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

...because a lack of sleep means no pictures. Deal with it.

Alright, so I had planned to go the route of others, and get into Bryan Murray's cleansing of the White House (the removal of Brian McGrattan and Ray Emery are the most notable in this situation). My concern did not pertain to those players as much as it did to Jason Spezza, whose close friendship with both the former 16 and 1 concerned many. Unfortunately this would involve -- yet again -- touching on a topic that I am growing tired of discussing. Unfortuately it's the comments like these at the end of posts that really frustrate the hell out of me. Case in point from a quote pulled off the Sens Army blog:

Is it a refusal to use anonymous sources? Give me a break--it’s obvious that in his rumour-reporting, Bruce Garrioch has no problem with quoting the anonymous. Is it wanting to stick to the on-ice news? Last year was evidence that off-ice problems make on-ice news. Is it an unwillingness to bite the hand that feeds you? Well, if you’re afraid to report the truth out of fear for the repercussions, journalism might not be you true calling.

It's quite lovely for the US Weekly generation to sit around assuming that people can blast whatever they wish into a public forum. Ever heard of a little thing called libel? It's not a joke. It has nothing to do with fear -- it has everything to do with evidence. In case you have forgotten, here's what I wrote about this subject in January:

But believe me, this isn't a topic that could normally be broached with any semblance of truth or ferocity, unless you possessed a gifted photographer and an attorney on a choke chain (a fact that I have personally been warned about from friends and colleagues alike).

Furthermore, I'm finding extremely difficult to believe that those who continue to demand every raw detail are incapable of seeing the bigger picture. Persons in hockey sweaters are not the be-all and end-all of this drama. Certain activities like these do not lend themselves to the highest moral standard of human behaviour. Combine this revelation with an emotional reaction -- it's not something anyone wants to deal with.

If you're looking to blame anyone, blame the Senators for failing yet again to protect their multi-million dollar investments. I've said as much as I could, and that's far more than anyone else has -- mainstream media or otherwise. You want to blow the roof off because you think you know the whole story? Knock yourself out. If not, you might want to check yourself. I'm all for slagging the media where appropriate, but this isn't the time.


As for the Sens' development camp -- I don't know what some of the other bloggers/media were watching, but if I were Bryan Murray, I'd be extremely concerned. Yesterday's 3-on-3 tournament provided very little encouragement from the farm. Typically, you can see a difference in skill between potential AHL call-ups/signed free agents who have a shot at making the team, and the rest of the prospects. That wasn't the case on Monday. We saw very little out of Cody Bass, Nick Foligno and Jesse Winchester -- Foligno has filled out nicely, but still screams "third-liner at best". Winchester's conditioning is extremely suspect -- we caught him on multiple occasions panting for breath while crouched over on both knees. This year's No. 1 pick, Erik Karlsson, also seemed to be struggling with similar issues. Perhaps Ian Mendes filled him up with too many meatballs. Also worthy of note: Karlsson has the Spezza disease. He likes to skate with his head down, particularly in the defensive zone. Given that the kid is a blueliner, you can imagine how many times we saw him doing this.

The one semi-bright spot? Ironically, it was TUC's perennial whipping boy, Brian Lee. Granted, we wanted to take a hatchet to his overgrown hair, but Ottawa's blueliner babyface seems to be developing the first hints of a mean streak. We caught him throwing a couple of hits, which was totally unexpected -- but pleasant to see. Now if only he could put some meat on that upper body. He's still got a case of the ganglies. (I know that's not a word -- but it's the best way I could describe it.)

Not to sound like an a-hole, but we feel comfortable trusting our assessment of the situation, particularly after conferring with our partner from The Other TSN, Patrick Williams. P covers the AHL, and has often referenced the Binghamton team as being in dire straits. To say that the Ottawa media is lacking in regular coverage of the Sens' prospects -- particularly in Bingo -- would be an understatement of epic proportions. They only caught a short glimpse this week and so did we, but what we saw wasn't good. If that take is in line with someone we respect who normally follows the main prospects, it can't be far off.

More later.