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.
From the "TUC Finds This Strangely Interesting" files:
(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.
Posted in Media |
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.
Posted in Ottawa Senators |
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.