Finally, a win for the Ottawa Senators.
And finally, it looked like they were actually having fun out there for a change. Which means the fans watching at home were getting entertained, something that hasn't been the case for most of the year, win or lose.
A good job by Cory Clouston and his staff for getting his players ready to compete right out of the gate, and in the process, showing management that his players haven't quit on the coaching staff just yet.
You have to wonder about the effect that the Chris Neil - Chris Campoli scrap in yesterday's practice had on this team and whether it went a ways towards waking them up out of their "woe is me" attitude that had definitely taken hold of this team ever since the calender turned on the new year.
Neil showed right there why he's the type of player who needs to be here for the "rebuild" that is apparently about to take place. This team certainly needs an infusion of youth but you also need veterans around who can set an example and take pride in what they do for a living. Neil is one of those guys. So is Chris Kelly. So is Daniel Alfredsson.
It's been a brutal season and there are sure to be a few more lows on the way, but there are still a lot of good reasons to keep watching the games and for fans to support the team. The drama of some longtime Senators possibly playing their last months in this city, and the promise that the youngsters bring, like Robin Lehner who won his first NHL start tonight against the Islanders.
What's going to happen next? Nobody knows for sure but you can bet it's going to be an interesting few months here in Bytown.
Black Aces Senators 3 Stars
1. Jesse Winchester
2. Sergei Gonchar
3. Chris Kelly
Honorable Mentions: Milan Michalek, Daniel Alfredsson, Matt Carkner
Hey, the Senators scored 6 goals and Sergei Gonchar was a plus 5. That doesn't happen .... ever. Cause for a little celebration don't you think?