I’ve ceased to write in this spot (you may have noticed….or not). But I can be found from time to time over here.
The Senators “winning streak” of two games was against Phoenix, which was playing the 2nd night of a back to back and Florida; a glorified AHL team. Tonight was to be the litmus test for a team thought to be turning it around. Go back and read the headline…..I’ll wait. Sure, they were playing against the freak of nature who has owned them over the past 4 years, but a home game, on a Saturday against a division rival; these are the games that test the mettle. Turns our we’re a bit of aluminum foil.
Anyone who thinks Kovalev is back because he has 3 goals in the previous two games, hasn’t been watching. He’s the same lazy putz he’s been the past 12 years. He just has nicer hands than many other lazy putzes. I challenge anyone to send me video of Kovalev doing a “hockey stop” in the past 2 years. That’s a lotta work for him.
Jack Edwards: the Man! The Moron!!
“He’s fighting like a coal miner” (huh?)
“Chara sends him for an e-ticket ride to Disneyland” (huh??)
I have nothing more to say….except the whole thing about the fan in MN and Rypien; wouldja please! Rypien attacked a fan who was clapping. NO ONE involved has claimed the fan was chirping; not Rypien, not his teammates, not the Canucks, not the fan or the Wild. You can say all you want about the Wild putting up glass between the fans and the players in the tunnel, but this was simply a player losing it. And, even if the fan was giving him the business, there’s no justification for grabbing him. I’ve seen comparisons (from Ron Maclean, whom I love, generally) about Boogaard beating Kesler and how fans encourage fighting. Well Ron, Kesler has a job wherein he may be expected to fight and he knows that. Certainly, he’s not going to be surprised by having to fight in the regular course of his job. NO ONE shows up to a to a hockey game as a fan and expects to be confronted physically by a player. Sorry Ron: you’ve spent too much time with Don Cherry.
My Senators viewing has become a bit less interesting and it’s not because the team is off to a cold start.
I’m sure Denis Potvin has never heard this before. In fact, the words may have never been uttered before, but Denis Potvin is no Garry Galley. Galley has moved on to the Cee Bee Cee and Hockey Night in Canada. Potvin has been rescued from South Florida and now resides as the Senators color commentator. As an old guy, Denis might miss the weather, but I’m sure he won’t miss the hockey and it’s atmosphere in Fort Lauderdale. As much as it is a given that Potvin knows hockey, the way he imparts his analysis has far less flair and interest for me compared to Galley. I guess it only makes sense that CBC was able to take Galley away. He’s just damn good at what he does.
Ok, let’s talk about the cold start. Panic much, people? This is pretty far from a crisis.
1. It’s six games
2. It’s the East
3. It’s six games
Just Another Ho-Hummer for the Captain
Alfie gets his 1000th point in style with a hat trick. Congrats to a classy guy. And then another example of what I don’t like about Potvin. “he’s one of us; Alfredsson has 1000 points”. Sorry Denis, it’ s not about you tonight.
Yep, I wrote that headline. Now I’m just as clever as the guys at the Ottawa Sun.
Kuba breaking his leg is good for the Senators. It gives them an opportunity to see if the young guys can get the job done with enough of the season remaining to recover in case they cannot. My hopes is that one or two of the young guys can step up and make Kuba expendable….which is not a big stretch of the imagination because he’s been pretty much that his entire career.
If Cowen or Weircioch (or even Brian Lee, for chrissakes) can get the job done, the door cannot hit Kuba on the ass fast enough for me.
[Ok, so it’s just a copy and paste of an email I sent to the OBC.]
I think we all wanted Cheechoo to succeed, but none thought he would. I’m pretty sure Cheechoo has played his last game for the Senators. He’ll either be buried in the minors for the rest of this year and next or he’ll be bought out prior to next season. Good guy, hard worker, slowest skater I’ve seen since Phil Esposito.
I think if Kovalev was taken out of the lineup today, the team would not miss him at all. It’s not like our PP can get much worse and at 5 on 5, he’s just such a floater that he hurts the team and in my estimation, the chemistry (although I have no proof of that whatsoever). If I was Mike Fisher, I would have taken a poke at Kovy a long time ago. He’s out there busting ass every shift and Kovalev lazys about. I’ve made a habit of noting their interactions on the bench. I almost never see Fisher and Kovalev talking on the bench and most times, Fisher won’t even look at him.
Here’s what I don’t like about Shean Don. He’s 6’3″, 220 pounds and he plays on the fourth line….yet you rarely see him hit anyone, which is exactly what 6’3″, 220 pound fourth liners are supposed to do. He had one playoff round that he played a physical game and I was happy to see it and I think I even wrote after the season that if he were to keep that up in the regular season, that he’s a valuable player. Alas, I don’t find him to be so.
Filip Freakin’ Kuba
I absolutely can’t believe we have 2 more years of Filip Kuba. There’s no way another team will trade for him and his 3.7 million contract. Maybe he’ll lose interest in playing and just retire. That’s the best I can hope for since I can’t wish a career ending injury on anyone (except maybe Darcy Tucker…..and Patrick Kaleta….and maybe Derek Roy).
There are two goaltenders who have come available in recent years that I would have been interested in. I’ve always been a Niittymaki fan but he’s been injured almost as much as Leclaire. Tomas Vokoun was traded for draft picks only. I’m not sure Vokoun would have fit in under the cap in 2007 but sometimes you have to sacrifice offense if you want consistency in net. In any event, I think the Leclaire experiment needs to run another year. In addition, if you were to dig back through the archives in this space, you could probably find a post where I endorse Brian Elliott as an option for the long-term. I think he has the physical skills. Can he develop the mental toughness to get there. The jury hasn’t even been seated, let alone weighed-in.
LOVE HIM, but when was the last time paying big money to UFA stay at home defenseman worked out? Jay McKee? Mike Commodore? Adam Foote? Mike Komisarek? I’m sure the list of losing deals far outstrips the winners. $3.2 million is the right number for Volchie and that’s what he’s making now. I don’t see any way he would accept not getting a raise. He’ll probably get $4 million and screw us.
Cullen is a good Minnesota boy; hard working and smart. But, he’s never been able to fit in anywhere but Carolina. I’ll be shocked if he were to re-sign with anyone but them.
I’m Almost as Surprised as You Are
The over/under for the Senators year-long points was 83.5. The betting community was giving them NO chance to be this good. I happily bet the over on that one. I KNEW they would be better than that just because of the way they finished the season under Cici. Still, I gave no team a chance to supplant Boston as the winner of the Northeast…..uhhh….yeah….about that.
Switching Gear….The Wild
I see no way to characterize the Johnsson/Leddy for Barker trade as a win for the Wild. Barker for Johnsson str8 up would have been a win for Chicago. Barker’s defensive lapses are going to become legendary in Minnesota…unless Richards ends up benching him. He’s a poor man’s Zidlicky (and pretty much signals that Zidlicky’s on his way out the door…and I’m fine with that) because he doesn’t skate nearly as well as Zidlicky but has all the same failings and similar gifts. Giving up Leddy in the process is pretty much an admission by Fletcher that his first ever 1st round pick was a mistake. Therefore, the Wild lose…and lost last June.
Lastly, this is an email I sent to John Buccigross after learning of the death of Brandon Burke, the son of GM, Brian Burke who had recently come out of the closet to his family and later to the world through an article written by John for ESPN.com. You should read it.
With the death of Brandon Burke, I felt particularly compelled to go back and re-read your article about a young man coming out to his ‘truculent’, macho hockey father.
You said you were not trying to make a political statement in the article, but sadly, writing the article is a political statement in and of itself. You’ve treated the person and the story with dignity that is not offered by others who make the opposite political statement.
I’m probably in the minority of hockey fans. While I think Brian Burke is entertaining and a good quote, I don’t think he’s a particularly good manager. But, thank you for confirming what’s I’ve always believed; that he is an admirable man. I’ve always appreciated his honesty and integrity.
For everything that today’s generation of 20 somethings is, the reaction of Brandon’s Miami of Ohio family tells me that they are also hope for a more inclusive future and that it’s possible that courage, while an admirable quality, will not be a necessary quality to being a gay person in the world of sports.
Rest in peace, Brandon. Your courage will be remembered by me.
What a fuckin’ waste of 5 million dollars! No, he’s not “making it look effortless;” he IS effortless. Watching the forecheck game of the Senators is beautiful…until Kovalev is on the ice, then it’s a damn joke. He’s the only one not putting forth the effort to make it work.
Carcillo’s Suspension is a JOKE
I have never been more disappointed with an NHL ruling than the one that suspended Dan Carcillo for his punch on Matt Bradley. Bradley was dropping his gloves to fight. Carcillo got around to punching earlier than Bradley; good for him….end of fucking story. I have n0 idea what the NHL is thinking.
If you’re looking for a fantasy flier, think about Erik Cole. I know I am.
Long Term Deals
Hossa, Alfie, Savard, Kipper…..they’ve all signed long term deals with ‘sweet heart backends'; meaning that the last year or two of the deals are on the cheap simply to reduce the cap hit in the near term. There is very little chance the player will play in the league on the last year of their deal. Does anyone really think Marian Hossa will play past age 37 and into the last four year of his deal that will pay him $3.5 million over four years? NO !!
The league is talking ab0ut legislating this type of deal out of the game. Can anyone tell me why? I’m completely befuddled. It’s not good for the team to do this. If Alfie retires and doesn’t play for his $1 million in 2012/2013 the Senators still have to deal with the $7 million cap hit. Why does the league care??
STOP trying to save the GMs from themselves!!!! The salary cap was one thing: the playing field wasn’t level….but to try to stop the GMs from screwing themselves on a mostly level playing field is just stupid….STOP IT!!!!!! No one made Stan Bowman sign Hossa for a RIDICULOUS number of years. Some would argue that former GM, Dale Tallon looks pretty good given this decision and they’d be right. Hossa will be an albatros around the neck of the Hawks for maybe 4 years and certainly 3. It’s all just so stupid!!
Have a nice night!
Am I referring to the Senators or this humble writer? It’s been so long since I’ve written here that I had to guess at my password. Welcome back, dear reader.
My Take on the Heatley Saga
Prepare for a path of thorns, but, let’s begin with a bit of fluff. Dany Heatley is a fan of the Dave Matthews Band. How do I know this? Because I was standing right in front of him at Alpine Valley (Wisconsin). I was in row 7. Yes, I had better seats than Dany Heatley. Of course, he probably paid for about 30 seats I would think, just given the number of people in Badger red behind me.
So, did I take the opportunity to let him know how pissed I was about him betraying my favorite team? Did I seize the moment and spill my beer upon his noggin? Did punch him in the face? Nope, I partied with him. I turned around and said “Dany Heatley?” He said “yep”, and reached out his hand to shake mine. At that point, all the aforementioned thoughts ran through my head. In the end, I decided that he was just a guy enjoying one of his favorite bands and left him to his own devices. By the end of the show, however, we were fist bumping and sharing a beer. Do I wish I had handled the situation differently? Nope!
In any event, I suspect there’s something of his story out there in the weeds, of which we will never know. By the way, Heater has a smokin’ girlfriend.
Last night on the Hotstove segment of Hockey Night in Canada, the panel (which is a dyfunctional group, to say the least) talked about Brian Burke’s obsession to re-open the collective bargaining agreement in order to allow teams to trade salary cap space along with players. Amid all the screeching and talking over each other, not one of the panelists brought up either of the two key points in this argument, as far as I’m concerned:
1. Why is it so damn important to people that teams be able to trade?
B. If teams are so damn intent on being able to trade, the GMs are in full control of this simply by leaving enough space under the cap.
I truly don’t care if teams are able to trade or not. One would hope that a GM makes decisions about their roster as best they can given their circumstances. If a GM spends up to the cap in the offseason, they have to accept that they may not be able to make a trade to improve their club later on. If a GM decides to pass on a high priced free agent in order to save space to make a move later, that is his choice. The salary cap, to some extent, was brought in to protect the GMs from themselves and it works in that regard. I see no reason to remove that protection by circumventing the cap and allowing salary swaps in trades.
It’s infuriating to me that in the Hotstove segment, not one of the commentators made either of these arguments. And why? Because media types love to talk about trades.
The Question of the Day
Are the Senators for real? As I write this, the Senators are 1 point behind the first place Bruins in the division and have 2 games in hand v. the Bs. They’ve shown some moxie in coming from behind in games. They’re getting scoring from more than one line. Their most talented player (arguably) has yet to find his stride.
Here’s where I stand: I honestly don’t believe this is a team that can make any serious noise in the playoffs. The goaltending is not good enough. The defense isn’t good enough. They have Alexei Kovalev on the 2nd line. Having said all that, I have NEVER enjoyed watching the Senators more than I do right now. This forechecking game they’ve instituted is manna from heaven and very easy on the eyes. And since I’m mixing metaphors, it smells of sweet cherry blossoms.
What I Like Best About the 4th Line
It’s not the 3rd line…’nuff said.
Someone ‘Splain to Me Why Colby Gets Five for Fighting
You win some, you lose some. Sometimes losing some is winning, some. Unfortunatly, sometime not losing, some; is…well….not winning, some.
Losing is Winning
The Senators “lost” Marty Gerber when he was picked up by Toronto off waivers………..HEY! I’m still talking here; get up off the floor and stop laughing.
Losing is Sad….and Happy
I honestly felt bad for Antoine Vermette. While he was addressing the media after the trade, the guy just sounded so sad to be leaving the Senators. It was heartbreaking and I’m going to miss the lad. His speed and penalty killing were fun and appreciated (by me). Having said that, I like this deal. The Senators received the Blue Jackets’ 2nd round pick in this year’s draft and goaltender, Pascal Leclaire. Taking on Leclaire is a gamble for the Senators. He was expendable in Columbus because of the emergence of Steve Mason and his cap hit is $3.8 million for the next 2 years. Pascal Leclaire had one good year, but he was REALLY GOOD that year. We’ve seen this phenomena before (see Jose Theodore…twice, among others); a player having a stellar season when their contract is expiring, only to return to prior form when he gets the bucks. So, do we get the stale Leclaire or the Chocolate Leclaire?
The Senators are in a spot where they have to get their goaltending on the cheap and in the scheme of things, $3.8 million is cheap for a number one goaltender….provided he performs, of course. Pierre McGuire says Leclaire is the best goaltender the Senators have ever had (I’ll see his Leclaire and raise him a Hasek.) To me, it comes down to this: the Senators can stand pat with their goalies and see if Elliott can take the reins or they could try Leclaire. I’m an Elliott supporter, but I’m happy with this option.
Not Losing is Losing.
The trade deadline is passed and Chris Neil remains with the Senators. This is damn near inexcusable. I don’t care if you’re not getting full value for him, when 2:55 eastern rolls around, you accept the last offer you received for him (assuming there was at least one). There is NOTHING to gain by keeping him around. Mr. Neil needs to get over himself if he thinks he’s worth $2.5 million/year. Maybe the lack of trade deadline interest will convince him of this, but I seriously doubt it. The Senators lose here. A third round pick would have been fair. A fifth round pick should have been enough.
What the hell is Filip Kuba still doing on this team? If he was going to be re-signed, it should have been at a discount from his current salary of $3 million. The guy sure as hell doesn’t deserve a raise!!! I’m despondent about this signing. Just terrible!!!! Not only do we not get future assets for a guy that was said to have attracted a lot of attention, we have to watch this piece of shit for another three years. I was fine when he came as a 2 player package for one overpaid Meszaros, but this isn’t much better than overpaying Meszaros would have been. WFT?? The Sta Puft Marshmallow Man is just not a top 4 guy (not for a team that wants to win, anyway) and they’re paying him like one. If they get a decent puck mover in the offseason, or Karlsson comes in and impresses, Kuba will be relegated to 5th defenseman minutes and now we’re paying him $3.7 to do so? I want to die…..or better yet, kill Filip Kuba. (I remind you that I’m against killing and only employing hyperbole)
Going Back a Bit
I liked the trade acquiring Campoli. Clearly, getting Comrie was simply a salary dump for the Isles. Murray may well want to sign Comrie, but that could have happened in the off-season without trading for him. So this is a late first round pick for a decent puck moving defenseman. He’s not a top flight guy, but he’s pretty good and he’s dirt cheap for another year. He can play top 4 minutes and is a second unit power play guy. Unfortunately, we need him on the first PP unit. McAmmond, who went the other way, simply didn’t fit into the Senators’ plans. Old guys with scrambled brains typically don’t.
In the telecast tonight, you seemed to enjoy talking about how the Senators have “mismanaged” their defense. Chara is one thing; huge mistake. But, there are not many competent hockey people who would say the Senators made a mistake letting Redden and Meszaros go given the amount of money they wanted and are currently making. Ask the Lightning and Rangers if they would like to undo those deals. Corvo didn’t want to stay because he couldn’t take the media scrutiny. What are you going to do? Keep him around and have a miserable wreck messing up the defensive end because he has zero confidence? No, you do the honorable thing and make the best deal you can for him.
Right now, the Bruins are living in the sweet spot; a spot the Senators were in 3 years ago. You have young talent contributing in a large way and you have a very good goaltender on the cheap and some veterans on reasonable contracts.
Here’s something you’re going to start experiencing very soon Mr. Edwards. Young, talented players get older and start to want bigger contracts. You have Kessel, Krecji and Thomas who all need new contracts next year. You have Lucic and Wheeler needing contracts the following year. They’re either going to have to step up and pay these fine young players, or they’re going to have to let them walk. Either way, the Bruins are going to lose some of the fine depth they have this year. There’s only so much money in the bank.
So, when this happens, will you be complaining about how the Bruins have mismanaged their team, letting players X,Y and Z go? No, you won’t will you…you’ll be saying how the Bruins have done the best they can with the situation they have.
You may want to be careful with the arrows you sling these days. They’ll be circling around in about a year.
P.S. Heatley has been on the 2nd power play unit for the past 8 games or so because they wanted a net presence on both units. For the record, Heatley scored PP goals in each of the first two games on the “second unit”.
I’m keenly aware that I haven’t been busy in this space lately. Call it a mental and physical break. Let’s face it; there are only so many ways you can say the Senators have stunk lately, and so many times you can tell people the team needs some help on the blue line, the big three need to step up, and secondary scoring would be a nice feature.
They’re always fun, aren’t they? I was on record calling for Hartsy to go, back in December. It made sense back then. There was still the illusion that this team could turn a corner. I’m not sure it makes sense now, although I’m not going to complain about it either. Part of me thinks they should have just ridden out the season with Hartsburg and made the change at season’s end. Another part of me thinks there’s never a bad time to start correcting bad habits. Murray had to know that he risked becoming a punchline by making yet another coaching change; full marks for being big enough to make the call. There are any number of people out there suggesting Murray should go. I whole-heartedly disagree. When he took over, the Senators were a “mature club”; meaning they had a mostly veteran lineup and the prospect cupboard was mostly bare given the crappy drafting of the Muckler regime. It’s going to take 4 years of work for Murray to prove his worth and re-stock the team. A top 2 pick in the draft would go a long way to curing some ills. And honestly, I hope we end up with number 2 and Victor Hedman. Everyone is judging him on his WJC performance, but it’s fairly well known that he was injured for the tourney. Two years from now, I’ll be thrilled if we’re watching a Hedman/Karlsson D pairing.
Anyone out there still blaming Murray for letting Chara walk, stop it….just stop it!!
I know it’s quite a long time before the Vancouver Olympics get started, but if I was picking a team for the United States, as of today, here is the club I would choose. Keep in mind, this is not meant to be an all-star team. You have to have penalty killers and player comfortable playing a reduced role. With that in mind, here are the 23 players I would name to the squad:
Jason Pominville, Brian Rolston, Zach Parise, Patrick Kane, Phil Kessel, Jamie Langenbrunner, Dustin Brown, Joe Pavelski, Chris Drury, Ryan Kesler, Paul Stastny, David Booth, Erik Cole
Particularly conspicuous by his absence is Brian Gionta. He used to make his living by taking his undersized frame to the net. I’ve noticed a particular lack of that effort in his game the last couple years. Erik Cole may not be having the best of years, but he’s the hard nosed, character player you want on your side in these competitions.
Three players who may well play their way onto the team with continue production and development include TJ Oshie, Bobby Ryan and Blake Wheeler.
Brian Rafalski, Ryan Whitney, Mike Komisarek, Keith Ballard, Ron Hainsey, Ryan Suter, Jack Johnson
Jack Johnson is a stretch given how little he has played, but his combination of offense, defense and nasty are worth taking a small “experience risk” compared to the likes of Paul Martin who could have easily been on this list in place of a few players. In the end, I left him off simply because he doesn’t shoot the puck enough and we already have Rafalski and Komisarek who don’t shoot.
Ryan Miller, Tim Thomas, Rick DiPietro
Not a lot of mystery here. I’ll not be at all surprised if DiPietro will not be able to play, in which case Scott Clemmensen gets the call. I’d prefer to see him perform at this level for another team before annointing him Olympics worthy, but that may not be an option if he’s had enough Devil Cool-aid.
It looks as though some of my friends at the Ottawa Bloggers Collective finally found the point at which I arrived on December 17th. Welcome to the club. Now go grab your knives and start slicing at your fingers.
Now, to catch you up on what I’ve been up to, since I know that’s why you all come here. This has landed me a 5 day stay in the hospital. Yes, the Senators weren’t happy enough just crushing my mind, hope, dignity and hope (did I say that already? sorry), they’ve also crushed my pancreas.
In my absence, the Senators lost 4 games. So, let’s bring Brian Elliott up to the bigs and throw him into the fire for the Rangers game. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate the move and it is likely to lead to Martin Gerber being waived so that will get one albatross from around our necks. But, I just hope that whatever results they get from the “boy” (I think he’s 23 now) are tempered in the eyes of the overlords, by the sorry state this club is in.
The Elliott Report
The first goal wasn’t his fault as it came on a scramble in front of the net and the Senator’s defensemen didn’t clear anyone out. I didn’t love the second goal as it came from a bad angle, but it was from a mere 12 feet and perfectly placed in the top corner on a bang bang play. All in all, I would call this an unqualified success for Elliott. Sure, he didn’t win, but I don’t expect the Senators to win any more. A 2-0 loss is the moral victory; we’ll give the boys a silver star for not losing 4-0 (that’s about all the Rangers can muster, I would say) Elliott didn’t give up any stinkers, a GAA of 2.00 is pretty good as is a Sv% of .920 and he made some damn nice saves. There was nothing in this game to deflate the poor boy’s spirit. Ding ding; an angel gots its wings.
The rest of the guys played like they’ve been playing. Wade Redden coughed up one of his patented cross ice, attempted zone clear give aways, just like he has every game of his life….wait, oh yeah; wrong team.
By the way, I have no comment on the Carrie Underwear “story”, except to say I hate country music. Far as I can tell, hockey players have been dating, marrying and generally carrying on with their lives for 100 years now.