Senators have more talent than Leafs, lack direction
By MIKE ZEISBERGER, TORONTO SUN
TORONTO - In the town where Oprah Winfrey rules, the shinny soap opera called "As The Senators Turn" spawned plenty of chatter during last week's Winter Classic at Chicago's venerable Wrigley Field.
As the Senators Turn? How very stale, Zeisberger. If Ottawa's As the World Turns, then Toronto's the equivalent to Coronation Street -- They're both extensively covered on CBC and both tales revolve around blue-collared schmucks who aren't entertaining to watch.
The first time the topic came up, it was an NHL executive who started the conversation. Not long afterward, a front office-type from an NHL team said he had heard whispers about the Ottawa situation. And on the third occasion, the subject of the struggling Sens was ignited by a highly respected media type, if there is such a thing.
I'm guessing the highly respected media type didn't work for the Sun? Just throwing that out there. So an NHL Exec, some guy in a suit and media member discussed how shitty Ottawa has been? That sounds highly suspicious.
In each case, the message was the same: That Sens owner Eugene Melnyk was interested in Team Canada junior coach Pat Quinn.
For God's sakes, Zeisberger. They shared a public display of affection. What kind of world are we living in when a man can't hug another man without there being strings attached?
Such scuttlebutt often mirrors a New Year's Resolution: It sounds great at the time, but often nothing ever comes of it.
Yeah, Pat Quinn sounds like an ideal solution to what ails the Senators. Had Canada lost to the Russians last night, Quinn would have been thrown under the bus by Canadian hockey writers. We would have woken up to headlines like Quinn's Career Fit to Be Bronzed.
Whatever happens, this much is certain: Turmoil once again has reared its ugly head at the in the Sens front office.
Wait, I could have sworn that you just said that you don't expect to see Quinn behind the bench any time soon? This much is certain, your editor didn't proofread your last sentence.
And that is where the boys from Bytown differ greatly from their provincial rivals, the Leafs.
How quickly some forget that the whole JFJ/Fletcher/Burke circus culminated within the past calendar year. Ah well, run with it Zeisberger!
Ottawa has much more talent than Toronto. There is no one player on the Leafs roster who can match the skill level of Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley or Jason Spezza. Case closed.
No offence Matt Stajan! So Toronto lacks the star power that Ottawa has. Big deal. Who cares if the rest of Ottawa's roster is comprised of unproductive, one-dimensional players. Did I mention Martin Gerber has regained the starting goaltending job? Case closed.
Yet when it comes to the direction the two teams are headed, both at the coaching and general manager's level, the Leafs have much more stability.
I'd hope they'd have more stability. Not only are Wilson and Burke former teammates, they're also good friends. Both have stability for three reasons: they're recent hires, the organization knew they'd be bad and Burke can magically turn water into wine.
In team president/GM Brian Burke, assistant Dave Nonis and bench boss Ron Wilson, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. believes it has the combination that patiently will bring the Leafs back to respectability.
After the JFJ era, things can only go up, right?
Ottawa, meanwhile, seems like a rudderless ship at times.
I think Sens fans just got clocked with an allusion to the John Paddock era. I'm going to have to go check the mirror to see if I'm bleeding.
In September 2006, Bryan Murray was the coach, John Muckler the GM.
In September 2007, John Paddock was the coach, Bryan Murray the GM.
In September 2008, Craig Hartsburg was the coach, Murray remained as GM.
[cough] [cough] Stanley Cup Finalists, 2007, look it up. [cough][cough]
Now there is talk that both Hartsburg and Murray could be in trouble.
Yes. The best way to create stability in the organization is to change the coaches and GMs as often as possible without changing the core dynamics in the dressing room.
In fact, there were whispers that Hartsburg might have been canned had the Sens lost in Edmonton Tuesday night. A 3-2 Ottawa victory over the host Oilers made such speculation moot, but that does not take away from the ominous black cloud that seems to be hovering over the head of the Sens coach.
If that was the case, wouldn't the horrific loss to the Leafs have undone any good that came from the Oilers game? That ominous black cloud isn't hanging over Hartsburg's head, it's playing for him on the ice.
The Senators are fully aware that a housecleaning behind the bench and in the front office is a realistic possibility.
"We addressed that issue over the holidays," Sens captain Daniel Alfredsson said yesterday, acknowledging the rumours involving Hartsburg. "It's a tough situation. Expectations are high on us. We should be higher in the standings. But if we were waiting for something to happen (like a new coach or GM), it's a mistake. That's not the issue. It's us. It's the players."
Coaching isn't the issue? It's the players? And that's coming from the Captain?
kjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjfdsafjjjjjjjjjjkajsdfjksdajfksd [I'm banging my head against my keyboard.]
"In the past, we could be in cruise control and still win games. That is not the case anymore."
Wait, Alfie, hold the phone. Are you saying that because of a deterioration in talent, the team has to shake the habit of relying on their natural talent to win games? Someone call Stephen Hawking to explain this to me, this shit is blowing my mind.
When you looked at the lineups prior to last night's Battle of Ontario at the Air Canada Centre, the Sens had a much better team on paper. For what that's worth.
Maybe it's just a question of which team wants
But, as Quinn himself recently cautioned after a Team Canada exhibition game in Toronto: "You guys know what you use paper for. You wipe things with it. You wrap things in it. Things like that."
Or, you could use paper to print bad articles upon.
For some reason, these Sens are underachieving. Big time. There is no way they should trail the Leafs in the standings this morning. Nor should they have better odds of getting a shot at junior stud John Tavares in the June draft in Montreal.
Ah yes, finally the veil has been removed. This article isn't about discussing Ottawa's instability. It's about how the author's envious that Ottawa has three superstar players signed to long-term contracts while they also have better odds of getting a lottery pick. It's just not fair that Ottawa could feature a lineup that has Heatley, Spezza, Alfredsson and one of Hedman or
Yet, as of today, that is the case. The Sens' 3-1 loss puts them seven points behind the hated Leafs, a fact that must really gnaw at Melnyk's gut.
I doubt it's really gnawing at Melnyk. The fact that Murray and Hartsburg are still around gives me the impression that they have a plan and that they're sticking to it. Besides, if last night's game really bothered Melnyk, he would have gotten up and left halfway through it.
At least the Leafs have the men, in Burke and Wilson, they believe will forge the team ahead in the future.
Way to talk yourself off the ledge Zeisberger. Toronto can have their silver lining of Burke and Wilson. If Sens fans had their choice, they'd rather forge ahead and compliment their on-paper talent with lottery pick and a potential franchise player.
In Ottawa, it's anyone's guess.
True, who knows if Murray and Hartsburg will around when this team returns to contention. As unfair as it may seem to Leafs fans, if Ottawa lands