It's tough being a Senators fan these days. The casual fans are all apathetic now that the Montreal Canadiens have officially been eliminated from the postseason. Anton Volchenkov has apparently put his house up for sale and is rumoured to sign with the Washington Capitals. And we also learned that the Senators wanted Cammalleri, but settled for Kovalev.
It's a good thing that management invigorated the fan base by re-signing Ryan Keller to a two-way contract otherwise it would have been tough not to join in on the untimely and inexplicable criticism of Bryan Murray's Alexei Kovalev signing ... (wait for it) ... in late May.
According to The Ottawa Citizen, Bryan Murray offered Mike Cammalleri less years and less money (4 years, $5.5 million per year) than the Canadiens. And if you want to fool yourself into thinking that he almost came to Ottawa, well, that's your prerogative.
At this time of year, it's a recurring theme for the mainstream types to dedicate pieces to those players who have exhibited some recent success in the playoffs and wonder what if. It's the kind of knee-jerk water cooler discussion that's hilarious to pause and reflect upon years later. (Ed. note: I think everyone knows at least someone who once thought that signing Erik Cole to an expensive, long-term contract was a good idea.) Unfortunately, it's in vogue to use this as an opportunity to dump all over Bryan Murray for what he should have, could have, would have done. But it's not just the fans, for the second time in less than a week, the mainstream media has reminded us during these lackluster news days of how uninspired and unproductive Kovalev's play was this past season. It's almost too easy and unnecessary.
While it's become cliche to characterize Alexei Kovalev as untradeable. Apparently he's not alone. According to Bruce Garrioch's sources, there's 'no market' for Jason Spezza. With the way that the past two weeks have unfolded, I can't help but wonder if he's the latest to appear in a summer long feature series that chronicles the list of players who can't be dealt from the Senators. Next week, it will be Daniel Alfredsson. The week after, Pascal Leclaire.
I realize that the whole trade Spezza angle is of particular concern to that sect of fan who don't want to see Ottawa's number one center dealt out of town for a lesser return. Especially when a significant portion of a mainstream paper's respondents voted to move Spezza out of town. (Ed. note: Every Ottawa Sun poll should come with a skill testing question like (4-2) 5 +3 = so that we can determine how bright the respondents are.) Anyways, that's not what really interested me from Garrioch's article. The part that had me truly concerned is the speculation that Spezza isn’t thrilled with the fans, either. He complained to Murray about being booed by the hometown faithful in the playoffs. The Senators told him that comes with the territory.
I wish I could have heard the transcript that went with that conversation. It probably would have gone something like this:
Jason: Mr. Murray, they're booing me.
Bryan: Well, if you're that concerned, I'll need to know since the window of opportunity to trade you before your NTC kicks in on July 1st. Is Ottawa a city where you'll be comfortable spending the rest of your contract playing?
Jason: <awkward nervous laughter>
Bryan: Do you remember how the Dany Heatley situation unfolded? It won't be good for either of us.
Jason: <awkward nervous laughter>
Bryan: Is this a city that you're comfortable playing in if I can't find a reasonable return for you on the trade market?
Jason: <awkward nervous laughter> ... Please don't send me to Edmonton.