Now that all the regular season stats are final, the Senators wound up leading the league in one important category.
Very positive is their 25 percent chance of landing the first pick in the entry draft.
The elephant in the room where Canadian Tire Centre’s deepest thinkers plop their brass, however, is the percentage of the arena that was un-filled for the team’s homes games this season.
That ain’t positive. It’s embarrassing.
Shameful enough it is for Canadians to look at the NHL attendance report on ESPN.com and see that one of our seven teams was dead-last in the league, with 12,618 as its average crowd. But at least the Senators had a shot at getting out of the cellar by moving past the 30th place Islanders (12,810) with huge turnouts for their meaningless final four home games.
Much worse is the next column, which indicates percentage of building capacity that was filled. The Senators were bottom of the barrel there, too, with an ugly 65.9 percent. In this category, they were nowhere close to the team ahead of them, which again was the Islanders with an 81.3 percent.
Hockey hotbeds of Sunrise, Fla., home of the Panthers, and Glendale, Ariz., were third and fourth last at 82.8 and 85.3 percent, respectively.
One upon a time the Senators were among the league leaders in attendance, but not since their Civic Centre days have they failed to average at least 13,000 fans. And not since 1994-95, when they played in their 10,500-seat original home, have they drawn fewer customers than any other team. Even that year their average attendance was 9,879, so their percentage capacity was quite high.
In 2018-19, the Senators were 27th in average attendance with 14,553, so this season they dropped significantly with 1,935 fewer fans per game. Their capacity percentage, though, has been the worst in the NHL for two years.
Things are sure to brighten up next season — especially if those 25 percent odds win them the lottery.
Otherwise, they might try drafting some fans.
TOP OF THE ORDER
More final numbers — according to CapFriendly.com, both the Maple Leafs ($95,178,332) and the Coyotes ($85,089,798) had a final cap hit that left them with zero space, but with long-term injury reserve used made it to the $81.5 million ceiling. Every other team had at least a little wiggle room, while the most belonged to the Devils, who had a final cap hit of $72,724,318 and a final cap space of $8,775,682, and the Senators, who had a final cap hit of $74,319,369 and final cap space of $7,180,631. The floor was $60.2 million … The Bruins won the Presidents’ Trophy for the third time since 1986, when the league started presenting it to the regular season champs. They wound up with 100 points, which was six more than the Blues. And what does it get them? No home ice advantage through to the Cup final, as it normally would. No anything, really, except the Presidents’ Trophy, for what that’s worth. Only eight times — and not since Chicago in 2013 — has the team that won that gone on to capture Lord Stanley’s mug … Senators GM Pierre Dorion needs to change his thinking. Judging by Thursday’s zoom call, he actually should let his girlfriend cut his hair. Or wear a cap on zoom calls.
CONNECTING THE DOTS
Former Senators coach Dave Cameron is rumoured to be a top candidate for the bench boss job with the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs. The 61-year old Cameron, whose longtime pal Gerard Gallant won two championships with the Sea Dogs in 2011 and 2012, has spent the past two seasons coaching the Vienna Capitals in Austria … As much as he wants to make the next step, there’s talk Marco Rossi could wind up back with the 67’s if he doesn’t crack the roster of the NHL team that drafts him. Some GM’s would be more comfortable with him in the environment created by James Boyd and Andre Tourigny than playing in Europe … Rossi was formally declared the CHL’s Top Scorer of the Year on Thursday. His 120 points bettered QMJHL scoring champ Alexis Lafreniere (112 points) the WHL title taker, Adam Beckman (107 points) … Beckman is a third round pick of the Wild … One tradition killed by COVID that media covering Senators loved — Garbage Bag Day. To be clear, media didn’t love the day, but that it was killed by COVID.
THINKING OUT LOUD
Max Scherzer says he’s talked “with the rest of the players” and there’s no reason to engage MLB in any further compensation reductions. First, how many is “the rest”? Second, that’s easy to say for a guy who’s on a 7-year, $210 million contract. What about players on minimum salaries or all the minor leaguers teams have released the last couple of days? … At least the Grey Cup champion Blue Bombers — who for the seventh season will have North Bay’s Mike O’Shea as their head coach — were greenlit to open their facility Thursday. The Argos, who are coming off a 4-14 season and will have a new head coach in Ryan Dinwiddie, are looking at a June 8 opening, while no date has been set for the Redblacks, who were 3-15 and have a new coach in Paul LaPolice. Is that an advantage for the team that doesn’t need it as much as the other two? It’s not a disadvantage.
If you think what COVID has done and could continue to do to the world is scary, ex-NBA player Stephen Jackson says the Minneapolis police officer who was involved in the death of African-American George Floyd should “fry” in an electric chair, while former 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick is calling for a revolution. “We have the right to fight back,” he tweeted … I don’t remember former Atlanta Braves catcher/third baseman Biff Pocoroba, who passed away this week at the age of 66, which is odd for a few reasons: That’s one of the best baseball names ever. A friend of mine, Biff Weatherall, played third on our team. Pocoroba spent his entire 10-year career with the Braves and was an all-star in 1978. How? That season he had six homers, 34 RBI and a .242 batting average. “Poco once threw out 11 straight base stealers in spring training,” tweeted former Braves star Dale Murphy … I also don’t remember the Canucks beating the Bruins 9-3 on Feb. 22. Did that really happen? … Because YOU demanded it, Cracks of Don goes from four to five days (Monday-Friday) starting next week. Thanks. I didn’t need that extra day of rest anyway … How is it possible Bob Cole is not in the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame?
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