Dear Ottawa Senators,
Just couldn't let this season end without offering up a genuine and heartfelt thanks for what you've given this city.
From diehard Sens' fans, late-to-the-game fans like myself -- and most everyone else who just loves the team -- this has been an incredible ride.
It was your ride, of course, but we all watched from the sidelines, cheering you on with every play.
No one wanted the season to end this soon.
But in truth, you guys gave us far more enjoyment than was ever expected, more nail-biting, edge-of-our-seat moments and times of sheer pride.
So, many thanks."
This has been an absolutely amazing season -- and something incredibly special for this city.
The story could make a movie -- a going-nowhere team that most everyone had discounted long before the end of the season could even be seen.
But you guys had other ideas.
And you gave it a big run for our money.
Which, of course, brings us to you, Andrew Hammond -- aka The Hamburglar.
It was you who brought so many of us on board with a story simply impossible to resist.
You were at one point a guy who wondered if his future even included hockey.
And then, in what seemed like a blink of the eye -- there were hamburgers being tossed onto the ice of the Canadian Tire Centre in your honour.
It seemed you just couldn't lose -- and your winning ways became the backbone of this Sens' Cinderella story.
So yes, it was tough for some us to see Craig Anderson finish off a season it seemed you had gotten us to.
But in this team sport, everyone had a specific role -- and he got to finish off what he'd started at the beginning of the season.
Of course, Curtis Lazar, you made us all laugh when you grabbed a burger and started eating it!
So fun. And likely not bad for business at McDonald's, either!
With a grin that surely captured the hearts of many young women, your personality shone through during the Juniors and, upon your return, the fun continued.
And yes, have to admit, I was one of those who did wonder if those hamburgers on the ice might be wasteful, but in the end it was all good fun which ended up helping remind people of the needs of the Ottawa Food Bank.
Of course, we won't soon forget the altercation between Mark Stone and the Canadiens' P.K. Subban.
There was talk of threats aimed at Stone -- and then a slash which left him with a fractured wrist.
Stone earned kudos for his ability to come back and play -- and topped the season off by garnering himself a nomination for rookie of the year.
And through it all, there was the loss of the Sens assistant coach Mark Reeds.
The 55-year-old lost his battle with cancer just before the playoffs began.
So in the middle of the first round of playoffs with the Canadiens, the Senators gathered at the Canadian Tire Centre to celebrate the life and times of Reeds.
His death had a huge impact on the team.
The last time Reeds spoke to the team, he had some advice: "Let's win it all."
And at times, it seemed you guys couldn't do anything but.
Of course, through this incredible journey there was general manager Bryan Murray, suffering from cancer which he's acknowledged there is no cure.
As he continues to battle with the disease, he went public with his ordeal, so that others may not suffer the same fate.
All part of a story the entire city is proud to be part of.
So guys, many thanks.
This season is one we won't soon forget.
And it became clear to all fans that, while we wanted to see you in the Stanley Cup -- and fervently believed you could make it there -- the pride we've felt watching you doesn't change with this too-soon end.
Oh, and one more thing, sorry about Rick Chiarelli, he's actually a pretty nice guy -- if somewhat misguided!
Go Sens go,
A New Fan