“When he plays, he’s very dominant. Other nights, he’s not. We need more consistency, not only from him but from the rest of the team ... I’m more concerned with the teammates. They’re the ones working with him and playing with him and sometimes they don’t know which guy is going to show up.”
Typically, Clouston is known for his fashion faux-pas, however, in this instance, the coach erred by speaking out for Kovalev's teammates. Whether any of the guys within the locker room actually have voiced their displeasure with Kovalev to Clouston is unclear and moot.
As Ken Warren noted for the Ottawa Citizen, Clouston says the Senators have received “about what we expected” since signing him as a free agent in the summer of 2009. “We’re very happy with his games some nights.”
And if that's the case, I have to wonder why only Kovalev is being singled out. And please don't mistake this as some kind of apologist rant that's in defense of Kovalev. It's not. The man is a player who can only be described as a mercenary since he chased the money and term to leave a good situation in Montreal to come to Ottawa. If he has come as advertised, that shouldn't be a strike against Kovalev, that should be a strike against the management (or owner, depending on what you believe) that brought him into town.
Calling him out now is the easy thing to do when the whole team is struggling. He's in the last year of his contract and he has been stigmatized as an enigma.
“There’s nothing I can do about it. I’m not the only one not playing well and he decides to pick me. It’s been happening my whole career. I accept that.”So I don't blame Kovalev for feeling like he's being singled out as the scapegoat. He's only one in a long line of veteran players on this team who have been disappointing.
Alexei Kovalev may be Cory Clouston's scapegoat but Cory Clouston better not be Bryan Murray's.
*** Note to Readers:
If someone can take the picture below and edit it to say "The Men Who Stare at Scapegoats" and include pictures of Senators personnel, that'd be ridiculously good of you. Thanks ahead of time.
With the Senators season starting to swirl around the drain as early as 30 games into the 2010-11 NHL season, things are pretty bleak around the nation's capital. Unless of course, you're Sean McIndoe - a National Post columnist and the author of the Toronto Maple Leafs blog Down Goes Brown who can now add illustrious guest on The 6th Sens Podcast to his credentials. Considering the dire straits that the Senators and Maple Leafs are currently in, I personally felt that Sean's takes on each of the respective situations were refreshing and brutally honest.
To check out Sean's work, you can view his columns at The National Post and at Down Goes Brown. You can also follow him on Twitter (@DownGoesBrown).
As always, you can subscribe/download/stream the episode or entire catalogue of episodes from Itunes. Or you can download the file by right-clicking and saving this file. Or you can simply stream the episode below. We hope you enjoy it. If you have any questions or comments about the podcast, please leave us some feedback in the comment thread below. Thanks for listening, we hope you enjoy the show.
*** Note: For those who only want to listen to the interview portion of the podcast, it starts at the 27:17 mark.
Tracklist: The Prodigy Stand Up; Spoon I Saw the Light; David Bowie The Man Who Sold the World; and NWA Straight Outta Compton.
Flicking blood. Really?
Real story should be the loss.
You're better than that.
- In an interview with Team 1200's Sports Call program, Assistant General Manager Tim Murray said, "For three weeks we've been trying to make a trade. Small trade. Big trade. Major trade. It's just unrealistic right now." He also spent the majority of the program referring to Bobby Butler as "not the answer". I hope that nickname sticks. To listen to the whole interview that lasts approximately 14 minutes, click here.
- After today's morning skate, Cory Clouston had this to say about Alexei Kovalev, “When he plays, he’s very dominant. Other nights, he’s not. We need more consistency, not only from him but from the rest of the team ... I’m more concerned with the teammates. They’re the ones working with him and playing with him and sometimes they don’t know which guy is going to show up.”
- In an article for The Globe and Mail, Chris Johnston takes a look at the NHL teams that have spent the most of their cap space. New Jersey, Calgary, Ottawa, San Jose, Minnesota and Toronto are all in the top half of the league in spending, according to capgeek.com, and are among those currently chasing a playoff spot. It reaffirms what we already know; no one on the Senators is outproducing their contract value.
- According to the Star Ledger, Marty Brodeur will make his highly anticipated return to the crease for Friday's game against the Ottawa Senators. Tits!
- Moronic Hfboards post of the day from user StayThirstyMyFriend:
Assuming the team is still struggling by the deadline, UFAs other teams may (or may not) want:
Kovalev to Montreal for Lars Eller - could re-ignite Kovalev and the habs seem to know how to use him - unlike Clouston. Can't see anyone else wanting him.
Leclaire+2nd to Tampa for Brett Connolly - Tampa is on a roll and could do damage in the playoffs with a decent goalie . We're getting a good glimpse of how good Leclaire can be despite the team's bad defense.c
- In an article for The Globe and Mail that examines Ottawa's current scoring woes, Roy MacGregor reminisces about how the Senators almost brought Mike Bossy in as a goal scoring consultant during the formative years of the franchise. Ultimately he didn't get the job because management felt that Sly Turgeon didn't need the help.
- In his TGOR Nation blog, the Team 1200's Steve Warne discusses the steps necessary to right the Ottawa ship. Of note, Step 3: Take an early shot at clearing cap space. I would quietly float Jason Spezza’s name out there. Apparently creating space by letting Chris Phillips/Milan Michalek/Filip Kuba/Jarkko Ruutu/Mike Fisher/Pascal Leclaire/or anyone else who's wearing the jersey right now didn't come before step 3.
Yesterday I joked on Twitter that Eugene Melnyk's idea of a rebuild would be to sell the Ottawa Senators and buy the Atlanta Thrashers. Soon, he may have no choice. Despite his bravado and his best efforts to lull this fanbase into a false sense of security, the latest mathematical figures paint a much darker image. According to PlayoffStatus.com, the Senators are now listed as having a 71-percent chance of missing the playoffs. SportsClubStats is even less forgiving. According to their numbers, there's a 5-percent chance that Ottawa will make the 2011 postseason - which is slightly more favorable than the odds given to Cory Clouston's ability to keep his lines intact for more than five minutes of play.
Judging by the line combinations used in yesterday's skate, Clouston has juggled his line combinations... again. Wearing a green practice jersey and skating alongside Ryan Shannon, Jesse Winchester and Peter Regin, like Dany Heatley, Alexei Kovalev is the latest veteran player to have his role diminished under the Little General. So for all three of you who think that some general manager will willingly take Kovalev off of Bryan Murray's hands at the 2011 NHL Trade Deadline (I'm looking at you Brennan, Garrioch and Francois!), think again. Although in fairness to Francois, he compares the Kovalev situation to Manny Ramirez's in that there's someone who's always willing to take the chance that he'll be the one to reap the benefits if Kovalev decides to flick the switch. I'm not holding my breath though.
At this stage in his career, Kovalev's become somewhat of a Reverse Iverson. Allow me to explain...
When AI dropped his infamous Practice?! We're talking about practice man! Practice!? press conference rant that has been overused by every sports radio jockey in North America, he was trying to explain how he was well within his right to fuck the dog in practice because he had won a MVP Award and left his heart on the floor during each and every game. Kovalev is not only the antithesis of Iverson, he's probably the most disappointing 1,000 point scorer in the history of the NHL. His practice skills are better suited to DVD sales than helping a team win on a regular basis.
But as Bruce Garrioch has correctly asserted, Kovalev's not the only veteran who has had a difficult time contributing this season. Looking at some advanced hockey statistics over at Behind The Net, Tom Awad's Goals Versus Threshold (GVT is very similar to VORP in baseball: it is the value of a player, in goals, above what a replacement player would have contributed.) indicates that Chris Phillips has the worst rating on the Senators.
Fortunately, Peter Regin is drawing back into the lineup for tonight's game while Ryan Shannon takes a seat. Regardless of what you may think of Shannon as a player, he currently has Ottawa's second best On-Ice Teams Goals For per 60 minutes rating. In other words, proportionate to Shannon's 5-on-5 ice-time, Ottawa scores more often with Shannon on the ice than anyone other than Jason Spezza and Filip Kuba. The worst offender for this same statistic? Mike Fisher. (Note: Ian Mendes owes us an apology after penning a summer article that championed Mike Fisher as one of the better second line centers in the NHL. Karma. Karma. Karma.) If you're looking to quantify of how anemic the offence has been. Look no further...
Or look further. If you're completely masochistic and want to pore over the details of the Dany Heatley trade, look at these numbers:
- Milan Michalek - will have
earnedbeen paid $7.75 million after his second season with the Senators. To date he has 27 goals and 17 assists.
- Jonathan Cheechoo - after being bought out, Cheech will have been paid $4.66 million for 5 goals and 9 assists.
- Dany Heatley - was paid a $4-million front-loaded portion of last season's contract on July 1st, 2009.
- Andy Sutton - was here for two months and scored 1 goal before leaving as a UFA.
- In summation - Ottawa has paid close to $17-million for Dany Heatley not to play for the Senators and has 33 goals and 26 assists to their credit. At least we'll always remember Sutton's hit on Jordan Leopold.
Whether the diminished offensive contributions are attributable to injuries, regression or a lack of chemistry is open to discussion, however, Ottawa's roster is doing their best to disprove the Gestalt concept that the whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts.
Today was a wonderful day for dumb decisions.
Graham James was granted bail. There was also Don Cherry's pinko-riddled speech to Toronto's City Council that introduced their new mayor Rob Ford. And finally, there was also Cory Clouston's decision to use the victory against the New York Rangers as justification for keeping Peter Regin out of the Senators lineup for tonight's game versus the Canadiens.
Am I sensationalizing Regin's benching? Maybe.
But here's a look at his numbers anyway...
- With 10 points, Regin is tied with Michalek for having the fifth most amount of points amongst forwards on the team
- leads the Senators in takeaways (23)
- he draws the most penalties per 60 minutes of play (1.3)
- he has the third best defensive GVT amongst forwards (0.8)
- his total GVT (0.5) is middle of the pack for the team because of his lack of individual production, however, amongst forwards, Regin has the 5th best Teams Goal For per 60 minutes rating on the team.
Here's a look at the Eastern Conference standings:
Congratulations to T6S reader Cassie for her submission to the Erik Karlsson Finger Point caption contest. Her "Hey Cooke, pull my finger" submission was selected by Rogers Sportsnet's Ian Mendes as the winner. As the winner, she receives the Metro Family 4 Pack to the December 10th game versus the New Jersey Devils that includes 4 tickets, 4 soft-drinks and 4 hot dogs.
Thanks to all of the readers who submitted entries. Expect another contest in the near future.