TUC HQ is preparing to go into hibernation as the perfect storm of international hockey, progeny on skates and the holiday season hits Kanata. The Sens' goofy-ass "make or break" roadtrip likely won't be enough to hold our attention, but that luscious Winter Classic out at Wrigley Field will. Mmmm... Hawk v. Wing goodness.
We'll see you on the other side. Merry Christmas to all -- even the media (hey, I'm feeling jolly) -- behave yourselves, and be safe.
*A classic phrase around here at TUC HQ. One of The Driver's co-workers fell asleep at work, and was caught by management. She opened her eyes and uttered said phrase before going back to sleep. Needless to say, it didn't end well.
Here's the thing: The OBC likes to talk...a lot. We talk more than your annoying sister-in-law after she's gotten into the Kahlua. And when people like us begin to toss ideas around, well, interesting things can happen...
You may be familiar with the "We Are All Canucks" media campaign in Vancouver -- TUC's friend Alanah from Kukla's Korner was part of it. Smiling, happy fans in Canucks merch, sprinkled with Vancouver players have been plastered all over buses, SkyTrains and similar throughout the city.
The OBC, familiar with this marketing scheme and depressed by the state of its own franchise, decided it was time for a bit of a Sens-flavoured spin. Six photos, one from each member, representing our current state of mind -- however pathetic and alcohol-soaked it may be. We've entitled this pictorial monstrosity, "A Farce United". (This is a play on the Sens' current slogan, "A Force United". Get it? Get it? Oh, Christ...)
Here I am with Mr. Heatley (or a Todd McFarlane-created facsimile). Dany may wear No. 15, but we've been associating the number 50 with him for some time now (he was a 50-goal scorer in back-to-back seasons in '05-'06 and '06-'07). However, given Heatley's underachieving ways of late, I thought it was time to demonstrate which type of 50 he's probably more interested in these days.
Too much? Not enough? Think you can do better? Send us your own version. We can't guarantee it won't be mocked, but if it's decent, you could see it on one of the OBC blogs.
In the meantime, check out the contributions from Five For Smiting, Hockeyschlock, Sens at Land's End and Scarlett Ice. Many camera angles were considered and much hard liquor was consumed -- or so I'm told. Enjoy our pain, dear readers. It's our Christmas gift to you.
More great stuff coming from William Houston of The Globe And Mail. Check it out here.
Yay, dear friends, do not despair, for I have not forgotten you. The news -- the glorious news -- of the Swedish Messiah's arrival on the West Coast last night has left me faint. I could barely finish my red meat-laden meal with The Driver, let alone the vodka-grapefruit chasers.
O, let us come and marvel at the Canucks' new deity. Let Mike Gillis swaddle the saviour's alabaster skin in polyester jerseys, then nestle him in a manger outside GM Place for all media to worship.
Praise him! Praise him, damnit! He is your king now!
(You know, at least until he blows out a knee or something.)
Respectable, despicable it seems all the same
Now we realize that we have nothing to say
If your reserve is weak
Ask yourself again: "Do I deserve much from them?"
-- Give You Nothing (Bad Religion)
A few things you should know about TUC:
1) I'm not a hockey hypocrite (see the Sean Avery post);
2) I'm no patriot, especially when it comes to this sport. Canada NOT winning the gold medal will make a tournament like the WJC far more interesting. Yes, it's a taboo statement. I don't give a damn;
3) I don't write about garbage.
Notice a glaring lack of posts lately? That's because I won't waste my digital motor skills covering what may, or may not be going on with this city's team. I've said everything I could up until this point. The Ottawa Senators aren't worth my time, let alone my money. The next time I enter SBP for an event involving the Senators will be on February 3, 2009 -- I'll have comped tickets in my hand and an Anze Kopitar longsleeve t-shirt on my back. I don't know how much more blatant I can be: I won't be there for the home team.
The OSHC can continue to lurk around here all they want, but they should know they're wasting their time. It's one thing to suck; it's quite another to put people to sleep in the process. We all know how much the Sens "hate it" when fans and the media pile on. Be very careful what you wish for, ladies. Let's see what happens when observers finally throw in the towel, stop caring and move on to other interests. Check the falling numbers on the attendance. Listen to the frustration and hopelessness of the fans on the post-game show. News flash, Mensas: You're losing them. You're losing your fans in a fairweather town, and you're too damn proud to admit that this time, you f*cked up huge. Bravo.
Yeah, I know I'm late. Shut the hell up -- you wanted it, so you're getting it. Here's my first -- and hopefully the last -- word on Sean Avery.
We know what Sean said was inappropriate. We know the media's reaction was beyond hypocritical. And we know that women aren't as offended by this incident as men seem to insist they are. Let's move on to some lesser discussed issues surrounding this incident, shall we?
1) The whole idea of shining the spotlight on misogyny smacks me as incredibly hilarious. Chew on this, Big League: An extremely large proportion of the population is disrespectful to the female gender to some degree. Hell, I wouldn't hesitate to lump myself into that category as well. You can deny it all you want, but here's the truth: Society as a whole likes to employ female-related terminology and issues in a derogatory manner -- so much so that it's become commonplace. How many times have you heard someone refer to a cranky person as a "bitch"? Worse still, how often do you think said person was asked if it was "their time of the month"? For the hell of it, here's a personal example: A while ago, a reader sent me an e-mail, criticizing Mike Fisher. The thing was, the reader wrote "Hunt" between No. 12's first and last name. Funny? No. Vulgar? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely not. So why do it? Is "because we can" a good enough reason?
And yes, you'll notice I wrote "population" above, not just "men". Women are not only willing participants in the regular slagging of their gender, but they also choose to a) tolerate it and b) encourage it to a baffling degree. Don't believe me? Check out footage from a Girls Gone Wild video, or a clip from Mardi Gras sometime. You can literally call a woman a "slut" or "whore" to her face, then command (not ask) her to bare her breasts for you. Not only will the woman likely acquiesce, but she'll probably giggle prior and post-flash, then buy you a Hurricane afterward. What a world. (For more on this mentality, go pick up Female Chauvinist Pigs by Ariel Levy.)
The idea that Sean Avery went "over the line" with his comments makes no sense to me. Society shows that this kind of talk has made its way into our general verbal expressions on an everyday basis. It doesn't mean it's acceptable, but rather that you have to pick your spots when it does occur. Sean's comments were gross, but they really weren't offensive. What is offensive, is to think that the male-dominated sports media has hoodwinked the masses with their feigned shock and disgust. Memo to The Old Boys' Club: Don't try to bull(expletive) me, okay? I know you. When you heard it, you laughed. And don't pretend like you can't relate to the language used -- I heard far worse epithets being dropped in the Ottawa Senators' press box during my time there. Some of you said things within my earshot that would make Avery look like a saint. Oh, but there weren't any cameras around, right? I guess that means it doesn't count.
2) You may have noticed claims that Avery's comments were meant more as a shot against Dion Phaneuf as opposed to Phaneuf's girlfriend (and Avery's ex), Elisha Cuthbert. May I offer another reason why women seem to be less up in arms about this incident: Selective defense. My gender is a funny group. Call Paris Hilton a "slut", and you'll likely get a Marcus Allen-related retort. Use the same term for Angelina Jolie, and well, you'll come across more than a few who will defend her. Both Hilton and Jolie have, shall we say, sketchy histories. However, with Jolie's large (partially adopted) brood, philanthropic efforts and UN appearances, she has shrewdly become a likable and sympathetic figure.
Elisha Cuthbert is a C-level actress who has done little of note -- short of dating NHL players. This is the girl who faced the mountain lion on 24, and everyone was rooting for the cat (Jack Bauer would've gotten over it in 3 or 4 hours, tops). Have we ever seen any puck bunnies in the past who were deemed to be sympathetic cases (let alone puck bunny-actress hybrids)? Don't think so. My gender will never take up for a woman like that. Case closed.
To summarize: When I heard Avery's remarks, I laughed to myself. That being said, I knew what he did was inappropriate, but it didn't offend me. The media has completely blown this incident out of proportion for one reason, and one reason only: Attention. They know when Avery talks these days, he draws more eyeballs and ears than Crosby and Ovechkin combined...and THEY LOVE HIM FOR IT. Sean's actions were premeditated, and the media's response was totally predictable. However, since the infamous soundbite was dropped, only one of these parties has been referred to as a "joke" due to their actions. We may want to re-think that take. And in meantime, why don't you let me decide what is, or isn't offensive? Have I ever had a problem telling you otherwise? Yeah, that's what I thought.
This is why TUC HQ loves Prison Break: It's the one show where you can watch a reasonable facsimile of Martin Gerber physically threaten an extremely reasonable facsimile of Roy Mlakar.
(Confused? Read the second part of this post. Oh, and thanks for joining us.)
In other non-news, get ready to steel yourselves for additional drunken antics from the OBC via live blog this evening. Most of the crew (minus yours truly, who's currently tied up with other business) should be attending this Atlanta-related affair. Make your presence known at around 6:45 pm EST or so -- bring your dancing shoes, but prepare to duck SLC after he's had a couple. Dude's been known to get a little frisky.
Play nice, ladies. More later.
Don Brennan on OTP late last night:
"Is there anyone not expecting the Senators to snap out of this funk soon?"
...because if we haven't given you a nickname, you're pretty much a nobody.
Oh, look -- Giggles was so busy growing facial hair that he forgot to duck Bobby Clarke's shiv. Here's the notable quote from Clarke, courtesy of his Thursday appearance on TSN's Off The Record:
"Great players are hard to play against. I don't think anybody fears playing against Jason Spezza ... other than the fact he might score or make a great play on you. You never get bruised, you never get touched."
Black Aces took issue with Clarke's criticism by performing quite the name-drop:
"The latest media tirade against Jason Spezza came from Bobby Clarke. He complained that players don't fear playing against Spezza because he can only make you look bad by "making plays" but won't lay a hand on anyone.
What, you mean like Wayne Gretzky, Steve Yzerman, Mike Modano, Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Pat Lafontaine, Ron Francis, Joe Sakic, Evgeni Malkin, Patrick Elias and Jaromir Jagr?
If it was good enough for them, why not Spezza?"
While I've never been a huge fan of Spezza's, I'm inclined to agree with BA's take. Senators fans have always expected a lot out of No. 19 -- I don't think physicality was ever part of the equation. That's not to say fans wouldn't appreciate a little aggression from their No. 1 centre, but come on now. There seems to be this mentality that if players are being paid all this money, they had better be complete, and then some. We want them to be snipers, two-way performers, playmakers, muckers, leaders, team players, disciplinarians and (expletive)-disturbers. Show me a team made of nothing but complete players, and I'll show you a league that throws in the towel, and hands out its championship in the first month of the season.
That being said, fans are never going to stop coming down on players to improve upon their current skill set. If Chris Phillips is a shut-down defenceman, he should play the body. If Antoine Vermette and Mike Fisher are to be considered true two-way players, they have to find the back of the net.
As for Spezza -- if you want him to instill fear into the hearts of his opponents, why not squelch his predictability with the puck, both during his successes and errors?
(Okay, even I made myself laugh with that one.)
Who's in the mood for an overkill troika? I want to see Brian Burke collaborate with Guns N' Roses on a new soundtrack for Twilight. Seriously -- now that Brian's in Toronto, can we give it a rest already? I knew we were in too deep with Burke when it became common knowledge that a) his wife's name is Jennifer and b) she's seeking a prominent position in television. Honestly, can you think of the name of another GM's wife (and her current career aspirations) off the top of your head?
I guess I'm expecting too much. Burke's already getting credit for crap he had nothing to do with. TSN.ca's headline last night (post-Leafs victory) declared Burke's arrival as a "Successful Debut". Alrighty then.
From the "TUC Finds This Strangely Interesting" files:
In 2006, certain choice readers of the column referred to me as an "idiotic woman who (didn't) know what (she was) talking about" when I said that a) now-New York Ranger Marc Staal should have been drafted by the Sens in '05 and b) the Battle of Ontario had lost its spark.
In 2008, these opinions have become common knowledge -- in fact, to state so will likely encourage mocking for pointing out the blatantly obvious.
P.S.: On an unrelated note, here's one for those from the Lakehead: Alex Auld will now be known as "Mount Baldy". Epic? Damn right.
(Ed. Note: I've been chomping at the Flintstones-flavoured bit to get to this one.)
TUC favourite William Houston of The Globe And Mail wrote quite the intriguing column on Friday, which delved into the absence of several newspaper outlets from this year's Grey Cup (the event took place last night in Montreal). Here are some notable excerpts:
The Grey Cup is a Canadian institution, but the media contingent covering the event will be the smallest in years.
The Ottawa Citizen, just a few hours away by car from Sunday's game in Montreal, will not attend. Nor will the Ottawa Sun.
Given Ottawa's proximity to Montreal, the Citizen's decision was particularly difficult, sports editor Hugh Paterson said.
"We thought about it," he said. "But with the economy the way it is and budget constraints, we decided we'd just rely on the chain. We didn't make the decision lightly because it's only two hours down the road."
The Canwest chain is using coverage from Montreal produced by its newspapers in the home towns of the Grey Cup teams, the Calgary Herald and The Gazette in Montreal.
Sun Media is relying on Calgary Sun copy, although Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun will be in Montreal on the weekend, in large part because of appearances on TSN.
Half the cost of his trip will be paid by TSN.
Let's lay the cards out on the table, shall we? You're telling me that the Ottawa Sun nor the Citizen would send local reps to cover a national championship taking place two hours down the highway. However, if the Habs were to make an appearance in the Cup Final come June '09, would the same papers be crying poor? Wayne Scanlan wouldn't be there to file a 2,000-word piece on the majesty that is Montreal? Chris Stevenson wouldn't be trying to meld with the masses in tri-coloured face paint? Woman, please.
This isn't about penny-pinching -- it's about priorities, and despite insistence to the contrary, the CFL isn't one of them. Rock on, Canwest. You too, Quebecor. It was a nice try.
The OBC has thrown together an impromptu live blog for this afternoon's tilt between the Sens and Blueshirts. From the sound of initial discussion, I may be the only sober participant, but who knows what the afternoon may bring? If you want to chime in, drag your punk ass over to Scarlett Ice, and plead your case to Sherry and DHS. We'll promise you good fun and more inappropriate cracks than the press box, but with less popcorn on the floor. Come back to join us at 2:45 pm, won't you?
Cynics, you can't imagine my happiness after returning from the U.S. yesterday to this glorious news. Birds are singing, deer are eating from my hand...I feel like I'm in a Disney movie (or an election campaign for Barack Obama). Read it one more time for good measure:
To make up for the loss of grit, the Senators recalled Cody Bass from Binghamton of the AHL. In 16 games with the Baby Sens this season, Bass has one goal and one assist while adding 37 minutes in penalties.
Just ignore those stats that make our boy seem like he serves less of a purpose. The Senators backed up the Brinks truck to guys like Spezza and Heatley -- they can score the goals. The OBC's player of choice is here to kick some ass along the boards, to mock the ways of yore, and to add some general intrigue to a team that lately, is the equivalent of an Ambien tablet with a warm milk chaser. The OBC will quietly standby to see how Bass' call-up develops. If he looks like he'll be staying for a while, be warned: We're coming for you, and we're armed with poly-cotton blend.
For the uninitiated, The Ottawa Bloggers Collective consists of the following misfits:
Dany Heatley Speedwagon: Creator of massive e-mail chains and general Deadspin honk
Freewillig: Keeping tabs on the team from below the 49th parallel
Miss Meaghan: Balancing out the estrogen representation for the OBC on the West Coast
Miss Sherry: Responsible for infiltration behind enemy lines and quirky antics
Senators' Lost Cojones: Her Majesty's Keeper of all things Simpsons-related
TUC: Rumour-mongering, punk rock and giving sports media the bitchface
Now you know. No more questions...we have much work to do.
"Hey, if Spezza hasn't done anything tonight, just throw his TOI up there! That's a relevant stat, right?"
Who's up for some redundant circling conversation? Let's talk defense! Chris Phillips lumbering behind the net to catch Fredrik Sjostrom, not thinking the Swede's pass to the point would be infinitely faster than No. 4's fumbling feet. The icing on the cake came when Fredrik was allowed to skate out to the side to actually score the goal himself. Stellar work. Oh, and please Brendan Bell, with your wobbly passes 15 feet off the mark -- save us from ourselves! If you listen closely, you can hear the 416 laughing their asses off.
Speaking of laughing -- if I hear one more person float the ludicrous idea of Jay Bouwmeester for Spezza straight up, I'm going to be accused of huffing nitrous oxide. You want to dangle for a semi-available quality offensive defenseman, and you think Kanata's favourite frat boy will accomplish that deed? Oh sure, no problem. You'll just have to get past this little obstacle first:
Yeah, you know who I'm talking about. I know long memories seem to be in short supply around here, but did you Mensas really forget about the relationship between Jacques Martin and Spezza? Martin had no patience for Spezza's (expletive) -- it showed, and then some. Being a defensive-minded coach, the idea of all that risky playmaking obviously sent shivers down his spine. Remember how long it took for all of us to truly see No. 19 for the first time? Remember how Jacques waited until the darkest hour during the New Jersey series in 2002-03, before he finally relented and put Spezza in the lineup? People took it out on Martin for not giving the kid a chance. We all insisted he'd grow up and balance out. Made sense at the time, didn't it?
The thing is, Jason's a grown man now (ahem), and his game has peaked on both sides. Those expecting him to turn into some sort of Yzerman v. 2.0, simply by buckling down and tapping into the Nepean water supply are only kidding themselves. Need some quick and dirty proof? Compare their respective skating abilities, then try and convince me otherwise. As for leadership -- do we really need to go there?
Jacques isn't blind -- he knows what's up. He had no time for Spezza when there was still an opportunity to mould him. Why on Earth would he want him now? Just saying.
Finally, one more blueline-related note: I've had more than my fill of the Senators' defensive sluttiness (for lack of a better word), and I know I can't be the only one. Have you honestly seen a team put up less of a fight when allowing the opponent into their zone? "Come on in, fellas! The more the merrier!" For God's sakes, I hope they at least bought you boys dinner first.
If you had the good sense on Saturday to switch over from that incessant crapfest coming from Uniondale, NY to the Hotstove feed on the CBC, you may have caught the perfect metaphor for the Sens' current predicament.
Here's the synopsis: Brian Burke, Brian Burke, Leafs, Brian Burke...Barry Melrose, Barry Melrose, Barry Melrose.
Then, at the very end of the segment, Ron MacLean dropped the following (very telling) statement:
"We don't have time to talk about Ottawa."
Now to be fair, the Burke and Melrose stories are headline-grabbers, and would've been discussed regardless of what was taking place in the capital. However, whenever the Senators' woes reach this degree, their issues tend to be discussed in agonizing detail by the national media.
Not this time. And why? Well, maybe it has something to do with the fact that the Sens just aren't worth the mention anymore.
No charm. No panache. No sizzle and no spark. That clicking sound you hear is one of two things: 1) Remote controls feverishly searching for another game -- any game -- to watch or b) soft palette suction after a fan falls asleep open-mouthed and drooling during the second period for the fourth time this month.
It isn't bad enough this team is playing brutal hockey -- they're doing it in such a fashion that people can't bear to watch, because the boredom is killing them.
Personally, I can't count how many times I've been grateful to have Centre Ice. I'll switch over to the Kings games to see how Drew Doughty is developing (nicely, by the way). I'll seek out the Blackhawks to watch them cycle in the corners, because it feels nostalgic. Then I'll see Brian Campbell skate up the ice with such fluid grace that it almost brings a tear to my eye.
Why would I choose to watch garbage when they're so much goodness out there? Would I do it because I'm a fan of Ottawa? Screw that.
So what are the Senators supposed to do about this? I wish I could tell you. People can talk about trades until they're blue in the face. It doesn't mean a) that it's going to happen or b) that the right move will be made. There are far too many issues with this club that can't be solved with a one-body swap (up to and including Bryan Murray for Brian Burke -- woman, please). And we all know they can't fire Hartsburg with a straight face, so that option's toast as well. In short, they've really screwed themselves over this time, but still seem to believe they can pull a "Jackie" Lou LamoriellO and wriggle their way out of it, a la 2006-07. Keep reaching for the stars, boys. It's time to admit that was a one-time experience. You got lucky. It happens to nearly everyone eventually.
And again, as I've stated in the past, a hearty dose of humility is long overdue for the Senators. Their behaviour, particularly that of the front office, has been nothing but insufferable since their Cup run in 2007. News flash to the swollen craniums of the OSHC: Know your role. You've won nothing, and done little. You're still in a small market that lacks the intrigue to attract players of note, and your season ticket fanbase isn't as committed as you think. People constantly talk about what needs to be fixed. Make no mistake -- this is an issue many seem to overlook.
A march to the Finals is yesterday's news for this team. Here's today's reality: Their problems will not be solved with a quick fix, and their relevance within the NHL is becoming less significant by the day. It's one thing to suck -- it's quite another when people begin not to care whether you do.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have a San Jose-Chicago game to get back to. More later.
Dumbass Du Jour Jarkko Ruutu has received two games for his headhunting stint on Maxim Lapierre last night. Still no word if his teammates clobbered him with blunt, painful objects after his salute to the crowd.
P.S.: The text of the day, on the subject of Ruutu's elbow: "I wish he would've hit (Jason Spezza) instead."
Disgusting, utter garbage. That's what I saw last night.
All the incessant goobering over Demi-Deity Fisher and Jesse Winchester didn't do a lick of good, now did it? It's the Canadiens, boys. Not cold fusion. As for Alfie -- can you have a Samson effect after a moustache removal? He looked like hell.
And the defence? Take a hint from Babyface Lee: If you have a 5 in your number, I want to see the back of you on a bus to Bingo. Defensive liabilities are one thing -- Joe Corvo was a liability. But dude could also QB a power play. Picard and Schubert are playing like AHL-level albatrosses and they contribute jack. Oh, and let's all continue to pretend that having Chris Phillips on the PP is normal and shouldn't be questioned. He'll contribute offensively! He won't get burnt out by the additional workload...why would he? It's Hartsburg's world, kids. We're just living in it.
As for Ruutu: The hit was one thing, and will likely make the rounds on the media circuit within the next 24 hours. However, it was his antics after he was tossed that really put me over the edge. All that gesturing and waving to the crowd was beyond bush league and exceedingly inappropriate, especially when you consider the Sens were down 3-0 at that point. The organization should be incredibly embarrassed by such an incident, but seeing how oblivious they've been to everything else these days, I'm sure they will interpret it as a lighthearted moment. Good times.
You're doing a bang-up job, boys. Keep it up.
...because we were just as weirded out as you to see Roy Mlakar's twin make out with Gretchen on Prison Break last week.
Excuse the general indifference and hodge-podge nature of the recent posts, but the Senators are having a difficult time holding my attention lately. Non-storylines of note include a so-called goaltending controversy between two men who will never be considered true No. 1 backstoppers, Alex Auld's 1.84 GAA, The Demi-Deity's so-called resurrection (Ed. Note: Pffft.) and name suggestions for the Winchester-Fisher-Alfredsson line. (By the way -- the JAM line? What the Christ is that all about? Last time I checked, No. 11's full name wasn't Alfie Alfredsson. Please try again.) Sigh. I'm just not feeling it. That being said, a few things have caught my eye over the past few days...
It appears that Ottawa continues to struggle with discovering its identity, and I'm not just talking about during play. "Team Honk" Stu (I refuse to call him "Stuntman" because he hasn't done anything noteworthy in that department in ages) has initiated a new gimmick after goals for the home team. He announces the player's first name, then goes silent, allowing the crowd to yell out the surname. Cute, I guess, but apparently the capital can only handle one or two syllables at a time. Anything more than that ("Volchenkov", for example), and the fans begin to sound like a TTC subway stop announcer.
A partial step forward? Sure, but it wouldn't be the Sens if it weren't accompanied by the inevitable two steps back. After Antoine Vermette's non-goal vs. Philly last Thursday, the Sens' audio department kicked in with Pennywise's Bro Hymn. For the uninitiated, this song is generally recognized as Anaheim's goal song. Other teams play it occasionally, but the Ducks use it relentlessly. Pennywise even performed at the Ducks' Stanley Cup celebration where the SoCal team celebrated their victory over...who again? Oh, that's right. Ottawa.
Why would you want to play a song so strongly associated with the one team that a) stood in your way of hoisting the Cup and b) continues to kick your ass on a regular basis? Just saying.
The St. Louis-L.A. game on Saturday caught me off-guard for a couple of reasons: It was in HD, and it was shot using the rinkside format. The "inside the boards" sensation this broadcast provides won me over last season, but now I have one quibble: I wish they'd switch to a traditional angle when the play is in the neutral zone, a la the NFL. It would make it easier to follow the play, and it's a little easier on the eyes. And for the record, I think Jim Fox could do with another dressing-down from Bryan Murray in order to shock him into silence. Dude never shuts up.
Finally, this weekend's Quality Moment: Thank God The Driver had the good sense to record this for me, because I would've been devastated if I missed it. Here's Garry Galley hitting an unintentional comedic home run during an interview with the Canes' Brandon Sutter. The turning itself is funny, but it's ratcheted up a million notches by the fact that he's asking a question in the process. Don't take my word for it -- check out this quick and dirty footage. TUC HQ has watched this at least 20 times in the last 24 hours, and the law of diminishing returns has yet to apply.
Who's up for purchasing merch sight unseen on this fabulous Monday? According to their website, that's what the Sens want you to do. The above photo is accompanied by the following blurb on the team page:
Your Senators are Back in Black this November when they face the New York Rangers on November 22 at 3pm. Great seats are still available - visit capitaltickets.ca to get yours today and be the first to see the Sens hit the ice in BLACK!
Pre-order your Black jersey before November 21st and receive an RBK Hockey hat with your order!
I don't know about you, but I kind of like to know what I'm ordering before I throw my cash down. Naturally the jersey doesn't appear on the Sens' online store or at shop.nhl.com. And sure, I get that they're trying to be stealth about it, but give me a break. We all know the team is going to ice this happy crap on the 22nd. It still doesn't change the fact that they're trying to push something without full and proper knowledge of the product.
And now, your bonus bit...
Being forced to watch the Leafs-Rangers game on Saturday reunited us with our old frenemy, Perry Pearn. I wasn't that fond of Pearn's work when he worked under the Toby Jug, but you may have noticed a lot of verbal humping going on during the Rangers' PK. It came with good reason -- the aggressive forecheck that the Rangers' D uses at their blueline during penalty kills is extremely effective. Yes, they lost to the Leafs that night, but check the scoreboard -- all of Toronto's goals were scored during 5-on-5 play.
Adam Mair runs the joke store at HSBC arena. And for the record, did Phil Legault honestly think he could break this up if it got hectic?
Apologies for the lack of a Deglaze -- I've temporarily been placed on the IR and it's taken up more time than I had planned. Let's press forward with a couple of quick hits, shall we?
* Tonight's win against Buffalo was a nice first step, but I'll reserve judgment (ahem) until a proper turnaround occurs. And I know the last big U-turn two seasons ago began with the exact same opponent, but that was then, and this is now. I will give the Sens credit for showing some hustle, and watching Auld flash the leather a few times was great to see. By the way, how about that "Battle of The Nice Guys" in Auld vs. Lalime? I love the calm that both have brought to the dressing room during their time here, but they hardly give off the vibe of vicious competitors. They seem like they'd be more at home sitting at centre ice, sharing a plate of orange slices (of course, Alex would bring the Persians because he's good like that).
* For the record, the Cynic in me is convinced the team decided to show up tonight because they know they have to face The Man tomorrow. Does Giggles deserve a pony ride for his two goals this evening? Bank says he gets on the damned thing backwards. And by the way, a win did nothing to slow the "nuke 18 and 45" text messages on my cell phone tonight.
* Good to see that Mike Fisher is taking some online, but Antoine Vermette continues to skate (and not much else). What gives? I was told Mike Eastwood was giving it to him on the Team 1200 recently -- hopefully the knives don't take too long to come out. I've always been one of Vermette's strongest supporters, because I appreciated the speed and two-way finesse game he brought. Yes, he's soft, but how many freaking non-scoring "energy" guys does one team need? Problem is, he's been unable to find the back of the net, and for a team lacking in secondary scoring for some time now, that just won't do. People can talk about trading Mike Fisher all they want, but his no-movement clause runs through 2010-11. Furthermore, who wants to pick up a non-scoring, injury prone player with a lengthy contract? Vermette's issues can be excused, simply by implementing a "change in environment". Long story short -- if you dangle anyone, he's the guy. Except...
* After all the moves Bryan Murray has made lately, do you trust him to do the right thing?
* Finally, The Quality Moment Of The Evening: The Driver and I were heading home during the first period -- Dean and Gord were doing the call. I didn't hear who he was talking about (pretty positive it was a Buffalo player), but all of a sudden Dean said something to the effect of, "...and he looks like he just took an off-season course in equine artificial insemination...", when the feed abruptly went dead. That morning show gets away with murder, but Dean makes a crack about impregnating horses, and he gets taken out with the big white cane.*
*Dude, I know it was one hell of a coincidence. Damn funny one, though.
Posted in Brian Kilrea |
Let's just put this out there...
What do you do when the following situations occur in rapid-fire succession:
1) Your No. 1 goaltender loses his confidence;
2) Your defence doesn't trust said goaltender to make the stops;
3) The goaltender doesn't trust said defence to bail him out on occasion;
4) Your coach insists on naming the starting goaltenders well in advance, negating any logical reasoning behind a switch if necessary;
5) Your arena's boards qualify as a top-four blueliner;
6) Your team's goalie coach is suddenly nowhere to be found;
7) Your coach's poor decision-making has already accelerated the fans' unrest?
Babyface Lee is being sent back to Bingo, which frankly is the best thing for him right now. And in a case of extremes, 106-year-old Luke Richardson will be replacing the zygote on the blueline. Good times.
Let's see a show of hands: Who assumed that Filip Kuba's size automatically indicated that he should be a physical player?
Or maybe here's a better question...
If we're going to go after big defencemen who really should be expected to play tougher, why don't we put Chris Phillips in the crosshairs?
News flash: Not all blueliners are built alike, and those who can't afford Chris Pronger tend to keep their defensive grit at home. Kuba was brought here for puck movement and offensive contributions. Was anyone really expecting anything else? (Insert Marcus Allen riff here.)
Is this some kind of (expletive)-up joke?
When The Driver texted me the new line combos this aft, it was all I could do not to burst out laughing. For the record, here's what the coach is proposing:
Dany Heatley-Mike Fisher-Daniel Alfredsson
Nick Foligno-Jason Spezza-Jesse Winchester
Antoine Vermette-Chris Kelly-Jarkko Ruutu
The fourth line is supposed to be some melange of Schubert, McAmmond, Donovan and/or Neil. As if it freaking matters.
According to the Sun, the reasons behind this madness will be magically revealed later today. Personally, I'm expecting something along the lines of, "Well, me and the hat rack in my office talked it over and..."
You're putting the fallen idol on the top line? Woman, are you kidding me? What made you think that was a bank idea? His point scoring streak? The fact that he talks to his groin on the bench as opposed to his teammates? ("Please don't snap on me now -- I promise I'll take you to Cora's after church on Sunday...April 89's on me, buddy!") Oh, and look what we have going on the second line: "Fisher-Prototype-For-Less*", "I'll-Bugger-Up-Just-Give-Me-A-Sec", and "What-Am-I-Still-Doing-Here?" I'd have more chemistry with Jim Jerome than we'll see out of this lot.
If somehow I'm wrong about this, I'm not afraid to admit it when the time comes. But let's get real -- does anyone see this working?
*The type of player he SHOULD be, not the type he currently is.
(Ed. Note: A Chewable is taking the place of the Deglaze this week -- The Driver's mother is at TUC HQ and she thinks our office is the doorway to Hell. Can't spend any more time in here than necessary.)
Want to take a guess how many Senators players have more points than Antoine Vermette and Mike Fisher (1 and zero points respectively)? Go ahead and take a crack at it. I'll wait.
Kuba, Spezza, Heatley, Alfie, Donovan, Foligno, Ruutu, Kelly, Volchenkov and Picard all have more points than the two players the team is counting on to produce the bulk of their secondary scoring.
And because it's Monday, here's a bonus bit...
Still think there's nothing to the idea that the majority of young defencemen require additional grooming and polish in the minors? Perhaps you haven't noticed Brian Lee lately. Lee impressed in the pre-season, but has appeared panic-stricken on multiple occasions since the regular season began. His teammates have already begun to pick up on this, as it's become obvious (particularly during the last two games) that they were avoiding him during play, choosing instead to pass off to someone else. The Sens wanted Lee to be their finesse blueliner of the future -- calm nerves are a prerequisite for that position. Don't get me wrong: I understand the hesitancy that comes with youth. But don't forget that Lee played in four playoff games with the team last year. He's already seen far more stressful situations than the current one.
If you're a Rogers customer like myself, you might be asking the same thing.
Sure, I knew the basics -- TSN officially launched its alternate channel in late August, and one of its major selling points was that it was to carry 34 additional NHL games not covered by the original network. Knowing that TSN had yet to hammer out an agreement with Rogers to broadcast TSN2, I foolishly assumed that said games would be available on NHL Centre Ice (as of mid-September, TSN had reached agreements with Bell, Aliant, Shaw Cable, Star Choice, Cogeco and several others).
I knew something was wrong when The Driver went to watch the Philly-Pittsburgh game on Tuesday night, and instead I heard him on the phone, sounding extremely exasperated. There was no sign of the game anywhere, and he had called into Rogers to find out what the story was.
Guess what? Rogers knew nothing. Better yet, Rogers is DOING nothing for their Centre Ice subscribers who are sitting around paying for a service, but still not receiving all games.
Here's the story The Driver was told: Obviously, because Rogers owns Sportsnet, and Bell owns a portion of CTVglobemedia (which operates TSN), negotiations between Rogers and TSN aren't exactly moving at lightning pace. However, because the NHL recognizes TSN as a national network that "everyone" receives without blackouts, it doesn't feel the need to show the TSN2 games on Centre Ice. They aren't observing the difference between the main and alternate networks.
How maddening is that?
So now Rogers customers are forced to sit and wait while CTVglobemedia and Rogers make nice -- meanwhile, the NHL can't be bothered to get involved, and I'm missing Cote v. Godard. Sigh.
Just to clarify, seeing as there seems to be some confusion...
The woman in the Redden photo from the Tuesday Deglaze is NOT me. 1) I'm a brunette and 2) I've never felt the urge to kiss the Black Cloud in any form (photograph, live or otherwise).
There you have it.
...because all we have to say to The Driver during San Diego Chargers games is, "Your QB's a d*ck."
The following is a transcript taken from Coach's Corner on October 11th:
Don Cherry: "(John) Tavares is now supposed to be No. 2 (in the overall rankings for the 2009 NHL Entry Draft). They've got (Victor) Hedman -- a Swede naturally -- (ranked) as No. 1. You've seen Tavares so many times, you start picking on him. He broke Gretzky's junior goal-scoring record, he's leading the league right now and he's got 18 points in 9 names, yet we keep picking on him. Of course, Leafs management said (to hurt the kid's feelings) that there are no franchise player out there. Think about what he's done, and the kid hears that. But the Leafs -- you don't have to worry about it because he's from Ontario. They will never pick him. Listen to this: Seven of the top 10 draft picks this year were from the OHL. Top four were from the O. In the last 5 drafts, the Leafs have drafted 18 foreigners and 3 from Ontario. So some say, 'Why are you so upset?' Because I'm out amongst the kids. I see them wearing their (Leafs) toques, hats and jackets. They love the Leafs and they never get a chance to play for them."
Oh, my. Where to begin?
1) Do you get the idea that Don Cherry's hot on the OHL? Look, he's correct about 7 out of the top 10 picks from the '08 Draft -- they did come from the OHL. But if we're to assume that the Ontario Hockey League continues to pump out such high-quality talent, then the Leafs would have to remain fantastically mediocre and/or pony up some quality trade bait (ahem) in order to have access to these gems. Is that what you want, Don?
2) Last time I checked, Toronto's defence wasn't the most formidable group on the planet. If they think Hedman will help them more in the long run, that's their business (again, assuming they get the pick).
3) What the hell is all this nonsense about hurt feelings simply because a kid may not get the opportunity to be drafted by Toronto? What happened to being grateful just for the chance to play professional hockey? To be fair, I'm not posing that question to the eventual prospects -- any draft pick I've met has demonstrated nothing but joy at the idea of being taken by an NHL team. The city didn't matter -- they just wanted to have their name called, and slip the jersey over their heads. It's foolish to think that players don't have favourite teams going in, but to be quite frank, there's only one prospect in recent memory who was relatively candid about where he wanted to go. That player was Drew Doughty, and I'm guessing the only reason why he admitted it was due to the way the stars were aligning. Doughty had been a long-time fan of the Kings, and was slated to go high in the Draft. In 2008, Los Angeles had the No. 2 pick, and selected Doughty with it. But I can say in Doughty's defense that he claimed he'd be happy wherever he ended up. The sentiment seemed sincere, and I believed him during our interview. Barring the rare exception (i.e. Eric Lindros), draft picks seem to readily embrace their new franchise when chosen. That's what makes this whole "Toronto's going to upset the kids if they don't draft them" idea so ridiculous. Besides, who's to say they won't get a chance to play for the Leafs later on in their career? Although....
4) Let's have a look at some of the recent players who wanted to "live the childhood dream" of playing for their beloved Leafs: Eric Lindros. Mike Peca. Andrew Raycroft. Jason Blake (although he did score a goal the other night, so maybe things can turn around for him). Good times, right?
In short: Methinks John Tavares' precious little heart won't be broken for long if doesn't end up in the blue and white. But if the Leafs want him -- or any other high-ranking OHLer for that matter -- they'd better get to tanking (insert obligatory Marcus Allen riff here).
Listen...do you hear that? It's the sound of Sens fans obsessing about their former players. The latest ex-Senator to earn the spotlight is Black Cloud Redden, whom Ottawa supporters have undoubtedly noticed during the New York Rangers' hot start to the season. The former (and current) No. 6 has three points with his new team -- 2 G, 1 A. Question Of The Day: Is this really worth tripping out over? BFD, says I. A Redden offensive renaissance is hardly unexpected right now -- new team, new "attitude"...for the meantime. And keep in mind that just because he's been scoring recently doesn't mean he won't continue to (expletive) up like mad in his own end. Watch and wait...you'll see.
And finally, from the media files...
From The Ottawa Sun's Digital Faceoff on Saturday, entitled "Can the Sens win a Cup with Gerber in Goal?"
Bruce Garrioch: "Don, you should adopt (Alex) Auld as your man. A good North Bay boy like yourself..."
Alex Auld was born in Cold Lake, AB, but he's as much an Albertan as Dany Heatley is German. Auld calls Thunder Bay home, not North Bay. They're nearly 1,100 kilometres apart, and take it from someone who knows: There is a difference. A petty barb? Likely so, but it seems Ottawans have a difficult time understanding that life exists beyond the 705. After 11 years, I've grown more than a little tired of it.
(Memo to the media -- let me spare you the trouble. "Erin, stop being such a (expletive) bitch. You've never made a mistake before?" Probably have, but never about that. Trust.)
Tragedy has struck the New York Rangers and Omsk after 19-year-old Alexei Cherepanov collapsed on the bench during the third period of a KHL game. The Blueshirts' prospect was unable to be revived and died a short time later. More details can be found at TSN.ca.
Due to the holiday, we're pushing the Deglaze back to Tuesday. Happy Thanksgiving to all the Canadian readers -- be safe and don't eat too much...we'll see you back here on the 14th.
(Photo Credit: The mad hotness that is Scarlett Ice)
Sherry from SI had an up-close encounter with OBC favourite Cody Bass during the Toronto Marlies' home opener last night -- click the link for all the details.
A quick and touching story from Thursday night's game between the Flames and Canucks, courtesy of Globe On Hockey.
I've been getting this one a lot, so I figured I'd tackle it now...
Q: WTF is up with that "Audio Clip" on your profile? Who/what is it? Are they saying "Ottawa"?
A: That's James Hetfield -- the lead singer from Metallica. Yes, he is saying "Ottawa". (Actually, the full transcript is "Ha ha! Heyyy Ottawaaaa...yeh yeh yeah! You still feelin' good?") It's from a show the band did at Scotiabank Place (then the Corel Centre) in 2004. Personally I find it hilarious, and that's the reason why it's up there. I also keep it on my cell phone as my text alert sound. When I was at the draft this summer, TSN kept sending me updates, which made James belt out like crazy about every 3-4 minutes. At one point, I was in the back, and ESPN's Scott Burnside was standing right by me, looking for something to drink. James broke out into song, and Burnside cocked his head at me, then cracked up. Good times.
If you have any other questions about the blog, send them to email@example.com.
The man and myth known as Daniel Alfredsson has been knocked out for at least two weeks while he undergoes surgery to remove a bone chip in his knee. The surgery will take place today. Details to follow.
Update #1: Conflicting radio reports say No. 11 may only be gone 7-10 days.
Update #2: Heatley will be wearing the 'C' in Alfie's absence, and the Sun blog has the projected lines:
Dany Heatley-Jason Spezza-Jarko Ruutu
Nick Foligno-Mike Fisher-Chris Neil
Antoine Vermette-Chris Kelly-Jesse Winchester
Christoph Schubert-Dean McAmmond-Shean Donovan
Chris Phllips-Anton Volchenkov
Jason Smith-Filip Kuba
Alexandre Picard-Brian Lee
Posted in Daniel Alfredsson |
The Sens' coolness and general intrigue factor dropped through the freaking floor today, when news broke that the big club was sending OBC favourite Cody Bass down to Bingo. Oh, and for the record, Brian Elliott got the boot to New York State as well (translation: BFD). This revelation brings the joint blog project between TUC, Scarlett Ice, Five For Smiting and Hockeyschlock to a screeching halt...at least for the foreseeable future. That being said, this little venture of ours will be bloody awesome when the time comes. Bass can't get back to Ottawa soon enough -- at least not for the five of us. In the meantime...uh...all hail Jesse Winchester?
Pfft...you can't make a slogan out of that.
...because we're having a Me Mom and Morgentaler moment.
Sure, the regular season has started, but a lot of the talk has focused on players not hitting the ice -- case in point, Mike Fisher. No. 12 was recently thrust into the spotlight, due to the fact that his 6-million dollar groin (or "groan", as Rome would say) is acting up again. Fisher did not play in either game versus Pittsburgh in Sweden, and questions abound regarding the centre's off-season conditioning and overall durability.
It's a very curious thing to see fans suddenly question and criticize Mike Fisher. I say that because, well...privately, I've been doing it for years. To me, Mike Fisher is like There's Something About Mary. Remember when that movie came out? It was a fairly unassuming flick when it hit the theatres, but everyone seemingly went nuts over it. At the time, my friends were driving me crazy, telling me to go check it out. Here's what happened:
Friends: "So? What did you think? Wasn't it the best thing ever?"
Me: (looking at ground)
Me: "Uh...well...I don't get what the big deal is. I don't get it."
Friends: "WHAT?!? Best. Thing. Ever. What's wrong with you?"
Me: (getting defensive) "I dunno...I guess some parts of it were all right...I just don't understand why everyone loves it so much."
Friends: "Blaaargh!!! Rage...RAAAAAGE!"
Things get a bit hazy at this point. I think someone took off one of their Vans and threw it at me.
Eventually I just began to lie and said I liked it, because I was tired of having people freak out on me.
And that's what it's like to be a non-fan of Mike Fisher -- at least until recently. I had to to express my feelings covertly, during whispered conversations at the Starbucks on Hazeldean. I had to smile and nod my head in silent agreement when everyone insisted he should be the next captain of the team. I had to pretend to understand why every woman (and Don Cherry, apparently) fawns over his blue eyes and chiseled cheekbones.
I didn't get it. I never did. And now I'm mad at myself for not speaking up, because people are finally beginning to see things the way I always have.
Fisher was the one player I couldn't bring myself to properly torch in the column, and it made me bloody crazy. I'd pace in my office, willing myself to openly question his worth. He has yet to break the 50-point plateau, and he's 28 years old. Barring a miracle, it seems pretty obvious that he's peaked. The Senators paid him like a second-line centre (his front-loaded, 5-year, $21-million contract kicks in this season), but he's not capable of playing that role. A lot of that money is paying for the intangibles that No. 12 offers..and that's where the problem lies.
The good guy image. The heart. The grit. The never-say-die mentality. Sens fans have been flat-out obsessed with the qualities Fisher brings to the table, and that's what makes it so freaking hard to get on his case. Don't believe me? Consider this: In the four years that the column ran, I got flack from the Sens front office about my off-the-cuff criticism of one player. Guess who that player was? They never defended anyone else...and frankly, I leveled my guns at pretty much everyone on that team (including Daniel Alfredsson).
Here's the thing: I understand that he's a valuable player from a defensive standpoint. I respect his willingness to play hard. I get that he's a good person. I get that part, okay?
But he's not a deity, and he's not a second-line centre that will ever be worth 6-million dollars. He may not even be a captain -- that spare "A" was obviously emblazoned on Heatley's chest for a reason.
News flash: It's Mike Fisher. Stop looking for something that isn't there. He's physically fragile, offensively limited and his career has nowhere to go but down. Thank God people are finally beginning to understand that.
Here's an interesting tidbit from the HFBoards: Fans who attended pre-season games reported that the Sens were coming onto the ice to Europe's The Final Countdown as opposed to the traditional team theme song. When questioned, the team claimed that it was just a pre-season switch-up, but that the regular theme would be "used less frequently" (again, this is according to the board). If this is true, someone from the Sens audio department should have their head examined. The theme resonates with pure cheesy goodness that can't be replaced with an overused 80's anthem. Furthermore, it's tradition -- something that this relatively young franchise doesn't have a lot of. It's original, it's fabulous and it should be used during every home game. End of story.
From the Senators-Penguins pre-game on CBC this aft:
Ron MacLean: "So you're intimating that (Mike) Fisher is more of a third-line/checking centre than a second-line player?"
Mike Milbury: "I think he'd be a great third-line player, but to just push him into a second-line situation is a bit of a stretch."
If you haven't checked out Five For Smiting's season preview for the Sens, we suggest you do so immediately.
From the first intermission of the Rangers-Lightning game on CBC this aft:
Ron MacLean: "(New York Rangers Assistant Coach) Perry Pearn said that (Daniel) Girardi is going to be the next Wade Redden."
Kelly Hrudey: "Is that a compliment?"
Remember the weekend Deglaze where we discussed the Schubert conundrum? Apparently a solution has been reached, and No. 5 is not happy about it -- he's going to be a full-time forward.
Chris Stevenson's teaser on his Day 2 video report from Sweden claims that Schubert wouldn't speak to the media today. Call it a hunch, but this probably won't end well.
In other defensive news, the latest third pairing features newcomer Alexandre Picard alongside Babyface Lee (Luke Richardson will remain crashed out in a La-Z-Boy on reserve). The young ones are No. 5 and 6 on the depth chart, and won't be expected to log workhorse-type numbers. That being said, it's an awful lot of inexperience to be placing together.
The Sun blog is reporting that Nikolai Khabibulin has been waived. Commence with your unsubstantiated freakouts.
Posted in Nikolai Khabibulin |
We figured this was worth mentioning, seeing as people keep e-mailing about it...
Hey Senators season ticket holders: Have you had a look at your statement lately? Did you notice how you paid full price for the three pre-season games, while the public was given half off? Hope you enjoyed the future boys of Bingo while they were here -- it certainly cost you enough to do so.
Headline of the week: St. Louis Rams RB "Steven Jackson is probable but angry."
...because we concur with Greg Hetson's succinct take on Ottawa's MLS bid: "What the (expletive)?"
(Ed. note: Expect the regular Deglaze to move back to its traditional spot on Mondays -- Tuesday at the latest -- once the season gets underway.)
This is one of those stories that has been brewing for some time, but no one's really hit on it until now. News flash: Christoph Schubert wants to be a full-time defenceman. Here are the relevant quotes:
After three years as a swingman, Schubert is more adamant than ever that he wants to settle into a full-time job on the blue line and leave his left-wing playing days behind.
"I know he wants to be a defenceman but you know what, he wants to play in the NHL," said Hartsburg. "I think it's great a player like that can do both."
"I'm not going to say no," he said when asked about playing left wing. "But I said from the beginning, I want to be back there. That's what I'm fighting for right now. The coaches told me before camp ... focus on being on defence, and that's what I'm doing. (They said) it's not going to be back and forth anymore."
In regards to Schubert, Ottawa has pushed the versatility angle for some time. No. 5 has always dropped hints that he prefers to be working the blueline as opposed to left wing, but this is the first time (in recent memory) that he's been so blatant. Unfortunately for the German ginge*, he's not in a position to be making demands -- after all, he's not a top-4 defenceman. Schubert's grit has come in handy as a forward, but his offensive ability is limited and on most nights he falls into the over referenced category of "energy player". So now what? If Schubert truly becomes unhappy with the situation, he'd have to ask for a trade -- the 26-year-old won't be a UFA until 2010-'11. In short, the ball is in his court. If Schubert wants to be a permanent blueliner, he'll have to force the Sens staff to picture him that way -- a reliable, quality defenceman as opposed to a plug-the-holes hybrid.
In the past, this blog has discussed The Driver's insistence that Prison Break's Dominic Purcell bears a striking resemblance to our No. 1 Manatee, Martin Gerber. Well, it's worth noting that the Fox drama has added another Senators-esque element to its repertoire. To be fair, The General (a.k.a The Padman) made his first appearance last season, but it wasn't until this year that we really got to know him. Take a look at that picture, and tell me he doesn't look like Senators' President and CEO Roy Mlakar. (Here's a link to the same picture in a smaller format, but with less shadow.) For the record, The General is the head of a shady group called "The Company" -- we don't quite know what they do yet...we just know they get extremely agitated if you cause them any grief. *twiddling thumbs*
A quick show of hands: Who's happy to see Brendan Bell being shipped to Bingo? "Ooh...hometown boy angle -- let's be sure to run that into the ground!" The damn kid couldn't hang in Toronto, but because he's from the 613, we'll talk him up like he's got a shot. Whaa? I know the defence is in dire straits, but come on now. In other news, the team heads for Sweden tomorrow and Cody Bass has stuck around. You may have noticed Bass getting a lot of run on some of the other Sens blogs -- trust us, there's a reason. Details to come...stay tuned.
And finally, it wouldn't be a Deglaze without a media mention: Someone would like you to notice that he was right. Notice, damnit!
*This seems like a lift from Dlisted, right?
Honest to God, we just landed back in the capital all of two hours ago after a glorious four days spent in the Land of Staalapalooza. The Driver and I were getting ready to head back to Kanata (just as rush hour traffic was beginning -- stellar move), and decided to turn on the Team 1200 on the way. (We've been reading nothing but the Chronicle-Journal for the past little while, so it's going to take a couple of days to get back on the horse. Be patient, it'll come.) Anyway, we flip on the drive-time show, and the following bombs were dropped in a matter of minutes by the hosts:
1) "Chris Phillips should become an offensive defenceman" and "play a role on the PP";
2) "Brian Lee looks like he's been playing in the league for 4 to 5 years" (I don't care what happened while we were gone, there's no way this can be true);
3) One of the hosts was completely in the dark regarding the schedule and opponents for the games in Sweden.
I was so lovely and relaxed in the Lakehead -- 30 minutes back in Ottawa and that's shot all to hell. On the plus side, word came down today that Cody Bass has passed the latest round of cuts. Ottawa bloggers, commence with the virtual high fives.
(Beg for a caption much?)
Nothing like overnight restricted access to the blog, right? As always, there's a method behind the madness, and you can trust that you won't be missing anything during any down periods (read: no posts). Thanks again for all the e-mails -- it's nice to be missed, even if only for a few hours.
Of course, a few more bits and pieces have fallen out over the past couple of days -- in particular, Sun Media seems bound and determined to force epic little freakouts at TUC HQ.
Here's the notable excerpt from Exhibit A:
Enough with the talk about Ray Emery's antics. He's gone and shouldn't be blamed for anything else going on with the Senators.
Say it with me: "Whaa?" In other news, it's Igor Kravchuk's fault that the defence has fallen to hell.
And here's the entire post from Exhibit B:
Who doesn't like an Aerosmith ballad?
Hey, dancing is a sport isn't it?
And you know how strong those performers have to be to hang upside down from a pole?
News flash to the media honks: If you want to write about Megan Fox, then brush off your best Simmons (Bill, not Steve) impersonation, and write about Megan Fox. Don't make some blatant reach attempt to find a correlation between a C-list actress and the business. Oh, and for the record: Strippers are "strippers". Classically trained fine arts performers are "dancers". Semantics, you say? Well, maybe you need to learn the difference between receiving a kick from a platform lucite heel as opposed to a pointe shoe. Just saying.
Apologies for starting Monday on a down note, but consider this a heads-up:
For the first time since the blog began, we will not be attending the Senators' annual Fan Fest (scheduled to take place on the 20th). Unfortunately, business in the birthplace of Staalapalooza must take priority at this time. Surely some of the other blogs will chime in with coverage (and relish the opportunity to level their guns at multiple players, where and if appropriate). We're also hoping said bloggers will question why the website only references a game-day skate, as well as the absence of the usual pancake breakfast. Memo to the OSHC: Fans need their red v. white scrimmages and simple carbohydrates. Pony up, ladies.
Chris Stevenson attempts to confirm reports that the brutal third jerseys we've seen making the rounds on the blogs, are in fact, the real deal. Somebody cue the dyslexia jokes.
Just a couple of bits and pieces to round out the week...
If we're treated to one more piece of Sundin-related news, we'll gouge out our eyes and jam them into our ears (thanks to The Driver for that disturbing description). We've enjoyed the reaction to the local spin thus far -- although it's interesting that fans are making a fair amount of reference to Sundin's age. To act as if Gangrel would be the sole cause of greying up the team is rather funny -- apparently the misconception that Ottawa continues to ice a club of zygotes continues unabated. Remember when this interesting factoid made news last season? And yes, the roster has changed significantly since then. But for the record -- notable off-season pickups Jason Smith, Jarkko Ruutu and Filip Kuba are all over the age of 30 (34, 33 and 31 respectively). Are they as old as Mats? No. But they're not young pups, either. People need to remember this team isn't built on the babyfaces of yore.
Meanwhile, over at Scarlett Ice, Sherry is doing her part to remind the Sens that Cody Bass deserves consideration for the big club this year. Okay, so the Ottawa bloggers might have their own motives for wanting to see Bass at SBP this year. Poly-cotton blend, anyone?
This weekend is setting up to be an interesting one at TUC HQ. The Driver's craptastic San Diego Chargers are facing our beloved Broncos in the first notable AFC West game of the season. (Monday night, although fabulous, didn't really count. Oakland is a joke.) The Driver is in a weird place right now -- he and the Senators haven't seen eye to eye in some time, and things with the Chargers aren't going the way he had hoped. First came the devastating injury to Shawn Merriman, then the unexpected loss in Week 1 to Carolina...in short, he's been pouting a lot. That being said, we did get him to admit that Chargers QB Philip Rivers is a fussy bitch, which was a totally epic moment for yours truly. And our boy can play it down because he's good like that, but for the record -- if Rivers attempts a repeat of that jawing crap he pulled on Denver QB Jay Cutler last year, we'd fully encourage No. 6 to stab Rivers in the ass with an insulin needle on the sideline.*
(Aside: If you're ever in the mood to relive the magic and insanity that was "Dress Up Jake Plummer", go here.)
Finally, a quick message of love and support to our old-school friends in Texas who are prepping to battle Hurricane Ike. We're thinking of you...be safe.
*That's a joke, ladies. Calm yourselves.
Obviously not content to let their reputation for allowing embarassingly stiff deliveries to slide*, the Ottawa Senators have come up with another painfully hilarious video montage...only this time, they've gotten some of their players into the act.
Sens Insiders were lucky enough to find this stellar gem in their e-mail late last week. Click "skip intro" to bypass the opening movie, and then wait for Alfredsson and Neil (whaa?) to appear. But don't click on the links right away...the boys will re-emerge a few seconds after their initial appearance. Hands down, this is the best moment of the entire video.
Now look at Alfie leaning on that stick, giving face to the camera. The first time he asked us if we were "looking for action", we felt like we were being hit on. Can't you just see him delivering that line while holding a highball glass filled with vodka and lingonberry juice? We're starting to understand why he and Bibi have three kids.
Almost all the links feature an intro by the duo. ("Here boys, hold this puck...now hold this stick...it won't look as awkward...") Probability of unintentional comedy: 98%.
P.S.: On a serious note, someone from the Senators' marketing team should have their hand slapped for not including a Francophone player like Antoine Vermette on the French version of this advertisement (if Alexandre Picard had been with the club earlier, his name could be mentioned in the same breath). There are no player representatives on the French section -- only the links are available, which hardly provides the same effect. It's an inexcusable oversight by the Senators, and they should know better by now.
*Go ahead -- take that line and run with it.
Here's the link to our "5 Things I'd Change About The NHL" list, which appeared on Puck Daddy over the weekend. Thanks again to Greg for requesting our input on such a cool project -- it brought back plenty of nostalgia. TUC actually misses having the readers assume the work here is produced by a dude.
One more thing...when we made notice that "something's coming" a few days ago, we were referring to this list. Some message board honks took it as a sign that we were going to drop a bomb on the supposed Meszaros offer sheet. There's reading between the lines, kids...and then there's going completely off the board. Bizarre.
The Ottawa Senators finally resolved their contract dispute with defenceman Andrej Meszaros on Friday, trading the restricted free agent to the ever-changing Tampa Bay Lightning.
In exchange, the Senators received defencemen Filip Kuba and Alexandre Picard and a first round pick the Lightning previously acquired from the San Jose Sharks.
There isn't a major discrepancy on offense between Kuba and Meszaros, which bodes well for Ottawa -- a club that already is dealing with a loss of firepower at the blueline. In the last two seasons, Kuba scored 31 points in 2007-'08, and 37 in the year prior. Meszaros recorded 36 and 35 points during the same period. Ottawa will once again lose some youth -- Kuba is 31 years old and up for unrestricted free agency in 2009-'10. He is slated to make $3 million next season (a far cry from the 4.5 that 14 was asking for, and the 4 million he is rumoured to be receiving from Tampa). As for Picard, he's a young add-on, but Tampa Bay fans on the message boards are informing Ottawa supporters that the kid is fun to watch and will "hit anything that moves". If true, his development should be interesting to follow.
Reaction to the trade seems to be mixed thus far. Many continue to obsess about a wildly extravagant offer sheet for Meszaros that may or may not have existed. The important thing to remember is that Meszaros' regression left Ottawa in a major bind. Yes, he could contribute offensively, but his play in his own zone left a lot to be desired. It was an unfortunate revelation, considering his highly impressive rookie season as a Senator. Gambling with a lengthy contract in the hopes that his game would solidify was not an option -- 14 was never a sure thing, and the money he demanded from the Sens was more than they could afford. Now it's a matter of observing how Kuba fits into the mix -- better, worse or same. File this one under "To Be Continued".
...but it won't be here. Don't worry, the link will be posted when the time comes. Stay tuned.
In other news, CulletWatch '08 has led to extreme boredom around TUC HQ, and right now, there's only one remedy.
If you need us, we'll be in the Mandalay Bay sportsbook next week. And for the record, no amount of alcohol could convince us to put down a futures bet on the Sens right now. Go team!
P.S.: If Bryan Smolinski signs in Pittsburgh while we're gone, that smashing sound you'll hear coming from the left side of the continent will be yours truly.
A random assortment of bits and pieces as we sit around and wait for the Meszaros situation to resolve itself -- an event better known at TUC HQ as "CulletWatch '08".
· James Gordon from the Citizen's Hockey Capital blog has provided the Senators' relevant numbers from THN's Ultimate Fantasy Pool Guide. As expected, the points projections blatantly point out issues that the club continues to ignore. Here's what THN is projecting for Ottawa in 2008-'09:
Jason Spezza -- 101 pts.
Dany Heatley -- 101 pts.
Daniel Alfredsson -- 91 pts.
Antoine Vermette -- 55 pts.
Mike Fisher -- 48 pts.
Chris Kelly -- 33 pts.
Nick Foligno -- 27 pts. (Second line, here we come!)
Dean McAmmond -- 25 pts.
If you think that's dramatic, you should see how it's presented in the magazine. The bar graphic has a huge swath of empty red down the middle -- in essence, representing the virtually non-existent secondary scoring for the club (at least on a consistent basis). It's the equivalent of a staircase with a 20-foot drop after the first three steps. Offense, from the first line to the fourth, must regress at an appropriate pace. 50+ point differentials within the top six forwards leave the Sens looking as disproportionate as Pamela Anderson. This isn't going to end well.
Some positive Sens news (depending on your point of view): Roy Mlakar has been named CEO of the Year by the Ottawa Business Journal.
· Someone needs to check if Mats Sundin has owned a cow or two back in the day, because dude sure knows how to milk it. The whole pensive/indecisive Swede act is so played out. Just toss him in The Brass Rail and throw away the key.
(Aside: I'm very big on Leafs/strip club references/stories. If "Prurient Interests of the Toronto Maple Leafs" was a category on Jeopardy!, I'd totally destroy.)
· In non-hockey news, TUC has been recruited into a fantasy football league by some of the old-school legends from The Jim Rome Show. Notable participants include Jim's show contributor/booker/(expletive)-disturber Jason Stewart, Seanny The Cablinasian (who now hosts a drive-time show on 1560 The Game in Houston) and the elusive Kerwin in Riverside, among others. Something tells me it'll start off competitive, only to digress into drunken Tour Stop stories of yore. Details will surely follow as the weeks progress.
We're dealing with some family issues over here at TUC HQ, so this post will be brief.
If the Sun's report is indeed correct (TSN is reporting that terms weren't disclosed), then credit to the Sens for the steal. $2.525 million for next season and $3 million for '09-10 is more than an acceptable deal for a player like Vermette. Out of all the players from the Sens' general "core" (minus the big three), No. 20 is the most likely candidate to eventually remain in the top six forward group -- the ability is there...we're just waiting for the consistency to show up. This contract pays to demonstrate Vermette's current skill set, which is why it's so palatable. Keep in mind that a player like Mike Fisher -- who will never find a permanent home on the second line -- is being paid 6 million dollars next season (for the record, that's $534,603 more than Daniel Alfredsson will be receiving in the same year). Mark-to-market much?
Is Vermette gritty? Nope, he's soft as butter, but you can't have everything for cap hit of $2.7625 million, kids. Vermette does bring speed, scoring, PK and faceoff ability, and can be used in the shootout. The deal is very fair, and we're glad it's finally done.
From today's Sun:
According to insiders, Ottawa would trade netminder Martin Gerber and defenceman Andrej Meszaros to Los Angeles, the Kings would move 20-year-old centre Anze Kopitar to Chicago and the Blackhawks would propel goalie Nikolai Khabibulin and either of young blueliners Brent Seabrook or Cam Barker to the Senators.
On the surface, it seems the deal could be a rare win-win-win.
I know the mindset's a bit different in SoCal, but I've got to think there's no way in hell L.A. is giving up Kopitar, especially for that tandem. Kopitar is part of the young core that the Kings want to build around. Yes, it's true that they're looking for a puck-moving defenceman and a proper No. 1 goaltender. But who wants to settle for Andrej Meszaros as their premier offensive blueliner, and a mid-level-at-best goaltender on last year of his contract? Don't worry, I see you working: You think it doesn't matter, because The Manatee's overall performance would indicate that a paycut is coming after next season, and that L.A. could re-sign him for cheap, if they wanted to. Only thing is, L.A.'s got money to burn -- 27 million and change for 2008-09 alone (according to NHLSCAP). In short, if they want a big name in net, they've got the cash to pay him.
L.A. is a craptastic team right now, but they've got a couple of talented young pieces in place to build upon. Why would they hand them over for the NHL's equivalent of two Hollywood C-listers?
P.S. Sherry concurs. Hurrah for Ottawa blogger rage!