottawa Senators were unable to recapture that same lightning. The ridicule and flagging enthusiasm of fans continued to drive the newly minted Ottawa Senators into the ground. As they struggled, making little progress toward their goal of a Stanley Cup, the team filed for bankruptcy in the early 2000s.

Only through Eugene Melnyk's purchase of the club did the Senators survive. They began to find success, and finally arrived at the Stanley Cup Finals in 2006-07. Despite their momentum and community support, the Ottawa Senators lost the series to the Anaheim Ducks.

Will the Ottawa Senators ever reclaim their former glory? We'll have to wait and see — and we might be waiting a while.

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