Earlier this afternoon, the Senators’ official Twitter account (@NHL_Sens) sent the Interwebs abuzz by publishing the audio from Cory Clouston’s media scrum. Although the coach’s answers covered a number of topics, it was the ones pertaining to the health of Daniel Alfredsson that created quite the stir.
According to Clouston, Alfie’s weeks away and there’s been absolutely no progress in his recovery.
“It’s the type of injury where one day it feels a certain way and another day it feels another way. We’re not going to put him in a situation where it could make any further damage because that’s what it has done all season. He’s been getting progressively worse, the more he tried to fight through it so we’re not going to put him in that situation.”
When asked whether the injury was related to the sports hernia problem that plagued him last season, Clouston responded by saying, “Yes and no. There is some form of injury that is going to nag him forever and that does have some lingering effects, sure.”
Having watched Alfie repeatedly break down over the course of the latter stages of the past few seasons, it's pretty easy to ascertain that his problems started manifesting the winter of 2008. Interestingly, if you ask some what they remember most about the 2007-08 season, some will recall Ottawa's torrid start to the 2007-08 season and the premature comparisons to the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens. Or some may fondly recall the production of Ottawa’s top line and how Alfie was the NHL’s leading point getter by the All-Star break.
That 2007-08 season will remembered by John Paddock’s desperate attempt for self-preservation. Although he didn’t fashion wrist bands and batting gloves, he was hockey’s equivalent to Dusty Baker - a baseball manager renowned for ignoring pitch counts and for being a contributing factor in Mark Prior and Kerry Wood’s arm problems. When that 2007-08 season was spiraling down the drain, Paddock’s reliance upon the Pizza Line to carry the Senators – giving them upwards of 26 to 27 minutes of ice-time per game – was irresponsible and may have helped lead to this accumulation of Alfie injuries since 2008:
- Hip pointer injury (winter 2008)
- Shoulder injury stemming from Mark Bell hit (April, 2008)
- After the 2008 quarterfinal playoff series against the Pens, Alfie admits to playing with a ruptured MCL ligament in his knee.
- Has bone chips removed from his knee (October 2008)
- Plays the rest of the 2009-10 season with a sports hernia injury that bothered him since February.
Given the circumstances and nature of his injury, the expectation that Alfie may be shut down for the rest of the season is a reasonable one and it leads one to wonder whether or not it’s the kind of nagging injury that will make him consider retirement. Talking with some friends, a few expressed concern that as a player aged 35 or older who signed a multi-year contract, his average salary will still count against cap during every year of the contract, even if the player retires before the contract is up. I reassured them that Alfie could do something similar to Ian Laperriere in Philadelphia – he could simply stay on LTIR and postpone his retirement so that his cap hit doesn’t count against the cap. (See, even when he’s banged up, Alfie can still contribute and help out. Mind you, with Ottawa’s cap situation and the organization’s expressed intent to abstain from some marquee free agent signings, it’s not like they will need the room.)
Other News and Notes:
RDS’ Renaud Lavoie tweeted (@renhockey) Still no talks between Sens and Chris Phillips for a new contract and Phillips is still waiting on what the Sens will do with him. Nice. This mirrors what I was saying on the latest podcast. Hopefully this turns out a little better than Heatley’s refusal to waive his movement clause for Edmonton.
In the Ottawa Sun, Bruce Garrioch reported that Chris Neil had a limited no-movement clause. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?
In that same article, Garrioch mentions the relationship between John Tortorella and Filip Kuba as a viable reason for the New York Rangers’ level of interest in acquiring Kuba. Hear me out… Granted, I’ll admit, in light of how he’s played this season, Kuba deserves to be moved. However, with the way that the team looks to be shaped next season, I can’t foresee any scenario that has Ottawa in the playoffs next season. With his back surgery last summer and the broken leg that he suffered in training camp, he hasn’t really been afforded the opportunity to get in shape. Considering those circumstances and the low expectations for the team, wouldn’t it be more prudent to afford Kuba the opportunity to get healthy and hopefully fetch something of value at next year’s trade deadline?
Scott MacArthur tweeted this morning the Sens will take the best player available in the draft. They will not draft position-specific. That is to say, if Sens rank D Adam Larsson highest and he's available, they'll take him. It’s an interesting development and one that I really like. Considering what the market for young defencemen has fetched some organizations in the last few days – James Neal and Chris Stewart – I wouldn’t be adverse to see the organization dealing from a position of strength.
In a blog post for the Denver Post (that was brought to my attention by James Gordon), Adrian Dater discusses Craig Anderson’s reluctance to accept the Avalanche’s offer of a two-year extension worth $7.5 million and carrying an annual cap hit of $3.75 million. Whether or not Anderson still wants to test the free agent market is of no consequence. It’s still a no-lose situation for the Senators. With the way that Elliott was playing down the stretch, he was a candidate to be non-tendered and Ottawa essentially gets exclusive negotiation rights with Anderson until July 1st.
Well, Paddock is a Murray guy and choice. He wanted someone he could push around and gas as needed and he got it. It was a baffling decision to be sure, but if Murray has shown anything it's that he likes a coterie of yes-men and people that will kow-tow to him. To be sure, Paddock should have spread out ice-time more, but again that comes onto Murray, who with his coaching experience should have stepped in and given Paddock advice. I've always found it odd that Murray hires these inexperienced coaches (comparitive to his own experience) and then doesn't advise them or help them out. Seems odd.
On Kuba, I'm wondering if we will lose more games next year with or without Kuba. If it's with, keep him. We can't afford to finish 10th or 9th or 8th next season. Let's go for another lottery pick. The core players seem fine with losing, as they are not asking for trades, so let's lose big.
On Anderson, hopefully he comes down to earth and we lose tonight and lose Saturday and Friday. We can't get out of lottery position through some futile run at the playoffs. The future is what matters now, prospects and more prospects, not the current roster core.
On Alfie, time to hand them up or ask for a trade. You're not winning the Cup here. If you want it, ask out. If you don't care for it, retire and give your spot to a young man.
In regarsd to Kuba I think the most value from trading him will come from simply opening up a roster spot for Cowan and Rundblad next year. We currently have Gonchar, Kuba, Karlsson, Lee, and Carkner on the books for next year and Campoli, who has some decent value right now, as an RFA. This also doesn't even take into account the Philips scenario (I doubt he re-signs). We need to cget rid of one or ideally two of these guys next year to make room, and even a third if we draft Larsson. Kuba's value might increase moderately, but I can't imagineit wil be to the point where we say "it was defintiely worthholding on to im for another year". Of course, I could easily be wrong on this. I'd just as soon see him go and I'm sure Melnyk would too.
As for Anderson I had a similar salary in my mind as you guys discussed on the podcast. I can't believe he turned down that deal in Colorado. That was probably his greedy agent's doing. I think it would still be a good idea for him to sign here on a short term contract with a reasonable salary. It is a lot easier for a goalie to make a bad team look decent than a good team look great.
PS Please no more Kanye on the podacsts, that shit's not funny :)
@Nichols6thSens @Barnsley_Pal It doesn't matter if makes more sense to trade Kuba now or next year at the deadline because the MO from upstairs is to cut as much salary as possible, so if there's a taker for Kuba then he'll be gone. I agree 100% that he should have been moved at the deadline in 2009. Another example of Murray favouring guys he drafted and/or brought in instead of making smart long-term decisions.
Speaking of which...this is a great quote from a guy who really needs to pull his head out of his ass, start going to the gym, and stop playing like he's on an outdoor rink...
“What can you do?” Karlsson said when asked about plus-minus rating. “It sucks, but I can’t change it. I’ve got to live with it.”
I really think the right time to trade Kuba was 2 years ago at the deadline. His value was probably at its peak. At this point it might not matter when he goes. You're right, it could go up next year and we will be better for it, but there is an equally real possibility that it stays the same.
I guess it doesn't matter who goes, but we do need to clear room back there. If Kuba is the easiest to move (that feels really weird to type!) then I think it is worth doing. At the very least either Kuba or Campoli need to go simply to make room. Maybe it does make more sense to move Campoli now because his value should be pretty decent considering his play, salary, and restricted free agency at the end of the year. That way we could potentially get more out of Kuba next year. I guess it matters on what people are offering Murray for these guys and then go with the best deal available.
As for Kanye, it was recess everywhere but in my heart when I heard that song.
@Barnsley_Pal Getting to your point on Kuba, I think it's just a matter of accruing more/better prospects or picks. Is it really beneficial to give that guy up for next to nothing for the sole purpose of getting him off of the books? Keep in mind, prior to getting hurt last season, this was a guy who was on pace to post his second consecutive 40-point campaign.
Let me know what you think.
@Barnsley_Pal Awesome comment and what's wrong with fishsticks?
I forgot to mention the Leclaire situation. We was seemigly cleared to play and was sent down to Binghamton on a conditioning stint, but has decided he is not ready to play just yet. Has he literally fallen off the deep end? Has he received too many injuries that he is now afraid to play? Maybe he heard Lehner's comments about the cruelty of the fans down there.