Fusspot rants, embarrassing photos of yourself and general correspondence go here: universalnicks@gmail.com

You Snap The Whip: Part II

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Regarding today's mention of the blog in The Globe and Mail (if you missed it, here's the clip):

We reported two weeks ago on the perceived obsequious behaviour of Team 1200 toward the Ottawa Senators, who were struggling at the time. The station, which is the club's rights-holder, confirmed it had cut back on postgame phone-ins, but denied there had been pressure from the Senators to get rid of the angry fan rants.

Still, the Senators media have a reputation for being soft. Occasionally a player or even the coach will get rapped. But the front office, which is to say president Roy Mlakar and general manager John Muckler, is out of bounds.

The sensitivity to upper management was illustrated during owner Eugene Melnyk's media conference call of Nov. 16 during which he affirmed his support for Muckler and coach Bryan Murray. In a whiny tone, he complained about media rumour and speculation on the status of Muckler and Murray. Club owners in big-league cities wouldn't have bothered.

In an e-mail, an Ottawa fan wrote, "[Sens] have a reputation around town of being a nice, fan-friendly organization, but behind the scenes Roy Mlakar has been known for some heavy-handed tactics."

Writer Erin Nicks freelances to the sports section of the Ottawa Sun. On her blog, she wrote a while ago, "There are two incidents that stand out in my mind. The first occurred when I did some guest hosting for [Team 1200] several years ago. The program director at the time made it very clear to me that I was not to speak negatively about the Senators, in any way, shape or form. . . .

"The second incident occurred not long after I secured the [Sun] column. I criticized [Sens forward] Mike Fisher — honest to God, I can't remember what I said exactly. . . . Anyway, the next day I received a terse email from a well-known member of the Sens' front office who took issue with what I wrote. Being the neophyte that I was, I apologized for offending him [and possibly Fisher]."

I've noticed that a synopsis regarding this subject has turned up in a multitude of places, including Senators message boards. The perception by most seems to be that I have been "silenced" by various factions of the Senators and the outlets that they use (i.e. The Team).

Let me assure everyone that my radio guest hosting experience happened several years ago -- the current program director that is in place was not the one I dealt with. I don't know if I would have been given the same instructions today. Futhermore, I had little concern regarding what I had been told, because I was able to speak freely via The Jim Rome Show, and at the time, was doing so on a regular basis. Rome's show, although broadcast from Los Angeles, possessed a much larger audience, and therefore my opinions on his program could have been perceived as far more detrimental to the Senators.

If The Team's program director had a problem with what I had said previously, I doubt he would have let me guest host.

It should also be noted that at the time, I was working in an entirely different field from the one I am currently employed in. At no time did anyone from the Senators approach me, or my former employer, with a demand to cease my complaints.

As for the email I received -- I doubt I am the first writer to receive a missive like that, and I'm sure I won't be the last. I was never told to retract my comments, nor was I reprimanded by Sun Media for the column. The front office person in question didn't like what I wrote. A lot of people don't, and I regularly hear about it. It doesn't faze me.

To summarize: There has been one person that asked me to refrain from speaking negatively about the Senators -- a former program director for The Team. It happened several years ago, long before I was writing the column. The Senators, at the time, were not in a state of turmoil (i.e. trade demands and request for front office changes), so I went along with it -- if I wanted to complain, I would do so on Rome's show, and no one ever attempted to stop me. In addition, no one has ever threatened to terminate me, or have my column ceased, based on something that I have written thus far.

Anyone who attempts to claim, or twist my statements to suggest that something else has occurred involving myself, is telling a falsehood.

End of story.

1) Lee Versage's website;

2) The grassroots movement to send Rory Fitzpatrick to the All-Star game.


Wednesday morning deglaze

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

...because TUC - doubtful (Kleenex and pseudoephedrine dependency).

No, I'm not trying out for the NHL -- I have a miserable cold. Hence the lack of posts as of late. I basically have had enough energy to text message, watch '70's British comedies, and fawn over Prison Break. By the way -- Dr. Tancredi cutting her hair off with a razor blade? Come on now. I considered letting The Driver take over the joint, but he would have filled the place with a bunch of Chargers propaganda. Lately he's been proclaiming LT (or LDT for the purists) to be the best football player ever. Not RB -- football. On the plus side, he hasn't mentioned the Buzzsaw or Matt Leinart in a few weeks. Lover's quarrel, I'm assuming.

Alright, enough nonsense. Let's get to it.

· For those looking for the last week of Dress Up Jake: Take a hint. It's not happening. There wasn't much left for me to do, short of tracking down a miniature pink casket to lay him in. I think I've humiliated us both -- it's over. Bring on Cutler! Now, I remember Jaws talking about Cutler at the draft, claiming that he was the best QB available (in a year that obviously also had Vince Young and Matt Leinart up for grabs). Now I'm hearing the Brett Favre and John Elway comparisons. Fantastic buildup, boys! Why not just put a Ryan Leaf mask on the kid and spare me the trouble?

And just for old time's sake...

· Everyone keeps talking about someone since I've been away...Ger...ber? Whaa?

Alright, look -- I called the media line a couple of days ago to find out who was starting the Carolina game, and had just enough strength to throw my cell phone across the bed, in a manner that is expected of my gender. After seeing him play tonight, I had one reaction: Meh.

Did he get the win? You can oversimplify and look at the scoreboard. But how impressed can I be when Carolina didn't bother to show up, and John Grahame appeared to be borderline-feeble?

In short, the Senators' offense garnered the victory -- Gerber did not. But the win should help to buoy his confidence and begin to repair his fragile psyche.

I think some people assume that I don't like Gerber. That's not the case. Martin's not a bad guy. He's pleasant enough, and is a good teammate. The worst Stanley Cup-winning goaltender Ottawa has seen thus far was an oenophile who cursed at Scott Oake on live television. That's not Gerber.

The problem with No. 29 doesn't reside completely with him. It's the result of the enormous salary that John Muckler chose to pay him, and the astronomical expectations that have come along with it. We've all expected him to earn his keep. He hasn't yet. Not even close. Would fans be more lenient if he were making 1.5 million, for example? Doubtful -- this is Ottawa, after all. But no one can deny that the rage directed towards Gerber during his slow start was largely sparked by that 3.7 million dollar kindling. You just don't pay that kind of money to someone who, as another blogger pointed out, possessed a worse GAA and save percentage than Curtis Sanford last year.

Some critics were placated by Gerber's play last night, saying that he didn't appear as small in the net as he usually does. I did notice that he wasn't situated as far back as he had been previously. But there are still aspects of his game that I find troubling. He still goes down too fast, and his lateral movement from his knees is painfully slow. He also has issues when the puck goes behind the net, sometimes feeling the need to follow the Ottawa defender with his head and body completely around the cage's side (he did this last night with Meszaros). The communication with his own defenders is still not at the level it needs to be, to assure a higher level of comfort and confidence.

The smart pundits will see this win for what it was: A start, but not a convincing victory for No. 29. The rest may be swayed by false hope. Right now, it's too early to call. Gerber hasn't swayed me yet.

· One more thing on the game (and past few games): Corvo and Redden chew it as a defensive combo. The skating towards each other during an opposition's rush, the pylon-esque nature, the complete lack of physicality...

In other news: The sky is blue.

Okay...this is getting long...stay with me...

· Sportsnet's Jason Portuondo late Tuesday night: "Ottawa is looking to catch Buffalo in their division!" I don't know...maybe they should concentrate on catching Montreal first? Is there any wonder why hockey fans despise the media?

· Did you know AHL players can multitask? It's true. The Chicago Wolves' Fred Brathwaite was recently spotted doing the weather on one of the city's local networks.

· Speaking of the AHL: Go check out Patrick Williams' stellar (and brand new) AHL blog on the SLAM website.

And finally....

You'll be happy to know that this cold has not suppressed my sarcastic nature:

The Driver: "Get some sleep." (Proceeds to turn on my alarm clock/sound machine, and programs it to play "Summer Nights" -- white noise largely composed of cricket chirping.)

TUC: "Sounds like the Sens' pre-game show to me."

(Here's where the young kids say, "Oh, snap!")

Later cynics. I'm off to guzzle Neo Citran and lead the Tony Romo backlash.

What the hell's wrong with you people?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Current results from the Sun's latest sports poll:

Who is your favourite NHL play-by-play TV voice?

Jim Hughson 28%
Gord Miller 31%
Bob Cole 22%
Chris Cuthbert 20%

P.S. Before you say anything, this is less about who has the most votes, and more about who has the least votes.

Dress Up Jake: Week 11...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

...is buried in the archives. We'd rather not have the photo on Page 1, even for a split second.

Happy (easy) hunting. Trust us. If you need a hint, we suggest you that begin at the beginning.

Lurking on Butterknife Row

Monday, November 20, 2006

I had a ticket, but I visited Butterknife Row several times tonight. Scouts from the following teams were present: St. Louis, Columbus, Colorado and New Jersey.

For those waiting for DUJ: Sorry, it's been a hectic 24 hours. He's coming...and I fear we may be sinking to a new low.


Saturday, November 18, 2006

I've just been informed that due to Grey Cup coverage in the Sun tomorrow, the column will be appearing in an abbreviated form, and not in its regular spot (usually page 5). It will be at the back, where Steve Simmons' piece usually resides.

I will post the column in its entirety as it was originally written -- and the way it should be read -- around midnight.

Update: I've just been told that the edit is 50-75 words, but I don't which ones (or graphs) it affects.

The refrain of the weak

Friday, November 17, 2006

It's early, right -- or so Mlakar claims? I just thought I'd throw this out there:

Ottawa is currently at the 18-game mark, with a record of 7-10-1 -- 14th in the Eastern conference. Here are the teams with a sub .500 mark at the 18-game point last year. Their final position at the end of the regular season (within conference respectively) is included in parentheses.

Atlanta: 7-10-1 (10th)
Chicago: 7-11-0 (14th)
Columbus: 5-13-0 (13th)
Florida: 6-9-3 (11th)
Pittsburgh: 5-8-5 (15th)
St. Louis: 3-12-3 (15th)
Tampa Bay: 7-9-2 (8th)
Washington: 7-11-0 (14th)

You'll notice that out of those eight teams, only one barely made the post-season: Tampa Bay.

Is it fair to be comparing Ottawa to some of these perennial bottom-feeders? Probably not. But the fact remains that they have taken up residence beside them this year, and only a long, healthy streak of wins will help to dig them out of the hole they've created.

Rayzor delays the inevitable

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Don't get me wrong -- I was positively gleeful to get the win, and for the record...The Driver called the victory...several days ago. But after hearing Roy Mlakar pound home (once again) that John Muckler and Bryan Murray should be judged solely by their previous achievements -- a multi-Stanley Cup ring owner and 5th winningest coach in the NHL respectively -- was enough to make me wretch.

The speech Mlakar gave to Michael Landsberg this evening was nearly identical to the interview on the The Team last week. After the Washington game, he claimed that we were only "13 games in". Tonight it was 16. Funny how that number keeps going up, yet the concern remains minimal -- at least from Mlakar's standpoint.

What I couldn't understand was Mlakar's constant referencing of Muckler's and Murray's past successes. So what? Are Stanley Cup-winning GMs that are bound for the Hall of Fame infallible? Are we expected to be idolators to this septuagenarian, simply because he wears a chunk of precious metal on his finger? Are you telling me that neither Muckler nor Murray has made a wrong move since they arrived in Ottawa? The last time I checked, both were human -- capable of erring on a regular basis.

Mlakar's behaviour as of late has me absolutely perplexed. His steadfast support for his GM and coach is one thing -- but to shrug off legitimate concerns, such as repeated early losses, when two points in November mean just as much as they do in March...that's just lunacy. I think he's a step away from dropping a "stay the course" bomb on us.

Ask Toronto and Vancouver about last year. Ask them how much they'd liked to have had those early wins, when the playoffs were bearing down on them, with little hope of earning a berth.

The Citizen's Allen Panzeri had an interesting piece about this very subject on Monday. Here's the breakdown he provided:

Here's a refresher course on how difficult it is to make the playoffs:

In the past seven seasons, Eastern Conference teams needed from a high of 92 points (Tampa Bay Lightning in 2005-2006) to a low of 83 (New York Islanders in 2002-2003) to make the NHL playoffs.

The average has been 88.

The Senators, who have 13 points, have 66 games left for a total possibility of 132 points.

For the Senators to hit the average total for a playoff berth, they need 75 more points. That means they must play almost five games over .500 for the rest of the season.

The mountain is even higher -- seven games over .500 -- if 92 points is their goal, and that will probably be closer to the magic number.

Hockey historians will remember that those 92 points barely gave the Lightning a berth last year. Tampa Bay fought to the last day of the schedule to get past the Atlanta Thrashers and Toronto Maple Leafs, both with 90 points.

Yes, they won tonight. But what do you think are the chances that the team can operate at seven games above .500, based on what you've seen thus far?

I don't know how much longer the fans are going to be stuck in Groundhog's Day mode, waiting for a front office shakeup. If the Senators had lost tonight, I'm sure nothing would have occurred on Thursday. But you have to agree that tonight's win will help to delay the inevitable.

One more thing: I don't like the idea of Eugene Melnyk sending his lawyer up to "observe", regardless of how much he trusts him. Lawyers protect your investments -- Melnyk should be concerned about protecting his passion, which we've been told, is this team. Don't get me wrong: I understand that the Sens are intended to be a money-making venture for him, as well as a tool to help him enjoy the sport that he loves -- but a lawyer? What is he going to tell him that Melnyk didn't already know? This is one instance where I'd like to see the owner get a little more hands-on. He should have been in Buffalo tonight.

It's a shame about Ray

Monday, November 13, 2006

I hope he's ready for the unprecedented storm he's about to enter.

The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that Emery's comeback has the potential to be more nerve-wracking than the playoffs last year. Think about it: In '05-06, Ray had a chance to get his feet wet with the team, right from the Olympic break -- 14 of his 23 wins came during that period. And in spite his playoff performance, expectations were low because he was a rookie (not named Cam Ward).

This time, everyone's expecting him to be the saviour, because they know what he's capable of. Even now, he's still third in GAA (1.86) and first in save percentages (.939). We've gone from pleasant surprises to set expectations. And every time Gerber gives up the ghost, the pressure will mount on the injured sophomore to dig the team out of its hole.

Any guesses?

Hockey Legend Mark Messier Unveils Leadership Award

NEW YORK – November 13, 2006 – COLD-fX™, the official immune enhancer of the National Hockey League and the NHL Players’ Association, in conjunction with the NHL, will announce the first monthly winner of the Mark Messier Leadership Award on Tuesday, November 14th at Madison Square Garden. The six-time Stanley Cup® champion and 16-time NHL All-Star is widely viewed as one of the greatest leaders in all sports.

Messier, with input from the NHL, will select a player in each month who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice.

At the conclusion of the regular season, the player who has demonstrated outstanding leadership skills on the most consistent basis will be selected as the recipient of the Mark Messier Leader of the Year Award.

And an interesting side bit:

At the end of the regular season, one overall Leader of the Year for the 2006/07 NHL season will be named recipient of the Mark Messier Leadership Award presented by COLD-fX. The Leader of the Year will have their name permanently engraved on the Mark Messier Leadership Award. The design of the award will be showcased later this year. COLD-fX will donate $25,000 to the overall winner’s favorite charity along with a COLD-fX Luxury Healthy Lifestyle Gift Basket including a one-year supply of COLD-fX.

Woo hoo!

Martin Gerber was spotted having breakfast at the North Kanata Cora's this morning. If he wins tonight, I'll try and find out what he ate. I hope it was the Strawberry Sensation -- that thing is stellar.

I thought I would just add my experiences to what's being discussed over in this Battle of Ontario post. There was a link to a Sens message board containing a post that discussed the team's issues with the media. I'll let you decide if it validates what has been said.

There are two incidents that stand out in my mind. The first occurred when I did some guest hosting for The Team, several years ago. The program director at the time made it very clear to me that I was not to speak negatively about the Senators, in any way, shape or form. I found this to be highly ironic, seeing as that I was "known" for slagging the Senators on a regular basis, using Jim Rome as a vehicle to do so.

I don't know why I was told this. Maybe they thought I couldn't operate on a sliding scale, and was incapable of making points using contructive criticism, as opposed to blatant barbs that were used solely for the purpose of humour.

The second incident occurred not long after I secured the column. I criticized Mike Fisher -- honest to God, I can't remember what I said exactly. I'd pull the quote, but those early columns are on my old (and now-defunct) PC. Anyway, the next day I received a terse email from a well-known member of the Sens' front office who took issue with what I wrote. Being the neophyte that I was, I apologized for offending him (and possibly Fisher)...he said it was fine, and now we're (seemingly) all good.

As for some of the other thoughts pertaining to the media not being hard enough on the team -- I think that's a double-edged sword: There are fans that want us to show no mercy to the players, except they forget that we have contacts to maintain, most notably with the Senators. I don't care what team you're dealing with -- a writer that acts like a perpetual a-hole is going to be put through the ringer by the team's PR. It's like the old saying goes: You catch more flies with honey than you would with vinegar. Of course, you can take this too far, and use blackstrap molasses -- like Gord Wilson tends to. And you'd be surprised at the amount of emails I get after a particularly critical piece that read, "Why do you have to be so negative? Why can't you write something positive?" People don't want to read beatdown pieces all the time.

That being said, I've always maintained that if the team deserves the criticism, I'll give it. But there's a difference between being critical, and being a bombastic jackass. I hope that's not what the Sens' front office thinks of the media -- if they do, that's a major disconnect. But if that's what the readers want, they should probably check out what the Toronto media has to offer.

Week 10 Plummer stats: 20 for 31, 210 yards. 2 TD, 3 INT, QB rating of 66.0.

Analysis: We were going to give Jake credit for the one quarter that he decided to show up by displaying him online, googling for lesbian porn. But the dude shouldn't be giving us a heart attack while playing the lowly Raiders. With that being said, there was not much choice in which way were going this week.

Looks like Jake's prepping for a night out by doing some last minute shopping. Damn, this is really beginning to explain a lot. At least it appears that Plummer won't be requiring Plan B in the morning. And hey, look -- Elway's made another unexpected appearance. We'll be luring Barbaro back to the car dealership with an apple and oats as soon as we're done here.

Next week: San Diego at home. The Chargers are The Drivers' team, which should lead to some decent smack around here during the lead-up. The Bengals buggered with Bum's Son's defense yesterday, so we're expecting SD to be bitter, in spite of the victory.

P.S. Thanks to JB for helping us obtain this week's props.

The Dress Up Jake Archives: Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9

Blind item

Friday, November 10, 2006

Which bottom-feeding team has begun a pro-active search for a new goaltender? Said team's GM was recently accosted by a committee of disgruntled players. One, a former New York Ranger, went so far as to recommend a friend and previous teammate. His new GM must have been impressed by the pitch, because they have since contacted the goaltender's agent, and are interested in making a deal.


1) It's an Eastern conference team;

2) The goaltender in question has only played in the Western conference;

3) It's not Ottawa...although there are numerous Ottawa connections.

The unrecognized streak

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

In the last two games, both Washington and Altanta pulled their starting goaltender. In both cases, the Senators ended up blowing the lead, and losing the game.

After Martin Gerber's fifth allowed goal...

"Well, it's official: Martin Gerber is struggling. And if you're a Martin Gerber fan, or a member of the Ottawa Senators, you're going to have to get used to it. Martin Gerber is still the man. And there used to be a time when four goals was enough for a win. Well, now...maybe it needs to be five or six."

Did you hear that? It's the sound of my head exploding.

What goaltender in this league -- let alone one that is being paid 3.7 million dollars per year, for the next three years -- needs a SIX GOAL BUFFER to ensure a win?

Let me be clear: I have never been a Gerber fan, but I have grudgingly accepted the signing over time. However, watching some Swiss dude with alligator arms do his best Patrick Lalime impression during a slump, is more than I can bear. Seriously -- does the guy have any elbows? I'd love to see him reach for change in his pockets with those things.

And another thing -- on the pregame show, they were discussing Gerber and his tendency to retreat back into the net (as I did on Monday). The round table suggested that when the team played badly, Gerber was less likely to come out and challenge players. I happen to think it's the other way around. The team has shown that they play with less confidence in front of Gerber for some time. When they see him cowering like that, it will never instill any bravado in an over-sensitive team.

P.S. Remember...don't panic!

You can find the link here.

The one thing I keep hearing lately is, "What has Muckler done?" Then said complainer will reference the Tyler Arnason trade, and that's about it.

I don't remember seeing this before, so I thought I would try and compile a fairly complete list of Muckler's signings/trades since his arrival in June '02. There are some insignificant movements that I didn't include (mostly irrelevant UFAs), but the important (and not-so-important) ones are here, and I've tried to include the eventual draft picks chosen, but if the information wasn't immediately available, I let it go. Let me know if I've missed anything (relevant), or if there are any errors.

June '02: Traded Shawn McEachern to Atlanta for Brian Pothier and a 4th round pick (2004)

July(?)'02: Did not resign Juha Ylonen

September '02: Traded Sami Salo to Vancouver for Peter Schaefer

October '02: Traded Jani Hurme to Florida for Billy Thompson and Greg Watson

January '03: Traded Joel Kwiatkowski to Washington for a 9th round pick (2003)

February '03: Traded Jakub Klepis to Buffalo for Vaclav Varada and a fifth-round pick (2003 -- Tim Cook)

March '03: Traded Tim Gleason and future considerations to Los Angeles for Bryan Smolinski

March '03: Traded future considerations to Buffalo for Rob Ray

March '03: Traded Simon Lajeunesse to Florida for Joey Tetarenko

July '03: Did not resign Joey Tetarenko (UFA)

July '03: Did not resign Magnus Arvedson

September '03: Traded 9th round pick for Serge Payer

February '04: Traded Brooks Laich and second-round pick to Washington for Peter Bondra (WAS traded pick to Colorado -- Avs selected Chris Durand)

February '04: Traded Petr Schastlivy to Anaheim for Todd Simpson

March '04: Traded Shane Hnidy to Nashville for fourth-round pick (2004)

March '04: Traded Karel Rachunek and Alexandre Giroux to New York Rangers for Greg de Vries

April '04: Fires head coach Jacques Martin, assistant coach Don Jackson and goaltending coach Phil Myre

June '04: Hires head coach Bryan Murray

June '04: Traded Patrick Lalime for fourth-round pick (2005 - Ilya Zubov)

June '04: Traded Radek Bonk to L.A. Kings for third-round pick (2004 - Shawn Weller)

July '04: Did not resign Serge Payer (UFA)

Summer '05: Did not resign Todd Simpson (UFA)

Summer '05: Did not resign Josh Langfeld (UFA)

Summer '05: Did not resign Curtis Leschyshyn (UFA)

Summer '05: Did not resign Martin Prusek (no qualifying offer made)

July '05: Traded Todd White to Minnesota for fourth-round pick previously acquired from Colorado (2005 - Cody Bass)

July '05: Signed Dominik Hasek

August '05: Traded Marian Hossa and Greg de Vries to Atlanta for Dany Heatley

August '05: Signed Tomas Malec

March '06: Traded Brandon Bochenski and a second-round draft pick (2006 - Igor Makarov) to Chicago for Tyler Arnason

March '06: Signed Brad Norton

July '06: Traded Martin Havlat and Bryan Smolinski for Tom Priessing, Josh Hennessy, Michal Barinka and a second-round pick (2008) via Chicago and San Jose.

July '06: Signed Martin Gerber

July '06: Signed Joe Corvo

July '06: Did not resign Zdeno Chara (UFA)

July '06: Did not resign Brian Pothier (UFA)

July '06: Did not resign Vaclav Varada (UFA)

July '06: Did not resign Dominik Hasek (UFA)

July '06: Did not resign Billy Thompson (UFA)

July '06: Did not resign Tyler Arnason (UFA)

July '06: Did not resign Jan Platil (UFA)

July '06: Did not resign Joe Cullen (UFA)

July '06: Did not resign Filip Novak (UFA)

July '06: Did not resign Brennan Evans (UFA)

July '06: Did not resign Greg Watson (UFA)

July '06: Did not resign Steve Martins (UFA)

July '06: Did not resign Glen Metropolit (UFA)

August '06: Signed Serge Payer (UFA)

Ottawa's First Round Draft Picks:

2002: Jakub Klepis
2003: Patrick Eaves
2004: Andrej Meszaros
2005: Brian Lee
2006: Nick Foligno

Oh, for God's sakes

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

From Chris Stevenson's blog:

The Senators have lost goaltender Ray Emery, who was supposed to start in Atlanta against the Thrashers tomorrow night.
He suffered an upper body injury in practice today and the team has recalled Kelly Guard from their Binghamton farm club to take Emery’s spot on the roster.
Emery has been playing well, but now Martin Gerber, who saw his record drop to 2-5 last night, will have to continue to carry the load.

Update from TSN:

Ottawa Senators' goalie Ray Emery suffered an injury in practice today - believed to be a wrist injury on his glove side - and sources say he is likely to be sidelined because of it.

Sources say the Senators are awaiting the medical prognosis on how long Emery will be out, but sources told TSN that it is a 'potentially serious' injury and Emery could be 'out awhile.'

Here's an excerpt from some reader mail that I received in response to the November 5 column:

I live in Brockville where the teams are split between Ottawa, Toronto, and Montreal. The Leaf fans I know are religious fans, standing beside there team regardless of how they play, and that is exactly how it is with my wife and I. I have a tattoo of the Sens Logo on my forearm and Daniel Alfreddson's (sic) autograph beneath it (tattooed as well), and my wife has Spartycat (sic) tattooed on her calf, and it has also been signed by the big cat himself (herself), and inked in permanently as well. There are over 250 different Sens articles in our house, and 8 different Jerseys hanging. We are "True Fans" as my wife says to anyone that can hear. My van is covered with window clingers, and my licence is a Senator plate from the ministry.

I'm speechless. At least you know a mascot will never be traded.

Dress Up Jake will be making a cameo appearance on Slate today. We'll get you the link as soon as it's available.

Week 9 Plummer stats: 16 for 27, 227 yards. 3 TD, 1 sack, QB rating of 123.5.

Analysis: WR Javon Walker may be the man, but we think Jake deserves the ladies. And in Week 9, Plummer was kind enough to give us a peek at his potential Hit List. So what's the reason behind our boy's turnaround? Could it be that he had a run-in with notorious athletic supporter, Paris Hilton? Hilton is infamous for helping athletes obtain STDs -- but not necessarily TDs (i.e. Matt Leinart, Brian Urlacher, Jose Theodore et al).

We think No. 16 is pulling our leg with this one. Plummer would either stick his tongue down Paris' throat, or use her as a spitoon -- nothing more. He's too surly to put up with Hilton's antics.

Next Week: At Oakland.

P.S. This isn't TMZ -- we have no knowledge of Plummer being legitmately associated with Paris Hilton -- even for 15 minutes. It's satire. If you're taking this seriously, get help. Yesterday.

The Dress Up Jake Archives: Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8

Then and Now

Monday, November 06, 2006

Just something to chew on...

There was a time when the Senators were capable of taking their foot off the gas after securing a 2-3 goal lead. After said lead was obtained, the team went into a defensive-mode shutdown -- one of the signature moves of Jacques Martin's repertoire. It wasn't exciting, but more often than not, it was effective in the regular season.

Currently, the team seems content to secure a lead, without further planning that will ensure a victory.

Whose handiwork is this? The team's? Bryan Murray's?

And another thing...

I am so sick and tired of Martin Gerber's wounded baby bird act. Who is he going to challenge when he's so far back in the cage? Dude looks small enough as it is, and he goes down on his knees faster than a San Fernando Valley model/waitress/actress. Feel free to come out and face the music, Martin -- everyone else has to.

P.S. Don't assume that this is a veiled request for the return of Jacques Martin, although I do miss his Maison D'Or commercials.

DUJ is having technical difficulties. Hopefully we'll be up and running ASAP.

Alfie to L.A.?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

From Chris Stevenson's Blog:

The presence of four Los Angeles Kings scouts at last night’s Habs-Senators game (when neither of those teams play the Kings this season) has got speculation going of an impending deal between the Senators and the Kings.

Tony Marinaro, who covers the Habs for the Team 990 in Montreal, said on his station this morning he had it “confirmed” the Kings scouts were there to look at Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson.

If that was the case, they might not have liked what they saw given Alfredsson was -4 on the night.

Given the Senators malaise and Alfredsson’s unproductiveness this season, a trade would seem to be the next logical step to try and shake things up, right?

What do you think, Senators fans?
If a deal is out there, should the Senators trade their captain?

Just bear with me here, because this is going to veer off into a couple of directions.

I know it's my job to watch the games -- at home and on the road -- regardless of whether it's in a seat, on Butterknife Row, or in the comfort of my own home. And I like hockey, I do...I wouldn't be in the this business if I didn't care about sports.

But bloody freaking hell...has it been a strain for me to sit through Senators games thus far.

I took in last night's Sens-Habs game at home, and frankly, I wasn't looking forward to it. Why? It's a Montreal game -- one of eight on the schedule this year. And I know this point has been pounded into the ground, but the weighted schedule chews it, especially if you're dealing with the Northeast division. If there's one team with less personality than the Sens, it has to be the Habs. Ooh, the tradition! The rivalry! What rivalry? The closest thing to a rift between these two teams probably occurs between the arena's food services departments, discerning if there's a preference of buns over white bread for hot dogs. And don't even try with the whole Vaclav Prospal/Patrice Brisebois thing. That's so last millennium.

This schedule is burning me out, and we're barely a month in. However, there's a reason why November 20th is circled on my calendar in bright red ink. That's the day the Wild come to town. A Western Conference team! And they don't suck! It's a sweet November oasis in the middle of cyclic, mind-numbing Eastern-heavy mess. I cannot wait.

But there's more to it than just the schedule.

Watching the game last night, I was lagging. I had two episodes of PTI and one of The Colbert Report on PVR that I was dying to watch, and it was a strain not to hit the "list" button on the remote. I figured, as I have during the 19 games before it (10 regular, 9 preseason), that the quality of the match would improve -- not necessarily the Sens' play -- but the game overall.

Yet again, I was wrong. And somewhere between the second and third period, I fell asleep. Essentially, I was biding my time until The Daily Show began.

That's not to say there haven't been some exciting moments during Sens games, but let's be frank -- it's been more bad than good.

However, there's a difference between bad and boring play. When most teams play badly, they will eventually begin to show signs of emotion -- normally frustration. This might come in the form of a snapped stick, increased hitting, or an enforcer calling out a member of the opposition.

But on most nights, like tonight, the Sens do little or nothing at all. They're on autopilot, just like Dean Brown's play-by-play calls. They're awash in a hideous general malaise, and apparently it's contagious.

Nothing changes if nothing changes, and being shown repeated proof that the Sens can trump the Leafs isn't enough to hold my attention. It never was. I've never been accused of having ADHD, but if something doesn't alter soon, I will start changing the channel. On the bright side, it's nice to know that a cure has been found for my chronic insomnia.

(Edit: The Driver just called and said the radio guys were describing Alfie's facial expression as "frustrated", and that said captain also delivered a hit last night. Oh well, this changes everything, doesn't it?)