Below is a story entitled 'Two weeks to fix the franchise: The Ottawa Senators' from National Post writer Noah Love that appeared in its entirety here. His story is in italics and my comments in regular font. Let this be a lesson to always do your research and when in fact you don't know, ask or leave it to someone who does. We may be critical at times but it doesn't mean we can't wear our homer hats when the occasion presents itself. Read on to see why Noah gets no love from this blogger.
What needs to happen An acknowledgment that a “one-year rebuild” is preposterous would be a good start. This isn’t exactly the Philadelphia Flyers in 2006-07, a team with a few issues and a pile of burgeoning superstars. This is a disaster, or pretty close to it. General manager Bryan Murray should trade Spezza. At least three teams could use him, and the return should be excellent. The odds of this happening, despite Murray’s insistence that he is not afraid to be unconventional, are very low.
Any acknowledgement of a one year rebuild IS preposterous. Whoever said this was the case? Perhaps this a case of you not being able to shove the round peg through the triangle hole that your detached editor thought would be a good idea and you not knowing enough about hockey to say, "No, this won't fly. People are smarter than that." That would have been a better start. Sure, this isn't the Flyers scenario but they also didn't have to spend years recovering from John Muckler plucking fruits without ever thinking to sow another seed. This is a process here in Ottawa, one we're now all comfortable with enduring for the coming seasons. Maybe it should have happened a year or two earlier but mulling through that black hole of revisionist history would land me in the nuthouse right beside the editor who let you run with this piece.
How incorrect you are with your assertions about our roster and our blossoming youth and lack of talent. We boast one of the finest stables of young defensemen in the league. Patrick Wiercioch and Jared Cowen just lifted the Calder Cup. Erik Karlsson recently laced 'em up at the All Star game before he could even grow a disinterested attitude towards the event. David Rundblad may be the best defenseman outside of North America and was Hockey's Future top prospect in all of hockey this past year. Robin Lehner won the Calder Cup at age 19, a feat last replicated by Carey Price. We're building from the back out. Defensemen and goaltenders take longer to develop and by the time we add some top end offensive talent to compliment a sturdy, if not spectacular group of current players led by a point-per-game dynamo in Jason Spezza, this team will be back in contention faster than an editor can spike your next column.
Trade Jason Spezza? Why must we keep doing this? At least three teams could use a legit number one centre entering the prime of his career? You don't say. I could think of closer to 25 other teams who could use him. You're right though, the return would be excellent. As a hockey fan you certainly know that a number 1 center isn't just something you stumble upon on your way to the bathroom every morning (Unless you live at Champlain SoHo I suppose). You don't trade guys like that unless the return is beyond excellent. This is one of last recognizable faces of the franchise sure to inherit the team in a year or two and you're talking about trading the guy? I can think of one writer who could stand a change of scenery too. Maybe they would be better suited to sweeping the hair off the floor at the dog groomers than sweeping whatever short-sighted and poorly researched conclusions that spoil the intelligence of impressionable fans into a story and passing it off as an just so you know, FYI kinda thing. Of course the odds of this happening are low. I'll gladly eat crow if he is moved in the next two weeks but the only thing unconventional here is your rationale.
What on earth is with you Toronto guys? We have Damien Cox telling the world to trade Alfie and Spezza. We have a failed GM in Craig Button telling us who to draft because he couldn’t do it well himself. And Lord knows what Bill Watters is thinking right now but I can assure you it isn't pretty. Maybe it's time to keep your hockey insecurities in house and stick to what you know; writing about failure.
Rebuilding teams to not get better by trading the Jason Spezza's of the world. Not in this salary cap world. Not in Jason's NTC world. Not in your fantasy land either.
What shouldn’t happen Let’s take a step back to what shouldn’t have happened: Why is Murray still running this team? What could possibly convinced Eugene Melnyk to have extended his contract another three years? Remember, John Muckler built the team that made it to the Stanley Cup final in 2007. Murray spent the following four years burning it to the ground. But here we are. Oh well.
Ahem. Well, he made that Anderson trade and I guess that was good enough for Melnyk. Aside from that, his history of amateur talent evaluation has been excellent and just what a team in this position needs in spades. Also, he seems to know his way around the city and knows Earl Mcrae by name so we let him stick.
As for John Muckler, he inherited a team that benefited from the excellent entry draft selections of his predecessors before short selling the system for perennial playoff busts. I don't have the time or patience to get into all of it but this is the man who: a) unloaded Havlat for the equivalent of your writing portfolio; b) chose Wade Redden over Stanley Cup winning captain Zdeno Chara and; c) used our last highest draft pick to select Brian Lee (to be fair, at least the kid made it to the NHL, there's a long line of former first rounders who wish they could say the same). Regardless, to give Muckler credit for that run is incredibly short-sighted and flat out wrong. Just because you're in the driver’s seat when the glory years came doesn't mean you’re the one who built the engine.
What's with the "But here we are. Oh Well." stuff? This isn't a Tumblr update announcing you no longer have a crush on X. It’s the equivalent of only watching a movie’s climax before fast forwarding to the credits and proclaiming, "Well that stunk". Your conclusions, your embarrassment.
Immediate needs The Senators are short on offensive prospects to go with their three potential defensive studs — Erik Karlsson, David Rundblad and Jared Cowan. They’ll probably end up with Sean Couturier, whose stock is sliding at Cam Fowler-esque speed, at No. 6. But he’s no Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Gabriel Landeskog, and that hurts.
Too bad your spell checker can't replace your fact checker eh? C-O-W-E-N. You're a pro, write like it. Yeah I know we'll probably just end up with whatever guy is ranked sixth on whatever sole scouting report you bothered to look at. I wish my crystal ball was as clear as yours. Guess that means I can skip the draft on Friday and refresh the National Post site waiting for your next epic. If we do in fact end up with Couturier we can only hope he has a frosh campaign that mirrors Fowlers. Faller or not the guy is a stud. I don't think I'd be the only one singing Murray's praise if that happened. He is not Nugent-Hopkins, you're right, he made the World Junior team this year. He is no Landeskog but he has put up back to back 100 point seasons and won his league's MVP award. If that's how the chips fall, I'll take Dorion and Murray's perspective over yours. You my friend seem to be the type who couldn't prognosticate how to put on a pair of pants.
Best-case scenario Credit where credit is due: Murray’s decision to move the No. 16 pick last year (Vladmir Tarasenko) for Rundblad was a good one. Sure, Tarasenko might one day be a star in St. Louis, but the Senators got close to a sure thing and the Blues got a Russian who may or may not commit his entire career to the KHL. Murray should think outside the box like this again with the No. 21 pick. Maybe use that and a later draft choice or another prospect to pry Cody Hodgson out of Vancouver.
Yes it was. A great move, as I mentioned previously Rundblad has as bright a future as any player not currently in the NHL. Sure, Tarasenko may be a star one day but you may also win a Pulitzer one day. What's to stop a guy from dreaming? I love that you hedge this assumption on the fact we traded Tarasenko for Rundblad. In fact, we traded that draft position for him, who's to say he was our guy? Would the Senators have made this deal if they felt Tarasenko or anyone for that matter would have the career Rundblad was capable of, I think not. He should think outside the box with every selection. That's looking like a fleece job! If only we were so lucky. This could be his Luongo for scraps deal legacy in Ottawa and you want it replicated? We love Cody Hodgson and think he's the kind of guy Murray should be considering but we also had the audacity to review our case for this player in detail and not spit it out so ho-hum just in time before your microwave beeped and your Salisbury steak was finished. This lack of effort is what concerns me the most.
Worst-case scenario It can’t get worse than this, can it? Rest assured, if there is a way, Murray has considered it.
Sure it can. We could have lots of cap space and be spending our July 1st convincing people Edmonton and Winnipeg are fine places to do business. We could be a team trying to perform a miraculously quick rebuild in year 3 that still has yet to make the playoffs since a fiery Irishman took over and mortgaged the farm. We could take up every morning and have to face the fact that our name reads NO LOVE.
Post-script The Senators really have to hit it out of the park at No. 6, because if Craig Anderson stays healthy this season, they’re not picking any higher than No. 8 next year.
Post-post-script That was sort of a joke. Sort of.
I think the joke's on you. You interpreted fixing a franchise by cutting off whatever balls it has left.
What do you want to see happen to the Senators? Leave your suggestions in the comments below. Next up: The Winnipeg TKs
On behalf of good Senators fans everywhere and the city of Ottawa I beg you, leave our team alone.