We caught up with Shaila Anwar (@Fffeisty) as the Senators’ regular season soon comes to a close.
Shaila Anwar (@Fffeisty) is a long-time Senators fan, a self-proclaimed member of the Church of Alfie, and a welcome presence on Sens Twitter. Shaila co-hosts a local radio show, That’s What She Said, on TSN 1200, alongside Michaela Schreiter, Friday nights at 6:00 p.m. We chatted with Shaila recently to get her insight into the Senators’ season and what the future holds for the team in our latest instalment of 10 Questions.
1. How long have you been an Ottawa Senators fan? What is your first memory of the team?
Well I’ve been a Sens season ticket holder since 1995. So a long, long time. My first memory is probably the Saturday morning when a little tiny story appeared in the Saturday Ottawa Citizen to announce that some group called Terrace Investments was going to bid for an NHL expansion team. Craziest thing ever. No one thought it would work. And yet, here we are.
2. The team made some controversial acquisitions at the trade deadline this year. Do you think that they made the right decision bringing in Burrows, Stalberg, Jokipakka, and DiDomenico?
I have to admit, I was initially disappointed in Pierre Dorion’s deadline acquisitions. I thought focusing on the bottom 6/9 rather than the defence was going to make little impact. I was wrong. The trades to bring in Burrows and Stalberg have really solidified the team’s depth and rounded out each of the 4 lines. This has in turn helped to hide some of the flaws in the D. Not bad, for Dorion.
3. Who has been the most impactful player for the Sens this year, aside from Erik Karlsson and Craig Anderson?
Mike Condon. No question. The mid-point of the season is where things could have really gone haywire, with Andy on a personal leave and Hammond injured. Out of nowhere, in came Condon and gave the Sens solid, reliable and sometimes even spectacular goaltending. He didn’t even need 6 weeks to learn #TheSystem. 😉
4. What do you see as the ceiling for this team within the next 5 years? What do you see as rock bottom?
This team will go as far as Erik Karlsson can carry them. Signing him to a new contract should soon become a priority. In the immediate short term, I think the Sens have to look at goaltending. They have gotten more than their money’s worth from Anderson but he is at the age where goalies tend to fall of a cliff. There’s no one waiting in the wings at the moment, which isn’t cause for panic, but may soon be cause for concern.
5. What has you most excited about the future of this team?
Erik Karlsson makes me feel like Alfie used to make me feel. When the game is on the line, he’s the guy. He wants to be that guy. He’s just so dominant, I can’t get over it. I look forward to seeing how the Sens’ D evolves with a guy like Chabot next year. Two mobile, puck-moving defencemen at the same time? I have goosebumps already.
6. What would you like to see added to the Senators game-day experience that would vastly improve it and bring it up to par with other arenas around the league? What elements do you think the organization can incorporate pre-LeBreton move and post-LeBreton move?
I don’t really know to be honest. There are some things on gameday that are so predictable that I don’t even notice them anymore. I can tell by the warm up music exactly what time is left on the clock. They play the “I wanna drive the zamboni” song at *every* intermission. In 22 years, they haven’t thought of a new song to play? It’s little things like that, that make things stale, particularly for a STH who goes to 35+ games per season.
8. It’s never too early for playoff predictions, so, how far do you think the Senators go this year in the playoffs? Which match-up do you most want to see?
So hard to predict. Everything comes down to the first round matchup, arguably the hardest round in the whole NHL playoffs. I don’t know who I want to see, I just know that I do NOT want to see the Leafs (too scarred).
9. As a female hockey fan and co-host of ‘That’s What She Said’ on TSN 1200, what challenges do you think face female hockey fans from becoming more involved in the sport today? What can be done to help overcome these barriers?
I think sometimes female hockey fans worry too much about what other people will say or that they’ll be talked down to, so they stay silent. My own view is, who cares what others think? Don’t be afraid to speak your mind or share your views. If someone doesn’t like what you have to say, move along, because the next group of people probably will. I used to be a bartender and if you wanted to sit in my bar and have a drink, you had no choice but to watch the game I was watching and listen to me talk about it. I was never afraid to have my own opinion and never shy about sharing it. I think sometimes when barriers exist, you have to break them down yourself, not wait for it to happen because it’s right (even if that’s frustratingly obvious) and when people push back, you have to be tougher than everyone else and push harder (even when you feel like you shouldn’t have to). Don’t wait for others to make space for you. Just take up a lot of space until they can’t ignore you any longer. Easier said than done but it helps that I am not shy.
10. Who is your dream guest on ‘That’s What She Said’?
Alfie (I would die).
As always, a huge thank you to Shaila for chatting with us about the Sens. There’s no way you’re not already, but you can follow our resident “Brown Girl in the Rink” on Twitter @Fffeisty. While you’re there, be sure to give her TSN 1200 co-host, @Schreids, a follow as well, and tune in to That’s What She Said Friday’s at 6:00 p.m.
Stay tuned for future editions of 10 Questions! Have an idea for a future interview? Let us know on Twitter @TheSystemOttawa.