No place like home for Methot
When Marc Methot was traded from Columbus to Ottawa on July 1, 2012, the team knew they were getting a solid, consistent defensive defenceman. What they didn't know was just how solid and consistent he was, not to mention how emphatically the fanbase would embrace the local product and his contribution to the aptly named 'Pesky Sens'.
It's difficult to understate the role Methot has played for the 2013 Senators. Not only has he emerged as one of the team's premier players, he has been a prime factor in the stabilization of a blueline that is missing key young stars in Erik Karlsson and Jared Cowen.
Logging heavy minutes on the ice, he has effectively shut down opposing top lines on pairings with Karlsson and now rookie Eric Gryba. From a team perspective, he has worn an 'A' for the team on multiple occasions with usual alternate captain Jason Spezza out of the lineup. Combine that with his affability towards fans via Twitter and the Sens have their newest fan favourite.
There's always immense pressure with playing in your hometown. It's not uncommon for players to avoid the possibility with the complexities of working under such an intensely scrutinized spotlight. For Methot, however, the experience has been nothing but positive and he has been blown away by the support of the Sens Army.
"It's unbelievable. The reception that I'm getting this season is far greater than what I thought it would be. I'm not used to it but I love it," said Methot. "Our fans are so positive, that's one thing I've noticed. Even after our losses our fans are so positive with us on Twitter and we don't get a lot of people on there bashing us so it's refreshing. It encourages me to keep using it."
A quick Twitter search of Methot yields very positive feedback. A few fan-submitted Norris Trophy nominations here, a few "please run for Mayor" requests there. It has all been the norm for Methot since he donned the Sens jersey for the first time back in January.
While he has been in Ottawa for such a short time, Methot has entrenched himself into the Sens landscape quickly as part of this whirlwind 2013 season. For you fans who have been blown away by how quickly this condensed schedule is going by, you should know that it's just as crazy for the guys on the ice.
How would Methot describe it?
"A rush. We don't have much time for breaks, we get the odd day off here or there but we're always playing," said Methot. "It has been a little overwhelming, but in a good way, because we're playing at home and it's a new environment for me and the guys in the room have been unbelievable too. I'd like to think it's been extremely overwhelming but in a positive manner."
With half a season in the books to kick off the first chapter of his time in Ottawa, the signs are certainly encouraging for the Sens and Methot. They knew they had a minted Norris winner in Karlsson on the blueline, and now it appears they have a human eraser to slot into their lineup for the foreseeable future as well.
Assuming all goes well moving forward, you have to wonder if perhaps he will run for Mayor of Ottawa one day. Bringing it up elicits laughter.
"I don't know... I think Alfie has a better shot than I do."
Playing 1,000 games for the Sens will do that for you, but throwing a few more hits like this one will go a long way towards bolstering that campaign.
If write-in votes ever get added to the Mayoral ballot, don't be surprised if Sens fans start flooding ballot boxes across town. He'll have plenty of time to win those on the fence, yet.
Follow Marc on Twitter here.
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