For the first time in 13 years, the Ottawa Senators will take to the ice tonight with absolutely nothing on the line.
But hey, all is not lost. Think of it this way, you’ll finally get your spring back for once and this time you’ve been prepared for the disappointment for a long time instead of being smacked in the face with it.
With that in mind, here are some things you can do, while you’re not watching the Senators in the playoffs this spring:
• Get behind the other local team, the Ottawa 67s, in their pursuit for a Memorial Cup in Brian Kilrea’s last year as coach. What’s that? They lost in the first round of the playoffs? Never mind.
• Watch Ottawa native and star defenseman Dan Boyle go deep into the playoffs with the San Jose Sharks this season. Who knows, the Sharks might even win the Stanley Cup and maybe Boyle will bring the trophy home when he gets his day with it this summer.
• Play road hockey with Jason Spezza.
• Keep tabs on Tyler Bozak of the University of Denver, a collegiate star and sought-after free agent who apparently has the Senators on his radar.
• Catch the Nepean Raiders in the final of the Central Junior Hockey League. After sweeping the Ottawa Jr. Senators in the semis, the Raiders will take on either the Brockville Braves or Pembroke Lumber Kings, who play Game 7 of their series in Pembroke Friday night.
• Catch Canada on TSN in the Under-18 World Championship April 9-19 in North Dakota and Minnesota. The under-18 tournament is one of the hidden gems on the international hockey calendar and is chock full of future NHL stars.
• For that matter, take an interest in the 2009 IIHF World Championship April 24-May 10 in Switzerland. If you want to see the Senators play meaningful playoff games, there will be a ton of them in this tournament.
• Become an expert on the 2009 draft. If the season were to end today, the Senators would be picking in the No. 8 spot, meaning they’ll almost certainly be in the running for the likes of Nazem Kadri of the London Knights, Dmitri Kulikov of the Drummondville Voltigeurs or Jacob Josefson of Djurgarden.
• Take in the Tulip Festival. Hey, it’s not every day you get to see the Nanjing Acrobatic Troupe.
This column also appears in the Ottawa Metro newspaper.
Ken Campbell is a senior writer for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Wednesday and Fridays and his column, Campbell's Cuts, appears Mondays.
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