Sports

A Perfect Home Debut: Jakob Chychrun Already a Fan Favourite in Ottawa

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

It definitely hasn’t take long for a torrid, springtime love affair to break out between newcomer Jakob Chychrun and the city of Ottawa.

Chychrun was acquired Wednesday from the Arizona Coyotes and on Saturday night, Ottawa fans were more than ready with the welcome wagon.

In his home debut, Chychrun had a goal and an assist, and finished with a plus 3, as the Senators beat Columbus 5-2.

Fans cheered when Chychrun took his first shift in Ottawa. They cheered again when his slick, backhand sauce helped set up Tim Stutzle’s 30th goal of the season. And they absolutely erupted when he ripped home his first goal as a Senator, a laser-like wrist shot from the right faceoff dot. Leading the applause was Ottawa’s John Chychrun, who happily raised a large double-double to toast his grandson.

But perhaps the most memorable moment came in the third period, at least for fans in the building. During a stoppage in play, the in-house camera focused on Chychrun, sitting at the end of the Senator bench. Teammate Travis Hamonic elbowed the newcomer to let him know he was on the big screen and the fans applauded. Chychrun looked up and smiled in acknowledgement and the cheers grew louder. Then big number 6 raised his arm up and down, encouraging and receiving an even bigger ovation.

Finally, Chychrun returned their applause, thanking the fans for such a warm welcome.

“Yeah, that was fun,” Chychrun said. “I don’t know what made me do that. It was just a spur of the moment. The crowd got me going too. So that’s what it’s all about. Just having fun. They were really into it tonight so it was a blast out there.”

Chychrun played on his regular left side, mostly partnered with Erik Brannstrom, who has never minded playing his off wing.

Derick Brassard was honoured before the contest for playing his 1000th career game this week. After the game, he honoured Chychrun as the fairly obvious choice for Sens’ player of the game.

A perfect pseudo-homecoming for Chychrun. This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Playoff Watch: For the first time this season, the Senators are on a five game winning streak. As they continue their late assault on an Eastern Wild Card Playoff spot, they had seen three previous winning streaks end at four. They now begin a long, five game road trip Monday night in Chicago (9pm TSN5). They’ll make stops in Seattle on Thursday, Vancouver Saturday, Calgary Sunday and Edmonton on Tuesday, March 14th. The Sens begin the trip 3 points behind 8th place Pittsburgh for the final playoff spot.

To illustrate just how tough the final 20 games of the season will be, the Sens are currently tied with Florida, Buffalo and Washington as the best non-playoff teams in the East and all of those teams won on Saturday as well.

By Steve Warne

 

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