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I have no doubt that Wallace's sources are accurate, but this is the kind of backbiting that you get when a season hasn't gone well. Want to know what fixes all of the issues Wallace listed? Winning. Six more wins and all of a sudden Spezza is a great leader, assistants are doing a great job, blah blah blah. The difference between winning and losing in pro sports is incredibly thin - last year the Sens were on the right of that line, and this year they fell on the wrong side of it...
4 months, 2 weeks ago on TSN's Brent Wallace Gets Candid On 'In The Box'
It's remarkable how well a guy can play when his defence partner isn't a 225 lb. anchor...
5 months, 2 weeks ago on Ottawa's Playoff Chances and Whether the Olympic Break Is Meaningful
I would imagine that having a "GM in waiting" would work about as well as having a "Head Coach in waiting" has worked in college football. That is to say, not well at all. It's a question of authority. Who's really in charge - the current guy, or the guy who will be replacing him? Then there is the matter of resentment among the staff for the fact that someone has been officially designated as "the chosen one". No, there can only be one boss at a time, and if I am Tim Murray, I have zero confidence that Eugene won't go "off the board" and hire someone from the outside when the time comes.
5 months, 3 weeks ago on Tim Murray Wanted to be Bryan's Successor?
With Ceci waiting in the wings, one of either Gryba or Weircoch could be made available in exchange for a young forward who could skate and provide some depth in our top six/top nine. Could be a win/win for both clubs...
9 months ago on Rumour Has Florida And Ottawa Talking Trade
From all of his writing, it appears as if Ian has a young family, so this is obviously a great move for him personally. It's also a great move for listeners here in Ottawa, as that station gains a very smart, talented broadcaster.
10 months, 1 week ago on Ian Mendes Leaving Rogers Sportsnet?
I'll admit my bias up front - I am not a fan of casinos. I think they are a complete mirage in terms of economic development, adding very little to a community except for a host of social problems. About 90% of casino patrons earn 50k or less, which rather bursts the bubble on this notion of James Bond like characters coming to gamble away big money. Another hard fact is that all four of OLG's large casinos are losing money right now, so why it is that people think an Ottawa casino is going to be a big money maker is a mystery.
My take is that this is just the latest episode of a Senators owner trying to develop that land around the arena into more than what it is currently. Eugene tried to get the new stadium located out there, and failed. (Had he been smart enough to include CFL football in his proposal, he might have won that one.) Before then, of course, you had the original Bruce Firestone vision for the property, complete with a hotel, shopping, etc.
What happened yesterday is very typical of what happens when proud, fiercely independent business people come up against the political process. Self made men like Eugene Melnyk are used to getting their own way. (This is why he will never have an equity partner with the Senators - he doesn't want to have to answer to a partner, and any partner knows that it would be Eugene calling the shots.) The political process is about give and take, compromise, and reading the prevailing winds, all skills that Eugene utterly lacks. Eugene needs to hire some people with political acumen and then actually listen to them, but I'm not holding my breath waiting for that to happen. He believes that he is his own best advisor.
Finally, pay no attention to how much money he claims the team is making, or losing. No one in business ever publicly tells the truth about that, so this hardly makes Eugene unique. You will know he is in financial trouble the day the "for sale" sign goes up on the team and building. Until then, you can safely assume that he is making money and having fun, even if he is frustrated at his inability to create greater value in his arena investment.
1 year ago on Melnyk Can't Keep His Story Straight
I fail to understand why fans are all butthurt over this. Naming rights for various buildings across North America range from the lame to the ridiculous. (Jobing.com arena, anyone?) This is just garden variety lame. We'll all get over it soon enough.
1 year, 1 month ago on Scotiabank Place Becomes the Canadian Tire Centre
In this shortened, compressed season, depth will be a huge issue for every club. As soon as a team runs into trouble in goal, be it through poor play or injury, Bryan Murray is going to be a very popular guy. The object of the exercise is to turn Bishop, or possibly even Anderson, into some strong, tangible building blocks for the future. To me, that is a first rounder and a solid prospect, or an impact roster player on a friendly contract plus a prospect.
1 year, 6 months ago on Lehner Survives the Latest Round of Roster Cuts
Why all the hate for Redden? As a stop gap solution earning league minimum, he would be a worthwhile risk. He's certainly a better option than Campoli, and he doesn't cost us an asset in a trade. Apparently he played quite well in the AHL.
1 year, 6 months ago on Sens Looking At D Options; Reddenâs Corpse Not Included
Bob MacKenzie is reporting that it may be a season ender. Yikes. Presuming we actually have an NHL season (I am banking on a 60 game season, starting in early December) this really stings...
1 year, 8 months ago on Breaking: Jared Cowen
I'm sure the Dominator was in great shape for a 47 year old dude, but he was still 47, and Father Time gets us all in the end. I know Erin Nicks was all charged up for a Dominator comeback, but that was probably just for the epic interviews, now that Bryzgalov is less chatty than he once was.
1 year, 9 months ago on Hasek Retires For Third Time And Revisionism Ensues
Coaching in NCAA is a nice gig - pay and benefits are very good, the season is relatively short, and you get to do some real teaching. For a coaching lifer and purist like Kleinendorst, going the NCAA route is vastly superior to riding the bus in the "A". Red Berenson is going on, what, 30 years now at Michigan?
1 year, 10 months ago on Kurt Kleinendorst Introduced as the New Head Coach of the UAH Hockey Team | September
It's worth noting that Jared Cowen struggled mightily at the World Juniors as an 18 year old, with symptoms even more pronounced that the ones we are hearing about Ceci.
1 year, 11 months ago on Ceci Scratched For Final CAN-RUS Game | December
Brennan writes for a tabloid, so his job is create drama and controversy. Tim Baines freely admitted as much to me when he said that he would love the Senators to acquire Tim Thomas, for no other reason than the fact that he would make it easy to fill newspaper space. That's why the media loves chatty, controversial coaches and players - plenty of low hanging fruit for stories.
Brennan himself knows that the cap floor is certain to fall significantly in any new CBA. If pressed on this point, he would offer up some lame excuse along the lines of, "You don't know that for sure, the Senators have to be prepared to play under the old CBA, blah blah blah." Deep down, though, he himself knows that what he wrote is a huge stretch, which is why it is hard to take Brennan, or his publication, very seriously.
As for Carkner, how many times is the Sun going to go back to the well on this story? God, only in Canada could a decision not to re-sign an aging, immobile seventh defenceman with a bad knee be a subject of debate. The question should be, what were the Islanders doing bidding against themselves for Carkner's services? Teams need to constantly get younger and faster in this League, and hopefully cheaper - a failure to do so can be catastrophic. (See Maple Leafs, Toronto, and Flames, Calgary). Moving on from guys like Carkner and Konopka is critical to the long term growth of the team. If they didn't dump those guys, the story mid-season would have been, "Senators missed their window to improve by holding onto aging players for reasons of nostalgia."
1 year, 12 months ago on Headaches and Head Shakes | August
The team just can't give out "thanks for being a great guy" contracts. With Carkner's age, skill set, and injury history, a one year deal is all the Senators can reasonably offer. He struggles against speed, and the coaching staff has to watch his matchups like a hawk. If someone else is willing to give him two years, God bless him, and I don't blame him in the least for trying. The Chris Neil comparison is a good one - Neil tested the market, which was his right, and ended up back in Ottawa when no one backed up the armored truck for him. It wouldn't be at all surprising if Carkner ended up back here also as the 6/7 defenceman on a one year deal.
2 years, 1 month ago on Wednesay Night Senators News and Notes | June
@slavitch @silversevensens True - if in fact they decide that Ceci isn't ready for the NHL this Fall, the setup with the 67's at SBP is perfect. Further good news is that Ceci is a late 1993 birthday, so for 2013-14, he can play in the American League if need be. Somehow, though, I don't think he will ever play any more than a handful of games in the "A" in his career.
2 years, 1 month ago on Ceci's a 'garbage pick' | June
Another random thought - doesn't he look a bit like a young Eric Lindros? Not as broadly built, of course, but the similarities are there. In another similarity to Lindros, Ceci's father was a very good football player, leading Guelph to a Vanier Cup in 1984. (Carl Lindros played football for Western.)
I love how the internet is written in ink. :-) Brennan will never live that one down - it was even more demonstrably stupid than, "Malkin to the Kings".
The fact that Ceci was still available at 15 is unreal. It seems odd, as the conventional wisdom was that he had shot up the draft board in the second half of the season, and was a consensus top ten pick. When you look at the kid's size and skill package, I think it is pretty much a lead pipe cinch that he will be an NHL regular. What kind of NHL regular isn't known yet, of course, but it's worth noting that historically, about half of first round picks will NOT sign a significant second NHL contract. (Significant being defined as a multi-year, one-way deal.) I would be curious to check out how many OHL defencemen averaging 30 minutes a night as a 17/18 year old didn't go on to good, solid NHL careers.
Here's my only red flag on Ceci - I can see a scenario where he goes to camp, does well, but gets returned to the 67s at the last minute. Often in that scenario, a kid goes back to junior, sulks a bit, and takes a step backward. If he is close at all, I would rather have him with the big club, playing limited minutes, as opposed to returning to Junior where he really has nothing left to prove. It's too bad we can't send him to the AHL, but barring a change in the CBA, it's NHL or OHL, and I can't see how he develops much more playing against other teenagers.
First off, this is not a shock - you could see this coming when Kleinendorst didn't come to Ottawa to work with the Black Aces in the first round. Secondly, I don't get all the wailing and moaning here. The reality is that AHL coaching jobs are pretty nomadic positions. If you are unsuccessful, you get fired, and if you are ambitious, you move on quickly. Either way, you probably aren't in one city long enough to hang pictures on the walls. Steve Stirling will take over, and the band will play on.
2 years, 2 months ago on Kurt Kleinendorst Not Returning to Coach Binghamton | May
Your last paragraph is chillingly accurate - our depth on the blueline is suddenly thin with the departure of Rundblad. The FA market is thin, as it increasingly is - GMs are very good these days about locking up their core assets prior to July 1. I can see the Sens looking to extend Kuba is the price is right. Depending on how he plays, Gilroy might get offered a new deal also. I can't see Carkner staying - he just doesn't skate well enough to be an NHL regular anymore. In the meantime, it is a lead pipe cinch that the Sens will draft a defenceman first overall to begin re-stocking the pipeline.
2 years, 5 months ago on Thoughts on the Trade Deadline: Brian Lee Dealt for Matt Gilroy | February
@HockeyPlayoffRunSensFan@PalladiumDirt You never know about the "money losing" part - Melnyk claims he can't make a profit unless they hit the second round, but I'm skeptical of that.
Still, Eugene is a fan too, and he would like to see some playoff hockey. Like me, he is probably looking at what happened in 2010, when #7 met #8 for the Eastern Conference title and is saying, "Why not us?" Once you have a ticket to the dance, anything can happen. I'm not advocating mortgaging the future for this year - in fact, I think sitting pat is the best course of action. Most trade deadline acquisitions are expensive busts. I just don't want to sell off assets for low draft picks when, in fact, we are holding a Golden Wonka ticket right now. If we were 12th, yes, by all means, sell off Kuba and Gonchar. We're not, though - we're a few points out of 2nd in the East, and we have a chance for a nice surprise season. Let's not screw up our chance to watch meaningful games in April, or even May.
2 years, 5 months ago on The Eugene Melnyk Radio Tour Carries On | February
You have to keep in mind that winning a round in the playoffs is huge financially. Turning Kuba and/or Gonchar into picks right now would hurt the club's ability to make the playoffs, or win a round once they get there. Home playoff games are worth something like $1 million to $2 million a night in pure profit, and they help sell season tickets for next year. It is due to these factors that Murray can't be all about building for 2014 - there is a balancing act between that, and winning some games right now to keep the owner and the fans fed and happy.
Remember when everyone ripped the Penguins for giving up on Angelo Esposito? As fans, I think we vastly overestimate our own prospects, and even scouts on other teams are inclined to be generous when they project where a guy will end up as a player. I say all this because someone is going to package up a bunch of picks and prospects for Rick Nash, and Columbus may well end up with nothing to show for it if the prospects don't pan out. In the meantime, the team getting Nash is going to get a good 2-3 years out of a premiere power forward. I wouldn't let Scott Howson order chinese food, let alone run an NHL franchise, so there's a chance he gets fleeced big time in the next two weeks...
2 years, 5 months ago on Bob McKenzie Discusses Ottawa Senators Trade Situation | February
I know that Comrie has been battling hip problems, but my sense is that the fire had gone out for the guy. I once heard Harry Neale say that this happens for a lot of veteran guys in their 30s - they wake up one morning and decide that they just don't want it anymore. The "it" is the non-stop training, battling through injuries, the travel, etc. That goes double for a guy like Comrie, who didn't need the pay cheque. Yet another guy whose promise as a junior player was never quite matched by his NHL performance...
2 years, 5 months ago on Former Senators Forward Mike Comrie Announces Retirement | February
Given that O'Brien has "AHL Lifer" pasted on his forehead, no wonder Murray doesn't want to take credit for drafting him. Dude will never be an NHL regular unless the league somehow expands to 45 teams.
One of the troubles we face is that players like Michalek and Kuba have returned to earth after strong starts. Ditto for Karlsson and Cowen, both of whom have looked recently like what they are - young guys still finding their way in the NHL. Put simply, this team was overachieving for a while, and I'm afraid that what we see now is a little closer to what this team truly is, at least right now.
I would actually like to see the Sens be sellers at the deadline - send a few veterans packing for picks and prospects. Ottawa would look like an attractive place to go fishing for veteran help, and to the extent we can encourage a team to overpay, that would be great. The problem is that hosting playoff games is VERY profitable, which is why teams on the bubble never want to be sellers. You have to be stapled to the bottom of the standings before you can convince your owner that, sadly, the $1.5 million to $2 million a night in pure profit from home playoff games just isn't in the cards this year.
2 years, 5 months ago on The Season Is In Ottawa's Hands | February
You can't have three goalies here, though. The whole goalie triangle thing never works out. The best solution here is clearly for Auld to find his game and remain as the backup. Lehner, as evidenced by his recent AHL suspension, still has some maturing to do, in my view. To borrow a phrase from Top Gun, I think the kid's ego is writing cheques that his body can't cash right now.
2 years, 6 months ago on Get on the Lehn Train: The Backup Plan to the Backup Plan | January
I thought about this also, but at the end of the day I think we are better off leaving Lehner to finish his year in Bingo. Last year, Lehner got jerked back and forth relentlessly. For his development, he needs to fight through the adversity of the year in Bingo, and keep playing. Here, he is only going to play half a dozen games until the end of the regular season, then none in the playoffs. We are paying Anderson to be our starter - let him start, and let the future keep playing in Bingo.
As for Auld, I give him one, maybe two more starts to get it together. If he can't, waive him and bring in a veteran scrub to serve as Anderson's caddy. There are plenty of them out there, and we have the cap space to pay out Auld and bring in another goalie. We can't afford to miss the playoffs by two points because our backup goalie couldn't give us six serviceable starts between now and April.
Count me amongst those complaining about our 1996 state of the art scoreboard. It is an embarrassment, and hearing Cyril Leeder's constant excuses for it is getting old in a hurry.
2 years, 8 months ago on Forbes Announces NHL Team Valuations | November
Dumping Lee for a low pick would be folly - he is exactly the kind of asset you need in a salary cap world. I think they should ship Rundblad to Bingo, and let him learn the North American game until such time as they find a new home for Kuba. Like Lehner, Rundblad needs to be playing, not watching.
With Spezza, Michalek, and Karlsson, we have three elite NHL talents capable of generating chances. It's fun to watch. This is a fun time to be a Sens fan - I now hold out hope that this team will be able to make another run while Spezza is still in his prime, whereas a few months ago I wasn't nearly as hopeful.
2 years, 8 months ago on Scoring Chances: Game 21 @ Vancouver | November
I have been going back and forth on this one. Ultimately, I lean towards keeping him here, although if management decides differently I'll understand their reasoning. I simply believe that if the kid shows NHL potential, then he will grow faster by seeing NHL competition. There isn't a lot of expectations for this team, and it's not like we are having to plank amazing players to get this kid some ice time, so why not? I'm always mindful of Thornton and Stamkos, two players who struggled early as 18 year olds, but who ultimately benefited immensely from their early NHL experience.
2 years, 9 months ago on Hedging on Zibanejad | October
I hate to lay this all at the feet of Craig Anderson, but I will anyway. In order to be successful, your goalie has to be your best penalty killer. Last night, we gave up four power play goals. Good night, thanks for coming, have a safe drive home. It starts there, and Anderson simply has to be better for this team to compete on a regular basis. Sure, there are a multitude of other issues, but it starts in goal. Craig Anderson is being paid like an elite NHL goaltender, and he needs to start playing like one.
2 years, 9 months ago on Post Game Haiku: Game 4 | October
Kovalev's outbursts clearly show that players are lying through their teeth when they say that they don't pay attention to what the media is saying about them. Let's be clear - they read every word, and Kovalev just proved it. If Kovalev
2 years, 11 months ago on Alexei Kovalev's Struggle to Remain Relevant | August
The Russian media aren't exactly sticklers for details. They regard interviews the same way the KHL views contracts - with a great deal of flexibility for interpretation.
Speaking of Gonchar, though, I am glad he feels like he is getting a fresh start with Maclean. There is no question that Clouston had a hard time coddling, err, I mean communicating with veteran divas. That's part of life as an NHL coach, though. We are stuck with Gonchar and his brutal contract until at least the trade deadline, so he is happier and more productive, great.
2 years, 11 months ago on Eastern Promises | August
Vancouver last year is a great example of the need for blueline depth. They were riddled with injuries (shockingly, Salo got hurt again), and I believe they played 13 different guys on their blueline over the course of the year. It's the one area that fans constantly overlook - everyone looks for scoring and goaltending, but no one really evaluates defencemen because they don't know what to look for.
3 years ago on Binghamton Needs Depth? No Sweattin' It | July
The Sedins spent an extra year in Sweden, and it hasn't seemed to hurt them too badly. It's also worth noting that Sweden isn't Russia in the early 90s - these guys are playing in a quality league, at home, earning good money - enticing them to make the leap isn't easy. The connection to the homeland is strong in that many Swedes seem to move back when their careers are done, while it seems a lot of Russians and Czechs stay in North America.
Bottom line - he'll come, but only on his own terms and timeline.
3 years ago on Silfverberg Responds to Management's Praise | July
I am hoping that the floor is the excuse Dale Tallon uses in Florida. Jovanovski at 4 yrs/16 mil? You have to be kidding me. Because Jovo is 35, that salary stays on the books regardless. Jovanovski has a long history of injury troubles, something that rarely gets better with age.
And Sean Bergenheim? Why don't they just sign John Druce and Chris Kontos while they are at it?
If there is one thing they need to fix in the new CBA, it is that floor - it acts as a lifeline to veteran free agents like Jovanovski who should by rights be on an incentive laden, one year deal.
I like the direction the Senators are taking, and I think the fans are going to like it also. As Huge Euge points out, they got the "bad guys" out of the room last year, like Kovalev and, less widely reported, Elliott. (Our sieve former goalie had a well developed sense of self worth, apparently, and was not a favourite with the coaching staff.) The Eastern Conference still doesn't have the same depth as the West, so if we can get some goaltending, I think Ottawa has a chance to surprise some people early.
3 years ago on Recapping the First Weekend of Free Agency | July
Yikes - that is one mangy looking free agent class of goalies. Alex Auld, anyone? Seriously, he knows and accepts his role, and can be a serviceable backup. Then again, so was McIlhenney - why don't we just re-up Curtis for minimum salary and be done with it?
As for Emery, forget the off-ice issues - the history of guys with hip problems like his is not a happy one. Typically it isn't long before the hip flares up again and becomes a chronic, long term issue. Maybe Ray is the guy who will break that cycle, but based on injuries alone I wouldn't touch either Emery or Harding.
3 years, 1 month ago on Livefyre conversation - http://www.the6thsens.com/2011-articles/june/thebackupplan930010.html
The trend is now clear - if you really want a player, you lock him up long term, and you don't let him get near free agency. Look at how brutal that free agent goalie class is - can you imagine trying to find a long term starter out of that mess? Ugh.
3 years, 1 month ago on A Writer and Scout Discourse: The NP Round II | June
Trying to handicap an NHL Draft is a joke anyways, given that they are drafting 18 year olds. You can only handicap the draft five years later, but of course an article analyzing the '06 Entry Draft wouldn't be very sexy.
Well played. :-) This reminds me of the rating game that U.S. scouting services play with high school recruits for college football. A kid is a "two star" recruit until a big name school like USC shows an interest, and then suddenly he is a "four star" recruit. If a big school likes you, you see, you suddenly become a better player overnight. The NFL draft is similar, with the experts contradicting themselves within the space of a paragraph in commenting on a player. The truth is they don't know much about the kid, and are reaching into their trusty old bag of cliches to find something to say.
There were some glimmers of hope in Michalek's game late in the season. Keep in mind he was coming off a torn ACL at the end of 2009-10, an injury that often takes guys a full year from which to truly recover. I know dude is ridiculously injury prone, but when he's healthy he is a legit top six forward, and he competes hard every shift. He's also four years younger than Heatley. When we look at this deal next April, Michalek plus cap space may seem like a pretty good deal, especially if Heatley continues his death spiral. (He has now turned 30, the age at which pure goal scorers often start going south in a hurry.)
3 years, 2 months ago on Dear Kings Brass: Where Was the Due Diligence? | May
I absolutely loved that public two handed that Hextall delivered to Heatley. I could listen to that all day long. It may have hurt the market for Heatley somewhat, but I'll live with that - the vengeance factor more than compensated. Heatley's agent was out there doing what agents do best, trying to gin up some interest in his client by spreading a bunch of false rumours about interest from various clubs. Most of the time, teams will play along, but the Kings went out of their way to blow the rumour out of the water. I loved it - "Yeah, we desperately need a guy who fits his profile, but we would rather die in a house fire than sign that particular player." Gold. Heatley's performance at the Olympics, and in this year's playoffs, cements his reputation as a guy who can always be counted on - counted on, that is, to bag a hat trick in an October non-conference game.
When Brule was available at #5, there was huge pressure on the Habs to take him. Gainey resisted, and took Price instead. He got all kinds of grief from media and fans alike, but history obviously proved him right.
3 years, 3 months ago on Why the Frown Bytown? (Drafting Drama Queens) | April
In essence, picking up Anderson cost us four draft slots. That is a price well worth paying. We now have a solid, NHL calibre goaltender, and we were able to audition him and lock him up before he hit free agency. This is no small feat, as the market for free agent goalies is really thin this summer. Some of them, in fact, might get re-signed by their existing teams before July 1, thinning the market further.
As has already been pointed out by numerous people, Skinner went 7th overall, and significantly outperformed consensus #2 Tyler Seguin. I hope that Murray doesn't spend assets to reach for Landeskog - I don't think there is any compelling evidence to suggest he is a significantly better prospect than the other forwards bunched into the top seven. Keep as many lottery tickets as we can, and keep re-stocking Binghampton with young talent. With enough prospects in the pipeline, some will eventually hit, giving the Sens the ultimate salary cap dream these days - a 21 year old on an entry level deal who is significantly outperforming his contract.