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

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

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.



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.

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.