Waiting on Brady Tkachuk

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Kelly Egan of the Ottawa Citizen:

The Ottawa Senators start a brand new season Thursday, so we enjoy our last spell of magical thinking, when anything is possible and the beer is always cold.

We’re building toward a Stanley Cup — repeat, ye of little faith. Is this not the message we’ve been hearing from owner Eugene Melnyk and general manager Pierre Dorion, lo these many years?

But, before reaching heaven, there was the stretch in purgatory, as we patiently endured the loss of Karlsson and Stone and Pageau and Ryan and Boro and Duchene and Dzingel, lots of others, because “we had a plan.”

And that plan was “the rebuild” and the rebuild, as Dorion said at the start of training camp in September, is pretty much over. In fact, he was emphatic about that.

“We’re at a stage where, for us, I think the  rebuild is over ,” he told reporters. “I don’t want to hear the word anymore.”

All well and grand. Except for one problem: Brady Tkachuk, our prized left-winger, our grit and our passion, one of the faces of the franchise, a curly-haired kid who made hockey in Ottawa fun again.

As everyone knows, he remains unsigned on the eve of the first regular-season game and, by accounts, isn’t even in the country. And the “word” he doesn’t want to hear anymore, we read regularly, is eight, as in eight (years) for eight (million dollars).