Archive for February, 2009

Open Letter to Jack Edwards

February 6, 2009

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”. 

What Else
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. 

Coaching Changes
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!!

Just Because
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:

Forwards (13)
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. 

Defensemen (7)
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. 

Goalies (3)
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.