From Winning to Hope

Friday, December 10, 2010 · 0 comments

Players, coaches and management don't believe it's over, nor should they, there's "lots of hockey left" and as professionals you never say never. However, fans and media alike can look at recent history to help predict the future. After doing just that, here on December 10th, it's a pretty safe bet to say: "turn out the lights, the party's over." At least in terms of the Senators making the playoffs this season. That's not an opinion, but a statistical fact.

We are more than one-third through this season. Since the end of the lockout in 2005 that brought the three point game, only one eastern conference team has come back to make the playoffs after being more than six points out on December 10th. The 2007-08 Capitals were dead last and eight points out and went on to win the southeast division.

If you're a fan that draws hope from the autumn of 2006 when the Sens were floundering but rebounded all the way to a stanley cup final, I've got more bad news. That team was 15-15-1 on December 10th, just one point out of 8th. This edition is seven points out sitting in eleventh. Apples and oranges.

It's time for this team to reassess and come up with a new plan. A plan that focuses more on the seasons beyond this one. It's time to start identifying those that will be members of this organization next year from those who won't. You don't totally gut things and give up on this season, but you have to realistic about the odds and starting planning for a rebound in 2011-12.

Attendance has been waning. I'm in the camp of those that believe that the average fan is starting to become apathetic because he/she doesn't know what this team is supposed to be. Organizations have to be selling one of two things; winning or hope. A re-tool or maybe even a re-build has to be coming. The fans in "Hockey Country" could use a little hope.

Beer League Hockey

Monday, December 6, 2010 · 0 comments

Futher to our discussion about beer league hockey on today's show, a listener sent this is in. I originally saw it a couple of months ago but is just as funny no matter how many times you watch it. There is some "colourful" language so viewer discretion is advised.

http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/7192553/

Shean Donovan to hang 'em up

Saturday, November 6, 2010 · 0 comments

Got a text from Shean Donovan this morning as to why he left his Professional Tryout with Syracuse. "Missed the kids, knew it would be a long road and had enough. Time to move on"

-951 games,112 goals 241 points, 705 PIMs
-49 playoff games, 6 goals, 6 assists, 12 points, 39 PIMs

1995 World Junior Gold Medalist
1997 World Senior Gold Medalist

At 951 games Donovan sits 309th on the all time games played list. One ahead of Tomas Steen and one back of Tommy Albelin and Todd Bertuzzi. Of those 951 games only a handful early in his career were played as a top 6 forward. Donovan knew what he was and knew he had to earn his place in the league year after year. To play almost 1000 games as mostly a 4th and occasionally 3rd line player is a testament to his attitude and tenacity. Something teammates around the league appreciated and respected everywhere he played.

Upon returning to the Ottawa area to play for the Sens three years ago, Donovan could often be seen in what he calls his hometown, Carleton Place, lending his NHL name to worthy causes with little publicity. Something I'm sure will continue in retirement.

Congrats on a great career Dono.

Is it time to panic?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010 · 0 comments

The Sens have stumbled out to an inauspicious 1-4-1 start. Chicken Little has arrived in the nation's capital and it's not even Halloween. Is there still time to turn things around? With 76 games left on the schedule of course there is....but time is shorter than what you might think.

www.shrpsports.com is a website that tracks the standings of various leagues by date. Going back five seasons(every year post lockout) it's amazing to see how little movement there is in the top eight on November 1st compared to the final standings.

05-06
-TOR & FLA had playoff spots on Nov.1. PHI & MTL had them at the end. (2)

06-07
-TOR, MTL & CAR had spots on Nov.1. OTT, TB & NYI had them at the end (3)

07-08
-TOR, NYI & CAR had spots on Nov.1. WSH, NJ & NYR had them at the end (3)

08-09
-TOR & BUF had spots on Nov.1. WSH & PHI had them at the end (2)

09-10
-NYR had a spot on Nov.1. BOS had it at the end. (1)

Thanks to three point games, in the last five seasons combined only eleven Eastern Conference teams have made the playoffs after not being in the top eight by November 1st. (on a side note, be sure to point out to your Leaf fan buddy that Toronto gave up an early season spot 4 of those 11 times :) In a more recent trend it's only happened three times in the last two seasons.

When you compare the final standings to December 1st, the five year number falls to eight, and in the last 2 years it's happened only twice. Both of those times coming last year.

So, is it time to panic Sens fans? Not really, but you might want to at least flip open the plastic cover. With three point games being handed out like candy these days, digging yourself a hole early can be fatal.

Cowen's future

Monday, October 4, 2010 · 0 comments

We had all heard the rumours this off season. Some scouts around the NHL believed that Jared Cowen's stock as a top prospect had taken a hit. By taking the 18 year old 6'5 d-man 9th overall in the 2009 draft the Sens based their evaluation on the 17 year old Cowen. The pre knee inury version that help take Spokane to the Memorial Cup. Unfortunately many negative things have happened since draft day as Cowen struggled to overcome that major knee injury, was benched at the World Juniors and contracted Mono.

However all that negativity slowed as Sens training camp progressed, to the point where it was a legitimately tough call as to whether or not the 19 year old should be in the NHL this season. Cowen's decision making speed picked up and he showed that he doesn't mind using that towering frame to intimidate in front of his own goal. If there was any doubt, Cowen has "regained" that top prospect label.

The fact of the matter is that it's too bad Cowen's birthday wasn't 25 days earlier. That way he would be eligible to start the season in the AHL and no doubt be worthy of at least an injury call-up after he adjusts even more to the pro game. Last year, a 19 year old Erik Karlsson was afforded that chance because he wasn't drafted out of the CHL. All he did was become one of the Sens most valuable d-men after his much needed stint in the minors.

So Cowen is gone for the year. The good is that he should play up to 30 minutes a night and physically dominate the WHL. The bad is that he'll have to wait another year before he resumes his adjustment to the pro game. That wait is where it gets interesting. Don't assume he's a slam dunk to make the big club next year. That's through no fault of his own but a testimate to the potential depth on the Sens blueline.

It's not a stretch to assume the club will at some point re-sign veteran stalwart Chris Phillips. Along with Gonchar, Kuba, Karlsson, Carkner and Lee that would mean 6 blueliners are under contract for the 2011-12 season.

Of course there could be a trade at some point to change the dynamic but also consider this. At the very least Patrick Wiercioch should have a leg up thanks to a year of seasoning in the AHL(and maybe a bit in the NHL) and same could also possibly be said for the likes Eric Gryba (who is more in the Cowen mold). Let's also consider the prospect that David Rundblad is ready for prime time after a year in the Swedish Elite League. In talking to various members of the Sens brass after the draft night deal, it's expected that Rundblad will come over ready to play(or at least be very close to being ready) in the NHL.

Below is the possible NHL/AHL depth on the blueline for the next season. As you can see the question will be how many rookies do you want to break in in one season? That's what could make it even tougher for Cowen to crack the NHL next year as opposed to this year. All because he was born 25 days past 2010.

Phillips Gonchar
Kuba Karlsson
Carkner Lee

Cowen Wiercioch
Rundblad Gryba

Kovalev fight....Yes, I said Kovalev fight

Wednesday, September 29, 2010 · 2 comments

This about as rare as Halley's Comet so I just had to post it. He got it half right. He floated like a butterfly but.... Good on him for showing up.

Sens camp - Goaltending

Friday, September 24, 2010 · 0 comments

Today marks the end of the first week of Sens training camp. So what have we learned? Truthfully, not a whole hell of a lot, but there are some interesting story lines developing. After his opening night shutout of the Leafs and Brian Elliott's shaky first period the following night, many are already wondering if 19 year old Robin Lehner is ready for prime time. Easy there trigger.

While we should never rule out the improbable (see Matt Carkner last year) there are still a few large hurdles standing in the talented Swede's way:

-It's early. Really early. Lehner and Elliott have played one game each and Leclaire won't strap them on until later tonight in Montreal.

-Brian Elliott and Pascal Leclaire are both on one way contracts.

-If you assume burying one way money in the minors is the way to go consider this. Leclaire will make 4.8m(gulp) this season while Elliott earns .850.

Leclaire's issues are obvious. It would be a tough sell to ownership because of the salary, and it would be a tough admission by a management group that dealt Antoine Vermette away for him just 18 months ago(it should be noted that the 2nd rd pick also acquired in that deal turned into Lehner).

Part of the logic behind waiving one way money to the AHL is to clear cap space. That wouldn't be the case if the club decided to do that with Elliott. In fact, cap space would shrink by keeping Lehner in the NHL over Elliott as Lehner's NHL contract pays him .900 to Elliott's .850.

How about a trade? Have you paid attention to the market for goaltenders since the Stanley Cup Finals? Never say never, but good luck.

Having said all that(other than injury)the only way Lehner is here to start the season is if he continues to be near perfect in pre-season and one of the incumbents absolutely falter. There are just too many hurdles for this to be a pure hockey move.

Sometimes the Team lacks Character

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 · 0 comments

We had former Sen Randy Robitaille on the show today. He and his family should be over in Switzerland as Randy suits up for Lugano for a third straight season, but instead the Robitaille's are still in Kanata playing a long distance game of poker. Fans of pro sports are all too familiar with athletes holding out for more money and sometimes not honouring existing contracts (cough..Yashin..cough) but Robitaille's dilemma is the exact opposite. In this case Lugano has told him he's not welcome to come back despite that fact he has a guaranteed contract signed in good faith for the upcoming season. Robitaille led the team in scoring last season but was blamed for bowing out in the first round of the playoffs. I guess that's grounds for trying to weasel out of a contract with your best player by hoping he'll quit. Stay classy Lugano. Randy lays it out quite well in the interview.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ottawa-ON/TEAM-1200/254660295467#!/video/video.php?v=10150286155285585&ref=mf

Sens depth chart

Thursday, August 5, 2010 · 3 comments

EDIT: D Andre Benoit was signed today(Friday August 6th) to a 1 year, 2 way deal.

With the signing of Corey Cowick to an entry level deal today it would appear the Sens are pretty much done signing players...for now. So as we look at the depth in the organization it appears there will not only be some great battles to make the make the big club, but sticking around in the AHL might even be dicey for a few players. By my count there will 46 players in camp that have at least a 2 way contract. I'm sure there will also be some Amateur and Pro try outs as there were 55 players at last year's camp.

One way contracts(+Karlsson): 21

Regin Spezza Alfredsson
Michalek Fisher Kovalev
Foligno Kelly Neil
Ruutu Winchester Shannon

Phillips Karlsson
Gonchar Kuba
Campoli Carkner
Lee

Leclaire
Elliott

-of course Jared Cowen is a wildcard as he has to go back to junior if doesn't make the big team. Also of note, David Rundblad has an entry level deal but will spend another year overseas.


Two way contracts: 24
Entry Level: 15 (waiver exempt)
Veteran: 9 (Locke, Keller, Lessard, Bass, Hale, Kinrade, D. Smith, Benoit, Brodeur)

Wick Locke Butler
Hoffman Z. Smith Keller
Daugavins O'Brien Condra
Cowick Greening Dziurzynski
Bailey Bass Lessard

Wiercioch Gryba
Hale Kinrade
D. Smith Schira
Benoit

Lehner
Brodeur

-Players like Wick, Butler, Z. Smith, Locke, Keller, Cowen, Wiercioch, Gryba, Hale, Lehner and Brodeur will all head to camp believing if they really stand out and outplay some veterans the big club will find a spot for them. The trickle down will be interesting to watch as Binghamton fans should benefit.

Campoli deserves some slack...but

Tuesday, August 3, 2010 · 0 comments

It's old news now, but in case you started your long weekend early the Sens avoided going to arbitration with Chris Campoli. As the veteran d-man signed a new 1 year, 1.4 million dollar contract on Friday. While interviewing Campoli on Friday afternoon, I was surprised to hear him say he had played last season with a sports hernia that he just had corrected with surgery about 8 weeks ago.

This was surprising because not once did we hear one peep from Campoli during what can only be characterized as a disappointing season. A season where the 25 year old saw his stock fall on the blueline to the point where he was scratched and dressed as a forward. The only ailment everyone knew about was the knee injury suffered just before the Olympic break that caused Campoli to miss 8 games.

When you hear fans and media question your play(and don't believe it when players say they don't hear it...they all do, at the very least indirectly) on a constant basis wouldn't it only be human nature to eventually say?

"listen, I'm putting off surgery for a sports hernia until the off-season because if you haven't noticed we're not overly deep on the blueline".

But he didn't. Campoli just rolled with it.

When faced with the choice of easing public criticism by admitting you're playing hurt, or earning more respect from teammates and the coaching staff by sucking it up, Campoli selected the latter. We'll call it anti-Hasek road.

Make no mistake. Bigger things were expected than an 18 point, 67 game season. Whenever the coaching staff was asked about Campoli's sub-par play the common refrain was they wanted to see him be harder on the puck and to just be more consistent with his overall level of play. Garry Galley once told me that if you make the decision to play hurt, you'd better play well because nobody cares how you're feeling once you decide to compete.

In hindsight, knowing what we know now about his season Campoli deserves a little slack. However, with a crowded blueline, he knows that slack won't matter once training camp starts and he's battling the likes of Brian Lee, Matt Carkner and host of youngsters led by Jared Cowen for the last 2 spots in the top 6.

Sens camp should be interesting

Tuesday, July 13, 2010 · 3 comments

Even though training camp is still two months away, you really get the sense there will be some great competition for jobs at Sens training camp. Let's look at the roster including just the one way contracts(including the RFA's who when they sign will be on one ways):

Regin Spezza Alfredsson
Michalek Fisher Kovalev
Foligno Kelly Neil
Ruutu Winchester Shannon

Gonchar Kuba
Phillips Karlsson(still on entry level...but...c'mon)
Campoli Carkner
Lee

Leclaire
Elliott

(Note: Don't read into the combos. I don't know and neither does Clouston yet)

If the Sens don't make any moves regarding their one way contracts (which I doubt...move(s) have to be coming) they will have 21 NHL players in camp. Now, let's look at the kids knocking on the door:

Forward - one foot already in the door

Zack Smith: The trickle down effect of injuries to Kovalev and Michalek helped Smith get a regular role down the stretch and into the playoffs. Not too many guys in that position would insist on coming to development camp. He did. It will be tough to keep his toughness and determined play off the 4th line.

Bobby Butler: After winning the bidding war the Sens worked the Hobey Baker finalist into a couple of games towards the end of the regular season. He didn't look out of place. He will be given every opportunity to prove he belongs in the NHL right away. It's up to him.

Roman Wick: The forgotten prospect, drafted by a previous regime. Has honed his skills well in his native Switzerland the last numbers of years and earned his one year entry level contract by shining against the world's best at the Olympics in Vancouver. Bryan Murray thinks he can play in the NHL this season, we'll see if that means in early October.

Forward - Looking to make impression for call up potential

Corey Locke: Including 3 years in junior and 6 years as a pro, the former 67's superstar has led his team in scoring in 6 of the last 9 years. Including each of the last 3 on 3 different AHL teams. Will earn big money by AHL standards but wants to prove he can produce points at the next level.

Jim O'Brien: Former first round pick struggled in his first year as a pro as some are questioning his potential. With 2 years left on his entry level deal he needs make strides and at least prove he can excel in the AHL before anyone starts talking about an NHL career.

Ryan Keller: After excelling in the Finnish league the diminutive forward was one the lone bright spots in Bingo last season and saw some time with the big club. The organization thought enough of him to bring him back for a reason.

Cody Bass: Once higher on the depth chart the gritty centre seemed to fall out of favour last season (ugly +/- in Bingo). The team qualified him last month. After seeing some playoff games in 2008, Bass has to prove himself all over again in camp.

Kaspars Daugavins: Entering last year of entry level. Saw a bit of time with Ottawa but needs to show continued improvement as the prospect cupboard isn't as bare as it once was.

Erik Condra: Former Notre Dame star had his ups and downs as most do in first AHL season. Year 2 should be telling.

Colin Greening: Cornell co-captain just cutting his teeth as a pro. Like Condra last year, this season should be all about adjusting the pro game and pro sked.

David Dziurzynski: Signed as a 20 year old free agent out of the BCHL. It's a huge leap from tier 2 to the AHL, but he at least wants to show why the club went out and found him.

Defense - One foot already in the door

Jared Cowen: Came to development camp with snarl on, and did not go unnoticed. Last week G-M Bryan Murray said the club is looking for another physical d-man to fill out the blueline and opined that could very well be Cowen.

Patrick Wiercioch: After 2 years at the University Of Denver the slick puck mover is confident he can make the big club in the first camp. If his game matches his confidence, camp could be interesting.

Eric Gryba: I'll label the B.U. Captain as the "the other blueline prospect". Hasn't received as much attention as the Karlsson's, Cowen's Wiercioch's and now Rundblad's..but this big physical d-man has the potential to become a mean hard hitting S.O.B to play against. It's a stretch to say he's ready now, but he could see some NHL games later in the season.

Defense - Looking to get noticed

Derek Smith: Made his NHL debut just before the Olympics. With the aforementioned blue chippers coming into the organization, he needs to continue to develop.

Craig Schira: Looking to make strides in the AHL after getting his 1st year of pro experience under his belt.

Geoff Kinrade: Qualified by the team last week. Had a cup of coffee with the Lightning 2 years ago. Right now is seen as depth guy.

Goal:

Robin Lehner: Just turning 19, just turning pro. A rarity for a goaltender, but that's how good the 2009 2nd rounder already is. A year of playing an OHL sked in the Soo was enough. The Sens brass expect him to share time with Brodeur in Binghamton, but Bryan Murray hasn't ruled out anything happening at training camp. Will certainly generate a lot of buzz in September.

Mike Brodeur: What if he didn't come down with the flu on Martin Luther King day? Would he have continued a roll that was part of that 11 game winning streak? He proved he can excel in a pinch. Along with Lehner, Brodeur provides plenty of push for Leclaire and Elliott.

Sens arbitration hearing dates

Monday, July 12, 2010 · 0 comments

Peter Regin - Friday July 30th

Chris Campoli - Wednesday August 4th (last day of Arb hearings)

NBA vs NHL

Wednesday, July 7, 2010 · 1 comments

I took the liberty of inserting NHL players, teams, writers, broadcasters, owners, G.M.'s etc... to really illustrate how absurd NBA free agency is. I don't think anyone could even fathom the same thing going down in the NHL even if the rules of free agency were similar.

The original story can be found here:
http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=5359255

Sidney Crosby is planning to announce the team with which he will sign during a one-hour special on TSN Thursday night, TSN's Darren Dreger has learned through independent sources.

TSN would only confirm that active discussions for the special are ongoing. But sources tell Dreger that representatives for Crosby contacted the network, proposing that Crosby makes his announcement during a 9 p.m. ET special.

Those sources said that Crosby's representatives requested they be allowed to sell sponsorship for the one-hour special, with the proceeds going to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, and that TSN agreed to the proposal but had not been told what Crosby has decided.

It only makes sense that Sidney Crosby would create a show to tell his choice, that he would drag teams and fans along until the camera's red light comes on, writes TSN.ca's Bob McKenzie.

The NHL's most prized free agent opened a Twitter account on Tuesday and posted his first message on the social networking site. While he provided no information about his future plans, at least he offered something as the NHL awaits the decision on where he'll play next.

"Hello World, the Real Sid the Kid is in the Building," said the tweet on the Sidthekid feed, which by 9 p.m. ET had more than 167,000 followers.

Crosby's publicist confirmed the superstar's entrance to Twitter, a place where fellow prized free agents Jonathan Toews and Ilya Kovulchuk often post details about their public lives off the ice.

Crosby's plans still are a closely guarded secret. He visited with six teams -- the New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, Florida Panthers, Anaheim Ducks, Columbus Blue Jackets and Chicago Blackhawks -- last week at his business offices in downtown Pittsburgh.

Early Wednesday, it appeared that if Crosby were to play next season with Toews and Kovulchuk, he'd do it in Chicago: Kovulchuk has decided to join Toews with the Hawks, a source with knowledge of the situation told Dreger. An announcement was expected later in the day.

TSN's Pierre Maguire also reported that Kovulchuk would join Toews in Chicago.

It was not immediately clear whether Kovulchuk would sign with Chicago outright or join the Hawks through a sign-and-trade deal. Kovulchuk could earn $125 million over six years via sign-and-trade, but only $96 million over five without it.

If Kovulchuk joins a team without doing a sign-and-trade, he will be able to sign only a five-year deal worth $96 million. He is determined not to leave that $29 million on the table, sources told Dreger.

"Either way, he's definitely going to Chicago," the source said.

There had been various reports that the New Jersey Devils were working on a sign-and-trade deal with Pittsburgh for Kovulchuk, and that Crosby tried to convince him to join the Penguins. Both Crosby and Kovulchuk were aware that such a trade was possible, and Crosby tried to recruit Kovulchuk to the Penguins several times in the past few weeks, sources told Dreger.

But Kovulchuk wanted to play with Crosby in Pittsbugh, Chicago or Florida(Miami), and told the Devils he'd accept sign-and-trades to those cities, sources told Dreger.

Unsure of Crosby's decision, The Blue Jackets have a Plan B in case he rejects their offer.

The agent for Rangers forward Marian Gaborik says the Jackets have talked to him several times since free agency began on Thursday.

An official within the league who is very close to the Jackets management team said the team would also consider going after Kings forward Anze Kopitar if Crosby rejected the offer that was presented by the ownership group(JMAC Hockey LCC) and a team that included teen mogul Justin Bieber.

Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson said in a text message on Tuesday that there was nothing to report on the free-agency front.

Asked about the Jackets'options if The Kid nixes their overtures, Howson wrote:

"We will look at other options if we don't get one of the top guys."

While Crosby is the star attraction in this summer's stacked class of free agents, other players have either stayed home or found a new one. On Monday, Brad Richards agreed to a five-year deal with the Rangers and said he would continue to recruit Crosby to join him.

Regin and Campoli headed for arbitration

Monday, July 5, 2010 · 4 comments

Peter Regin has 3 more years before he can become an unrestricted free agent while Chris Campoli has 2. The Sens have the option of insisting that a 2 year contract be awarded by the arbitrator.

Regin is coming off a decent rookie season followed by a short but impressive playoff where he saw increased minutes due to the injuries to Michalek and Kovalev.

Campoli played his best hockey of the season after the Olympic break but has yet to become the player Bryan Murray thought he was getting when he traded a late first round pick to the Islanders during the 2008-09 season.

Courtesy of http://proicehockey.about.com, here is a list of what is allowed to be used during arbitration:

# The player's "overall performance" including statistics in all previous seasons.
# Injuries, illnesses and the number of games played.
# The player's length of service with the team and in the NHL.
# The player's "overall contribution" to the team's success or failure.
# The player's "special qualities of leadership or public appeal."
# The performance and salary of any player alleged to be "comparable" to the player in the dispute.

What is not allowed to be used:
# The salary and performance of a "comparable" player who signed a contract as an unrestricted free agent.
# Testimonials, video and media reports.
# The financial state of the team.
# The salary cap and the state of the team's payroll.

Based on points here are few recent com-parables for Regin:

Benoit Pouliot - 1.375m
Jay McClement - 1.450m
Dustin Boyd - .650m

Also just based on points and ice time here are a couple com-parables for Campoli:

Johnny Boychuk - 1.875m
Roman Polak - 1.1m

Happy Gonchar Day

Thursday, July 1, 2010 · 0 comments

Having just turned 36 in April, Sergei Gonchar has played 15 seasons in the NHL. Let's list the defensemen ahead of him in scoring during that time period. Nick Lidstrom, 889 points. That is all.

Gonchar's 684 points are 31 more than the recently retired Scott Niedermayer. Throw in 80 points in 118 playoff games and a Stanley Cup, and slick power play specialist will be the most accomplished defenseman to ever have the centurion emblazoned on his chest. Sens fans know all too well what he can do first hand, having gone 3-1 vs Ottawa in the playoffs in his career(you forgot the '98 Caps didn't you).

As you can tell by now, I think Sens fans should love this signing. A 5.5 million dollar cap hit for 3 seasons is a good chunk of change for a 36 year old player, but this guy's worth it. He wants to play for Russia in Sochi in 4 years, so you know he's motivated to keep his game at a high level. If you are worried about not having enough money to re-sign Chris Phillips, don't. Kovalev's 5 million comes off the books after this season, as does Ruutu's 1.3 million.

Beyond the obvious tangible impact Gonchar will have on the ice, the intangible impact of having a skilled defenseman with his experience onboard for a few years can only be positive for the likes of Karlsson, Rundblad, Cowen and Wiercioch. The 3 year term on Gonchar fits nicely as in 3 years you'd have to figure that young group has a good chance of being a large part of the core.

So with that, it was a very successful Canada Day for Bryan Murray. But, he's not done. The money says he can't be. With Winchester re-signing today the club has in the neighbourhood of 3-4 million left under the cap with Regin, Foligno and Campoli left to sign. That's gonna be tight, too tight. Moves have to be coming. Two things to consider:

1. This team potentially has too many forwards. 10 on one way deals, 2 RFA's(Regin and Foligno), and at least 3 more on 2 ways in Smith, Butler and Wick(not official yet) that you would have to say are decent threats to make the team.

2. This team has 5 defensemen on one way contracts, 1 established two way(Karlsson) plus 1 RFA (Campoli). With the likes of Cowen, Wiercioch and maybe Gryba knocking at the door come training camp, the club might want to make some room in case one of them proves to be ready for prime time.

Savard unlikely..but

Sunday, June 27, 2010 · 3 comments

How great would it be to see one of the best Ottawa born players in the game today suiting up for his hometown team? However, that player would have to be in good health and his contract must not be cumbersome. For these reasons, the Sens interest in Orleans native Marc Savard will be lukewarm at best, but let's look at the numbers to at least make the argument.

The soon to be 33 year old centre is just starting a new 7 year contract with an annual cap hit of just over 4 million dollars. A bargain for the 8th highest scoring centre in the league since lockout. I'm not suggesting a trade here as it would make no sense, but just to put Savard's numbers into perspective, 6 years Savard's junior, Jason Spezza is 6th on the same list, 7 points ahead of the Boston pivot with a 7 million dollar cap hit.

Savard is signed for two more years than Spezza but the last two years are worth .525m per season. In fact the 3rd last year of Savard's deal (which would be the last year of Spezza's) is only worth 1.5m. On paper, Savard is signed through his 39th birthday, but in reality it's only until he's 36. The last 3 years of his contract could be bought out for a cap hit of .283m for 6 years. Spezza's contract also tapers off as it goes but the last year of his deal still plays the then 32 year old 4 million dollars.

As mentioned the point here is not to suggest a trade involving the two point producing centres but to point out when you look closer at Savard's contract, trading him shouldn't be as tough for Peter Chiarelli as some might think. However, despite Ottawa being one of the team's Savard has waived his no trade clause for, I still doubt there is a deal to be made. The Bruins would likely have to take back a contract the Sens would like to shed. With Savard's list expanding to 5 teams on Thursday, Chiarelli might not have to go down that road as he peddles a high scoring centre with a great cap number that teams could essentially walk away from in 4 years.

David Rundblad video

Friday, June 25, 2010 · 0 comments

Found this video made last year after Rundblad was a St. Louis 1st rounder.

Horton factor...Spezza's worth

Wednesday, June 23, 2010 · 6 comments

Immediately after news of the Nathan Horton trade hit Sens fans began to wonder what Jason Spezza could fetch? Along with 4th liner Gregory Campbell, Horton landed the Panthers a top 4 D Dennis Wideman, the 15th overall pick and 3rd rounder next year.

Horton - W/C - 6'2, 229 lbs, 3rd overall in 2003 draft
-422 GP, 142 G, 153 A, 295 PTS, +27, 382 PIMS
-0 playoff games
-Asked new GM Dale Tallon for a trade. No trade clause kicks in July 1st.
-3 years left on current deal with a annual cap hit of 4 million dollars.

Spezza - C - 6'3, 215 lbs, 2nd overall in 2001 draft
-464 GP, 171 G, 304 A, 475 PTS, +73, 322 PIMS
-46 points in 46 career playoff games
-Suggested to GM Bryan Murray that he wouldn't "object" to a trade. NT kicks in July 1st.
-5 years left on current deal with annual cap hit of 7 million dollars.

Comparing their careers to date even the most ardent "Spezza hater" would have to admit he is the superior player, but in today's NHL that's not all that matters. Being just 2 years apart the age comparison is essentially a wash. So, the question is, would Spezza fetch more or less than Horton? If the contracts were similar you would have to say absolutely, but the extra 2 years and 23 million dollars in cap space changes the dynamics dramatically. That's not say Bryan Murray couldn't make still make a deal that makes sense, but he has his work cut out for him. By including RFA Campbell and taking back Wideman, Dale Tallon was actually able to save close to 1 million per season in cap space.

The Sens can't afford to be cornered into making a deal like last summer. If you are looking at the Horton trade to help set the market(essentially bringing 2 high end assets in 1 very good player and a top pick) then Bryan Murray can't trade Spezza unless he is able to land 3 high end assets with at least 1 of which being a very good player right now. This will be more difficult to do because of the difference in contracts between Spezza and Horton, but the Sens can't afford to move arguably their best asset just because he said he wouldn't object to it.

The other factor to consider here is can both sides get the genie back in the bottle if Spezza stays? One has to wonder what will happen in the stands, in the papers, on the radio and online the first time the club and Spezza hit a slump next season. It might not be pretty and Murray was to be wondering now if "not objecting" to a trade could be amped up to quote Denis Lemieux "trade me right ****ing now"! Now hang up.

Sens brass on Spezza, Volchenkov and draft

Monday, June 21, 2010 · 3 comments

It was an interesting morning down at Scotiabank Place. For the first time, G.M. Bryan Murray confirmed that Jason Spezza brought up being traded in their end of season meeting. Murray said Spezza didn't ask for a trade but wouldn't object to be being dealt. The team's number one centre made if clear that maybe it's time to look around judging on how he is being received.

This doesn't mean a trade will happen, but make no mistake, this isn't a rumour. It's a fact that the Sens are looking into trade possibilities involving Jason Spezza. When one player's cap hit is 7 million dollars it's tough to find fits. Florida could be one. The following is not a rumour but just a construction of how something like this could go down. Repeat, NOT A RUMOUR:

Like Spezza, Nathan Horton's no trade kicks in on July 1st. New G.M. Dale Tallon has said only Booth and Kulikov would be considered close to untouchables. He wants to make a splash and has said specifically he wants a big centre to take the load off Stephen Weiss. If the Sens are going to lose Volchenkov, wouldn't Keith Ballard be a nice replacement? Hard hitting, mobile and locked into a decent contract. Combined, Horton and Ballard have a cap hit of 8.2 million. The Sens could kick in a young player in that range to make it work. Since the Sens would be giving up the best player in the trade they might even be able to pry one of Florida's early 2nd round picks out Tallon's hands.

Speaking of trades, Murray did say he expects to make a couple whether it's Volchenkov's rights, Spezza or whomever to try and move some money around and improve the hockey club. Murray also reiterated that he expects unrestricted free agent defenseman Anton Volchenkov to go to market. No surprise here.

Tim Murray and Pierre Dorion also met the media today. T. Murray said they have identified 20 players that they like in the first round and with the 16th pick will just take what falls to them. T. Murray also talked about trying to move up but noted how tough that could be seeing the club doesn't have a second round pick. He also noted that there are two players the club is high on that would make them consider trading down. That of course depends on what happens with the first 15 picks.

T. Murray also said the club is not in a position to draft by position, so if a highly ranked defenseman falls to them at 16, they'll take him. It should be noted that U.S. under 18 team blueliner Derek Forbort was recently in for a visit. Bob Mckenzie has him going at 11. I had him at 12 in my mock draft.

Speaking of which, after having some fun and putting Johan Larsson as Ottawa's first pick in my draft, I asked Dorion about the Swedish prospect. Dorion would only say he has him ranked anywhere from a 1st to 3rd round pick. The more we talked it was easy to tell that he likes the kid. Due to his unexpected breakout offensive performance at the U-18's, Dorion agreed that Larsson is truly one of wildcards in this draft. I look it at it like this. Larsson will be there at 16, might be there in the 2nd round(where the Sens don't have a pick), and won't be there in the 3rd. ISS has him ranked 29th and McKenzie has him at 45.

Mock Draft

Saturday, June 19, 2010 · 0 comments

Less than a week from the NHL entry draft I have looked over numerous guides and scouting reports to try and come to a consensus on how the 1st round might go down. The top 15 selections should more or less stay there with a little movement within. It's the bottom 15 that makes this first round interesting. There has to be 25 players that one could at least make and argument for a 1st round selection.

I'm not some donkey that pretends to have 1st hand knowledge on all these
players(there always seem to be a lot of them out there this time of year). This list was compiled by just comparing various guides and scouting reports. It's all for fun, so here we go.

-4 teams with no 1st round pick: TOR, CGY, N-J, PHI
-4 teams with 2 1st round picks: BOS, ATL, ANA, PHO
-11 teams with no 2nd round pick: TOR, CGY, PHI, T-B, OTT, PIT, BUF, VCR, WSH, S-J, NSH
-2 teams with 3 2nd round picks: FLA, CAR
-7 teams with 2 2nd round picks: EDM, BOS, CBJ, NYI, MIN, L-A, CHI


1. EDM - Taylor Hall W, Windsor- OHL
-I don't buy this "take the centre" crap(BTW, Hall is a natural centre who has been playing the wing). Hall is the premier player in this draft. I'll take Brian Kilrea's word for it. Hall should go number one.

2. BOS - Tyler Seguin C, Plymouth- OHL
-No brainer. Hall and Seguin have separated themselves from the pack. B's GM Peter Chiarelli is on the record saying he'll be taking one of those two forwards.

3. FLA - Erik Gudbranson D, Kingston- OHL
-The Panthers need help everywhere so why not take the best combination of toughness and skill on the blueline in the draft. The Orleans product becomes the highest drafted Ottawa product since Doug Smith went 2nd to L-A in '81.

4. CBJ - Mikael Granlund C, HIFK Helsinki- FinE
-Was coming off an injury as he performed poorly at U-20's in Saskatchewan, but was absolutely dominate at the U-18's this spring. The Jackets hope the search ends for Nash's centre as they grab this serious draft climber. Many scouts believe he has the most "hockey sense" in the draft.

5. NYI - Cam Fowler D, Windsor- OHL
-More than happy to see the smooth skating Spit fall to them here. Will join Carp's Calvin de Haan on the blueline of the future to compliment Tavares, Okposo and Bailey up front.

6. TBL - Brandon Gormley D, Moncton- QMJHL
-Steve Yzerman knows championship teams are anchored by stud blueliners. Has to take the last of the big three available in this draft here.

7. CAR - Brett Connelly W, Prince George- WHL
-Medical records and personal testing will determine how far this top 5 talent falls. If his hip is fine, you'll see this natural scorer lighting it up Staal's wing in a couple years. Potential steal at 7.

8. ATL - Nino Niederreiter W, Portland- WHL
-This gritty and talented Swiss winger made a name for himself at the U-20's. Put him in your top 6 with Kane in a couple of years and the perennially soft Thrashers could be much tougher to play against.

9. MIN - Nick Bjugstad C, Blaine- MN-HS
-Size and skill down the middle is a good way to build your team. Slot this high schooler from Blaine, Minnesota (that is already pushing 6'4) behind Koivu in a couple of years and watch him grow into number one role.

10. NYR - Jeff Skinner C, Kitchener- OHL
-They went for expensive busts in Gomez and Jokinen looking for a top end centre. Why not try drafting one? Not an explosive skater but Skinner has great hockey acumen and can flat out score. 20 goals in 20 playoff games with Kitchener this spring. That'll do pig. That'll do.

11. DAL - Ryan Johansen C, Portland- WHL
-Brad Richards has one year left on his mammoth contract. With one more year of seasoning in junior this 6'2 playmaking centre who does everything well might be ready to begin what should be a long and steady NHL career.

12. ANA - Derek Forbort D, Under 18-USHL
-Next to Gudbranson, probably the best combo of grit and skill on the back end in the draft. A future Ducks blueline that includes Forbort, Gardiner and Sbisa looks bright.

13. PHO - Alex Burmistrov C, Barrie- OHL
-Lumped in with Tarasenko and Kabanov, Burmistrov is viewed as the safest high end Russian talent in the draft as he excelled with Barrie in the OHL. Safest, as in most likely to not bolt for the KHL. Turris and Burmistrov would look pretty good down the middle in Winnipeg in 2 years. Did I say that last part out loud?

14. STL -Vladimir Tarasenko W, Novosibirsk- KHL
-With a slew of good young forwards already making their mark at the NHL level, the Blues can afford to swing for the fences. They take this top 5 talent, wait a year for his KHL contract to expire next summer....and hope. Halak is going to save the day anyway right?

15. BOS - Dylan McIlrath D, Moose Jaw- WHL
-With Seguin already in tow, why not grab a defenseman that's already over 6'4. McIlrath made huge strides this season and many believe it is just the start of an upward trend for this hulking d-man with a mean streak. Learning from Chara couldn't hurt either.

16. OTT - Johan Larsson W, Brynas- SJ18A
-Many guides don't even have this guy in their top 100. Coming out party was at the World under 18's. If Granlund was the best in Minsk, this guy was a close number 2. At 5'10 200 lbs, this tenacious winger plays a solid two way game. Here's what ISS says:
"Larsson is a coaches dream, he will lie out to block shots, get back and wrestle big players in front of the net, is intelligent with the puck and shows no fear going into the corners or driving the net. Larsson is extremely powerful and driven to succeed".
Does that description remind you of anyone?
Larrson will be the biggest climber at this draft. I'm betting the Sens make it so nabbing him at 16. Remember, Karlsson wasn't rated by many to be a 1st rounder and Bryan Murray took him at 15.

17. COL - Jack Campbell G, Under 18- USHL
-The surprising Av's rode youthful enthusiasm and stellar play from Craig Anderson to an unexpected playoff berth. Campbell fills the need for a bona fide blue chipper in the organization between the pipes. Note: The other team that could most likely take Campbell earlier would appear to be Tampa, but after what we saw in the playoffs, will Yzerman spend the 6th overall pick on a goalie? We'll see.

18. NSH - Austin Watson W, Peterborough- OHL
-The trade from Windsor helped this 6'3 inch winger emerge as a star in his own right. Solid two way winger that can check and score. Probably a steal at 18.

19. LAK - Emerson Etem C/W, Medicine Hat- WHL
-One of many emerging prospects starting to come out of California(the Gretzky effect?). Can play centre or the wing and has proven to be an effective scorer and penalty killer. Many scouts see him as raw, but that can also be viewed as a positive with so much room to grow. The Kings are thrilled to get a California kid at 19.

20. PIT - Quinton Howden W, Moose Jaw- WHL
-Every guide I've read implies that Howden is already close to being a complete player. He just needs to fill out that 6'2 inch frame and get some pro experience. Often played against the other team's top players and provided excellent secondary scoring. A solid natural winger. Something the Penguins dearly need.

21. DET - Jonathan Merrill D, Under 18- USHL
-Other team's needs and situations see this versatile defender fall to 21. Many guides have him going between 10-15. Great hockey sense and poise with the puck and over 6'3 has the size to match up against power forwards. Lidstrom can't play forever, time to reload. An absolute steal at 21, but it's the Wings, what else is new?

22. PHO - Jarred Tinordi D, Under 18- USHL
-The son of Mark is a chip off the old block. Bigger than dad at 6'5 and just as mean. Has the potential to be a prototypical shutdown blueliner for years to come. Will compliment last year's first rounder Ekman-Larsson as both with grow together with the solid group of young forwards.

23. BUF - Mark Pysyk D, Edmonton- WHL
-Compares to Fowler in skating ability, but has played on some bad teams in Edmonton. Considered to have great hockey sense and huge potential. The knock is many scouts see him as soft, which is why he's available at 23. Could look good in a couple years with Tyler Myers.

24. ATL - Riley Sheahan C, Notre Dame- CCHA
-Great playmaker with very good hockey sense but falls to 24 because of recent public intoxication charge. Don't read into that. "Young teenager has few beers and makes an ass of himself". Hands up if you think that's unique? Give the kid a break. The Thrashers will, and are thrilled to get him here.

25. VCR - Evgeny Kuznetsov C, Chelyabinsk- KHL
-If not for the "Russian Factor" this highly skilled centre is long gone by now. There are rumblings that he he'll play in the CHL next season which could see him climb. If he's available here, the Canucks just can't pass on this skilled centre that could join Henrik Sedin and Kesler down the middle in a couple years.

26. WSH - Kirill Kabanov W, Moncton- QMJHL
-Once thought of as one of the most elite prospects in this draft, but what a horrible year for his reputation. After leaving Moncton mid season due to internal altercations he was then kicked off the Russian U-18 team. He said all the right things and had answers for everything during an engaging scrum at the combine. If there is one team that can make the Russian feel comfortable, it's Washington. If this works out, the rich just got richer.

27. MTL - Tyler Pitlick C, Mankato- WCHA
-As safe a pick that there is at this point. The nephew of former Sens D-man Lance Pitlick is more skilled than his uncle and has the potential to be a solid 2nd line power centre. One of those prospects that doesn't do anything great but everything very well.

28. SJS - Tyler Toffoli W, Ottawa- OHL
-Well, the Sharks are on the clock with an Ottawa 67 rated in the vicinity of their pick. That means Tyler is wearing teal. This dangerous goal scorer has seen his stock rise to the point where he's a 1st round pick.

29. ANA - Beau Bennett W, Penticton- BCHL
-The Kings took one California kid in the 1st round, the Ducks grab the other. All Bennett did was lead the BCHL in scoring as a 17 year old rookie. Some question his conditioning but the same can be said for many prospects. Very high ceiling. Worth the gamble here.

30. CHI - John MacFarland C, Sudbury- OHL
-Scouts have soured on this former 1st overall OHL pick due to a perceived lack of desire. "All the tools, not toolbox". The Stanley Cup champs can afford to take the risk and hope for a home run with this extremely talented centre that wowed many with his testing at the combine.

Honourable mentions:

Jaden Schwartz C, Tri-City- USHL
-83 points in 60 games this season. Could be a late bloomer just scratching the surface.

Teemu Pulkkinen W, Jokerit- FinE
-Playing with Granlund as his centre he led the U-18's in scoring.

Stanislav Galiev C/W, Saint John- QMJHL
-Obligatory Russian factor comment, but Galiev is already in North America after a solid season with Saint John.

Brock Nelson C, Warroad- MN-HS
-Always tough to judge American high schoolers, but this 6'2 200 lb centre has people wondering where the ceiling will be.

Ludvig Rensfeldt LW, Brynas- SJ18A
-Very competitive Swede has the skill and hockey sense to excel at both ends of the ice. Isn't shy about using his 6'3 inch frame to his advantage.

Brad Ross W, Portland- WHL
-Every guide pretty much says the same thing. Decent skill, but his real edge comes with his ability to get under the skin of the opponent. A classic agitator that can also play.

Which draft guide do you like the most?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010 · 2 comments

We'll just look at top 10's from various guides.

Questions to ponder:

-What top 10 do you agree with the most?

-Which guide do you trust the most?

-As it's generally believed that the Sens would like to draft a skilled forward . What forward listed below would you be most happy to see fall to #16?

Hockey News
1. (F)Hall, 2. (F)Seguin, 3. (D)Fowler, 4. (F)Connelly, 5. (D)Gudbranson, 6. (F)Burmistrov, 7. (D)Gormley, 8. (F)Niederreiter, 9. (F)Bjugstad, 10. (F)Granlund

ISS
1. (F)Hall, 2. (F)Seguin, 3. (D)Gormley, 4. (F)Tarasenko, 5. (D)Fowler, 6. (F)Niederreiter, 7. (D)Gudbranson, 8. (F)Johansen, 9. (F)Skinner, 10. (D)Forbort

Mckeen's
1. (F)Hall, 2. (F)Seguin, 3. (G)Campbell, 4. (D)Gudbranson, 5. (D)Gormley, 6. (D)Fowler, 7. (F)Connolly, 8. (F)Johansen, 9. (F)Granlund, 10. (F)Niederreiter

Red Line
1. (F)Hall, 2. (F)Seguin, 3. (F)Granlund, 4. (F)Tarasenko, 5. (D)Gormley, 6. (D)Fowler, 7. (F)Skinner, 8. (F)Niederreiter, 9. (F)Johansen, 10. (G)Campbell

Future Considerations
1. (F)Hall, 2. (F)Seguin, 3. (D)Fowler, 4. (F)Connolly, 5. (D)Gudbranson, 6. (D)Gormley, 7. (F)Niederreiter, 8. (F)Tarasenko, 9. (G)Campbell, 10. (F)Burmistrov

The Hockey Spy's

1. (F)Hall, 2. (F)Seguin, 3. (D)Fowler, 4. (F)Niederreiter, 5. (D)Gudbranson, 6. (D)Gormley, 7. (F)Etem, 8. (F)Connelly, 9. (F)Skinner, 10. (F)Johansen

Crohn's and Colitis Fundraiser

Monday, June 7, 2010 · 0 comments

I'm emceeing and participating in the Ottawa Heel ’n’ Wheel-a-Thon event this Sunday to benefit the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada. As 1 of over 200,000 Canadians living with IBD I encourage you to support me or anyone else you know participating.

Thanks

Steve

About the Heel ’n’ Wheel-a-Thon

·The event will take place along Colonel By Drive, and the registration site is in Carleton University’s Anniversary Park. Enter Carleton University Campus via University Dr. (off Bronson St. west of Sunnyside St.) to Anniversary Park parking lot , and go to the far end of the lot. You will see the registration tents from there.

·Each year approximately 3,000 Canadians of all ages enjoy a fun day in the sun walking, biking, rolling or strolling, in support of the mission to find the cure. This year our goal in Ottawa-Gatineau (on Sunday, June 13th on Colonel By Drive) is to have 200 participants and to raise more than $90,000.

·Nationally, the CCFC’s goal is to raise $2 million from Heel ‘n’ Wheel-a-Thon events taking place throughout the month of June. Last year the Heel ‘n’ Wheel-a-Thon raised $1.7 million for research, to find a cure for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.


About IBD

·IBD is a chronic and debilitating disease affecting more than 200,000 Canadian men, women and children. Just over half this number have Crohn’s disease and the rest have ulcerative colitis. One in every 160 Canadians has IBD.

·Most people are diagnosed before the age of 30.

·Over 9,200 new cases are diagnosed every year.

·Economic costs for IBD are conservatively estimated at 1.8 billion per year in Canada in 2008.

·IBD is about three times more common than multiple sclerosis or HIV; about as common as Type I diabetes or epilepsy; and somewhat less common than schizophrenia or rheumatoid arthritis.

About CCFC

·CCFC invests over 80% of its fundraising proceeds in research and education.

·To date, CCFC has invested more than $61 million in major medical research projects and is one of the world’s leading sources of non-governmental funding of IBD research.

·CCFC was started in 1974 by a group of concerned parents who saw the need to raise funds for research into IBD and to educate patients and their families about these diseases.

·CCFC has more than 65,000 supporters and includes members in approximately 80 local volunteer groups across Canada, supported by regionally based staff.

66 years ago

Sunday, June 6, 2010 · 0 comments

I usually stick to sports on this blog but today I feel compelled to share one soldier's story to help drive home the sacrifice that thousands of Canadians made on the beaches of Normandy 66 years ago today.

Both of my grandfathers were there. I had the privilege of going back with my maternal grandfather in 2006, where I was honoured to help him lay a wreath as part of the official ceremonies.



As we walked around the beach I tried to remember what worried me when I was 19. It probably had something to do with having enough money for pub night at Lakehead, and and that baseball's work stoppage was costing my Expos a shot at a World Series.

After landing on and surviving Juno Beach with The North Shore(New Brunswick) regiment, 19 year old Noel Stephen Horan wasn't so lucky in the coming days. While volunteering to support The Royal Winnipeg Rifles he was captured by the SS Hitler Youth Division in the nearby village Putot de Besin. As we also visited that site four years ago, he recounted that the SS had he and his fellow prisoners lined up, on their knees, to be executed. A superior officer arrived at the last second to make them prisoners rather than casualties.

Private Horan would spend the coming weeks walking(with the occasional cattle car ride) across France to his new home in Germany. While making the journey he told me they would often duck for cover as allied planes would attack not knowing some of their own were with the enemy. He remembers his captors stopping the march only to execute the prisoner standing right in front of him. The Nazis apparently had figured out that prisoner was Russian, and according to my grandfather, these Nazi's didn't take Russians prisoner.

While being held in Germany, Private Horan would turn 20 on Christmas day. Four months later the war was over and Americans arrived to liberate he and his fellow prisoners. Standing about 5'11, he weighed 95 pounds. I'm happy to say he rarely missed a meal after that before leaving us in the fall of 2008.

Four years ago we not only visited Juno Beach, but every major Canadian battlefield from both the first and second world wars. If you ever have the time and means to take such a trip, you'll be hard pressed to do anything else in your life that will make you feel more proud to be Canadian. You'll also have a greater appreciation for why we can never pay homage to what happened 66 years ago enough.

Seidenburg signing could be good news for Sens

Saturday, June 5, 2010 · 1 comments

The Boston Bruins have re-signed shot blocking d-man Dennis Seidenburg to a new 4 year contract worth 3.25 million per season. The soon to be 29 year old German is a late bloomer that led the league in blocked shots this season with 215. This season with Florida and Boston Seidenburg also chipped in with 4 goals and 28 assists for 32 points while averaging 22:55 of ice time per game. In 374 career games Seidenburg has produced a 18 goals, 98 assists for 116 points

Anton Volchenkov averaged 20:41 of ice time this season and and 172 blocks in 15 fewer games than Seidenburg. Offensively, Volchenkov had 14 points, 5 off his career high. In 428 career games the 28 year old has 16 goals, 78 assists for 94 points.

I could go on with more comparisons but you get the point. If we believe that Anton Volchenkov is looking for a contract that averages at least 5 million dollars a season, is he really that much better that Dennis Seidenburg? If money wasn't an issue I'd still take Volchenkov on my team, but recent stats say the gap between the two isn't 1.75m a season. If nothing else, the Seidenburg signing drives home the point that paying Volchenkov 5 million a season doesn't make any sense. If that really is the number he's looking for, then fans will understand why there's no way he's staying. Let some other team overpay.

Less is more for Spezza

Thursday, June 3, 2010 · 4 comments

At this point. Jason Spezza has decided less in more. While attending an event in Toronto today, Spezza was asked about his "situation" during a media scrum. He basically reiterated what he told CTVOttawa last Friday night. When the media pushed for clarity some NHLPA staffers stepped in to make sure the questions were only about the event. Afterwards, Spezza backed out of some 1 on 1's that he had committed to. Read into that what you will.

Did Spezza ask for a trade?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010 · 4 comments

It sure sounds like he at least mentioned the possibility to Sens GM Bryan Murray. Whether or not that was just "end of season frustration"....time will tell.

We first broached the subject on the Healthy Scratches after Bryan Murray revealed to us during our season wrap interview that Spezza was emotional in his exit meeting, saying the booing and criticism really bothered him. Murray told us that he wanted to sit down with Spezza again in a few weeks when things settle down.

This past Friday night CTVOttawa caught up with Spezza at a minor hockey banquet:

When asked if he had asked for a trade Spezza responded with:

"I don't know, I don't know. I don't have a comment about that kind of stuff. I don't know where all this is coming from but whatever happens, happens. I don't know. I have nothing to....people need stuff to talk about I guess"


When asked if he wanted to be in Ottawa next year:

"Ya, I'm signed with Ottawa so if they wanna to have me here then I'm here, so you know I'm not going to get into anything that was talked about in our meetings or what went on but I'm gonna be here next year if they have me here"

Earlier today at the GM meetings in Philadelphia GM Bryan Murray had this to say:

"He was a little unhappy at the end of the year. I took it as being somewhat emotional more than anything. I haven't talked to him in the last few weeks. I hope before July 1st to have that conversation with him."

"I got an impression that he was quite unhappy at the end, I think the coverage he felt he got and the fan reaction a couple of times left him kind of wanting a little bit. But I don't think it's anything beyond that. My next conversation with him will be away from the emotion of playoff time to see what we can do and what we have to do."

"It's easy to say we should trade players. People don't have space for six or seven million dollar players - so that's an issue."


Spezza will surely be asked about this again tomorrow morning as he attends an event in Toronto. All of this talk is just that, talk. However, as we all read the tea leaves on this one, it sure sounds like Bryan Murray's next conversation with Spezza will go a long way in determining if Sens fans will have a repeat of last off season.

What not to do during Combine Interview

Tuesday, June 1, 2010 · 0 comments

After getting a player's perspective on the recent NHL draft combine from Erik Gudbranson yesterday, I decided to go to someone on the other side of table today, as Sens Director of Player Personnel Pierre Dorion joined us on the show. As many of you have heard, the most common question to a player that went through the combine has been "what was the strangest question you were asked"? Well, I essentially asked Pierre "what was the biggest red flag answer you received"? How about a bold faced lie.

Dorion says he and the other members of the front office staff challenged a young man by asking why he didn't play very well when they were there to scout him. The player responded with "because I didn't play". Dorion then proceeded to tell the player that there were three members of the Sens staff there that night.

These interviews are all about gauging character. The lie is bad enough, but to insult the intelligence of a prospective employer with a fib that can be irrefutably be thrown right back in your face is so bad it's hilarious. What would that player say to the coach after turning the puck over when he gets back to the bench? Eddie Murphy's act comes to mind...."It wasn't me"



Needless to say, the club won't be taking that player in the draft. Dorion said the club will be bringing in 6 or 7 players for further testing and interviews. That process has already begun as 6'1 175lb right winger Beau Bennett just left town. The California native just led the BCHL in scoring as a rookie with 41 goals, 120 points in just 56 games. Bennett is committed to the University of Denver for next season. The Hockey News has him as the 35th ranked prospect while Central Scouting has him ranked as the 32nd Domestic Skater.

Two more tidbits:

It should only be a matter of days before the Sens to make an announcement on the signing of 2004 5th round pick, right winger, Roman Wick. The 24 year old former Red Deer Rebel is considered to be one of the best forwards in Europe and really opened some eyes with his strong play for Switzerland at the Olympics.

Today was the deadline for NHL teams to sign their "non NCAA" 2008 draft picks. There was a lapse in a transfer agreement with Sweden for a stretch so the Sens still retain the rights to talented 4th Round pick Andre Petersson despite not signing him.

Brendan Bell

Thursday, May 27, 2010 · 0 comments

Just told us he has signed a one year deal with Avangard Omsk of the KHL. That's the same team Jaromir Jagr plays on. Brendan is playing 100 holes of golf this Monday at Eagle Creek fo the Make a Wish Foundation. Here's how you can sponsor him.

http://my.e2rm.com/personalPage.aspx?registrationID=892487

Lansdowne Video

· 0 comments

Here is the link to the 7 minute video that was used to unveil the "New Lansdowne Park". You have to see video to get the whole idea. The still photos don't do it justice. The stadium looks awesome!

http://www.ottawasun.com/news/ottawa/2010/05/27/14147736.html

Sens News

Thursday, May 20, 2010 · 0 comments

Sens Assistant GM Tim Murray joined us on the show today:

-There is a verbal deal with Mike Brodeur to come back to organization for another season

-The Club has told the Soo that Robin Lehner will turn pro to join Brodeur in Bingo

-Still waiting to hear back from Roman Wick on the 1 year entry level offer that has been offered to the Swiss star

-Expects to get something done with overage juniors Corey Cowick and Mike Hoffman to play in Bingo

-Believes that Wiercioch is the closest to cracking the line-up between he, Gryba and Cowen

-Doesn't expect to sign Andre Petterson or Jakob Silfverberg this off season

-Not optimistic on re-signing Volchenkov but could get something done with one of if not both Matt Cullen and Andy Sutton

-Have spoken to Peter Regin's agent once already. Doesn't sound too concerned about getting something done with any of the RFA's

Thursday, May 6, 2010 · 0 comments

Just a follow up to my cap situation post. When I recently asked Bryan Murray about the tight situation the GM responded with

"We are going to have to do one or two moves on the trade market....There are some people outside the organization we will look at that we hope to make some kind of deal to get them to Ottawa.....We've got a couple of extra forwards and a defenseman or two that might get us soemthing a little different."

When asked about when he'd like to know where he stands with Volchenkov, Murray said he'd like to know by the middle of June, a week before the draft.

Meanwhile, while being interviewed on Toronto radio today Murray was more firm in where he stood with Jason Spezza, saying barring something drastic, number 19 will be back as the team's number one centre in the fall.

Sens Capology 101

Tuesday, April 27, 2010 · 0 comments

Reports have indicated that the salary cap could rise by nine hundred thousand dollars for next season. For the purpose of this blog let's assume that the cap will be set at 57.7 million. With that, here's a look at what The Sens are dealing with:

One way contracts

FORWARD - 10
Spezza 7m, Kovalev 5m, Alfredsson 4.875m, Michalek 4.33m, Fisher 4.2m, Cheechoo 3m, Kelly 2.125m, Neil 2m, Ruutu 1.3m, Shannon .625m
TOTAL 34,458,333

DEFENSEMEN - 4
Kuba 3.7, m, Phillips 3.5m, Lee .875m, Carkner 700m
TOTAL 8,775,000

GOALIES - 2
Leclaire 3.8m, Elliott .850m
TOTAL 4,650,000

TOTAL of committed one way salary for 2010-11 season is 47,883,333


There are four players that are restricted free agents that need new contracts. Based on what they made this past season, Peter Regin and Jesse Winchester must be offered 10% increases in order to retain their rights while Nick Foligno and Chris Campoli must be offered 5% increases. Regin, Winchester and Campoli have arbitration rights. Here is what it will take(bare minimum, knowing it will certainly take more) to get all four resigned.

Foligno 825,250, Campoli 708,750, Regin 682,000, Winchester 632,500
TOTAL 2,848,500

The Sens will still be dinged with buy out cap hits on Daniel Alfredsson and Ray Emery.
Alfredsson 700,000, Emery 562,500
TOTAL 1,262,500

Next. Let's assume that 3 entry level players on two way contracts make the big club. Erik Karlsson (big reach there), Bobby Butler and Zack Smith.
Karlsson 1,300,000, Butler 900,000, Smith 533,333
TOTAL 2,783,333

Another thing to keep in mind is the possibility of a one of the young defensemen (Cowen, Wiercioch, Gryba) jumping up and having a big camp, but we'll leave that alone for now.

Adding up our four totals that has Ottawa spending 54,777,666 on 15 forwards, six defensemen and two goalies.

That leaves Bryan Murray with just 2,992,334 in cap space.

Keep in mind that the 54,777,666 assumes that the four RFA's to resign at the minimum. Not happening.

This number will be cut a bit as we know that Murray will not carry 15 forwards. Recent history has shown he will carry seven defensemen and maybe 13 forwards. Another cut will likely come in the form of buying out the remaining 3.5 million (3 million in cap dollars) on Jonathan Cheechoo's contract. That would mean a cap hit on each of the next two seasons at 1.16m rather than three million in the 2010-11 season.

So, the point being. Unless there are other substantial moves looming, the math tells us Bryan Murray doesn't have a hope in hell of resigning any of the three key unrestricted free agents in Anton Volchenkov, Andy Sutton or Matt Cullen.

Out on the Shield

Friday, April 23, 2010 · 0 comments

No matter what happens in this series, you can't say the Sens mailed it in. Down 4-0 in game four there was no quit at Scotiabank Place and down 3-1 in the series there was no quit last night at the Mellon Arena. Reeling off three straight wins against the defending Stanley Cup champions might still be improbable for this banged up group, but last night's effort in enemy territory means Sens fans can hold their heads high when talking about their team's character.

How would you like to be a Devils fan today having to explain away that lethargic effort on home ice to lose to Brian Boucher's Flyers in five games? The Sens have at least served notice that if they're going out, it will be on their shield.

Non Contact Hockey?

Saturday, April 17, 2010 · 0 comments

I cannot believe some of the stuff coming from the Pittsburgh papers today on the hit Andy Sutton delivered on Jordan Leopold. Here's a sampling:

Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"Penguins should get more good news today. If the NHL doesn't suspend Sutton for at least one game, it will be a crime because he led with his elbow".

Rob Rossi PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
"Many Penguins players, though not all, felt Senators defenseman Andy Sutton went too far with a head-shot blow on defenseman Jordan Leopold late in the first period. Leopold landed on the ice, hands at his sides, and was assisted to the dressing room by a team trainer".

Josh Yohe MCKEESPORT DAILY NEWS
"Despite launching his elbow into Leopold's head — and the NHL has been making headlines lately because of its desire to crack down on head shots — the league won't be suspending Sutton because he did not extend his elbow in the collision".

Number one: After watching the replay several times, it's abundantly clear that Sutton never leaves the ice until after he's made contact with Leopold.
Number two: Sutton's triceps only makes contact with Leopold's head after he's driven it through Leopold's shoulder.
Number three: Sutton has four to five inches on Leopold. Not to mention Leopold was even shorter at the time of impact as he had his head down while in a semi squatting position.

We all feel bad for Jordan Leopold. We never want to see anyone get injured, but the only thing Andy Sutton was guilty of on that play was being big and strong. Did anyone really piss and moan when Craig Adams caught an unsuspecting Daniel Alfredsson with a huge hit just before Christmas? Even Alfredsson admitted that it was his fault saying he has to be more aware of where he is on the ice. If we're going to take the high impact collisions out of hockey then count me out. I'll just go to the Ice Capades.

The most reasonable statement coming from Pittsburgh was offered by fellow hard hitting d-man Brooks Orpik(who knows but for the grace of god go I). "it seemed like a pretty good hit to me, to be honest. You never want to see anybody get hurt, but that was someone, from watching video, he likes to step up like that in the neutral zone. If anything, maybe Leopold was in a vulnerable position, leaning forward"."Sutton's a guy who plays hard. I don't think he was out there to hurt guys."

Exactly. Leopold put himself in a bad spot and compounded his problem but not being aware of who was on the ice, and not keeping his head up. Contact Hockey 101. As far as the back and forth Sutton had with a Pens fan....errrrrr.....reporter after game, check out the latest from Ian Mendes.

http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/2010/04/17/sutton_mendes/

The Curse of Heatley?

Thursday, April 15, 2010 · 0 comments

After whining his way out of Ottawa, Dany Heatley continues to stick it to the Sens.

-Aquired from San Jose for his Heatness: Milan Michalek, Jonathan Cheechoo and a 2nd Rd pick.
-Signed to help offset the loss of his Heatness's production: Alexei Kovalev

Cheechoo: essentially cut from the team just before the Olympic break
Kovalev: late in an inconsistent season tears ACL, season over
Michalek: tears ACL late in the season, tears it completely in game one of the playoffs, done
2nd Rd pick/Andy Sutton: beware the curse of the Heater....I'm just saying

BTW. The annual cap hits for Kovalev, Michalek and Kuba account for around 23 percent of the 56.8 million allowed per team under the CBA. Yikes. We'll see if this team can overcome.

Sens-Pens prediction

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 · 0 comments

First off. I generally hate predicting anything. Because really?! Who the hell knows? With that out of the way, here we go:



Senators checkmarks

-Core players have experience of getting to a Stanley Cup Final.

-These same players were part of only two teams to beat the Pens in the last three years(Detroit). The likes of Alfredsson, Fisher, Kelly, Spezza, Phillips and Volchenkov won't be sucked into to giving the Pens too much respect.

-Speaking of core players, when Pittsburgh swept Ottawa 2 years ago, Fisher and Kelly missed the whole series, Alfredsson played in two games on one leg and Spezza gutted it out on a sprained MCL.

-The team has only played four playoff games in the last two years. Fatigue is not an issue.

-Top to bottom this is the meanest blueline the franchise has ever had.

-An 11 game winning streak doesn't happen by accident. This team knows it has the ability to get hot and beat anybody.



Penguins checkmarks

-Home ice advantage

-They are battle and title tested. Two straight finals and one Stanley Cup. 'Nuff said on that.

-Crosby, Malkin and Staal make the Penguins the deepest down the middle in the league.

-Crosby is just flat out a winner who decided he can be a 50 goal scorer too.

-If he really is healthy now, Malkin should be well rested between his time off with injury and Russia's poor showing at the Olympics. Ya, he was named playoff MVP last year, not Sid. Scary.

-Marc-Andre Fleury is in the conversation of being the best big game goalie in the game today(See two finals and one Cup in 2 years).

-Sergei Gonchar is already everything the Sens hope Erik Karlsson will become. An elite puck moving, point producing defenseman.



Sens X's

-Half the roster has little or no playoff experience. Including both goaltenders. Zero games for both

-High end skill is not as good as Pittsburgh's high end skill

-Missing a top four defenseman and a top six forward hurts any team. No matter what you might personally think about Kuba and Kovalev, the minutes they play will have to continue to be absorbed by committee.

Pens X's

-Injuries to Chris Kunitz and Matt Cooke hurt the team in the grit and "agitator' dept.

-Playing into June for a 3rd straight season is improbable. The question is, will attrition rear it's ugly head in round one?

-Is Malkin truly healthy or he is just gutting it out. How effective will he be?

Prediction

-I don't #*$%ing know! But Sens in 6.

Kovalev's contract and cap future

Saturday, April 10, 2010 · 0 comments

With another year left on his contract at 5 million dollars, Alex Kovalev has suffered a serious knee injury which will require surgery. At 37 years of age the question of what's next has to be asked. Should Kovalev's injury be too much for him to overcome at this stage of his career the Sens won't be on the hook for the 5 million dollars, their insurer will. This is a piece from September 2008 on SportsBusinessDaily.com that explains the process:

NHL Insurance Plan Covers Player Contracts For Seven Years

The NHL's insurance plan insures player contracts for seven years, and "beyond that, if the player gets hurt, the team is on the hook for the full amount of his contract," according to Luke DeCock of the Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER. As part of the plan, which the NHL purchases through New York-based insurance broker BWD Group, NHL teams are "required to insure a handful of players through a 'temporary total disability' program administered by the league." Each team "pays a premium based on the salaries of its five highest-paid players, but is free to allocate that coverage how it wishes." NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said that "typically, a team will extend coverage to as many as seven players." Insurance coverage "kicks in when a player misses at least 30 games," and insuring a player under the league program "costs about 5[%] of his salary." But Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford said, "When you get to a certain dollar amount, the premiums keep skyrocketing. I wish it was easier to get each (player) insured, but we can't do that." DeCock noted individual teams "are free to pursue additional coverage, but the heavy premiums make it a losing proposition." Rutherford said that "seeking private insurance to cover a longer deal is prohibitively expensive." The Hurricanes this season "will pay almost $1[M] for $19[M] of coverage through the league program, but even that process isn't simple," as insurers "may balk at something as specific as an individual body part." Rutherford said that the Hurricanes "were able to insure [RW] Justin Williams last season despite a previous injury to his right knee." Williams missed more than three months with a knee injury and the team received insurance payments, but they "wouldn't be able to insure that knee again this season"


Since Kovalev only signed a 2 year deal and he is the third highest paid player on the club, one would assume the Sens put contract under their umbrella when they allocated insurance coverage. So with that covered off the next issue is the salary cap.

In lay terms, the CBA states that any multi year contract given to a player when he is over the age of 35(as of June 30 of the League Year in which the SPC is to be effective) cannot come off the books. It doesn't matter if the player is injured, retired, or sent to the minors(To be fair, if the player is in the minors then the club saves $100,000. Still not the kind of discount that will really help matters).

So in other words, the club is screwed......unless....you are granted a long term injury exemption by the NHL. Something that infuriated other G-M's in September of 2006 when the Devils G-M Lou Lamoriello was granted the exemption to get out from under Alexander Mogilny's contract.

http://v1.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20061003.wdevils3/BNStory/Sports

The precedent is there.

Now all of this is based on the "what if" scenario that at 37 years of age Kovalev can't return from this knee injury. It's a big what if. If things do get to that stage though, G-M Bryan Murray does have the tools within the CBA to get out from under Kovalev's contract in real dollars and in the cap world. Food for thought.

Info on new Sens signing

Wednesday, April 7, 2010 · 0 comments

Yesterday the Sens made an unconventional signing by dipping into Tier 2 Junior A to grab David Dziurzynski( Dur-zin -ski ). The 20 year old forward agreed to a 3 year entry level contract after wrapping up a an impressive season with the Port Alberni Bulldogs of the BCHL, racking up 74 points and 79 PIMs in 57 games. Last year, While playing in the AJHL in his hometown of Lloydminister(best name for a town ever,) Dziurzynski had 185 PIMs in just 54 games. The 6,3 205 pounder isn't shy.



At this level, Dziurzynski has proven he's got the goods. He shows nice speed and skill on this beauty.



The question remains why would the Sens feel compelled to sign a 20 year Tier 2 player? The same reason they signed Bobby Butler and Jesse Winchester. It costs them nothing(in terms of an asset) to take a look. The club knows Dziurzynski is a bit of project as he will start next season in the AHL. However, even though they didn't need to spend an asset to acquire him, the Sens are spending real money (500,000, 550,000, 600,000 if he plays in NHL, 50,000, 52,500, 57,500 if he plays in the AHL) and using one of the 50 contracts they are allowed to have out under the CBA.


I've attached the official release at the bottom of the post. I also exchanged emails with the Bulldogs play by play man. Here is how Evan Hammond describes Dziurzynski:

He uses his size well. Large wingspan allows him to protect the puck well, at least at this level. He is primarily a passer "I'm not a goal scorer" he used to say during his interviews throughout the season. Once he started shooting the puck more and being a little more selfish, he ended up leading the team in goals in the playoffs.

Here is a link to the Alberni Valley Times story.
http://www2.canada.com/albernivalleytimes/news/story.html?id=7326f117-af9d-46ac-b37d-3dc76f1b0104&k=35502&p=1

For more info on how this story came together in BC, check out Evan's blog.
http://www.hammersdogs.blogspot.com/

Here is the release from the hockey club.

Senators Sign CJHL Forward David Dziurzynski

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 6, 2010) - Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray announced today the club has signed free-agent forward David Dziurzynski to a three-year entry-level contract.

Dziurzynski, 20, recently completed his third season in the Canadian Junior Hockey League and first with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs of the British Columbia Hockey League. The Bulldogs acquired his rights in a trade from the Lloydminster Bobcats of the Alberta Junior Hockey League in July 2009.

During the 2009-10 season, Dziurzynski helped Alberni Valley place first in the BCHL's Coastal Conference, scoring 21 goals while adding 53 assists and 79 penalty minutes over 57 games. He had 26 multi-point games, six of which were three-point games, four at four points and one contest at five.

The native of Lloydminster, Alta., led the Bulldogs in playoff scoring with nine goals, 10 assists and eight penalty minutes in 13 games. Alberni Valley fell four games to three to the Powell River Kings in their first appearance in the conference final.

The 6-3, 205-pound forward played the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons for the AJHL's Lloydminster Bobcats. Dziurzynski scored 12 goals and added 25 assists for 37 points while also serving 185 penalty minutes in 54 games in 2008-09. He had eight goals, 12 assists and 82 penalty minutes in 52 games for Lloydminster in 2007-08.

Butler is in

Wednesday, March 31, 2010 · 0 comments

Bobby Butler just told us he will play tomorrow night vs the Hurricanes.

The kids are coming

Monday, March 29, 2010 · 0 comments

How many times have we heard from G-M Bryan Murray about the club's "gap" in drafting and developing? Well, we're about to get first hand look at the "new wave" of prospects. On a very busy day the Sens have announced the free agent signing of Hobey Baker Finalist Bobby Butler. The University of New Hampshire co-captain led the NCAA in goal scoring this season with 29. Butler has agreed to a two year entry level contract, which means he is on a waiver exempt two way contract for the rest of this season and next. The soon to be 23 year old will meet the team in Washington and could play against the Capitals. Murray said Butler will likely get in a couple of games before the end of the regular season.

Also today:

-The Sens are on the verge of signing University of Denver d-man Patrick Wiercioch to an entry level contract. When it's completed, the 2008 2nd round pick will report to Ottawa.

-Boston University captain Eric Gryba is also starting his pro career, as the 2006 3rd rounder is reporting to Binghamton

-2009 2nd round pick Robin Lehner is also reporting to Bingo. After starring with the OHL's Soo Greyhounds in his first season in North America, the teenager was given the option of coming straight to Ottawa as a 3rd stringer, but insisted he wanted to play. You gotta love that attitude.

-Meanwhile, with Spokane down 3 games to 2 in their WHL playoff series, 2009 first round pick Jared Cowen could soon be on his way to Binghamton/Ottawa.

Look for all five of these prospects to eventually be with Sens for as long as they are in the post season. Bryan Murray has said he wants to have the kids around the team at this time of year so they can get a feel for what it takes to play in the National Hockey League.

In other news, it doesn't look like Anton Volchenkov will play against Washington, as Brian Lee has been called up. Corey Clouston insists that the injury is not serious. The club is still hopeful that Michalek and Kuba will be able to play a couple of games before the end of the regular season. Michalek's rehab is coming along well, but his overall status is still unknown.

Murray also told me that he has spoken to the agent for Matt Cullen and Andy Sutton (same guy). Nothing is on the front burner but the G-M has liked the way the two players have fit in. We'll see if one or both of them turn out to be more than just a rental.

Alfredsson off easy

Wednesday, March 17, 2010 · 0 comments

First things first. For over a decade now, It's been an absolute pleasure covering such a professional like Daniel Alfredsson. He has represented the team and the community on and off the ice in a manner that that would make anyone proud. However, last night's hit from behind on Francois Beauchemin cannot be overlooked just because Alfie is a good guy, and that kind of thing is usually out of character for the face of the franchise.



That inexcusable hit just proves that you don't have to be a dirty player to once in awhile make a dirty play. Leaf fans still bemoan the playoff hit on Tucker, and a frustrated Alfredsson did fire a slapshot at the end of a period at Scott Neidermayer in the Stanley Cup Final three years ago.

I've spent the last 2 days calling out Alexander Ovechkin for his reckless hit on Brian Campbell. Now I know the circumstances are little different but the biggest difference between the two is that Beauchemin got up and is OK, Campbell's done until May, if the Hawks are still playing. What are we talking about today if Beauchemin looked down instead of up when absorbing that hit in the numbers?

Like I said off the top. I respect the heck out of Daniel Alfredsson and still do. He made an ill advised play out of frustration and subsequently got off easy with only a two minute minor. That's exactly to type of hit we all talk about that has be taken out of the game. Sorry Sens fans, two minutes doesn't cut it.

Tiger's back...no women allowed

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 · 0 comments

So Tiger is coming back at Augusta. A natural for so many reasons. How 'bout the fact he's coming back to play at a Country Club that doesn't allow female members? I know it's coincidence, but funny nonetheless. I guess you can never be too careful.

By the way. It looks like South Park's season debut is not to be missed if you haven't had your fill of Tiger satire: it will air Sunday at 9 on the Comedy Network.

In the episode it is expected that scientists will poke fun at Woods’ “sex addiction” and that one of the boys will develop a sex addiction himself.

Merry Christmas. We've got you covered

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 · 0 comments

Yes. It's our other "holiday" where hockey fans everywhere hope to get the gifts/players they've been pining for. If you can't get to a tv we have coverage all day long on 1200. Scotty and Easty will even be in to preempt Jim Rome from noon til 3.

Some random thoughts on what the Sens have already done, and what they might do:

Last night's stinker notwithstanding, what a difference 6 weeks can make. The Sens have gone from a banged up team looking for answers to one of the best clubs in the East loading up with the hope of along playoff run. Spending 2 2nd round picks, Bryan Murray has landed a top 9 forward in Matt Cullen and a top 4ish d-man in Andy Sutton. Cullen gives head coach Cory Clouston another weapon up front while Sutton will come in and add another hammer on what was once considered a soft blueline. How would you like to park yourself in front of the net with Sutton and Carkner glaring at you?

Bryan Murray has strongly suggested that he's done. But I'm not buying that he's done...well.... buying. By waiving Jonathan Cheechoo, Murray gave himself a lot of wiggle room under the cap. So much so, he still has the ability to bring another player that makes up 3.5 million dollars, if he so chooses. Now, I don't think anything of the "major" variety will happen today, but I do expect the G-M to bring in another d-man for added depth. I stated in a previous post I really think the Sens need to add 2 blueliners for insurance. Don't rule out a guy like Brendan Bell , or someone of that ilk, coming back to the organisation to serve in the 7-9 range of the depth chart.

If you're looking for a current roster player to be on the move today, the guy to keep and eye on would be Brian Lee. The former 9th overall pick could use a fresh start on another team. He could be used to obtain a draft pick to try and replenish what was spent in obtaining Cullen and Sutton. The shocking move of the day would be if Murray decided to peddle pending UFA Anton Volchenkov. Never say never, but not happening. Right?

The defense does not rest

Monday, February 15, 2010 · 0 comments

The Matt Cullen trade coupled with waiving Jonathon Cheechoo sends a clear message to all. The Ottawa Senators are going for it. GM Bryan Murray has confirmed he will be addressing the lack of depth on the blueline, and the waiving of Cheechoo leaves him with plenty of cap space to do just that. As it stands now, if Murray waits until March 3rd to make his move(s) he'll be able to acquire a player(s) that has an annual cap hit of around 6.5 million dollars(source: Capgeek.com).

With Picard gone, and Campoli and Karlsson injured, the lack of NHL ready depth in the organisation is quite evident. With that, who's to say the Sens don't acquire two defensemen at the deadline? If the owner is counting on a long playoff run , then management should plan on using at least eight blueliners along the way. The road to the Stanley Cup Final is a war of attrition, especially on the back end. It would not surprise me to see the Sens try and add two d-men at the deadline. If every defenseman is available come playoff time this is what a top eight would look like:

Phillips Volchenkov
Kuba Karlsson
Campoli Carkner
Smith Lee

Derek Smith struggled in making his NHL debut this weekend. The two way contract had something to do with Brian Lee spending most of the season in the minors, but truth be told, Lee just hasn't been good enough either. The injured Chris Campoli has yet to live up to the expectations that came with dealing a 1st round pick for him last season.

So what does 6.5 million buy you? Here are some the top rated UFA rentals on teams that should be selling:

Scott Niedermayer: (he's likely staying put but dare to dream). Has won everything. Having an off year with a -17 rating but still has 37 points. Niedermayer's cap hit is 6.75m, so Murray doesn't have the cap space right now and would have to send another salary the other way to make it work.

Pavel Kubina: Likely available. Plays almost 23 minutes a night, has 34 points and is a plus 6. Won cup with TB in '04. Cap hit of 5m

Marek Zidlicky: It could go either way in Minny. Zidlicky makes 3.35m and is having his customary solid season with 36 points so far. Plays almost 24 minutes a night in all situations.

Andy Sutton: Big, mean and mobile for his 6'6 frame. 2nd in blocks and 7th in hits amongst D-men. Cap hit is 3m

Dennis Seidenberg: Number one in the NHL in blocked shots. Leads Panthers in average ice time and is -1 on mediocre team playing against the oppositions top line every night. Under rated and a bargain rental making 2.25m

Jordan Leopold: Veteran puck mover could provide some depth at an affordable cap hit of 1.75m

Aaron Ward: Closer to the end of his career, The Ottawa native has 3 Stanley Cup rings but has already been waived once this season. No questioning his heart but how much is left in the tank. Cap hit of 2.5m

Carlo Colaiacovo: The former Leaf first rounder has as usual missed some time with injury this season on that St.Louis blueline but has proven to be solid when healthy. Cap hit of 1.283m

Dan Hamhuis: Nashville is not selling but the budget conscience club will have a tough time accommodating a big raise this summer from the 2m he makes. This has fueled trade speculation.

Kurtis Foster: The Carp native is enjoying a monster season by just coming back from that devastating broken leg. He only makes .600m and is now being used as a forward some nights in Tampa.

Having said all that, with an abundance of forwards, don't rule out a "hockey deal" from the Sens that would net a d-man with term left on his contract.

The trade freeze is lifted at midnight on the 28th(The morning of Monday March 1st). Should be a fun couple of days as the deadline is Wednesday the 3rd at 3et.

About this blog

Welcome to my Healthy Scratches blog. You can hear Jason York and myself weekdays from 3-6 on Team 1200. I use this blog to expand upon some of the things we talk about on the show, and anything else that really pops into my ample head.
Twitter.com/Steve_Lloyd