Little of This; Some of That

ottsunsport200.jpgSenator  Lines:

To start the season, I think there is very good reason to expect the top two lines to be Heatley, Spezza, Eaves and Vermette, Fisher, Alfredsson.   You should downgrade Ilya Zubov to your watch list.  Actually, that’s where he probably should have been all along.  If he’s not on one of the top two lines, he’s most likely headed to Binghamton. 

 The points on the power play are somewhat more grey.  Redden has played sparingly and still has a sore back, but I have to believe he has one of the positions when healthy.  Corvo and Schubert have both made arguments for themselves on the other side.  I’d bet on Corvo, but not very much.  I have Schubert on my watch list.

The Heatley Contract

The sides met to discuss terms and ideas.  At this point, there is no deal as both sides retreat to reflect on the various arguments.  Reports say that Heatley wants $8mm/year for six years with the Senators offering $7mm/year with no word on the term.  I think this really comes down to Dany deciding where he wants to play and with whom he wants to share the ice.  $7mm/year is a nice salary.  No, it’s not what he would get on the open market, but if he wants to win a Cup, the teams likely to be able/willing to pony up that kind of cash are not likely to get him to a Cup final.  Not to mention that no other team has Jason Spezza as a centerman with whom he can play.  I am happy to go on record saying that any team with a player making $8mm will not be able to sustain Stanley Cup ambitions over the term of that contract.  To be sure, there will be years that those types of teams can compete provided that they have some young talent that can contribute.  But, eventually, that young talent gets older and wants more money.  Teams like the Rangers are also likely to be in that same boat having over spent for 2nd tier stars like Gomez and Drury.  They’re good players; they’re just overpaid and soaking up too much of the cap.  It’s funny; many people talk about the $20mm the Lightning have wrapped up in Richards, Lecavlier and St. Louis, but you rarely hear anyone talk about the $21mm the Rangers have wrapped up in their big 3 and how that hurts them.  I’d much rather be in Tampa’s position with their players at their respective ages. 

Downie Follow-up

I’ve seen some Flyers fans make the following argument:

“You Senators fans were just fine with the Neil hit on Drury last year and this [the Downie hit on McAmmond] is no different; a headhunter out to hurt someone.”  Some have even suggested that there was “nothing wrong” with the hit.  I would say that the reaction from players around the league speaks volumes about the play.  Downie has been roundly criticized by all players I’ve heard speak on the subject.  No one knows better than the players what is a good hit and what is dirty. 

It’s much harder to determine Neil’s intent on the hit to Drury.  I have that game on my Tiva (mine’s female) and watched it after seeing those comparisons.  First of all, Downie makes his charge from the red line in and launches himself at McAmmond.  Neil doesn’t leave his feet and his hit is with the shoulder.  There’s no question that Drury is defenseless and has no idea the hit is coming.  It’s very difficult to judge a player for a hit on a defenseless opponent.  Part of being a hockey player is being aware of your surroundings and protecting yourself.  I won’t blame Downie for looking for a hit.  I will blame him for leaving his feet to deliver a blow to the head.  I thought that a 20 game suspension was in order and that is the verdict. The Flyers have said they will call up Downie from the Phantoms on game days to get the suspension over with quickly.  This suggests that he will be on the Flyer roster when it’s over.  Circle November 24th on your calendars and watch Chris Neil make an example of the young “man”. 

 As far as McAmmond goes….he’s not likely to return to the Sens’ lineup any time soon.  He has full use of his extremities, but this is his second concussion in the last 4 months.  From the lips of Dean McAmmond (I love this quote):

“Everybody’s saying I have concussion problems … I don’t feel I have a concussion problem at all. I have a problem with people giving me traumatic blows to the head, that’s what I have a problem with.”

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