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:

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.

Tough hockey?

Sunday, February 14, 2010 · 0 comments

We had Caps winger(and Stittsville native) Matt Bradley on the show the other day, so with that in mind I had to post this gutless act by St.Louis "tough guy" Cam Janssen.

Brutal. I've always respected Janssen as a tough guy (who is generously listed at 6'1) who will fight anybody. However, as a far as hockey player, there is nothing tough about his game. How often does Cam Janssen:

1. Deliver a meaningful hit on a suspecting player
2. Take a hit to make a play
3. Go to the corner first

I'm guessing about as often as Daryl Katz speaks to Oiler fans/customers. I'm getting off track. Remember this Janssen beauty?

Is there a steeple chase on the way Michalek?

Oh yeah, here is what might be the latest hit ever caught on film.

Forget about bringing in new head shot rules. As a long as donkeys like Janssen continue to pull an NHL cheque nothing will ever change.

Melnyk steps up and Murray's not done

Friday, February 12, 2010 · 0 comments

All aboard the bandwagon! I'm sure it's overflowing with Sens fans after the events of the last 15 hours or so. Let's review:

-Last night the club survives a good old fashioned shootout to defeat the league's top team 6-5, where Jason Spezza continued his torrid pace since suffering a knee injury with a 3 point night. The win coupled with a Buffalo loss has the Sens atop the Northeast division.

-This morning we are summoned to SBP for a 9:45 newser where it is announced that Bryan Murray has agreed to a 1 year extension to stay on as GM

-Shortly after that we are told not to leave as Murray will be back at 11:05 to make another announcement, where he tells the gathered media that the club has aquired veteran forward Matt Cullen from Carolina for D-Man Alex Picard and a 2nd round pick this summer(Ottawa still has San Jose's 2nd rounder from the Heatley trade).
-It is also revealed that Chris Campoli was injured last night, so Brian Lee and Derek Smith have been recalled from the AHL. Both will play tomorrow night in Detroit with the latter making his NHL debut. Murray says he is actively looking to shore up the blueline.

-Right after this wraps up, Cory Clouston comes in and reveals that Chris Campoli's injury will keep him out for at least the next month

-Lastly(for now), word comes out that Jonathon Cheechoo(and his 3 million dollar cap hit) has been waived. Proving even a blind squirrel gets the odd nut, see my post from January 27th.

With all due respect to Matt Cullen, who is a nice addition, it's the Cheechoo move that sends the bigger message. Eugene Melnyk is serious about trying to win right now. According to, Melnyk is eating $917,098 for the rest of this season to get Cheechoo's cap hit off the NHL books. Not to mention a probable buyout for the final year of his contract this summer which will cost another 2 million dollars. Melnyk has always said he'd do whatever it takes to bring a championship to the nation's capital. By allowing Murray to waive Cheechoo, the owner is putting his money where his mouth is. Murray said he is actively looking to address the blueline through trade. Freeing up this cap space just made that a lot easier. Stay tuned.

Sens call Friday news conference


From the Sens this morning.

Ottawa Senators president Cyril Leeder and general manager Bryan Murray will hold a news conference on Friday, Feb. 12, at 9:45 a.m. at Scotiabank Place to make a hockey announcement.

FYI. Murray is currently in the final year of his contract. We'll see.

Sens hire Goaltending Consultant

Thursday, February 4, 2010 · 0 comments

Saskatoon Blades goalie coach John Stevenson has been hired as the Sens new goaltending consultant.

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.