Mendes: Sens going classic with victory tune

Ottawa Senators players (left to right) Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, Peter Regin and Jakob Silfverberg share a laugh during team practice in Ottawa Sunday May 12, 2013. The Senators will face the Pittsburgh Penguins in round two of the NHL playoffs. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

The first time I heard the song blaring inside the Senators dressing room, I had to do a double-take.

It was on the night of April 25th and just moments after the team had clinched a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference, I heard the distinctive beat of Hall & Oates “You Make My Dreams Come True” at the Verizon Center.

Surely it was a mistake, right? There’s no way that an NHL team in the year 2013 was playing Hall & Oates after a massive overtime victory. It gives a whole new meaning to another one of their other classic songs – “Out of Touch.”

I chalked it up to a complete accident. Or maybe somebody was being super clever. After all, they were just down the Hall from (Adam) Oates when they clinched the playoff spot. Whatever it was, I figured I would never hear that song played again while being within earshot of an NHL dressing room.

But standing outside the Senators’ room last Thursday night at the Bell Centre in Montreal, I heard the song again after they eliminated the Montreal Canadiens. And it became blatantly clear that this was not a one-off deal. Indeed, “You Make My Dreams Come True” had become the 2013 Ottawa Senators victory song.

But the question is why?

Was this a tribute to Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson – one of the few players on the team who was actually alive when this song came out in 1980? Alfredsson has always said his dream was to win the Stanley Cup. Maybe this song was about making his dreams come true.

So after Alfredsson’s media scrum broke up on Sunday afternoon, I approached him to ask about the meaning behind the song. If anybody was going to have the answer to a quirky dressing room story, it would probably be the captain. I was slightly nervous at the prospect of becoming the first person in media history to pull aside a superstar to discreetly ask him about Hall & Oates.

And while Alfredsson was gracious with his time – as he always is – he sadly offered no insight into the story I was chasing.

“I don’t know how that even got started,” Alfredsson admitted to me on Sunday afternoon. “Last year and this year, we’ve mostly had just dance music – something that is upbeat. And I don’t know if this started as someone playing a joke, but we’ve been playing pretty well since it started. So it’s kind of become the theme for us.”

So after wasting 45 seconds of Daniel Alfredsson’s life, I figured that I should try going to someone else inside the locker room to get the scoop on this story. And that’s when I saw Zack Smith – who just happens to be the one responsible for making this the theme song for the 2013 Ottawa Senators.

But there is no amazing story behind why the song was chosen. In fact, it turns out that it was a complete accident.

Smith told me that about a week before that night in Washington, he was the one responsible for playing the pre-game music inside the dressing room. When the Senators skated off the ice with a victory at home, Smith’s iPod was the one that was hooked up to the stereo. So the players urged him to start blaring a brand new victory song.

“I can’t remember exactly why, but we wanted switch up win songs. I was put on the spot because my iPod was on from the start of the game. I just grabbed it quickly. I didn’t know and I ended up picking that one,” Smith explained.

So by sheer accident, Smith hit the play button for Hall & Oates “You Make My Dreams Come True” and an instant classic was born inside the Sens dressing room. (There is part of me that wishes he accidentally played Mambo No. 5 – because that would have been an awesome blog to write as well). There are rumors that there could be some dancing that accompanies this song inside the dressing room, but that has not been confirmed by anyone willing to speak on the record.

You may be surprised that a 25-year-old guy like Zack Smith has some Hall & Oates on his iPod. But he admitted the song has been on there for a while after he and an ex-teammate agreed it was a catchy tune.

“I had it on my iPod because me and Bish (Ben Bishop) were listening to it one day and we thought it was a good song,” said Smith. “And it’s just a feel good song.”

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