I was going to respond to this in the comment thread, but with the lack of news, I figured it'd be more worthwhile to respond in an actual piece and I wanted to draw some attention to the fact that even our website isn't immune from dumb readers. (I know, we're just as disappointed as you are.)
It is fine to take cheap shots at Emery (or Britney Spears, wtf - a new low for this blog?!...) whatever makes you feel like a big swinging dick, I guess. The reality is that most players would rather eat dog s#!t than live/play in Ottawa.
Cheap shots at Emery and Spears? Everything I said was factual. Wikipedia that shit my friend!
In fact, most Canadians who have any business with the NHL do everything possible to do that business in a US city... They quickly get the hell out of Ottawa and would only consider this city if there was no other alternative.
If that was true, why wouldn't Wade Redden waive his NTC to go to San Jose in 2008? Unsubstantiated blanket statements are the best!
When the team was a Cup contender, it was a bit easier to sign the odd free agent who wanted a shot, but as a bottom feeder?! One agent told me he doesn't even expect the team to survive more than a decade if it falls out of the top ten. "All else being equal, nobody wants Ottawa" - his words, not mine. "When the team stops winning, the players won't want to sign there and the fans will drop the team and go back to cheering for the Habs and the Leafs".
Even when the team was a Cup Contender, they never made big splashes in free agency. Instead the organization has bargain hunted (Hasek) or completely whiffed on free agency (Gerber, Corvo, Jason Smith). I'm glad you mentioned earlier that I must feel like a big swinging dick for ripping on Emery. You must feel quite large yourself after needlessly diclosing the fact that you know an agent. And who fucking cares what an agent thinks of the Ottawa situation? His comments are almost more ridiculous than the advice given to Heatley by JP Barry and McAlpine. Besides, if fans will get off the bandwagon and root for the Habs and Leafs, isn't that a condemnation of how shitty Leafs and Habs fans are?
The fact of the matter is that the majority of Sens fans are converted Leafs and Habs fans isn't that big of a deal. Those were the cards that we were dealt. You can't hold it against the older generations of the fanbase that there wasn't a team here when they were conceived. The modern Senators aren't even two decades old. I don't think you can criticize the fans here until the first generation of kids who've grown up with the team can afford to form the season's ticket base.
Don't take my word for it? Ask Salo, Corvo, Commodore, Chara, Heatley, Emery, Bonk, et al... Of course, that is because they are all douchebags, right!? Hm...
Why would I say that all these guys were douchebags? Of any of the players on the list, the only one who allegedly didn't like it here was Emery.
Sami Salo was traded for Peter Schaefer. He never left on his own accord.
Mike Commodore left to sign a ridiculous contract in Columbus. Murray also said he wasn't interested in resigning him.
Chara never wanted to leave Ottawa according to an article by Doug Fischer that ran in the Citizen last season.
We have no idea why Heatley wants out and I'm not going to speculate on it.
Bonk was dealt.
Even Kovalev freely admits that he only took the deal because nothing else good was on the table. You can thank the CBA for him and for trapping Heatley here too.
The truth is that Ottawa is a small, cold, boring and dirty city. The people consider themselves to be educated (in the game), so they assume that it gives them some divine right to badger players. The press is rabid, rude and suffers from their own perceived superiority.
So Ottawa was Alexei Kovalev's last choice, out of the two teams that offered 2-year contracts. For the life of me, I cannot comprehend why this is newsworthy material. Granted, Sens fans are a little thin-skinned right now and perhaps deservedly so. However, Kovalev stuck it the Montreal Canadiens and spurned his former team for their division rivals and the Sens are a better team for it.
Like it or not, Ottawa's not going to the most sought after destination for free agents and that's not meant to slight our city. It's simply the truth. Assuming that all money is equal, free agents typically want to play in relative anonymity where it's warm. And since Ottawa has seemingly lost their perennial contender status as an elite team in the NHL (fuck you Johnny Mucks!), it's difficult to lure talent to this team without overpaying for services. So even though Kovalev signed because of the money and length of term, it's important to recognize the fact that despite all of his off-ice bullshit, Dany Heatley would rather return to a hostile environment here than play in Edmonton. Now that says something.
Regardless of the forum, fans will shit on whomever because they're fans. It's the nature of sports. As much as some people hate Emery, there's another sect of the Sens fanbase that hates some other player. Don't believe me? Go spend an afternoon on a construction site and talk Sens hockey with the workers. I can guarantee that 90% of tradesmen will assure you that Ottawa's problems stem from the pussification of Jason Spezza.
I concede the point that the press here gets a reputation for being rabid, rude and suffering from their own perceived superiority but typically, these characteristics apply only to the members of the Ottawa Sun. Personally, I usually enjoy the columns of Ken Warren, Doug Fischer and the work of Ian Mendes. But because of the popular tabloid coverage by the Sun, out of town players and fans will view Sens fans as an extension of hack journalism. It's a case of vicarious shitability.
What does Brennan earn to spit out his crap?! - $30k per year?? (Check your ego at the door big dog...)
I like ripping on Brennan as much as the next guy but who cares what he earns? I assume you gross more than 30K a year since you felt compelled to needlessly rip Brennan's wage. Do you feel like a big swinging dick now?
Even in real hockey markets like Boston, New York, Chicago, etc., players generally walk around without a hassle. Why then would anyone want to play in Ottawa, where a bad game generates all kinds of crap from fans who have nothing else to feed their obsession!?
Be honest with yourself for a minute. Pretend that you have millions in the bank, a great pension plan, medical coverage, etc... Where would you play. A shitty little hockey-crazed town like Ottawa, or a place like San Jose, L.A., or Florida, where you can enjoy your wealth and your down time a bit? Just a bit of food for thought - did Gretsky run back to Canada?
I already touched upon this. Also, I don't know who Gretsky is but if you meant Wayne Gretzky, then do your homework. When Gretzky became an UFA after playing with the Blues, he wanted to sign in Toronto but the Leafs couldn't reciprocate his interest. Instead, he opted to sign with the Rangers.
Emery is not an angel and I'm not really defending him, as much as I am pointing out the shitty attitude that this blog shares with most fans in Ottawa. We give ourselves the right to say and do whatever to the players.
What shitty attitude is that? The one that says if a player is going to be irresponsible and enjoys the limelight while winning, he should be accountable and be able to take the heat when his team is losing?
So, call Emery a douchebag and Spears a slut, but the joke is on Ottawa.
Or the joke is on you for making a mountain out of a molehill. From your IP address, I know that you're living in Ottawa. If you're just a Leafs or Habs fan who laments the fact that a former territory is now full of Sens fans, you can take your comments elsewhere. This shitty attitude website doesn't need your commentary.
In a great find by James Gordon of Hockey Capital, Ray Emery apparently has come forthand madecomments that depict himself as a victim of unfair media and public scrutiny. More interestingly, he draws a riveting comparison between himself and the Queen of Pop.
“It was like Britney Spears leaving her house. It was different. It’s the only sport in the city and people feel like they know you. It wasn’t fun to leave my house. I felt comfortable at home. Every time you get me in public, people were staring and you know what they were saying.” ~ Ray Emery, Douchebag
On the surface, it's easy to dismiss the comparison since the aforementioned Spears is a world renowned slut recording artist and Emery is some guy who couldn't regain his starting goaltending gig from Martin Gerber, even though John Paddock gave him every opportunity to capture the job. (And really, what's a better condemnation of Emery's career in Ottawa than this?) As crazy as Ray was/is, maybe there is some merit to what he says. So being the unbiased and intellectually stimulating website that we are, we've decided to look into whether there are any legitimate similarities in the respective careers of Emery and Spears
Without further ado.
Friends and Family:
To properly gauge the accuracy of Emery's comparison, it's important to judge both celebs on who they choose to surround themselves with.
With what we know, Ray Emery has typically enjoyed the presence of two former teammates -- Jason Spezza and Brian McGrattan. As recently as this summer, Ray Emery was a groomsman in Spezza's wedding. It wasn't long ago that Spezza was denounced by fans for his turnovers and neglect for defence. As a lightning rod for criticism, Spezza was often lumped into the same conversation as Emery when discussing late-night antics. However, given the public nature of his wedding and the way Dany Heatley has handled his trade request, Jason has come off smelling like roses. In fact, the Heatley request might have been the best thing to happen to Spezza' career.
Like Emery, Brian McGrattan is trying to rejuvenate his career himself.In the summer of 2007, Brian was dealt by the Ottawa Senators to the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for a 5th round pick. After playing just five games with the Yotes, Brian pulled an Amy Winehouse and checked himself voluntarily into rehab and helped validate and rekindle some of the off-ice rumours that had perpetuated the Senators organization for the past four or five years.
Conversely, Britney's inner circle has consisted of family. Jamie-Lynn, Britney's younger sister, got her acting career started by riding the coattails of big sister in the movie Crossroads. After four years of starring in her own show on Nickelodeon, set a great example for her fans by admitting that she was pregnant at the age of 16. Pundits, who weren't from the state of Alabama, slammed her for glamorizing teenage pregnancy.
Perhaps more disturbing than her younger sister's pregnancy is the fact that Mel Gibson helped counsel Britney when she was going through a rough-patch. If you need a barometer of how rough things must have been for Spears, she sought the advice of an anti-semetic drunk.
Even though he wasn't amongst the best puck-stoppers in the League, Ray Emery was a renowned entity because of his antics. Whether it was his bleached hair, driving a pimped out hummer, wearing a mask featuring the visage of a convicted rapist, inviting the media to tag along as he got inked, or making it rain in Vegas, Ray Emery sought to be the center of attention...unless his team wasn't winning.
After leaving a rehab facility less than 24-hours after she had herself admitted, Britney went to a hair salon the next night and had her head shaved. Consider it a classic case of having the drapes match the carpet.
Dealing With the Media:
"There was a lot going on in Ottawa, media-wise. There's not a lot of breathing room there. It was a welcome little vacation for me (in Russia)."
Was that a crack at Bruce Garrioch sucking the air out of the dressing room with each inhale? Poor form Emery. It's no surprise that Ray disliked the media here. Hell most Sens fans hate the media here. He often blamed the Ottawa media for exaggerating his off-ice behaviour and fueling rumours. That's not to say that Emery wasn't media unfriendly. He could portray himself to be candid and personable whenever the media had the word syndicated, televised or national preceding it. I think that's part of the reason why he loved making bi-weekly appearances on OTR featuring that mannequin of a host, Michael Landsberg.
Britney Spears dated and slept with a member of the paparazzi. Trump that Emery.
Dealing With The Authorities:
But it wasn't just the partying or his fiery demeanour on the ice that sparked Emery's troubles. Emery, who is black, was repeatedly pulled over in his white Hummer by the police - he once said 30 times in two years. A senior citizen claimed Emery threatened to kill him in a road-rage incident. ~ Fan 960
In 2007, police were called to Spears' home because she refused to give up custody of her two kids to K-Fed. In a similar incident during the same calendar year, photographers captured Britney attacking a member of the paparazzi with an umbrella.
Edge: I'll give the edge to Emery. In the Spears situation(s), authorities were probably looking out for the best interests of the children. In Emery's case, they were looking out for the best interests of Gerber.
Unlike Spears, we won't be able to gauge the success of Enery's comeback until the 2009/10 campaign is over. We'll give him credit though, thanks to Michael Vick, Emery's no longer the most controversial athlete in Philly.
Edge:Spears on the basis that's she making hit records and got her body back. She also has two distinct advantages to aid her performance -- One, she can distract men and pundits with her breasts. Two, she can half-ass it by lip-synching while working. Ray can't even get away with half-assing it during practice.
Final Tally: 3-2 for Spears and it's not really surprising. The pop culture sex icon has more staying power and has tasted more success. As a proven commodity and regardless of her troubles, she's never been exiled to perform on the Juno's for a year. Emery should grow a set and quit comparing himself to Britney. She can handle TMZ. He can't even handle the Ottawa Sun.
Putting the screws to Boston
Seems Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke, sick of being rebuffed by Boston's Peter Chiarelli, in trade discussions is ready to make a Group II offer to Kessel as an unrestricted free agent. Yes, Burke is well within his rights to do that. The Bruins have always maintained they'll match so it's likely Kessel would never play in a Toronto uniform in Burke goes that route.
But, this is the same Brian Burke who flipped out when the Edmonton Oilers made an offers sheet to Dustin Penner. Clearly, Burke has decided he no longer wants to be patient and build the Leafs. He wants to make the process of getting to the playoffs to move faster. He is going to have to eat his words if he makes this move.
"There are tools within the CBA that GM's can use," said Chiarelli tonight. "If that happens (a Group II offer), we'll deal with it then."
This is going to be interesting to watch. ~ Bruce Garrioch, Off the Posts
"I have no problem with offer sheets," Burke said, noting they are part of the NHL's collective bargaining agreement.
"If you can identify a player and pay him appropriately and make him an offer, that's fine. At some point, the deals you make, the offers you extend, whether the team matches it or not, impacts all 30 teams, including your own."
"Edmonton has offered a mostly inflated salary for a player, and I think it's an act of desperation for a general manager who is fighting to keep his job," he said. ~ courtesy CBC
And to be fair to Burke, he was right. Dustin Penner's contract is a bit of an albatross. When he was almost dealt to Ottawa as part of that vetoed Dany Heatley deal to Edmonton, his inclusion was largely characterized as a salary dump that helped offset Dany's contract.
Now whether Burke re-acquired the Toronto second-rounder for the purposes of actually signing Kessel remains to be seen. With Boston pressed against the salary cap, it's just as likely that Burke will use the threat of an offer sheet to elicit a trade that's more favorable and cost effective for the Leafs. But here's hoping that Burke eventually cedes his trade demands and an offer sheet actually materializes. Who wouldn't want to see one divisional rival lose one of their talented young players and another divisional rival give up four draft picks to get him. Peter Chiarelli is going to rue the day that he signed Michael Ryder to an inflated deal.
Quote of the Day:
"If he does return, I'm not sure if there will be the same amount of hang time on his last name!" ~ Stuntman Stu
Alright friends, currently our Yahoo! Sports rotisserie hockey pool has 10 of 12 spots filled for it. We obviously need two more readers to fill the void and participate. We're looking for two people who can tolerate some good natured ribbing and will actively participate, even when their team is idling in last place. If you're interested, send us an email at the6thsens(at)live.com or just use the contact form that's accessible from our site menu. Thanks.
Update: 1:53 PM Over the Edge = Over the Line?
Not too sure if anyone caught it this morning but when Lee Versage was discussing the US Open for Tennis since he was intrigued in the story line of the young 17-year old American girl who has a twin, that was knocking off seeded opponents and has now advanced into the quarterfinals.
Anyways, after Lee finished, the Kulkster asked him if he was intrigued by her twin to which Lee replied, "No, she's seventeen."
Normally, I wouldn't even bother mentioning an expert's poll, but it's the long weekend and apparently there's not a lot of news out there. So here it is: If you hadn't heard, everyone's favorite barometer for analysing their hockey team has ranked the Ottawa Senators 24th in their preseason preview. I've posted the original article by TSN below and in a break from the norm, I'll post my comments in italic font.
2008-09: 36-35-11 (11th in the East – Out of Playoffs)
General Manager: Bryan Murray (3rd Season)
Head Coach: Cory Clouston (2nd Season)
Ok. Maybe it's been awhile but did Ottawa actually finish with an above .500 record? Maybe in his second year behind the bench, Clouston can turn water into wine.
What They Did In The Off-season:
In the Senators' case, it might be more apt to call this, "What They Did Not Do In The Off-season," because everything surrounding the Sens revolves around the team's inability to trade disgruntled sniper Dany Heatley. While the team was able to sign the enigmatic Alex Kovalev and re-sign both Chris Neil and Brian Elliott, Ottawa will be unable to truly move forward until Heatley is shipped out of town.
What they did not do in the off-season. Hilarious. I hope TSN paid Jay Onrait well for contributing eight words of intended humour to this piece. Okay, I rescind that comment since instead of penning "massively overpaid to retain Chris Neil" TSN just wrote re-sign. Much appreciated fellas. Now if only we could truly move forward...
GM Bryan Murray thought he found a suitor in the Edmonton Oilers, but Heatley scrapped the deal despite the Oilers' attempts to woo the two-time 50 goal scorer. Rumoured three-way deals involving the Sharks, Canadiens and Wild never materialized and Heatley will likely be forced to report to camp - run by Clouston, the very coach that Heatley publicly criticized. Should this transpire it will be a very interesting season in the nation's capital.
When is it never an interesting season in the nation's capital? Even though the team has been mediocre for a couple years, there's been a disproportionate amount of drama following this team. For the last two seasons, being a Sens fan was akin to following an afternoon soap opera. What? Ray Emery threw Christoph Schubert off the Champlain Bridge? Tune in tomorrow for more Days of Our Senators. Seriously though...much of the drama stems from what the media sensationally blows out of proportion and it's no wonder why other fans hate us. They view us as an extension of the local media.
Biggest Issue Facing The Team:
Until the situation is resolved, the Heatley non-trade is going to hang over the team like a dark cloud. Even if he does show up at training camp, what type of mood will he be in? How will his teammates deal with a player who has acted as though his concerns are more important than those of the team? And perhaps most importantly, how will Clouston deal professionally with a player who has already undermined his authority and questioned his abilities as a head coach?
That's a great gift idea for the Senators store -- A Dany Heatley mood ring. Purple means you dislike your employer.
When Heatley returns to camp next weekend, the players will accept him back with the caveat that he has to produce. If he can't produce, it'll only be a matter of time before players begin to resent his presence as their repeatedly asked by reporters how they feel about the situation. And who's TSN kidding, Clouston will deal with him professionally by justifiably giving Dany a diminished role. Or he could give him a larger role in hopes of raising his trade value and consequently lose all credibility with the rest of the team. Talk about a potential conflict of interest if Dany doesn't play well.
Make no mistake about it - the franchise realizes how valuable an asset that a perennial All-Star like Heatley is. That being said, you can excuse them for not panicking and making a move that will return them nickels-on-the dollar for their investment. While it's unlikely that they will be able to acquire a player as talented as Heatley, the team sees this as an opportunity to jump start the rebuilding process and wants to make sure they get it right.
Jumpstart the rebuilding process? Someone should alert Bryan Murray. If this team was really convinced that they needed a rebuild, they never would have flipped a late 1st round pick for Chris Campoli and Mike "Give Me Money And I'll Play Anywhere, Even Edmonton" Comrie.
The Senators do have one factor working in their favour - Heatley will likely be motivated to perform this season to ensure himself a spot on the Canadian Olympic team. "The Heater" has been one of Canada's top players at the International level for the last five years and saves some of his best performances for the world stage.
Competition for a spot on Canada's very exclusive roster will be fierce and Heatley cannot afford to miss any time or sulk through the first month. Otherwise, he'll be doing what so many others will come February – watch the Olympic hockey tournament from the comfort of his couch.
Exactly. Why would Heatley give a fuck about what happens in Ottawa? All he cares about is wearing the Leaf on the front of his jersey. Enjoy watching Dany Heatley play himself off of this team for the next little while Sens fans.
Player to watch:
The Senators made possibly their most important pick-up at the trade deadline last season when they brought in Pascal Leclaire with the hope that he would take over the No. 1 netminder's spot this season.
In a town that eats starting goaltenders alive, Leclaire is seen in some circles as a potential savior. It might be a lot to ask of a player who has a grand total of one season in the NHL as an unquestioned starter under his belt. Granted, in that one year (2007-08) Leclaire was excellent on a sub-par Blue Jackets team that saw him post All-Star type numbers that included nine shutouts, a 2.25 goals against average to go along with a .919 save percentage.
Ottawa's not a town that eats starting goaltenders alive. It's a city that's notorious for bringing in goaltenders on the cheap. Lalime, Tugnutt, Rhodes and even Hasek were all brought in earning pennies. Consider the turnover and mediocre results as a necessary correlation for not spending the bucks to bring in a legitimate number one.
The problem is that Leclaire has a difficult time remaining healthy. Losing 48 man-games to an ankle injury last season is one thing, but Leclaire is constantly harassed by smaller, niggling injuries that sideline him just long enough to make consistency a real issue. If the Sens are to be without Heatley's scoring punch, they will be more dependent than ever on goaltending to keep them in games. A lack of consistency in this department will doom them to another disappointing season, something that fans in Ottawa can certainly do without.
Ouch. I'm reeling after this humbling exercise in informing of us how shitty our goaltending situation has been and could possibly be this year. Wait...we still have the golden boy, Brian Elliott right?
This Just In
According to the Ottawa Sun, Dany Heatley has bought a plane ticket to Ottawa. Awesome, expect Off the Posts blog updates to describe other menial garbage like Dany's bowel movements. To borrow a phrase from Alex Rios, "Who Gives a Fuck?"
“It would be the best scenario for everybody, but if it was that easy then something would have already been done." ~ Daniel Alfredsson
Wow Dany, I guess you really should have returned Daniel's call in the offseason. Maybe someone should alert JP Barry and Stacy McAlpine to check on Dany and see if he's gotten up off of the canvas after the Captain laid down this barb.
Even though Alfie says it's not a big deal that he never had a conversation with Heatley in the offseason, today's media scrum with Alfie was anything but a glowing endorsement for Dany.
Let the fellation of words for Alfie's leadership commence...
No, I'm not as excited for tomorrow's Michigan versus Western Michigan NCAAF game. Instead, I'm noticing Bryan Murray's intrigue in acquiring a number of Wolverines. First it was the drafting of Louie Caporusso, then it was the rumored Heatley for Jack Johnson trade scenarios, then it was the vetoed acquisition of Andrew Cogliano. Well, add another to the list as today, Murray acquired Jason Bailey from the Anaheim Ducks for Shawn Weller.
Besides being a Wolverine, Bailey also joins the likes of Randy Robitaille, Shean Donovan, Alexandre Picard and Corey Cowick as local products who've been acquired by Bryan Murray. That's quite the elite group, no?
Hat tips to Peter from Silver Seven Sens and to RTWAP of the Ottawa Prospector for posting the Senators roster for the rookie tournament. Since it's Friday night, I've decided to purge the information straight from the Prospector's site. (Great job with the text formatting RTWAP. It's so organized.)
Here's the roster:
Shane Connelly (Wisconsin - WCHA)
Robin Lehner (Frolunda Jr. - Sweden)
Paul Baier (Portland - AHL)
Collin Bowman (Kelowna - WHL)
Erik Karlsson (Frolunda HC, Boras HC - Sweden)
Geoff Kinrade (Michigan Tech - WCHA, Norfolk - AHL, Tampa Bay - NHL)
Mat Robinson (Las Vegas - ECHL, Alaska-Anchorage - WCHA)
Craig Schira (Vancouver - WHL)
Kyle Wharton (Johnstown - ECHL, Syracuse - AHL)
Jason Bailey (Bakersfiled - ECHL)
Erik Condra (Notre Dame - CCHA)
Keegan Dansereau (Swift Current - WHL)
Kaspars Daugavins (Binghamton - AHL, Mississauga - OHL)
Jordan Hale (Brandon - WHL)
Michael Hoffman (Drummondville - QMJHL)
Casey Lee (U. of Saskatchewan - CWUAA)
Matt Lowry (Brandon - WHL)
Jim O’Brien (Seattle - WHL, Binghamton - AHL)
Brett Parnham (Oshawa - OHL, Rochester - AHL)
Peter Regin (Binghamton - AHL, Ottawa - NHL)
Zack Smith (Binghamton - AHL, Ottawa - NHL)
Brandon Svendsen (Idaho - ECHL, Bowling Green - CCHA)
While many fans will be drawn to the recognizable names like Karlsson, O'Brien, Smith, Lehner and Regin, I'm looking forward to hearing about Erik Condra and Michael Hoffman. Oh, and if you're wondering where prospects like Patrick Wiercioch and Louie Caporusso are, don't fret. They're unavailable to play because of NCAA stipulations that would rob them of their collegiate eligibility had they participated in this tournament.
Another day, another barb from Eugene Melnyk criticizing Jim Balsillie. Welcome to the new Battle of Ontario, where one billionaire rips on another in an effort to stay relevant and grab headlines. It's just depressing that since 2004, the Battle of Ontario has faded more than Justin Pogge's worth. What was once a fierce and bitter rivalry has been reduced to catatonic levels. (Think the sixth season of the tv show 24.) It's not that I've lost interest in the two teams, it's just that the spark's no longer there. It says something when a Martin Gerber start against the Senators can't pique my interest.
Obviously there are a myriad of reasons for this turn of events. For starters, you can blame the NHL. Instead of letting rivalries develop through playoff matchups or on-ice incidents,the League opted to take the initiative and oversaturate division matchups by forcing inter-division rivals to face each other eight times a year. (Note: This scheduling problem has since been remedied.)
You can also blame the lack of bad blood between the two teams. Since their last playoff victory, the Leafs have purged their roster of the veterans that personified our hate. Darcy Tucker? Gone. Mats Sundin? Gone. Tie Domi? Gone. Mark Bell? Gone. Bryan McCabe? Gone. Gary Roberts? Gone. (Even that first round victory over Roberts' Penguins in '07 rang a little hollow.)
As the salary cap era has fostered significant roster turnover, Daniel Alfredsson has essentially become the only activeplayer who's unequivocally loathed by the other team's fanbase. And it fucking sucks. I didn't realize how much I missed hating the Maple Leafs until I saw this commercial on CBC advertising their new fall program Battle of the Blades.
Did Belinda Stronach walk by the set when Tie's vignette was being taped? Why the fuck is he puffing his chest out like that? Ah, maybe he's trying to fit in with the new Leafs mantra of toughness?
Thanks for rekindling my hate Tie. I appreciate it.
Crown His Ass
I was thinking, is there a more obvious early dark horse candidate for the Jack Adams Trophy than Cory Clouston? I mean really, assuming Heatley comes back and the team somehow manages to return to the playoffs, what other coach has a team with more adversity or uncertainty facing it than Clouston?
I almost feel like a bad person for deriving pleasure from the fact that Jason Smith formally announced his retirement today. When my favorite memory of a player is the penalty killing and shot blocking skills that he displayed in a lackluster 1-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings, it's pretty telling. Besides, I shouldn't feel too bad. The organization has already given the man some perks. Just last year he received two gifts from the organization -- his $5.2M, 2-year contract and a painting from a local artist that commemorated his 1000th game and celebrated a lengthy career. Smith retired after 15 seasons, 1008 games and having his name be mentioned synonymously with words like: warrior, grizzled, veteran, leader, grit, and Gator.
Brought in as a seasoned veteran who was renowned for his leadership and for playing a game tailored for the postseason. When he signed in Ottawa, I thought the organization overpaid for his services. However, I could kind of understand the reasoning to bring in Smith as a stabilizing presence for a dressing room that was regularly questioned by pundits during the Ray Emery era. Unfortunately for Sens fans, we never got to see Smith shine during the playoffs. As the Senators stumbled through the campaign, Smith's season was prematurely ended when he injured his knee.
Smith said that he wasn't forced out the door and I tend to believe him. With his bum knee and contract, I think Smith came to the realization that even if he came back, he faced the likelihood of being waived or eventually winding up in Binghamton. Besides, the writing has been on the wall or in quotes in the local rags. Since late last season, the organization has been fellating Erik Karlsson with verbal love and now the organization has no qualms in sliding Karlsson into one of the 5th or 6th defensive slots.
With Smith's retirement, the Senators are now approximately $1.47M under the salary cap. Even with that room, there's no one significant on the open market who could help on the blueline. So assuming that Dany Heatley isn't dealt for defensive help before camp, the Senators will have Karlsson, Christoph Schubert, Brian Lee and Alexandre Picard battling for the last two spots. Considering that Schubert's never really proven himself to be a favorite of Murray and Lee has played some significant minutes in the past two seasons, the last spot really comes down to Picard versus Karlsson.
Frankly, I think Karlsson has to make the team for Bryan Murray's sake.
Whether it's fair or not, Murray's tenure has been highlighted by some shrewd moves, some controversial signings and a losing record. Short-sighted fans will blame Murray for the team's fall from grace, the one thing that many can agree upon is the strength of Murray's drafting. If the team doesn't perform at a competitive level, the ability to watch the Crown Jewel of Murray's tenure might be the only saving grace that he'll have.
Leclaire's New Mask:
I was searching the Senators webosphere ce soir and came across some images of Pascal Leclaire's mask over at The Universal Cynic. Check them out.
Why should you play in this league? (creative eh?)
(Don't bother to enter if you won't commit for the whole season and just give up when your team is in last place in December. We will publicly scorn you if you do so.)
After that quasi-press conference / fan therapy session the other day, there's some genuine concern amongst Sens fans. If Bryan Murray can't receive an equitable return for Dany Heatley, how's Dany supposed to return and manage be productive in lieu of the circumstances? How can he can he reasonably be expected to repair and mend his relationships when the fans and media who are calling for his head?
Here's step one for how Dany can reintegrate himself into the dressing room:
And when he's not making pottery with Clouston (Come on Cory, loosen up!), he can be found on the beach playing volleyball with Don Brennan - Goose and Maverick style! High-five!