Tonight, Ottawa Senators fans will get a reminder of where this team once was, and where their team is now. Erik Karlsson will dress for the San Jose Sharks in a pre-season game against the Flames in California. Karlsson had been the face of this Senators franchise for nine seasons.
Where was this team? In 2015 Ottawa made the playoffs thanks in part to Karlsson’s contributions. It was only two seasons ago that Ottawa hit the 44 win mark and reached the eastern conference final before losing out to Pittsburgh.
Disaster struck for this team last season. The Senators won just 28 games, fan support continued to dwindle, and a reported online feud between Karlsson’s wife and teammate Mike Hoffman’s fiancee embarrassed the team.
While the classy Karlsson suits up for San Jose, Senators ownership and management is left with the unenviable task of first trying to make this team competitive again, then secondly winning over a fan base that has watched the team crash and burn in a hurry.