Matt Duchene does not sound like a man ready to give up easily on the Ottawa Senators, the franchise that has bailed on so many hockey stars before him.
The opportunity to play in his home country, in his home province, to raise his own young family just a three-hour drive from where he first fell in love with the game, has been the kind of special that reflects in the eyes of children.
“The young kids that come out are so excited. You see yourself in those young kids,” Duchene said Wednesday during the latest in a series of public conversations about where he’s at and where he might be headed.
“I remember I used to come here [to Toronto] and watch games — not a lot, because it’s pretty expensive and far drive for my dad — but when I did come, it was a dream come true to watch my idols and my heroes. It’s cool now to have that script be flipped.
“It’s something I don’t take very lightly at all. It’s something that’s important to me, and it’s been a lot of fun.”
After the buzzer sounded on yet another spirited Senators loss (5-4 to the Maple Leafs) — their fifth in a row and league-worst 34th in a ball-free lottery season only 53 games old — we wouldn’t blame Duchene if his head and heart played another round of tug-o-war over his future.