Sens ready to take big bite out of Big Apple

Fans pose with the NHL's Stanley Cup as it sits next to a replica of the trophy in Times Square in...

Fans pose with the NHL's Stanley Cup as it sits next to a replica of the trophy in Times Square in New York, N.Y., April 11, 2012. (GARY HERSHORN/Reuters)

DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:05 PM ET

NEW YORK - Am I the only one who thinks there's a very real danger with inviting people around here to drink from a 21-foot, 6,600-lb. Stanley Cup in Times Square?

Is nobody else concerned obnoxious New Yorkers might try to put something into this makeshift “water fountain” rather than take from it the “traditional sip” that's being urged?

There better be plenty of security watching over this giant replica, which for three days will salute the arrival of the much anticipated 2012 playoffs.

“One thing the New York Rangers have in common with our city’s tap water: Neither can be beat,” Mayor Bloomberg declared Wednesday. “The Stanley Cup replica highlights one of our greatest resources, and helps celebrate the start of what will undoubtedly be an exciting playoff run.”

Now there’s some wishful thinking, eh?

As the only impartial viewer in the hockey world to predict the Senators would make the playoffs, here’s what I see looking ahead. It should be noted, had they drawn the Bruins, I would have picked Boston to sweep the series. The Senators wouldn't have had a prayer.

Against the New York Rangers and their mouthy little coach, John Tortorella, I’m calling Ottawa to lose in seven games.

That said, anything can happen in a Game 7.

Team Sun’s Tony “Trigger” Caldwell, Bruce Garrioch and yours truly drove through just about everything Wednesday in what turned out to only be a 7 1/2-hour trek for Games 1 and 2. A little bit of a sun, along with rain, sleet, hail and snow. See, nothing will stop us from delivering you the stories as the Senators try to pull off an 8-seed-over-1-seed upset, as they did to beat New Jersey in 1998.

We recalled those glory days while motoring by the Devils old home, the Brendan Byrne Arena, around which were dark smoke clouds indicating something in the neighborhood was definitely Brendan burning.

What’s that? Your stunned silence?

“Look,” Garrioch said, pointing to a city sign. “If it ain’t Hoboken, don’t fix it.”

Ah yes, still a good one.

I won’t get into why I see the Senators taking this series to the limit, other than to quote an observation of centre Zack Smith as he looked at the Rangers lineup on a dressing room board back at Scotiabank Place the other day.

“I like our matchup against their ‘D’ a bit more,’ Smith said when comparing the Rangers to the Bruins, which for days looked to be Ottawa’s first round foe.

Yes, anything looks better than going up against Zdeno Chara, I say.

Boston is a great town, but this is New York City. So many interesting things to see. For one thing, the Angels are in town for a series at new Yankee Stadium, which includes a couple of afternoon games. Depending on their practice time, I can imagine a couple of Senators wanting to get over there Friday.

A few members of the Ottawa media contingent would be keen on it, as well.

“Days you’re not playing, you’ve still got to go out and get refreshed, have a little fun, too,” said Smith. “Almost take your mind off things for a short while. It could be a long playoffs. This is one place you could get your mind off (hockey) if you wanted.”

But this isn’t Anaheim in 2007, either. This is a hockey town. And Madison Square Garden, well, it’s the greatest stage in the world.

“You walk around in there and they have all the pictures on the walls, you know everything has happened in that building before, how historic it is,” said 21-year-old Senator Jared Cowen. “It’s always fun to be there. Now, playing in the playoffs there? It’s pretty cool.”

Indeed, for kids of all ages.

“I think everybody who plays there gets excited,” said Daniel Alfredsson. “There’s not too many sleepy games in there.”

There’s not too many sleepy moments in this city, either. When this series does go seven, it’s going to seem like a lot longer for some of us.


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