...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.
...because I miss solid food.
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.