April 14, 2008
Mural slap in face to PensPicture outside visitors' dressing room shows Sens shaking hands with eliminated Pittsburgh
By CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media
A picture is worth a thousand words and, in this case, most of them are of the unprintable variety.
"Awful," was the way one Senators player politely put it yesterday.
In what is surely one of the stupidest and most ignorant moves going, somebody with the Senators organization decided to cover a wall near the Penguins dressing room in Scotiabank Place with a large mural. It's a photo of the Senators shaking hands with the Penguins after the Senators eliminated them in their first-round matchup last spring.
It's positioned so it is about the last thing the Penguins will see as they make the turn from the main hallway to enter their dressing room.
It's right in an area where the visiting teams have been known to play their warmup game of "Keep Up," bouncing a soccer ball around from player to player, trying to keep it from hitting the ground.
"That's what they'll be looking at when they play soccer," said another player, with a shake of his head.
As if you need to give a team any other reason or motivation to want to beat you at this time of year.
The photo smacks of arrogance -- unearned by this franchise, frankly, which has been a notorious underachiever at this time of year and has little reason to look down on any other or rub the noses of opposing players in defeat.
The mural is part of a freshening up of the area around the dressing rooms which included a classy makeover of the hallway leading from the Senators dressing room to the ice. Fans will likely get their first look at it tonight on the big screen at Scotiabank Place when the Senators make their entrance. The walls have been covered with themes incorporating the laurel leaves from the club's logo. There is a glass sliding door that will part to allow the players to make their entrance during which they will pass by a big, backlit shield by the bench.
The walls outside the dressing rooms have been painted and two large pictures -- one of the Red Zone last spring, filled with thousands of red-clad fans with Scotiabank Place in the background and the unfortunately chosen one of the Penguins and the Senators shaking hands.
The photo of the Senators and Penguins was chosen before the Senators knew they were going to be playing Pittsburgh in the first round. It was up on the wall on the final Sunday of the regular season and the Senators didn't know they were playing Pittsburgh until the Penguins lost to the Flyers that afternoon.
Just about any photo of the Senators' great run last spring would have sufficed to fill that space, wouldn't it, without the potential of ticking off an opponent?
"Remember how we beat you?"
Why use a picture which would serve to help resurrect the feelings the Penguins had at that moment, reminding them in living colour how they don't want to have that feeling again?
The unfortunate choice of subject has been a topic of conversation among the Senators players. They see it as something that makes their jobs harder.
As soon as the Senators knew they were playing the Penguins, that photo should have been scrapped.
As he finished up answering a question in his press conference yesterday, Senators coach and GM Bryan Murray chose to fill a moment of silence between the end of his answer and the next question with this comment:
"And I didn't have anything to do with the picture on the wall out there," he said.
Whomever did made a mistake.
It's not too late to fix it.
Take it down. Show your opponent some respect.