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Because if I were Dick Pound, I'd not only have a porn star name, but I'd check into getting the women's ice hockey medals to count as 18 towards our total, as opposed to one...

We're keeping busy through the Olympic break with plenty to talk about. And apparently when Peter hasn't been battling injuries, he's been busy as well. Let's get to it.

· Adductor, abductor, groin, leg...who knows anymore? Hasek's injury was serious enough to force his return to the Nation's Capital, and it is not yet clear how much time, if any, Dom will miss once the Senators resume play. I tackled this issue in Sunday's column, as well as the quandary that John Muckler faces in regards to the upcoming trade deadline. It's been well documented the Senators are seeking a top-flight centre, but many are speculating that Muckler may be seeking insurance in net, beyond the slumping Ray Emery. The name that keep coming up in Sens Nation is Curtis Joseph. This is a bizarre suggestion. Anyone that is potentially brought in must strike a fine balance with the No. 1 goalie, regardless of whether he's up and running. Has everyone forgotten the history between CuJo and Hasek in Detroit? My preference right now is Vesa Toskala. He wants out of San Jose, his salary is manageable (he'll be making $684,000 in 2005-06 -- all terms US) and his numbers currently do not reflect his legitimate potential as a true No. 1.

(And as for the Hasek conspiracy theory -- the one that suggests he's exaggerating to prepare for the playoffs and to save face with the Czech Republic -- cynics, take heart. Dom is far too competitive to pull a stunt like this. And besides, I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't okay with it. Right now, a Stanley Cup is this fan's priority.)

·Wasn't Wayne Gretzky supposed to deflect the heat? Gretzky has come down on the young guns, stressing an improvement in play. First of all, when did "young players" refer to those in the 26-30 age range? There's no Staal or Spezza to criticize thus far. I would have to believe these first-timers are looking to the veterans for leadership -- should we assume that players like Chris Pronger are setting the ultimate example of how to win an Olympic championship? Bottom line: No one has stepped up, young or old. No one is debating that veteran leadership would assist in the dressing room, but you can't expect the roster from the '87 Canada Cup to roll out against some of the speed that Canada will need to face in this tournament. Youth is necessary, but so is assertive, simplified play and behaviour. And as of right now, Gretzky may want to rethink his psychological strategy. He's the most effective when he absorbs the pressure and media scrutiny. Perhaps Janet can set up a 3-card Monte table outside the Olympic village tonight. Anything to deflect the attention from the team.

· The women's team got it done today and switching from the CBC to the NBC coverage was high comedy. Some classic analysis included the statement that, "This next goal will make it either 2-1 Sweden, or 3-0 Canada," and "The game known as Ringette is quite popular in Central Canada."

Do you know how long I've gone without a quality ringette reference? (Sigh) I miss home.

6 responses to "Monday afternoon deglaze"

  1. Toskala seems attainable, but why?

    He has nearly identical stats to Emery (and a lower save percentage). If he's free I guess I'd take him too and let Emery and Toska fight it out for the #1 spot if Hasek retires but surely SJS will want something we'd like to keep?


  2. You have to remember that there's more to a goalie beyond his own stats. San Jose is 11th in the West right now, despite their tremendous offensive firepower. Granted, they got off to a horrible start (and without Joe Thornton), but you have to realize that a goaltender like Toskala would look completely different with an elite defensive core in front of him.

    People also need to realize that there are other teams looking at the bigger goaltending names on the market right now -- the Fernandezs and Rolosons of the trade deadline pool. John Muckler has already proven that he doesn't want to give up a lot, and Ottawa would be duking it out with teams like Vancouver and Edmonton (as well as others) for these players. It's not that I wouldn't want to obtain them. It's just that I think the likelihood of Ottawa landing them is slim to none -- barring something monumental.

    Toskala has potential to grow and flourish in Ottawa. Emery does not. His role will always be No. 2. Muckler knows that. And he also knows that he can't ride the current tandem forever, for a multitude of obvious reasons.

    The Universal Cynic

  3. Good points - you might be right. And of course stats don't make the man. I guess this is where scouting comes in.

    Still, I'm not convinced. Emery is younger, bigger, and better at his age than Toskala was. Technically he's still improving, while Toskala has had the benfit of one of the best goaltender coaches in the NHL and at 28 should have everything down by now.


  4. I can't legitimately condone having Emery as a No. 1 in Ottawa next year -- I'd put the likelihood of Hasek returning in '06-07 at 50/50 before the Olympic break, and I imagine that's being generous. Ray needs to still work through the psychological part of his game. Even against a team like the Penguins, he was demonstrating a fearful type of behaviour that I haven't seen in this city since Damian Rhodes, circa '98. Gasping at shots from the blue line, especially when they're being fired by a mediocre team like Pittsburgh, isn't very comforting.

    I don't want to toss Emery under the bus -- I've been waiting for him to get his chance with Ottawa for years, and I knew it wouldn't happen as long as Martin was at the helm (based on Emery's mercurial play).

    Muckler has spent a lot of time (and a fair amount of Melnyk's money) in order to build a team that could contend for a Stanley Cup. It still doesn't make sense to put an eventual sophomore goaltender in the No. 1 position next year. Someone will have to be picked up. It's just a question of who.

    The Universal Cynic

  5. Toskala plays already plays on a sounder defensive team than Ottawa, he would make no improvement to the sens woes. Opponants have figured out how to expose the Sens most glaring weakness, a lack of two way play from their #1 center. By throwing added pressure at the duo of Redden and Chara, checkers are neutralizing their forward passes to Spezza who is not always back into the zone quickly enough. A strong pivot for the #2 line, who backchecks is the Sens prime need still. A guy who would come cheap, add that dimension, bring Stanley Cup experience, and be thrilled and rejuvenated to be here, would be Joe Nieuwendyk. Meanwhile, they shouldn't press the panic button in goal just yet...the Dominator and the Dominatrix will be just fine.


  6. I don't buy that San Jose possesses a better defense than Ottawa. There's a reason why they're 3 spots away from making it into the playoffs, despite Marleau, Thornton and Cheechoo racking up the points. The Sharks have one defenseman playing in the Olympics (Christian Ehrhoff). The Senators have five (Chara, Redden, Schubert, Volchenkov and Meszaros). And for the record, Chara plays with Phillips.

    Nieuwendyk is a good idea in theory -- 31 points in 40 games so far. One problem: He signed a two-year deal with Florida. I don't think Muckler would be willing to commit to anything beyond rent-a-player status. Especially for a player that's 40 years old.

    The Universal Cynic