In every professional hockey player's career, there comes a moment when you know you've made it as a player. For Senators prospect Erik Condra, that moment came following a 2-goal performance when he was arrested for urinating on a police vehicle.
Condra has been charged with disorderly conduct, a violation, after Binghamton police said he was walking on State street and an officer observed him urinating on a police vehicle.
Condra, 23, who lives on Reynolds Road in Johnson City but resides in the off-season in Detroit, was coming off a two-goal game when the incident occurred at 3:30 a.m. Sunday.
He has four goals, eight assist and 16 penalty minutes in 23 games this season. ~ pressconnects.com
After graduating from the prestigious Notre Dame, wasn't Condra supposed to be a classy one who was considering a career in medicine instead of a professional hockey career?
Foligno A Healthy Scratch?
According to Allen Panzeri of the Ottawa Citizen, Nick Foligno is a healthy scratch for tonight's game against the Los Angeles Kings. Now, I'd hate to harp on the coach that has this Senators team off to a surprising start, but isn't this some kind of double standard for accountability?
For those wondering, Peter Regin will draw back into the lineup while Ryan Keller will likely man a fourth line winger slot and proceed to log five minutes of ice-time.
Who doesn't like a good conspiracy?
Well, thanks to the Ottawa Citizen's Wayne Scanlan, we may now have some theoretical insight as to why Brian Lee, in spite of some recent good play, was demoted back to Binghamton.
Note 3: An eagle-eyed Ottawa Senators fan witnessed an interesting exchange between defenceman Brian Lee and head coach Cory Clouston during the most recent home game, last Thursday's 2-1 victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
According to the observer, Clouston marched down the bench in the second period to speak to Lee, who had just come off the ice at the end of a shift. Nothing unusual there, except that instead of just giving the usual player nod of agreement or understanding, Lee turned his head to speak back to the coach, and Clouston barked back at him again.
None of this would mean all that much if Lee had not been demoted to the American Hockey League's Binghamton Senators the next day, while rookie Erik Karlsson was promoted to take Lee's place.
Lee did take an interference penalty early in the second period, and the subject of penalties was a touchy one last week, with the Senators implying they were receiving more than their share of minor infractions.
This much is indisputable. Lee had his butt basically stapled to the bench in the third period of that tight Columbus game. He played exactly one minute 27 seconds of the third. A matter of hours later, he was looking at Ottawa in the rear-view mirror, on his way to Bingo.
Ok, this story may be strictly conjecture and I'm 99.9% certain that Lee's two-way contract vs Chris Campoli's one-way contract played a role as well, but damnit if it's not entertaining to read and discuss. Carry on Wayne...
Lee had been playing pretty well since being called up on Oct. 29. He averaged more than 16 minutes per game, had recorded two goals and one assist and was a minus-1.
Senators general manager Bryan Murray told me from San Jose on Monday that the move was made with the big picture in mind, not any individual incident from the Columbus game, and that he made the decision, not Clouston.
"I decided to flip Lee and Karlsson," Murray said. "I thought Brian had not played with the confidence nor commitment we need from that position. We just want him to develop his game."
Isn't it also weird how Murray mentioned that the organization felt it was in Karlsson's best interests to develop at the NHL level but the organization's never really extended the same opportunity to Brian Lee?
Kings 3, Senators 2Picking against the Senators in a game like this isn't as hard as I thought it would be for a number of reasons. Not only do the Senators have a poor track record on these Pacific Division roadtrips but after facing Heatley and the Sharks on Tuesday, they're probably mentally drained from having to deal with the attention and answer questions surrounding their former teammate. Even though their play didn't reflect it on Tuesday, my feeling tonight is that the Senators might lose a bit of that mental edge now that the Heatley issue is on the back burner for another season.
I've been a bit pressed for time in regards to content today because I've been prepping for the next podcast and aside from Bruce Garrioch picking up on the Columbus rumours that Mark Christopher alluded to yesterday, there's absolutely nothing really noteworthy to cover. Anyways, due to the lull and since I'm a bit of a statistic junkie who loves to use stats to objectify my own opinions, I figured that it'd be a good opportunity to look at the Ottawa Senators roster and contrast this year's projected stats totals with their career history.
Daniel Alfredsson -- 25 GP, 9 G, 17 A, 26 pts
In the last four seasons, Alfie has put up 103, 87, 89 and 74 points respectively. Based on his current production and assuming that he continues to play in every game, Alfie is on pace to put up 29.5 goals, 55.76 assists for 86.28 points. If our beloved captain continues to defy age, it will only further demonstrate that last year's dip in production can be attributed to the Craig Hartsberg's system.
Mike Fisher -- 23 GP, 10 G, 11 A, 21 Pts
Currently on pace for approximately 34 goals and 38 assists, Mike Fisher's still on his way to having a breakout season that should surpass his 23 goal and 48 point '07-08 season. Granted, he hasn't scored in his last few games, but this might be the year that he stops cockteasing Sens fans with the 50-60+ point promise.
Milan Michalek -- 25 GP, 15 G, 5 A, 20 Pts
Dany who? Milan Rouge is turning those goallights red at a ridiculous pace. Heatley might be the former 50-goal scorer but Michalek's Anonymous can unite when they find out that he's currently on pace for 49 goals and a whopping 16.4 assists. If Spezza could get his scoring touch together, Michalek should improve upon his totals.
Jason Spezza -- 23 GP, 2 G, 13 A, 15 Pts
Based on Spezza's current pace, he's projected to produce 6.96 goals and 45.2 assists -- both career lows. Maybe it's not too late to revisit getting on the Dany Who? bandwagon. I'm at a loss for where exactly to place the blame. Is it the fact that he lost his linemate? Or maybe he's still playing with a bad back? One thing's for certain, at no point during this season have I looked at Alfie or Michalek and said, "You know, their production is causally related to Spezza's play."
Alexandre Picard -- 24 GP, 2 G, 10 A, 12 Pts
Considering the amount of flack that Picard gets for his turnovers or unwillingness to get involved physically in spite of his size, fans shouldn't ignore the points that Picard has put up in the early portion of the season. He's currently on pace for 6.75 goals, 33.75 assists and 40.5 points.
Filip Kuba -- 17 GP, 1 G, 10 A, 11 Pts
Even though Don Brennan wonders whether or not Kuba's uterus is in proper order, Kuba is Ottawa's most consistent offensive defenceman. After leading the Senators blueline in points last year (3-37-40), Kuba's on pace (4.35-43.5-47.85) to better last year's totals despite missing some time with an injury that was never really disclosed.
Alexei Kovalev -- 22 GP, 4 G, 7 A, 11 Pts
If there was a statistic for dangling through the neutral zone effectively before refusing to make a pass and then firing a shot into the shinpads of a defenceman, Kovalev would be a star. Unfortunately L'Enigma is on pace (14-25-39) for his worst season since 03-04 when he put up 13 goals and 29 assists for 42 points. Ah well, at least he signed a short term deal.
Chris Kelly -- 25 GP, 2 G, 8 A, 10 Pts
For a 3rd/4th line center, Kelly's 32.8 point pace would fall in line with his norm of 30-38 points. Too bad he can't elevate his anemic faceoff winning percentage totals of 40%.
Jarkko Ruutu -- 25 GP, 4 G, 5 A, 9 Pts
While he's still not immune from taking a dumb penalty or three, Ruutu is on pace to best his mark of 21 points last year. (His career high.) He's on pace to put up 13 goals and 16 assists for 29 points.
Nick Foligno -- 25 GP, 5 G, 4 A, 9 Pts
Based off last season's strong finish, Nick was a logical choice for a breakout Senator this season. Unfortunately it seems as though Foligno has joined the company of Vermette and Eaves'esqe category of young Senators players who've failed to significantly progress past they had shown in their sophomore years. Nick's currently on pace (16-13-29) to fall short of last year's mark of 32 points.
Chris Phillips -- 25 GP, 3 G, 5 A, 8 Pts
While Phillips is on pace to match the best offensive output of his career -- 9.84 goals, 16.9 assists, 26.74 points.
Chris Campoli -- 24 GP, 1 G, 6 A, 7 Pts
Considering what Bryan Murray gave up to bring in Campoli and the fact that he's headed towards restricted free agency, there's no better time for Campoli to get his shit together. To say that he's been an underachieving disappointment is an understatement. He's currently on pace for 3.37 goals, 20.25 assists and 23.67 points.
Anton Volchenkov -- 11 GP, 1 G, 4 A, 5 Pts
Should we be surprised that Volchenkov's putting up his best offensive totals in the year in which he's headed towards unrestricted free agency? On pace for 6.18 goals, 24.73 assists and 30.9 points, Volchenkov's set to beat his career mark for points (21), even though he missed 14 games due to an elbow injury.
Chris Neil -- 22 GP, 4 G, 1 A, 5 Pts
Even though I still think his contract is too expensive, I'll give credit where it's due, Ottawa's 4-year, $8M man is playing well. However, with each passing year, it's looking more and more like that 16 goal 05-05 season was a statistical anomaly.
Peter Regin -- 19 GP, 3 G, 2 A, 5 Pts & Matt Carkner -- 25 GP, 2 G, 3 A, 5 Pts & Jesse Winchester -- 9 GP, 0 G, 4 A, 4 Pts
I'll omit critique here because I don't have much of a sample size to work with. Although it's safe to say that Carkner's better than the typical AHL journeyman.
Jonathan Cheechoo -- 25 GP, 2 G, 2 A, 4 Pts
Any time you want to break out of your slump Machu Cheechoo, let us know. His 6 goal, 6 assist, 12 point pace will establish his career worst. What does Ottawa do?
Erik Karlsson -- 11 GP, 0 G, 4 A, 4 Pts
Even though he's undersized and is pretty green, assuming Karlsson plays in every game moving forward, he's on pace to put up close to 30 assists.
Ryan Shannon -- 17 GP, 0 G, 3 A, 3 Pts
Based off of last year's second half under Clouston, Shannon was expected to provide some decent and affordable secondary scoring. In recent games, he's showing signs of life but more consistency is needed here.
Brian Lee -- 13 GP, 2 G, 1 A, 3 Pts
On pace for 10.76 goals, 5.31 assists, Lee was sent down and based off of recent rumours, we may not get a chance to see him again in a Senators uniform.
Tonight is the night.
The Senators will finally get their first look at Dany Heatley in Sharks' uniform.
But, if he holds true to form, he likely won't do anything.
As an Ottawa player pointed out to me during the summer: "Look how he used to play against the Thrashers."
Good point. Heatley never did much when the club played in Atlanta.
Let's see what he can do here.
The situation is a little different. He looks happy with Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau.
You have to wonder about the pressure Todd McLellan is under with this guy on his bench. He must feel forced to use Heatley on the No. 1 power play unit. He has no choice. Gotta keep Heatley happy. That's what this is all about. ~ Off the Posts
Senators 1, Sharks 4
Even though the Senators have relinquished the title of being the most penalized team in the NHL, their penchant for demonstrating Keith Ballard'esque levels of stick discipline could prove costly against a Sharks team whose power play is operating at a 24.1% success rate. While Ottawa's unheralded blueline has held the fort in lieu of Volchenkov's injury, even a returning A-Train might not be enough to overcome the League's highest-scoring team and this year's biggest threat to capture the President's Trophy and subsequently choke in the playoffs.
Another Enigmatic Rumour Alert!
Last week it was a Jaromir Jagr rumour, now Mark Christopher is back from Hockeybuzz and has posted on Twitter that Ottawa and Columbus might be talking trade regarding Nikita Filatov. The rumoured package from Ottawa involves Jesse Winchester, Brian Lee and Ottawa's 2010 second round pick. If this is an indication of how much Filatov's worth has fallen under the Hitchcock / Howson regime then I feel sorry for him. Especially when he could have bribed Hitch with some burgers to get more icetime.
Heatley's Dad Rips Ottawa Media For Sucking At the Teet of the Senators Organization
With a hat tip to James Gordon for the find, here's a small blurb from Dany's father that demonstrates that being a whiny bitch is in fact a hereditary trait.
"You never get an unbiased opinion in a small community like Ottawa. The writers there know who feeds them, and if you don't, they don't let you in the building. It's sad in a way, because the fans don't understand what's really going on." — Murray Heatley, San Francisco Chronicle
Earlier this morning, I touched upon how Dany Heatley did himself and the Senators organization a disservice by refusing to disclose any information or reasoning as to why he wanted out of Ottawa. Since his camp only revealed the details Heatley was dissatisfied with his role and his relegation to the second power play unit, Heatley wound up losing the public relations battle in hockey circles because it helped foster the perception of him as a spoiled twat. It also didn't help matters that fans microanalysed the situation and backed up the premise with objective statistics that the team and Heatley performed better while under Clouston's watch. For most fans, things didn't add up and we were left searching for answers to an inexplicable breakup that blindsided the organization.
Thankfully, because of the efforts of Bruce Garrioch, we finally have some more candid insight from Bryan Murray as to why Heatley wanted out. In comments made this morning by Murray, he said he believes Heatley had issues with his teammates’ roles, and wasn’t convinced the club was headed in the right direction.
“It was ice time, importance on the team. It was all the things that you guys wrote about. Dany certainly didn’t like the media pointing out things that he wasn’t doing. He seemed to be offended by that.
He may have had a problem with some of his teammates. I think he felt that a couple of veteran guys, in particular, were more recognized than he was. That seems a little far-fetched to me.
I think it just came down to the fact I don’t think he thought our team was great. He thought going to a different location — and a good team like San Jose — might put him close to winning a championship.” ~ Ottawa Sun
In summary, Dany doesn't do backchecking. Nor does he evoke a work ethic in practice. We're talking about practice man. Practice. As long as he scores goals and flirts with 40-50 goals, who gives a fuck? Dany wanted to be paid and recognized as a superstar but was uncomfortable with how veterans like Chris Neil had more clout, even though they had one-eighth the talent. And finally, Dany Heatley's a frontrunning son of a bitch who prefers the easy ride in life.
Paraphrasing Murray on Team 1200
You'll have to excuse the short-form nature of this recap, he was only on for 15 minutes with Steve Lloyd and Jason York but covered a variety of topics.
- The three talked about last night's Grey Cup game and the too many men call that cost the Riders the game. They reminisced briefly about Don Cherry's Bruins and their infamous game against the Habs where Lafleur scored. Blah blah blah.
- Segueway into late heroic antics and Milan Michalek's goal against the Bruins on Saturday night. Even though Murray felt the team dominated the play for the first period, he felt that they were fortunate to get a point after playing a lousy last 40 minutes. The conversation shifted to Ottawa's misfortunes in the shootout and Murray said that even though the shootout is entertaining for the fans, he hated the fact that teams lose out on points because of it.
- If Tim were making this post, he'd make some artsy comment about one of his favorite tunes, The Ice of Boston by The Dismemberment Plan. Anyways, Murray, Lloyd and Mr. Lu Lu Lemon briefly discussed the poor ice quality in Boston and how bad it could be during the next few games during Ottawa's road trip on the Pacific.
- Erik Karlsson gets brought up. Murray was never concerned with the ten game threshold that kicked in the first year of Karlsson's entry level deal. Murray mentioned how it's best to do what's right for Karlsson, saying that he needs to develop at the NHL level and he alluded to the fact that Karlsson had 12 points in Bingo. He also mentions how Ottawa's desperate for some offence from the blueline and that Karlsson looks ready and willing to compete from his observations during practice. (Which is awesome, because that's something I look for in an undersized, green defenceman as well.)
- Bryan continues to mention that Volchenkov will play tomorrow night and that the decision is up to Clouston whether or not Karlsson will be a healthy scratch tomorrow or for the rest of the trip. (I think there's a better chance that I'll be buying a Heatley San Jose jersey than this sequence of events unfold.)
- When Brian Lee's demotion is brought up, Murray mentions that management and the coaching staff felt that Lee had lost his way in the last four games after a strong start to his recall. Murray maintains that Lee needs to develop and reflect confidence in his play, so that's why he's going back to Bingo to play some significant minutes against lesser competition. Murray does mention that this isn't a kiss of death and that Lee will be recalled at some point this season. Somewhere at that moment, Chris Campoli's balls ascended into his torso.
- Even though Brian Elliott took a shot to his forearm and had to leave practice early, Murray reaffirmed that he will not miss any time and will be expected to carry the load until Pascal Leclaire is healthy enough to play. When Jason York asked Murray if Mike Brodeur would see some time, Murray bluntly responded with a "I hope not."
- Apparently Murray wants to see Elliott run with the ball in Leclaire's absence since he feels that he has shown considerable progress since last season.
- The three briefly touch upon Heatley but Murray reiterates that he's moved past the issue and that he feels that the Senators have developed into a better team and are competing better as a team. (The emphasis in the last sentence is on the word team.)
- On the topic of Michalek and Cheechoo, it turned into a Michalek love in. Verbal fellatio from everyone concerning Michalek's complete game. Murray is pleased with Michalek's start since the organization had projected 25 goals from him. While Cheechoo continues to produce at a slightly above Muckaltian rate, Murray praises him for his good work ethic and attitude. And here I was thinking Chris Neil was the most overpaid character guy in the League.
If you look at this player's past ... I'm going to spell it out to you as nicely I can. He was in Atlanta, had an unfortunate (automobile) accident there and asked to be traded. OK, given the circumstances -- there was a young man killed -- I can live with that.
He goes to Ottawa, he's on a pretty good team, they go to the finals, signs a big contract… Bang, all of the sudden now he's got to be traded again. 'Not only do I have to be traded, I have a no-trade clause. I want to pick where I'm going to go.' Well, there are some issues there.
He had problems with his coach in Atlanta. My understanding is he had problems with Craig Hartsburg at the start of last year in Ottawa, and he had problems with … Cory Clouston. Three coaches, he's had a problem with.
That raises huge red flags for us. ~ Ron Hextall via Mark Spector, Sportsnet
In one game, Ottawa created a lot of bad news. Not only did the Senators manage to blow a two-goal lead and lose to the Bruins in a shootout, the team also fell a point back of the Bruins in the Northeast Division and by playing in his 10th NHL game tonight, Erik Karlsson lost a year on his entry-level deal.
So what's the good news?
I just saved some money on my car insurance.
Kidding aside, the only saving grace for me was that Ottawa was fortunate enough to salvage a point in a game in which they were outplayed from the start of the second period. I can't wait to look forward to some more Garrioch ramblings of how Ottawa never wins in the shootout. Granted, the track record isn't very good but what relevance do shootouts from seasons past have on how Ottawa currently handles the situation? It'd be like me holding Malkin to the Kings over Garrioch's head every time he announces a rumour. Oh, nevermind...
Without actually knowing what's going on in the Senators front office, I have no clue what they're intentions are for recalling Erik Karlsson. (Ed. note: If I did know what was going on, I'd definitely include the word insider on the site banner.) That being said, I'm trying to figure out why the organization would opt to recall Karlsson and burn a year on his entry level deal when Anton Volchenkov is due back in the imminent future.
Of course, there are a few possibilities:
- The organization really thinks that Karlsson represents enough of an upgrade over Brian Lee, to justify the move.
- Bryan Murray found John Muckler's secret stash and is hitting the sauce hard.
- Chris Campoli's one way contract trumps everything.
- Erik Karlsson has compromising photos of Bryan Murray, Eugene Melnyk or both.
- There's a trade in the works to move a defenceman or two.
When Volchenkov returns to the lineup, which could be as early as the next game, Ottawa will have seven defencemen on the roster. It wouldn't make much sense to call up Karlsson and burn a year on his contract just so that he can be a healthy scratch upon the return of the A-Train. If that were the case, management would have been better served to just wait for Volchenkov's return before returning Lee to Bingo without having to recall anyone and preserve Karlsson's three year contract.
I know that some have stressed the benefit of having staggered expiration dates on the entry-level deals to Cowen and Karlsson but I find that point is contingent upon the contracts coming on and off the book. According to nhlnumbers.com, the only contracts that are coming off the book in three years are Kelly, Kuba and Carkner. If Karlsson's entry level deal was to kick in next season like Cowen's, his contract would expire at the same time as Alfie, Fisher and Neil. Three guys who are likely to make less than they're currently making. Unless management invests their cap room inappropriately, it shouldn't be problematic to let Cowen and Karlsson reach restricted free agency at the same.
Don't get me wrong, I'd love for these kids to become stud defencemen but I don't think it's necessarily fair to allude to Chicago's situation in which Keith, Toews and Kane are eligible for free agency at the same time. Not only are Chicago's players elite talent, but their cap situation has been negatively impacted by some ill advised and unnecessary forays into free agency. (Ie. Huet, Campbell, etc.) In fact, I'd say that Ottawa should learn from the Chicago model and realize that it's not prudent to throw maximum dollars and years to players who aren't at the elite level. Provided that Ottawa continues to draft well and find the occasional free agent bargain, with their core, the team isn't in bad shape at all.
While I am going off on a bit of a tangent here, isn't it a bit telling that I can count the big dollar free agent deals that have really panned out and benefitted the player and the organization on one hand? Off the top of my head, the only deals that strike me are:
- Hossa to Detroit
- Pronger to Edmonton
- Niedermayer to Anaheim
- Chara to Boston (Ed. note: Thanks to reader Neert for this submission. I can't believe I missed this one.)
It's no coincidence that one deal, Hossa's, was a short term deal and the other two involved two of the best defencemen in the past decade. In every deal that I can think of, the player's contract is such a hindrance that the player is the subject of trade gossip. Guys like Briere, Drury, Campbell, Gomez, Redden, Huet and the list goes on.
Quick Hits and Linkage:
- This one is right down the BOO alley -- Is this the worst Senators collectible that you can have?
- The fictitious trade on the right-hand side of this website in the poll section has somehow found it's way to Sens Chirp's comment section. One reader is telling him it's a done deal and to book it. If this actually happens, I'll be ecstatic. Not because Ottawa would get Seabrook, but because it'd translate into the first successful Oracle of Bullshit bit of info since I predicted Heatley's trip out of town last season.