Finally, the Senators start their season Friday night against the Detroit Red Wings, which really means a game between the students and the teachers at the Joe. What better first opponent for all those fresh faces in Ottawa uniforms than the winged-wheel machine, role model for all right-thinking NHL franchises, and the team that spawned new Senators head coach Paul MacLean.

In 20 years, they have run the gamut: from one man’s impossible dream to real life financial nightmare and bankruptcy, from on-ice laughingstock to one of the NHL’s elite teams. Twenty years and 10 months after the Ottawa Senators shocked the world, to paraphrase Muhammad Ali, by landing an National Hockey League franchise against all odds, they are starting over in a way.