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?
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?
Posted in Ottawa Senators |
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.
Posted in Media |
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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?"