The following was sent this morning to myself, several bloggers (including Scarlett Ice and Puck Daddy) and the majority of local media. Commentary is open, so feel free to chime in:
RSA: REAL SENS ARMY
(REF: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=photos&gid=18029289557#/group.php?v=wall&gid=18029289557 )
When I read about the RSA on online forums and discussion boards, the comment made most by online critics is that there is nothing wrong with the atmosphere at Scotiabank Place, that they’ve never been made to feel uncomfortable nor have they ever been told to be quiet by the staff at SBP. I beg to differ...
On December 12th, the RSA had its biggest and most successful gathering to date. 40+ RSA members gathered in section 303 for the Carolina Hurricanes game with the intentions of being “Loud & Proud” as the official “SENS ARMY” would put it. With all the issues concerning attendance this year, you would think that the Ottawa Senators organization would’ve been delighted to see us! But, this couldn’t be any further from the truth...
From before they even dropped the puck, SBP ushers were eye-balling us from every post. We assumed they had never seen Sens fans as dedicated as us before and didn't think much of it (remember, this is Ottawa – home of some of the worst fans in Canada). But that was short-lived as the ushers began asking anyone near us “Are they too loud? Are they bothering you?” – Everyone simply answered “No, they’re fine”. Shortly after, 2 security guards showed up to tell us to deflate a beach ball one member had brought to the game – apparently due to safety reasons. Strange seeing as good’ole Spartacat himself launches hot dog missiles into the crowd at every game.... None the less, we complied, deflated the ball and continued to enjoy the game. This is when SBP staff stepped up their efforts and began random ID checks within our group only. I’d never seen this at a game before and didn’t understand seeing as the average age within the group was 25-35 and that we all provided identification when we purchased our beers. (I'd like to see them try doing random ID checks in the 100 level!) It was becoming painfully obvious that they really didn’t want us there! Not long after, one RSA member threw a handful of popcorn at one of his friends, which proved to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Before we knew it, our section was surrounded by 8 police officers in full uniform. Our 2 friends were asked to leave and weren’t given any explanation. All of this happened before the half way mark of the 2nd period! And for the rest of the game people around us were continuously asked by ushers if we were bothering them, and the answer continued to be “NO!”.
This truly was one of the saddest things I have ever seen at Scotiabank Place (apart from Patrick Lalime’s post-season play). All we wanted to do was cheer on the home team to the best of our abilities, but instead of being encouraged, we were repeatedly harassed and demoralized by a rude and unprofessional staff who wanted nothing more than to kick us all out. I always knew how unfriendly and unwelcoming the staff at SBP could be, but never did I think it was this bad!
This is going way too far – we are sick and tired of going to our own arena simply to be made to feel unwelcome. We were the most supportive and vocal fans out of the mere 16000 that showed up. But instead of being praised we were treated like dirt. Treating customers this way isn’t good practice in any business, nevermind one that's struggling to keep it's customers returning. This must end, and until it does, you can expect to see us at games, still cheering our loudest and being supportive of the team despite what any usher might say.
GO SENS GO
The following was sent this morning to myself, several bloggers (including Scarlett Ice and Puck Daddy) and the majority of local media. Commentary is open, so feel free to chime in:
Upsetting reports coming from overseas regarding former Ottawa Senators goaltender, Martin Gerber. From Greg Wyshynski and Russianhockeyfans.com:
Troubling news from the Kontinental Hockey League, as former NHL goalie Martin Gerber suffered a neck injury while playing for Atlant Moscow -- one that's going to keep him hospitalized for months, according to Russian media reports.
According to Russian site lifesports.ru, during the second period a Vityaz forward ran into Gerber. As a result Gerber ended up lying on the ice. After being tested by the team's doctors Gerber was put on a wheel stretcher and taken off the ice. He was sent to a Podolsk municipal hospital where he was diagnosed with a compression fracture of the third cervical vertebra.
Gerber was apparently motionless for some time before being taken off the ice. Horrible stuff. Here's hoping the Manatee can make a full recovery.
Wouldn't you like to know what the Sens are thinking when they advertise that there are less than 4,000 tickets available for tonight's game against Carolina? Oh sure, they have to get the word out. But does anything over 500 imply any kind of urgency that it might sell out? Doesn't it do exactly the opposite? I don't know about you, but when I see numbers like these, I'd be going right past Capital Tickets, and directly to a scalper. You know their asses are desperate during these nights. You know, if I were to go at all.
Go ahead and chew on that.
The media: To blab or not to blab -- and at what cost?
I caught a bit of Bob McCown's show yesterday, and there was a discussion regarding the media coverage of Tiger Woods' alleged indiscretions.
You'll notice that all of these "breaking news stories" and "exclusives" have fallen under two unbrellas: Magazine tabloids and the Internet. Traditional media was a non-factor, and largely served as an regurgitator.
McCown stated that the decision to shy away from these stories -- be it marital issues, drug problems or anything else that would be considered a secondary issue beyond the sport -- was not due to journalistic morals or ethics.
Apparently journalists don't fear appearing unseemly (and yes, that was meant to be tongue-in-cheek). But they do quake at the idea of being sued for libel.
Potentially understandable, right? Well, let's crack this open a little further.
How do tabloids and sites like TMZ get away with it? Having a crack team of expensive lawyers on retainer surely doesn't hurt. We hear of gossip magazines being sued all the time. Sure, the plaintiff in question wins on occasion, but more often than not, we never hear any more about it. If suits are being settled, obviously cash isn't an issue. Have you seen what's going on in the journalism industry lately? Newsrooms barely have the funds to heat their offices, let alone something as large as a lawsuit. And that brings us to question No. 2...
How are tabloids and Internet sites getting to the sources, making the likelihood of libel a lesser issue? Two words: Chequebook Journalism. 24-year-old Jaimee Grubbs was reportedly paid $150,000 for her interview with US Weekly (Grubbs was the one to receive the now-infamous voicemail from Tiger Woods, asking her to remove her name from her greeting message, in case his wife tried to call).
The idea of paying a source for information is, again, a financial hardship that a newspaper would be unable to cope with. More importantly, it's one of the last big taboos still standing in traditional media. Enough of these scandals have come to pass that expectant players in the drama already know the score: If someone wants their story, they're going to have to pay for it. Why would they give their information to a newspaper for free? Tabloids ensure a payday and 15 minutes of fame. It's a win-win for them in their eyes.
Is libel the only thing that the media fears in these situations? Come on now. Yeah, I didn't completely buy that either, and it comes from personal experience. For example, if you're dealing with a story that involves something like drug use, there could be others involved who would make life generally frightening and dangerous for you. And let's just say if an off-duty cop is warning you about this, because the police themselves are extremely wary of said persons, it does make you think twice. You could have all the proof you needed -- up to and including incriminating photographs, but people like this don't really give a damn. They just want to cause trouble. Generally, I don't scare easily, but it made me reconsider. Furthermore, based on the way the industry was headed, I didn't see it doing much for me in the long run. A lot of grief, with little purpose, I suppose. Oh, and I probably would have lost my press pass. The horrah (tongue-in-cheek reprise).
Many people continue to have problems seeing these stories mixed with traditional sports reporting, but the fact of the matter is, it sells. Big time. And anyone who thinks that isn't an issue for traditional media outlets -- they need to check themselves. It may not be right, but it pays. That's the bottom line these days.
I figured I'd address this here, seeing as so many of you are e-mailing about it.
Yes, my Twitter page is gone. No, I'm not currently tweeting anywhere else. I decided sometime ago that I was going to take a hiatus from the application until 2010. That might mean the beginning of January, but maybe later, depending on how I feel. Why on Earth would I do such a thing? Well, there are a few reasons. Want to know what they are? Too damn bad -- go eat a banana and skip this part, if you must.
1) I only really gave a crap about 8 or 9 of the people that I followed. That means I created a separate column in my TweetDeck for them (everyone does that, right?) and pretty much all others fell by the wayside, depending on my reading frequency. Go ahead and assume that your feed was in there, if it makes you happy. I will confirm that both Bill Simmons and his wife were part of this group. (Aside: Simmons's is the only account I have ever bookmarked and he's the only person to tweet something I cheered at -- the announcement of a podcast with Dave Jacoby, featuring a one-hour discussion on MTV's Jersey Shore. I wish the Simmons family would adopt me -- they're easily my favourite strangers on the planet. I'm also scared to admit that I may have a bit of a crush on JackO. I think we were meant to drink socially together on a regular basis.)
2) The media can eff off and like it. There are exceptions of course -- my buddies PW, P-King, Jason, Neate, Greg and Michael Rand at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (whose work I especially adore). There are others, naturally...my brain is fogging at the moment. That being said, I got particularly peeved whenever I saw press pull this stunt on Twitter:
"Hey, I'm interviewing (player name) tomorrow. What should I ask them?"
Here's an idea, Mensa -- why don't you do your own goddamn work?
Granted, I'm no J-school grad, but this is the way I tend to operate when prepping for an interview:
* Strike all questions that can answered with yes or no;
* Strike all questions that begin with, "tell me/talk about...";
* If you're 95% sure you're already know the answer to a question, strike that as well.
See what's left? That's your list. Hop to it (then pay someone to transcribe, of course).
For the record, this is also the reason why 95% of interviews generally blow. Zero effort.
3) The incessant retweet. Brent Wallace is reporting that Chris Phillips will be eating oatmeal after practice -- let's all spread the word! Don't we all follow the same media/larger bloggers? Knock that crap off.
4) Women are annoying and share too much useless information. A lot of chicks proclaiming an interest in sports/hockey on Twitter can probably account for 1% of their tweets to be relevant. The other 99% of the time, you're getting stuff like, "I have a migraine" or "I can't sleep!" Here's an idea: Take some Advil and an Ambien, then belt up. (Alternatively, go have crazy drugged-out sex like Tiger Woods -- allegedly. I don't give a damn either way.)
5) Live-game tweeting. I understand chiming in here and there, because we all do it. But unless it's a big event, or you're actually present, no one needs minute by minute updates of Ottawa v. Tampa Bay or similar.
Those are the top five, and I'm sure there are more, but that'll do for now. Part of me is missing it -- The Driver's been on point with some legitimate smack-running, and I've been performing menial tasks while sporting a sequined eyemask. The photos are bank. But the majority of the hockey bits likely will end up here, so you'll just have to deal with it for the meantime.
I won't lie, though -- it's nice to be missed. Thank you very much. I'll see you back over there next year.
Don't mess with a man who wears his hair in mini-pigtails.
Instead of hanging out in Toronto at C'est What with Greg "Puck Daddy" Wyshynski and Dany Heatley Speedwagon (like I was supposed to), I was stuck in Ottawa last night watching this nonsense. I caught a couple of gems from Dean and Galley -- you know, before I got fed up and starting baking instead:
Dean (after Matt Carkner's 6-second fight with George Parros): "Matt Carkner is too valuable of a player defensively to be taking bad fights. I know he had to stand up for himself (against Parros) there, but..."
Galley (after Brian Elliott let in a brutal goal from just inside the red line): "That's not an easy save -- a puck that gets dumped down...it's gonna skip before it gets to you."
P.S.: The server at C'est What tending to Greg and DHS reportedly played with Carkner back in the day. I told them to ask him if the Ottawa defenceman ever spoke in full sentences. (Relax, it was a joke. Save me your bitchy Monday retorts.)
"For every gorgeous girl out there, there's some (dumbass narcissist with too much money and obviously not enough brains in his melon) who's tired of f*cking her."
-- Author Unknown
My friend JB first said this to me and I never forgot it -- but the additional bit in parentheses is mine.
Here's hoping that Elin sticks it out for the bare minimum, collects her cash and re-emerges as some effed-up death metal/burlesque star who only wants to be known as "Lady Lingonberry." Come on, you know that would kick serious ass.
* After sending a text to Bad Religion's Greg Hetson, warning him that Ottawa could put him to sleep at the Staples Center: "Thanks -- I'll bring a book." (Ed. Note: The game was actually better than expected.)
* Gord Miller: "Remember, Ottawa no longer has their swingman in Christoph Schubert."
Pierre: "Excellent point, Gord. Schubert was very valuable as their swingman."
The Driver: "Pfft...valuable at swinging the door open to the press box."
A bit muddled, but the point was made.
* Chris Phillips isn't going to win any awards for his acting skills. What a brutal dive by the veteran in the second half of the third.
* Pierre on Brian Elliott's frustration after the sixth goal: "Whenever you start hitting inanimate objects with your stick, that's a whole lot of ugly."
The Driver: "If that's the case, (Elliott) should've hit (Matt) Carkner."
For the record, The Driver has been on Wayne Simmonds's bandwagon for some time. I think a team with Fisher (with country/American-Idol-hybrid-music-offensive-firepower) and Simmonds would send him into a seizure. You know -- the good kind.
P.S.: So amusing to see the east coast crowd stand up and take notice that the Kings are a fun team to watch, and they're actually talented. Thanks for joining us in 2009, Mensas. Consider springing for Centre Ice sometime -- it's a lovely tonic to boost you out of the Eastern Conference coma.
In case you missed it last night...
Here's my favourite babyface coach (sorry Clouston) losing it on my beloved Denver Broncos after they failed to score two TDs in the first quarter. The icing on the cake: This segment was played as a taped bit. It wasn't live. (Warning: Audio isn't overly loud, but is still NSFW.)
There certainly are some interesting issues facing Ottawa Senators head coach Cory Clouston these days, but thanks to some lineup changes (yet again), it might be time to deal with the latest pink elephant in the room.
On the recent "embarrassment of riches" front, Clouston seemed pleased with the performance of his rotating bench-warmers. From Ken Warren of the Citizen:
While Ryan Shannon, Peter Regin and Jesse Winchester have taken turns sitting out through much of the season, all three were flying in Monday’s 4-3 overtime win over Washington. Together, they produced Regin’s first- period goal.
In the third period, Shannon and Regin served as wingers for Mike Fisher on a line that dominated. That trio played together at practice Tuesday before the team left for Newark.
“They played with a lot more intensity, they were stronger on the puck, and that’s one of the biggest things,” Clouston said of Shannon and Regin. “Neither one of them is a big, strong, physical guy, so if they don’t have an intensity around the puck, they get pushed off. For the most part, it looked like they wanted it more than the guys they were going against. They have to continue to do that.”
Then Warren punctuates it all by stating what we've all been thinking -- the following sentence is brought to you by Marcus Allen (CBS Sports):
Based on performance Monday, Jonathan Cheechoo, who continues to struggle, should have been the odd man out.
You can understand to a degree why Cheechoo has yet to ride the pine: 1) He was part of one of the biggest trades in recent team history and there's a immediate negative perception if you're blatantly admitting one of your pieces isn't working out; 2) He's a former 56-goal scorer and 3) He carries a cap hit of 3 million USD.
Too bad there's a legitimate argument for all three of these reasons.
While Cheechoo may sport the red, white and gold these days, he was a less-than-desired player within the trade. His name was consistently brought up during the rumour-mongering, and Murray always seemed to refuse. It was only after the dangling of Milan Michalek that Ottawa acquiesced. Furthermore, Murray immediately talked down expectations of No. 41 in the capital, most notably during preseason radio interviews where he viewed Jonathan's monster season of yore as an aberration, and not the norm (based on his history of injuries alone, you can understand why he took that tone).
The third reason is always the hardest for people to justify -- the paycheque.
It's always easier to watch a player making less than a million take a seat in the press box. They're usually the faces in the crowd -- no-name pieces to the rest of the league's observers, and perhaps even on a two-way contract. However, in Cheechoo's case, his benching would cause the media to sit up and take notice -- regardless of the fact that he's been relegated to fourth-line duties on a regular basis. The news outlets would report it, and it "doesn't look good."
News flash: Neither does Cheechoo's play, and people have noticed.
Memo to the Senators -- take the media heat for 5 minutes and try something new. Bench Jonathan Cheechoo for a game. You've given him time to show you what he can (or rather, can't) do. It's time to take a stand and sit him. After all, you've tried everything else. What harm could it do?
Place this one under the header of "Adventures in Creative Contest Marketing."
I found this on the website for Wild Wing" -- a chain of Canadian restaurants specializing in the flapping part of the chicken that serves as a general accompaniment to beer. Anyway, as I clicked onto the page, the header left me rather perplexed. A contest for a No. 87 jersey -- baby blue in colour, dangerously similar to the Pittsburgh throwbacks? Penguins championship slogans on the bottom? A bad Photoshop attempt at someone who's supposed to look like Sidney? (Ed. Note: You'll notice they forgot the lipstick.) Yet, there's no mention of Crosby, the NHL, or the Penguins proper anywhere in the advertisement. Funny that.
The rules and regulations state that the prize is a "Sidney Crosby signed heritage jersey ... This deluxe framed piece features a Sidney Crosby signed heritage jersey combined with a custom Wild Wing plaque."
Apparently someone is trying to get out paying for the use of Crosby's image and NHL signage. Too bad the results are more than suspect (not to mention laughable).
The rewind version...
Poor, old (well, he's 34), slow Shean Donovan. It's apparently hard to give him love, which I discovered after the Penguins' Matt Cooke took out No. 10's knee for an extended period of time. Yes, the Senators eventually ended up winning that game quite handily against Pittsburgh. The thing was, the Pens ran out a D that was about as effective as a bunch of ex-ECHLers on a peach schnapps bender (yeah, you know it happens). I'm usually shy on sports betting when it comes to the NHL, but even I was tempted to get down on the home team that night.
So when I felt that the loss of Donovan was more relevant than an uneven matchup vs. Pittsburgh, I was rather surprised by the reaction of Senators fans. How dare I defend Shean Donovan, a player who, when he's in the lineup, saw the Sens go 8-3-1 during his 12 games played this season. "But he's been a healthy scratch," they insisted. Oh well, God freaking forbid we question a first-year coach on his decision-making skills. Here are your alternatives in that doomed-to-the-press-box troika: Jesse Winchester and Ryan Shannon. I'm not saying any NHL expert picks Donovan as MVP of the team, but he has played a far more responsible game than the others (Shannon in particular), and could have been viewed as an underrated piece for the club, especially considering his price tag.
Of course, when I pointed this out to the Donovan naysayers, no one could make a case for the other two as viable replacements for the old bugger. Chew on that.
You never know what's going to happen on late-night Centre Ice. I caught this as it actually occurred at the end of the Tampa Bay-Anaheim game last night, so I can tell you that the YouTube footage doesn't do it justice -- there were serious punches being thrown. For the record, Scott Niedermayer was trying to give the stick to a female fan (yes I know, insert punchline here).
I realize he may not think it's his place, but Niedermayer went right to the post-game ice interview afterward, and in my opinion, should have said something while in front of the mic. Even a feeble request to squelch the behaviour because it's not cool/safe would have been a smart (and noticeable) move.
Footage of the skirmish is available here.
(Rack bump to @Kingscast over at Twitter for unearthing the footage.)
The Kings' Rob Scuderi must've decided it was Nadia Comaneci Night at Staples Center. First to experience the Pretzel Test: Jason Chimera of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Here are some stills from Scuderi's low hit (Warning: somewhat cringe-worthy). FYI: No penalty was assessed on the hit, and Chimera received a 10-minute misconduct (and a fair amount of stitches due to extreme ice exfoliation).
A great read regarding Deadspin's constant need to attack ESPN -- Moderately Cerebral Bias
The lovely Meaghan of the OBC offers her thoughts on Matt Carkner -- Sens At Land's End
The always fantastic Michael Rand of the Minneapolis Star Tribune talks to Vikings punter Chris Kluwe about his rawk band, Tripping Icarus (bonus points for the First Avenue references) -- RandBall
Former Sens President Roy Mlakar is heading for Tahoe. I'm jealous -- Steve Warne
Remembering Ottawa Senators goaltender of yore, Damian Rhodes (no, really) -- The Strangest One Of All
A Leafs fan attempts to list the 50 greatest Blackhawks of all time. No Ted Bulley? Sacrilege. That's what happens when you let a Toronto honk do it -- HF Boards
If you're a Senators fan (or a fan of any team, for that matter), who has such a problem with my opinion that you feel the need to call me a c*nt, you seriously need to check yourself. First off, it's Matt Carkner we're talking about. Secondly, let's keep in perspective, shall we? This pertains to hockey -- not world peace, nuclear disarmament or genocide. Thirdly, this is a blog that contains humour, cynicism, extreme sarcasm and my own opinion. It's really that important to you to behave in such a disgusting and disrespectful manner? I'm sure the Ottawa Senators are beaming with pride to have such troglodytes supporting them. I should also point out the irony of this coming from an Ottawa fan -- Sabres, Leafs, Hurricanes and Penguins fans have always been full of vitriol towards me, but they've never felt the need to descend to that level.
I've since erased the comment, and I'm already disappointed that I had to reference it, because such people don't deserve my time. However, I am bringing it up just to demonstrate how utterly ignorant and stupid some people can be over what they see in a sports blog, column or report. If you feel the need to act like that, you might want to look at yourself and ask what kind of life you're leading (something tells me it doesn't include a female with any type of self-worth).
When it comes to TUC, I don't expect everyone to agree with me. However, I do expect respectful behaviour. If you can't acquiesce to such small requests, well, stay off my fucking blog. Much obliged.
Posted in TUC |
"I'm a Sens fan, dammit! I'm inexperienced at viewing the middle ground of an opinion I don't understand, and am upset easily! Erin obviously hates Matt Carkner because she thinks he was destined for a career in the AHL! When you question a player's talent, that means you hate them! Well, that was before Bryan Murray paid him 1.4 million over 2 years! Hahaha! Stupid effing bitch, he showed you, didn't he? Bryan Murray has never made a bad signing in his career! He is a genius! Bryan Murray knows how to handle a ton of one-way contract defencemen that wouldn't be considered NHL-worthy on quality teams! He rewards his homeboys! Go Winchester (and Jesse Winchester, 'cause he destroys, too)! There was a rush, you know -- Carkner's family was living in a freaking hotel! These things can't wait! Room service gets really boring and flavourless! Matt's wife hates clean white towels! Bryan Murray knows that other teams were busting down the door to get at Matty, so he had to sign him after seven games...oh yeah, plus the pre-season! It's about the grit! Grit, grit, grit! As long as we have grit, that means the defence is COMPLETE! It's about time the back end got locked up, because the offensive portion has been nails for years and we never have to worry about it! Karlsson is the master of the first-line pass and Kuba is good for 50-60 points! No, really! I am beyond content with the offensive lineup at the blueline! Doesn't it kick ass? That's why we sent Brian Lee back to Bingo! It's an embarrassment of riches! It's really too bad that Matt is not eligible for the Calder Trophy due to his age! He had that thing WRAPPED UP! Hey John Tavares, stop snickering, you effing a-hole! Matt Carkner for Mayor! Matt Carkner for substitute Jesus!"
P.S.: If you thought I was going to leave the comments open to observe the attempts to understand extreme sarcasm, you're high. I've said my piece -- the subject is closed. Goodnight now.
...because TUC Live is hitting Toronto and NYC this week -- consider yourselves warned.
Wow, I never saw this coming -- apparently some bloggers/Twitterers are getting up-in-arms because I refuse to acknowledge the Senators' early season "successes." Naturally, these fans in rose-coloured glasses are only looking at the record on paper (currently a respectable 5-2-0, which has them sitting atop the Northwestern conference as of tonight). However, the duo of losses are more noticeable than the wins, as they took place against quality teams -- the Rangers and Penguins, specifically.
As for goals, yes, the Senators did score seven times versus Tampa Bay. But that offensive outburst is tempered somewhat when you realize that the Senators are 18-3 against the Lightning in their last 21 matchups, and have outscored the Bolts 91-38 during that period. (Ed. Note: Getting information from traditional outlets seems more legitimate when they were the ones who willingly admitted that they got it from someone else. Much obliged, Sun Media.)
It seems that many fans haven't hopped aboard this false wave of positive sentiment -- after all, the attendance numbers speak for themselves. Over the first four home games, the Senators are averaging 18,045 fans per game (a sellout of seating capacity is 19,153 with a total attendance availability of 20,500, according to the Scotiabank Place website.) By that logic, the Sens had a seat sellout against Atlanta -- a Saturday on a holiday weekend -- but had their lowest attendance thus far against the reigning Stanley Cup champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins (17,014 bothered to show up for that game).
So what have we established in this short period, given this information? Firstly, the Senators have yet to prove that they have taken the next step forward, following their turnaround late last season. They need to strong teams to task when given the opportunity, and they have to do more than win in spite of themselves (and their opponents) when battling the weaker ones (a classic example of that occurred this weekend in Montreal). Secondly, we can confirm that the Senators' gameplay still resembles octogenerian lovemaking (pre-Viagra Era): Slow, boring, predictable...with a fair amount of disgust thrown in. If you want excitement in the NHL, this is not the team to watch. And that's unfortunate, because if the Ottawa Senators want to get back on the horse, both from a competitive and fanbase standpoint, this isn't the way to do it. It might not be an outright failure yet, but it's a definite flounder.
Speaking of floundering, how many of you enjoyed Guy Carbonneau's stellar outing as part of the three-man booth in Montreal on Saturday? One of Carb's initial statements was so garbled, I swore he was having a stroke. And yes, I understand that Guy is viewed as one of "the good guys" and that I'm supposed to go easy on new media meat. Here's my response to that: Bugger off. Non-NHLers beginning on this path are subjected to intense scrutiny, and people inside the game should be held to the same standard. Carbonneau's timid delivery and complete lack of insight (i.e. "The Senators need to stop turning over the puck") left me utterly cold. That being said, if Guy had been chatty, I would have been equally turned off, but for a different reason. No sport requires the input of three individuals during a game. It all just melts into white noise after a point. Don't do it again, CBC.
Hey Ottawa: Want to know what your No. 1 prospect from 2009 is up to? Enjoy.
ESPN The Magazine's "Body Issue" doesn't hit newsstands until Friday, but some of the photos surfaced on the Internet today -- hence the picture of Zdeno Chara you see above.
I went back to Twitter to view some of the reaction, and you'd think a bunch of 7-year-olds had invaded the site. Is there a prescription out there that relieves the symptoms of nausea, vomiting and blindness? These claims were being made all afternoon by those -- largely of the male persuasion -- who had viewed the photo.
I know these outbursts are typical of many men when they have been exposed to material like this. The underlying lament is always, "I'm all man, dammit!" No one says you have to like it, but an adult with a mature mindset isn't going to question your sexuality if you discuss it objectively.
Granted, I understand that the picture also hasn't been overly popular with women (of course, their take in this situation is based on pulchritude). Unfortunately, I guess that's to be expected.
These pictures are meant to elicit a reaction, and the initial take is always going to be visceral whenever nudity is involved. However, can we please stifle the juvenile opinions, and just deal with it? I know I'm asking a lot, but come on -- it's not that bad, and it's hardly offensive.
Apparently some Sens fans became irked with me during Saturday night's opening game vs. Rangers, because I refused to get my non-existent pompoms up for the fourth line. This line, consisting of Jarkko Ruutu, Chris Kelly and Chris Neil, takes a bite out of the Ottawa cap to the tune of $5.425 million. Mmm...tasty.
But the money, while revelant, merely points to a simple fact: These guys have been paid said amount, because the club expected more out of them -- say as third-liners, for starters. When they perpetually disappoint at that level, it takes a demotion to the last step before their asses get kicked out the door, for them to be seen as quality? Are you (expletive) kidding me? And yes, I know some have bounced in between the third and fourth last season. That point is highly tempered by the fact that we were just talking about the possibility of a trade regarding some of these line members. Combine that with the revelation of being forced to start the season on the last line -- that says a lot.
Of course, everyone seemed to fall off the bandwagon during the last minute of the second period, when the line's brutal positioning gave Michael Del Zotto some prime real estate in Pascal Leclaire's backyard.
The lines have since been shaken up somewhat as Ryan Shannon nurses some bruises, but I fully expect to see this troika scraping the bottom of the barrel as the season continues. News flash: It's nothing to celebrate, and that includes the rare moments of effectiveness.
On another note, allow me to make one thing clear: The days of me rooting for this team are all but over. I don't bemoan their losses, and I don't applaud their wins. I observe them, but I won't actively cheer for them. In the future, if anyone wishes to have a civilized conversation with me about the Ottawa Senators, they had better remove their rose-coloured glasses first. Don't get uppity with me because you can't handle a less-than-stellar review of your team. That's your problem, not mine. And if you can't stomach an objective option, I highly suggest that you head on out of here, and begin reading one of the many fan-based blogs, because this isn't one of them.
End scene. More later.
Full disclosure: There are few things that I despise more than predictions (the only exception might be fantasy hockey -- learn to get down like a [wo]man, or bugger off). And so, as a middle finger response to all the visionary number-crunching nerds out there, may I happily present TUC's first-ever NHL prediction post. For the record, if you take this seriously, you need to go play in traffic, or contract food poisoning from a subpar sushi restaurant. Let's begin, shall we?
* The Toronto Maple Leafs make the playoffs, and the hysteria overwhelms the GTA. The Toronto Sun begs the girlfriend of Jonas Gustavsson to pose as a Sunshine Girl. She responds by hurling Ikea Allen keys at the windows of the paper's office, leading the tabloid to dub her, "The Swedish Shrew."
* Frustrated after going 14 games without a goal, Columbus Blue Jackets forward Antoine Vermette accidentally drops an "este" during a post-game interview. The Quebecois swear becomes the hot new buzzword in Columbus, and the Ohio State Marching Band begins to spell it out on the field during football games, in their traditional cursive script.
* Following a last-minute change of plans, Calgary's Dion Phaneuf replaces Zdeno Chara in ESPN's "The Body Issue" magazine. Immediately after its release, Pierre McGuire is hospitalized after undergoing multiple fainting episodes.
* The L.A. Kings bring Wayne Gretzky back into the fold, to serve as their "Minister of Excellence." Pranksters celebrate his return by welding a Diet Coke can into the glove of his statue outside of the Staples Center.
* Filip Kuba becomes the No. 1 target of the Ottawa Sun's Don Brennan. Frustrated after practice, Kuba searches for the closest thing to hurl at the writer. Unfortunately, his object of choice is Erik Karlsson.
* A mascot scandal hits the media, when photographs of a highly sexual nature featuring the Leafs' Carlton the Bear and the Habs' Youppi. Leafs fans are discouraged to discover that Carlton, is indeed, a bottom.
* Exasperated by the claims that Pascal Leclaire is the best goaltender in Sens' modern history, Dominik Hasek returns to Ottawa to settle the score. Catching Leclaire in an off-guard moment, Hasek doffs his infamous neck towel, and proceeds to wet-snap Pascal into oblivion. Bryan Murray, clearly intimidated, hires Hasek immediately as Ottawa's No. 1 goaltender. Meanwhile, back-up Brian Elliott chooses to drown his sorrows in hair products.
* And finally, Montreal head coach Jacques Martin enters Ottawa's good graces once more, in a completely unexpected fashion. During a Habs game vs. San Jose, Martin permanently blinds Dany Heatley in one eye, after the winger accidentally catches a megawatt glint off of Martin's solid-gold "400 WINS" cufflinks*.
Naturally, if any of these predictions come to pass, I expect all of you to encourage TSN to hire me, stat.
* For the record, the cufflinks do exist.
...because I miss solid food.
* Hey, Peter Regin -- welcome to your latest shot with the Ottawa Senators! Everyone seems to believe that we have significant scoring depth, and we're happy to keep up that facade for as long as possible! Only problem is, we still don't have a real No. 2 centre, even though we pay Mike Fisher to serve as one! So if you'll do us a favour and slip into that role, we'd really appreciate it! Oh, one more thing -- we're going to put No. 12 on your wing in the hopes that it will light a fire under his ass from an offensive perspective! We hope you don't mind carrying that albatross around with you! But hey, you helped him get a hat trick in the pre-season! Let's just hope he didn't blow his load for the year! Wow, that was gauche of me to say! Sorry about that! Enjoy your stay in the capital, and take care of that pretty face of yours!
* So, Ilya Zubov doesn't want to go to Bingo, eh? Wow. I'm. So. Shocked. What did I tell you about this kid? Shades of freaking Kaigorodov, that's what. And just like the White Knight, many Sens fans had Zubov penciled in on the big team for several years, and it never came to pass. Why? It's because the kid's got no drive, and his conditioning is (expletive). It really is unfortunate, because there is some talent there. However, if he's just going to ask like a lazy (and whiny) arse, he can bugger off. It should be amusing to watch the Brothers Murray attempt to get something for him.
* Oh yeah, and the others: The German Ginge? Called it (hardly difficult). Babyface Lee? Expected it. Accept it, Ottawa: He is not going to be your top offensive defenceman. (Sincerely, Marcus Allen -- CBS Sports.) Now I get to sit around and watch them torch Karlsson, I suppose? Ack. That being said, I really have been loving the dynamic between Erik and Alfie. It's like Crosby and Lemieux with less a-hole vibe, and more lingonberries.
Here's Puck Daddy's preview of the 2009-10 Ottawa Senators, featuring OBC representation from yours truly and the Artist Formally Known As Dany Heatley Speedwagon (I think his eventual symbol will look like an ampersand that's been assaulted by umlauts).
Or a Pyatt? Or some clabbered milk? Go ahead and place your orders now: I'm heading home to the birthplace of Staalapalooza (and TUC) -- Thunder Bay. It's a last-minute trip, and I won't be there long. You can expect a fairly quiet week around here, but there are still a few things to look forward to:
Puck Daddy's preview of the 2009-10 Ottawa Senators should be up within the next 24 hours or so (I'm guessing). I was asked to participate, so watch for my thoughts over there. I'll attempt to put the link up here as soon as I can access it. If it doesn't appear, it's best to assume that Greg and I are feuding -- it's likely due to his ability to always score the quality risers at the draft. For the record, I could totally kick his ass. Don't tell him I said that, though.
On Wednesday, I'm scheduled to appear on the Faceoff Hockey Show at 7:45 ET. I expect the appearance to be largely focused on the Senators, but who knows what will happen? If they ask me to do my Norwegian death metal-style call of Dustin Byfuglien's name, I might oblige. (Yeah, I know. Really ladylike.)
There are additional things to come -- I'll post it on here when the schedule's sorted out.
P.S.: You have to be from the Lakehead and of a certain vintage to understand the photo. Just roll with it.
Are you surprised by the Ottawa Senators' decision to allow the Team 1200's "Three Guys on Radio" to broadcast live from tomorrow's FanFest at SBP? Personally, I raised my eyebrows at the choice. While John Rodenburg and Steve Warne are generally non-threats, the antics of one Jim Jerome leaves some to wonder if he has access to incriminating photos of the Team's P.D. TUC does everything in its power not to reference Jerome by name, because I believe he is completely unworthy of any kind of publicity. However, the decision by the Sens to allow this radio "personality" to broadcast live from their event is a bit too much to ignore. Jerome is well-known for his misogynistic and anti-gay commentary. Recently, he has also added a regular "bit" to his repertoire, that is already offending many with its blatant racial overtones directed towards the Asian population.
I'm assuming that the Senators think Jerome can be gagged (or indeed, fail to make an appearance, which wouldn't be shocking, given his reputation). But by allowing TGOR to appear, does that give off the impression that the Sens are fine if, God forbid, "Jimmy Yip" shows up?
Chew on that.
This interview took place around 4 pm EDT on the Team 1200. Thoughts are slightly paraphrased -- I tried to stay as verbatim as I could -- but you'll get the gist.
How relieved are you to have the deal done?
It was disappointing that of his stature didn’t want to be here. We spent a lot time trying to accommodate him; we talked to a lot of people before anda fter the process. Gad to have it out of the way.
Why did Heatley want out?
Basically he was unhappy. I Heard the rumours, they were all wrong. It came down to Dany wanting to be the guy. The team played well but didn’t do as well as he wanted. He didn't think we could go on another serious run. Cory wanted everyone to buy in as a team player. It was a variety of things, but it was all hockey-related. There were some personal things he suggested. Somethings that’s the case when someone's not always happy. Dany got to that stage.
Was there a hard deadline for a trade?
I wanted to sit down and talk to Dany. I had talked to his agents about issues, but I wanted to talk to see if he was still so strong and adamant, or was there something to talk about -- a different option, perhaps. The meeting made no sense, and it was not fair to our players, and Dany was adamant. On the other side, Michalek was not available for most part. When he was, that was when things changed.
Talk about Michalek.
Milan is going to be a talent in this league. I remember when I was in Anaheim, and I jokingly said to my guys, "Why don't we draft players like that?" I talked to Doug Wilson about him during the rookie tournament in Kitchener. His name came up Wednesday afternoon, but he was adamant that Milan's name not be made public. And of course, I still wanted to talk to Dany.
Thoughts on Cheechoo?
I think he'll bring chemistry. He’s not a 56 goal scorer; he played on a big line at the time. I suspect the injuries set him back, but he thinks he's healthier than he's been in a while. I've talked to him; it's going take some time for him to get going. If can get 20-25 goals from him, I'd be happy, but can still do some of the little things like checking, and getting out of the zone.
Based on his style, do you think Michalek might be a better fit than Heatley?
Dany was unhappy about a lot of things. Clouston was trying to bring a uptempo game into the system. Michalek fits better into that scheme. He can get on the forecheck and he's got some speed. We cant get a return on goals, can get but we can get a return on value. Milan's a puck pressure guy, and he can get up and down ice with speed. The regular fan likely doesn’t stay up to watch San Jose play. When they get to know these guys and see their involvement and overall play, I think they'll like them.
Going back to the addition of Alexei Kovalev, are you pleased now with the depth of the team?
I am. I'm pleased with the makeup right now. I said to some of our scouts that I'm so happy to have a couple of young of players who are showing well, but disappointed I can’t include them. The scoring can be more spread out, and come playoff time it'll be good to have more than one guy scoring.
Anything left on your wish list?
I want to look at D. We lost some grit and leadership with the departure of Jason Smith. We do have mobility, but I'll let it play itself out during first part of the season.
Once again, the details: The Ottawa Senators traded Dany Heatley and a fifth-round pick to the San Jose Sharks for Jonathan Cheechoo, Milan Michalek and a second-round pick.
I've never been a huge fan of post-trade analysis -- I find it to be predictable and boring. Furthermore, there's only one person I like to hear post-trade thoughts from: You might know him as TSN's Hedgehog (and he's far more concise/accurate than any blogger).
That being said, I thought I'd take a page from the blog's title and offer you some thoughts on what I don't expect to happen due to this trade. These opinions stemmed from the swap itself, and some of the reactions I've read thus far.
1) I don't see Cheechoo on the first line. Seeing some of the imaginary lines being drawn up by fans are killing me. One in particular, Cheechoo-Spezza-Alfredsson, has me in stitches. Guess what, kids? Cheechoo is a RW. But that hasn't stopped some fans from engaging in pipe-dream trios:
"I'm sure Cheechoo would rather learn LW than be relegated to a 3rd/4th line role again. There's no way he moves Alfie or Kovalev out of position."
Let me get this straight: You're desperately hoping that Cheechoo -- an injury-prone player and recent underachiever -- will not only pick up the offensive slack lost with Heatley's departure, but will also be able to play effectively at LW? Good times, Ottawa! Oh, and that extra bit about not having the ability to move Alfredsson or Kovalev? Sincerely, Marcus Allen -- CBS Sports.
2) I don't believe this trade will change Jason Spezza's game. I was reading Twitter yesterday as analysis of the trade began to fall out -- one of the takes that left me flabbergasted was the idea that Spezza could have a breakout year, and become a two-way player. Shhh...listen. Do you hear that? It's the sound of Jacques Martin laughing his ass off. Jason Spezza, barring a miracle, has peaked as an NHL player. He's a playmaker, and an immature one at that. The argument that he could turn out to be a late bloomer like Steve Yzerman needs to be left by the wayside. If that's what fans are expecting, they better not hold their breath. Bank on it.
3) I'm not expecting Milan Michalek to blossom into an offensive powerhouse. To be sure, I feel better about the addition of Michalek than I ever could about Cheechoo. However, Cory Clouston seems insistent about returning the Senators to a more responsible game (which is obviously a good thing). Anyone expecting some version of firewagon hockey in the nation's capital will be sorely disappointed. In short, I expect Michalek to serve as a secondary scoring boost -- not a primary scoring replacement.
4) I don't know how Alexei Kovalev is going to handle the pressure. When he signed as a Senator, Kovalev was viewed as a strong boost to secondary scoring that the Senators desperately needed. The only problem is, Ottawa now is deficient in primary offense, and Alexei will likely be expected to pick up some of the slack. Depending on his state of mind at the time, this could either work out well, or end up as a monumental disaster.
5) I don't see this move as being make-or-break for Bryan Murray. I wish I did, but the GM will likely skate again if the trade blows up in his face. Sens owner Eugene Melnyk thinks that Murray can do no wrong, and if the move goes sour, it will be blamed on Heatley's decision to force Murray's hand into a trade he wasn't completely satisfied with.
As for Dany Heatley, that's that. He arrived with much promise, and departed as a total disappointment. Meanwhile, the Senators' drama level drops, but for how long? This club lacks the ability to avoid it for any extended period.
Thoughts coming later tonight. It's just too damn nice out to waste one more minute on Dany Heatley right now.
P.S.: Wait, did I say today? I obviously meant tomorrow. Then I'm all about the football. Did you hear me? FOOT-BALL.
(Alternate title: TUC: The No. 1 Sens-related choice for monster T.O. blogs)
Two interviews, courtesy of A View From the Cheap Seats. The subjects are a couple of my favourites: Down Goes Brown and Pension Plan Puppets. The interviews are an interesting read, and they both referenced yours truly. This automatically means I can no longer kick them in the shins on initial glance -- I have to now buy them each a beer first (oh, and obviously, reciprocate on the pimping).
The interview with Down Goes Brown is here, and PPP's is located here.
P.S.: Credit to CapsChick for conducting these questionnaires. They've been great so far.
Boo Boo, keen never to disappoint, goes yard in his determination to be recognized as first on the case, even when it's being shot down by larger media and GMs. From Bruce Garrioch's column, published early this morning:
"While Senators GM Bryan Murray vehemently denied it, ESPN.com reported the club had completed a three-way deal — first reported by Sun Media — that would see centre Patrick Marleau go from the Sharks to the Kings, while forwards Alexander Frolov and Jarret Stoll would go from Los Angeles to Ottawa and Heatley wind up in San Jose."
For the record, John Buccigross took quite a bit on the blogs and Twitter last night by claiming that the three-way deal was done (Patrick Marleau to the Kings, Heatley to the Sharks and Jarret Stoll and Alexander Frolov to the Sens).
Don't get me wrong, if this trade somehow becomes reality, I'll be the first to give both men credit. (I guess I should probably congratulate Garrioch first, otherwise he might get pissed.) But when the most reputable of people spent the majority of last night denying the rumour, would you really want to get out there right now and proudly insist that you were the first to be incorrect?
He's here! I repeat, he's here! Stay calm! Do NOT look at him directly in the eye or tooth gap! He probably won't golf tomorrow, and he might be traded to the San Jose Sharks within the next 24 hours! That means he probably flew all this way for nothing! You may go ahead and laugh now!
For more on Heatley's arrival and the way he outsmarted the media (a stellar job by Butterknife Row), feel free to backread TUC's Twitter.
NFL now. (WOOOOOOO! Ahem.) More later.
(UPDATE: ESPN is reporting that the reported deal is done -- Heatley to the Sharks, Patrick Marleau to the Kings, and Jarret Stoll and Alexander Frolov to Ottawa, but "both Sharks GM Doug Wilson and Senators GM Bryan Murray denied the three-way trade when reached by ESPN.com." The Citizen's Allen Panzeri has more over here.)
Apparently Mike Comrie is a fan of irony -- he just signed a one-year deal with the Edmonton Oilers. Tweet of the Day goes to the always hilarious Down Goes Brown:
"(Mike) Comrie signs with Oilers. Had considered Habs, but was told he was too big."
(Aside: Whenever I see this photo, I hear Kang -- the alien from The Simpsons -- saying, "Eat! Grow large with food!")
No, this doesn't have anything to do with speed reading. But it does involve the Senators' own type of accelerated progression, and the risks versus rewards.
Talk to any Sens fan about the future, and Karlsson's name will immediately come up. He's the bright spot; the next great hope for Ottawa during what has been a dismal couple of years at both the farm and NHL level. Karlsson is also an offensive defenceman -- a position that has gone without a proper identity in the nation's capital for some time (even when players like Wade Redden were still here).
The weight on Erik's slight shoulders doesn't stop there. The 19-year-old Swede sparkled at the 2009 World Junior Championships, and won the tournament's award for "Best Defenseman." This was the first true opportunity for the Ottawa crowd to see their blue-chip prospect in action, and fans were anxious for more. Karlsson has also been playing for the Frolunda Indians of the SEL since the 2007-08 season (in addition, he logged seven games with Boras HC late last year). This experience has allowed the media to push the notion that he might be a boy, but he's playing among men, and therefore is likely further along in his development than other blueliners of his age.
Karlsson's hockey history obviously shouldn't be taken with a grain of salt, but here's the deal: Defenceman always require extra grooming and care before playing in the NHL. He still needs to adjust to the North American style of play -- ice size, season length and the sheer wear and tear of the game. Karlsson (like a great deal of Swede players) is mobile and capable with the puck. Sens fans are dying to see this approach once again at their blueline. However, he still needs to polish his defensive game and put some meat on his bones. Stats currently have him listed as 5'-11" and 175 lbs. Take a gander at EK during training camp this week, and see if you can believe that.
Sens fans have all but fallen in love with their upcoming d-man. They adore his style, his boyish face and his entertaining sound bytes. Not only is Ottawa hungry for a premiere representative on defence, they also miss having someone who can peak their interest off the ice in a positive way. Combine all this with one more fact: The reality that Brian Lee -- the previous No. 1 drafted blueliner -- has yet to pan out, and you realize that expectations are bordering on unrealistic for young Erik Karlsson. What happens if he's rushed into a spot on the team, and becomes overwhelmed? Ottawa seems fully of the mindset that once Erik comes, he's staying up here.
Everyone wants Erik Karlsson to succeed so badly, and the last thing the Sens need is to set him up for failure. That being said, Ottawa should think long and hard before awarding him a spot on the roster this October. Things are rough in the nation's capital right now, but it might be better if Karlsson remained a future hope in the minors with the proper time to develop, as opposed to a present disappointment in the majors.
...because you'll get it when I say you'll get it. If that isn't good enough for you, go worship at the Church of the Lankster. (Ed. Note: Three people will get that reference.)
* I was glad to see the news of the NHL's (and other leagues') transborder travel conflict being taken with a semblance of seriousness late last week. AC Jetz is an extremely important entity amongst Air Canada, and it's one of the bright spots within a company that has experienced financial turmoil on a semi-regular basis. There are several options as of right now that both parties (the airline and teams) can look at: They could allow initial transborder travel to occur with AC Jetz, then have the teams use alternate U.S. charters within America, before returning home on their initial flight. Air Canada could potentially also look at the idea of returning the aircraft to Canada during trips, thereby creating all flights with a Canadian start point. However, the practicality of regularly ferrying an aircraft combined with fuel and maintenance costs would make this choice a long shot.
People underestimate how important a regular charter becomes to a team. Firstly, there's a physical comfort level. The players are well-fed and AC Jetz planes are configured with only first-class seats. (Aside: This creates an additional difficulty for the airline, because the plane can't simply be placed back into regular service during the season, although it will happen in extreme circumstances, such as weather issues.) Secondly, there's an emotional comfort that comes with it as well. The plane is made to feel like it belongs to the team. Players sit in the same spots, they're served by the same in-flights, and deal with the same staff on the ground. Everyone who works these flights also signs a confidentiality agreement, so sensitive issues needn't be exposed. It's not something the typical fan ever thinks about, but there's a lot of planning and care that goes into making sure these clubs arrive and depart without a hitch.
Hopefully this problem will be resolved soon, as I know how important this issue is to both sides. If you want to read more about life on the charter flights, check this link out. Google Toolbar will translate it for you into English with relative ease -- it isn't a perfect swap, but you'll get the gist.
* It's kind of interesting to watch/read the reaction of the Binghamton fans as the younger names pop up in the headlines (always typical during this time of year as camp draws nigh). You almost get a sense of them rolling at their eyes at the "big city bumpkins" (and yes, I get the irony) who don't have a clue as to what's going on at the farm level. Over the past few years, there has been a major disconnect between Bingo and Ottawa for a few reasons. The annual B-Sens game in Ottawa was stopped, and many prospects simply weren't ready for the NHL. Without regular viewing and updates on the AHL players, a great number of fans simply lost track. Thankfully with the return of the Bingo game (November 8th at SBP) and what seems like a resurgence in activity between Binghamton and Ottawa (particularly last year), hopefully the O-Sens fans will get a better idea of how their prospects are doing, beyond October.
And finally, did anyone else notice a difference with John Rodenburg back on the Team 1200 on Tuesday? Yeah, neither did I. His talent is going to waste on that morning program. Give him a proper timeslot, with or without a knowledgeable co-host, do some interviews, give some opinions...you know, like an actual sports radio show? What a concept.
Sens rookie LW Mike Hoffman after a 4-1 win vs. Pittsburgh last night:
"It was a good game; it was high tempo. We've got a lot of good players out here, and everyone's trying to make a spot, so they're just working their balls off. It was a good game and I was glad to be a part of it."
I know it was shown on Rogers 22, but...um...ew? I'd blame it on youthful exuberance/inexperience, but the entire delivery was traditional deadpanned Canadiana on a mic, which only added to the effect.
P.S.: A family emergency overnight has led to a delay of today's Deglaze. Apologies all around. Look for it sometime this afternoon, or at the very latest, this evening.
Instead of viewing Daniel Alfredsson's comments on Dany Heatley as terse and harsh (and they really weren't -- if anything, they were assertive and honest), why not take into account what Alfie has dealt with over the course of his career?
This man will be turning 37 in December. He's dealt with Alexei Yashin's (expletive), club financial turmoil and the prospect of being moved (expletive), Ray Emery's (expletive), and those are just some of the major storylines. Sure, there are others who have driven this winding road alongside him (Chris Phillips, for example), but Alfredsson is the captain, and he's the one everyone wants to hear from -- his answers hold the most weight with fans and media. Don't you think he's getting a bit tired of the drama, and would give anything for a season not ripped from a soap opera plotline? You can't really fault him for reacting the way he did.
Chew on that.
Courtesy of Icethetics (for the record, a freaking great site), comes still photos of the Binghamton Senators' new sweaters. According to the post, the B-Sens will still be using their primary cartoonish logo and the ...uh...creepy old man will be used as an alternate (as opposed to the black "B", which is for pre-season use).
A separate pre-season jersey? Seriously?
No word yet on which sweaters the team will be sporting when they make a roadie up to Ottawa in November. Personally, I'm hoping they don't use any of the jerseys shown - that logo freaks me out.
(Ed. Note: Major credit to Icethetics for posting this prior to tonight's unveiling. Again, if you haven't checked out their site, I highly recommend it.)
According to Leclaire's comments in the Citizen, there's no real rhyme or reason to the design -- it's just a play on his former mask in Columbus.
To the front:
Now to the side (I feel like Tony Kornheiser, leading you through the Penguin Dance):
And an obstructed view of the striped (NOT barberpole) pads. Get the hell outta the way, Jared Cowen!
I think I'm ambivalent towards the mask -- I'm getting a woodgrain/alternate Bingo logo/James Hetfield vibe off of it. I don't know if I dig it, but ultimately I don't find it particularly weird or lame. I was concerned when I initially read about the pads -- people kept mentioning "barberpole", and that was a horrible visual. Thankfully, the stripes do run vertically and not horizontally. Again, different, but not entirely sold.
Granted, the point is moot when it comes to his overall play, but what do you want? We've still got a month to go. Deal with it.
After 14 seasons, Jason Smith announced his retirement from the NHL today.
It is rather sad to see Smith's career end this way. Smith was brought to Ottawa to bring some jam and leadership to Ottawa's über-confused blueline, and to say that his presence was barely negligible would be an understatement. On a lighter note, it's too bad he couldn't convince Brian Lee to come with. He'd make an excellent pool boy with the right training and access to SPF 1000 sunblock.
On Anton Volchenkov being in the last year of his contract:
It sounds like it's a question of the Senators being able to afford him after 2009-10. No. 24 will earn 3.2 million this year, and his current contract has a cap hit of 2.5. Future interest seems mutual, however, and Murray stated, "I would suggest we'll have him going forward."
Given the role he plays, it's in the best interest for the Sens to keep Volchenkov in the fold. The main question is, how long can he keep up the brutal pace of TOI combined with shot-blocking dependency?
On a future All-Star Game being held in Ottawa:
Eugene Melnyk says the city is in line for one, and "it's just a question of what year." Wasn't there a hold-up on this issue due to a lack of sizable facilities downtown to host certain events? Maybe we'll hear more about this when the new Conference Centre is completed in 2011.
On a new scoreboard:
Cyril Leeder (na na na na na na na na LEE-DER!) says they're aiming to replace the board within five years and that according to surveys, it's not a priority among the fans.
All right, who filled out these surveys? I'd like to have a word with them. How can anyone be happy with the current state of that scoreboard? Sure, they made attempts to improve the image several years ago, but it still looks like it came out of the Ark. Technology has advanced so much in the past seven years (the current age of the screen) -- go have a look at what some other clubs are sporting. Take a gander at teams like Toronto, Montreal or L.A. It makes a world of difference to have a quality picture. And yes, I know a new scoreboard would be used as an excuse to jack up ticket prices. Speaking personally, this is one occasion where if I knew my dollars were going towards a legitimate improvement, I'd be fine with it.
You can read the whole story over here at the Citizen's website. Also included: Melnyk takes Jim Balsillie to task for his interest in purchasing the Sens 6 years ago, for the purpose of moving them to southern Ontario. Weeee!
Back to this conversation, are we? Here's a snippet from James Gordon's story yesterday regarding Heatley and the alternate captain's position:
Murray was also asked if he thought Dany Heatley could return as an assistant captain with the team. Clouston has been coy, but the GM seemed emphatic:
"To me, leadership is the people that wear the 'A' and I would suggest that probably Cory and Dany would mutually agree that this hasn't been the case so far."
I know a lot of people continue to put a lot of value on the "C" and two "A's", but let's get real, shall we? Ottawa is in the upper echelon of NHL clubs when it comes to symbolically-based fluff surrounding the embroidered letters. I get that few teams are ever going to have the opportunity to house a Mark Messier (or reasonable facsimile) in their dressing room. But how can you not suggest that Ottawa has had issues with leadership within their core? Their trade deadline M.O. for years has been to seek out a previous Stanley Cup winner to "show them how it's done."
This isn't a knock against Daniel Alfredsson, per se. Out of any of them, his work ethic and willingness to face the hard questions when the chips are down demonstrates that he's still the face of the franchise. I don't think any of us need to see a letter on his sweater to identify him in that role. Where he falls on the list of truly memorable leaders is a debate for another time.
This is more about the idea of ripping a symbolic leadership symbol from Dany Heatley, and how big it truly is in the grand scheme of things. Will he feel naked without the "A"? Does anyone truly think it will make a difference in his play or the way he views the Senators? Basically it's akin to a 30-second timeout. In my opinion, I think he'll barely notice. It's more to placate the fans than anything else, because they put so much stock into which players wear the letters.
And looking back, don't you think it's odd that few questioned the reason why he received that "A" to begin with? Sure, some were bent out of shape that it wasn't Mike Fisher. So obviously, it must've been the offensive output, right? Well, do you really want to encourage the rest of the team to float and shoot from only one angle? I think they have enough problems as it is.
So we've got Dany Heatley covered -- who else is having issues? What say you, Mr. Kovalev? From TSN.ca:
The former Montreal Canadiens forward - who signed a two-year, $10 million deal with the Ottawa Senators as a free agent this summer - told reporters on Thursday that he likes the idea of finishing his career in Montreal.
"I was disappointed, I thought for sure I'd be staying here," said Kovalev at his charity golf tournament in Montreal. "I couldn't really understand what had just happened. In the end, I took it from a business point of view. You had a chance to stay here, and you didn't, so you just go and do the job somewhere else. But maybe somewhere in the future I'll be back again, and get the same support."
"I've been back to Montreal four or five times in the last three weeks," Kovalev continued. "Every time you see a fan on the street, (they say) they're really disappointed. That's why I say, maybe after two years I'll be back again. It definitely would be nice to retire here. But it's not for me to talk about Montreal - I'm part of another organization. I'm going to go there and do the best I can and we'll see what happens."
How about that, Ottawa? The guy who's been blatantly featured on the splash page of the Sens' website for some time, is already thinking about what comes after he wears the red, black and gold.
You also have to enjoy the bit about being part of "another organization" and "going to go there." Does he even know where "there" is? The man's already on autopilot, and appears to be biding his time until his self-imposed 24-month sentence is up.
This is epic. Anyone else want out? How about you, Winchester?
Here's your Sportsnet East schedule for the Sens this season -- 40 in all. God, that seems like a huge whack of games. Anyway, more information is available at the Ottawa Senators website.
Scotiabank Senators on Rogers Sportsnet schedule for 2009-10:
Thursday, Oct. 8 - vs. N.Y. Islanders, 7 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 12 - vs. Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 22 - vs. Nashville, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 10 - vs. Edmonton, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 17 - vs. Toronto, 7:30 p.m.
Monday, Nov. 23 - vs. Washington, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 1 - at San Jose, 10:30 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 6 - at Anaheim, 8 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 8 - vs. Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
Monday, Dec. 14 - at Toronto, 7 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 18 - at New Jersey, 7 p.m.
Monday, Dec. 21 - vs. Boston, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Dec. 23 - at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.
Monday, Dec. 28 - vs. Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 31 - vs. N.Y. Islanders, 7 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 3 - vs. Philadelphia, 1 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 5 - vs. Boston, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 10 - at Carolina, 5 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 12 - at Atlanta, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 14 - at N.Y. Rangers, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 19 - vs. Chicago, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 21 - vs. St. Louis, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 23 - at Boston, 1 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 26 - vs. New Jersey, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 3 - at Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 4 - vs. Vancouver, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 9 - vs. Calgary, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 2 - vs. N.Y. Rangers, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 4 - at Carolina, 7 p.m.
Tuesday, March 9 - at Edmonton, 9:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 11 - at Calgary, 9:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 16 - vs. Toronto, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 18 - at Atlanta, 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 20 - at Dallas, 2 p.m.
Monday, March 22 - at Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 23 - vs. Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 30 - at Washington, 7 p.m.
Thursday, April 1 - vs. Carolina, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, April 6 - at Florida, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 8 - at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.
Cory Clouston's press conference took place yesterday afternoon, and the response we received was hardly a shock.
The Ottawa head coach was largely measured in his description of the drama surrounding Dany Heatley, verbalizing that the winger's role wasn't diminished in his opinion, and he was attempting to distribute scoring chances among the players.
To be fair, the Senators have always faced issues with secondary scoring -- Clouston could attempt to gear it up by switching things around, but history has shown it rarely works in lengthy doses. Heatley was, and still is regarded as the team's go-to guy for points (despite being a one-trick pony while doing so). Even if he wanted to legitimately reduce No. 15's role as punishment, the coach couldn't afford to do so.
That being said, The Driver brings up a relevant question:
"If Heatley thinks his role was diminished last year, what will his role be if he comes back and now he's fighting Kovalev for ice time?"
The newly-minted Clouston gained the confidence of fans and the front office with his effort to right a sinking ship last season. He will be looked upon to start this year out on the right foot, and it wasn't setting up to be an easy task, even prior to the Heatley circus. He could attempt to placate Heatley by getting him his touches, but how will that sit with a headcase like Alexei Kovalev (and vice versa)? Could you play them on a line together? Of course, but you get the feeling that there would be a visceral reaction from one or both if things weren't split right down the middle.
Clouston handled himself well yesterday, which couldn't have been easy, given the way he's been dragged into this mess (and regardless of the mounting evidence that suggests there's more to the story). One initially thought he had a pile of work to conquer if he had a chance of surviving a mid-season changing of the guard. That pile -- assuming that Heatley makes an appearance -- is beginning to look like Mt. Everest.
Once again, courtesy of James Gordon via YouTube.
James Gordon has begun to report the details of the Cory Clouston presser. Analysis to come as more details emerge.
Head coach Cory Clouston is scheduled to speak to the press any minute now. More to come.
Jeff Kent, beloved TUC mascot and resident 3 lb. ball of rage, passed away unexpectedly today after a brief illness.
Kent, a.k.a. The Kentlet a.k.a. Stop Chewing That You Little Bugger, could always be counted on to growl relentlessly, kick the crap out of his stuffed animal companion Roxy, and relieve himself on the local fishwraps as he saw fit. He had an enormous dislike for nearly everyone and everything (with the exception of golden raisins and bananas), and that's what made him such a fixture around TUC HQ.
Above is a memorable photo of him taking out his anger on Bruce Garrioch's mock draft. He ate some, ripped a bit apart, then urinated on the remainder. I wish I was kidding, but our boy never held back.
Goodbye, sweet one. We'll miss you.
By now I'll assume you've heard/read the conference calls featuring both Dany Heatley and Bryan Murray. Let's tackle some random thoughts, shall we?
* Was anyone able to take Dany Heatley's "reasons" at face value? It's understood that the team was/is not as successful as perhaps Dany had anticipated at the time of his signing. That said, perhaps he should try looking in the mirror every once in a while. Standing alongside Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza, he is part of one of the NHL's most recognizable first lines. Furthermore, how does one state that his "role has been diminished" when he's part of such a line, and is looked upon as the first guy you go to for offence? The only thing that's changed is the occasional time on PP -- from first to second line. Who truly perceives that as a diminished role worthy of a trade demand?
* Due to the reasons I've stated above, I continue to stand by my belief that there must be more to this story. This is less about assumption, and more about putting puzzle pieces together that come courtesy of Heatley's inner circle. I know many of you are not fond of idle gossip -- that's not where I'm going with this. But a person doesn't behave the way that Heatley has -- particularly towards his closest friends -- if his issues only involve his role on the team. He doesn't shut down. He doesn't become an island. And that's exactly what Dany has done during the past two months.
* One really has to wonder what kind of a reason Bryan Murray needs to remove Heatley's "A". He claimed that he didn't want to rush into matters, and that it needed to be discussed with the players and coaches. I understand that the man must give a PC answer in situations like these, but he's got to realize such a statement sounds utterly foolish right now.
Related: Dany Heatley: "Me want options, attention, pancakes!" -- (TUC)
FYI: I'll be tweeting the Bryan Murray presser as soon as the Team 1200 decides to air it. Stay tuned over here.
OK, so he didn't demand breakfast foods, but Dany Heatley might as well have. In case you missed my Twitter explosion during the press conference call, No. 15's breaking of a two-month silence was basically a Kelowna-based cluster(expletive). Some highlights:
- Heatley verbalized his desire to be traded in May, and then presented the club with a formal letter detailing his request;
- He still wants out but will report to camp if nothing happens;
- Believes there are still teams out there that still want him;
- Didn't go to Edmonton because he "wanted more options";
- Believes his reputation as a team guy trumps any of this nonsense;
- Is unhappy with his "diminished role" and says it doesn't solely have to do with head coach Cory Clouston;
- Don Brennan tried to ask Heatley if he would give up the "A" if he returned to the Sens, and Stacey McAlpine cut him off. If you follow Brennan's relationship with Heatley to any degree, this little snub shouldn't come as a surprise.
During this entire mess, I really felt for Edmonton. They totally got thrown under the bus. Heatley claims that the Oilers weren't on his "initial list" of teams where he wanted to go to. He also claimed that his rejection of the trade "wasn't personal; (he) just wanted more options." 20-year-old frat boys who dump chicks via text are better BS artists than this guy.
James Gordon mentioned on his live blog that Bryan Murray may speak at 3:30 pm. We'll stay on that -- more to come.