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


Thursday, October 11, 2007

TUC is on hiatus until further notice. I know a lot of you have inquiries, and frankly I cannot keep up with your e-mails. I'm kindly asking all of you to be patient and calm down -- I don't know when I'll be back yet.

Thank you for your patience.


Thursday, October 04, 2007

This episode of Leftovers is coming to you live from the Scott Norwood Section of Butterknife Row...yes, it's that time again. Check out tonight's quote of the night at the bottom of the post.

We were intrigued by the reaction of media outside of the nation’s capital yesterday, after Dany Heatley’s 6-year, 45 million dollar (all terms US) was announced. Inevitably, when the signing of one occurs, the questions surrounding another begin – in this case the player being referenced was Wade Redden. What? I think local media thankfully possesses enough scruples not to make the same inquiry. Reason being? The general aura around Wade Redden has changed in Ottawa. Fans were left nonplussed after his subpar season last year, particularly after his pockets were lined with 6.5 million dollars’ worth of money from the franchise. Combine that with the uncomfortable events of this summer regarding No. 6’s status with the team, and you can certain that fans had not only understood that Redden’s days were numbered with the team, but were in preference with that general mode of thinking. Furthermore, why was Heatley’s contract considered to be the catalyst for these observations? Couldn’t they see the writing on the wall after the signing of Mike Fisher?

Re: Wednesday’s game vs. Toronto – apparently, the more things change, the more they stay the same. The Sens can’t capitalize on a 5-on-3, Chris Kelly can’t bury a breakaway if his life depended on it, and the ACC’s organist likes to break out Toto’s Hold The Line when it’s appropriate…wait…what? While we weren’t impressed on the whole (and apparently neither was Alvin), the Manatee definitely deserves some acknowledgment, because there’s been an obvious shift in his play. His movements are far crisper, his positioning has improved greatly (he’s no longer cowering in the back of the net), and his glove has been working overtime with great results. Long live the Seacow’s renaissance.

Finally, you may have heard some players grumbling over the new sweaters and their inability to allow their equipment to dry properly. While the new jerseys are undoubtedly here to stay, we were rather perplexed by Eric Duhatschek’s take on the issue last week. The Globe And Mail writer wondered aloud if the new sweaters would go the way of the NBA’s synthetic ball from last season. The difference is that the new sweaters included new designs (and in some cases, new logos) for all 30 teams – in short, it amounted to a massive marketing campaign for the NHL. The jerseys weren’t simply relevant to the players; they had to work for the fans as well. It isn’t as if the NBA began selling basketballs in the shape of a trapezoid by the boatload to their fans – their alteration was far more subtle, and never involved the consumer of their product.

Quote Of The Night (overheard on Butterknife Row): "This game's like a banana...it starts high, then goes down low." What the (expletive) does that mean? By the way, take this down for future reference: TUC is one head taller than Leafs' GM John Ferguson Jr., and nearly two heads taller than CBC play-by-play man Bob Cole...who might be a fan of the Mystic Tan. Just saying.

And just for the hell of it, here's your Toto refresher for the evening (which means we get to have a Toto tag...whee!):


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

From TSN.ca:

Sources tell TSN Dany Heatley has agreed to a 6-year contract extension with the Ottawa Senators believed to average between $7.5 and $8 million per year.

Although details of the structure remain confidential, sources say it's similar to the contract Daniel Briere signed in Philadelphia in terms of a heavily weighted salary at the front of the contract that ratchets downward, making the cap hit the team will absorb more attractive.

The on again - off again negotiation resumed this afternoon with the Senators tabling an offer that the two sides used as the base to avoid tonight's season opening deadline.

UPDATE (the full breakdown -- now official):

Dany Heatley has agreed to a six-year contract extension with the Ottawa Senators, averaging $7.5 million per year with a no movement clause.

The contract will pay Heatley $5 million in signing bonus money next July 1 and $5 million in salary for $10 million in total next season, $4 million in signing bonus money on July 1, 2009 and $4 million in salary for $8 million total in Year 2, $8 million in Year 3, $8 million in the fourth year, $6 million in Year 5 and $5 million in Year 6.

The $9 million in signing bonus payable on consecutive July 1's means $14 million is payable within one year of the deal on a July 1 to July 1 basis.

''We were able to work on a structure throughout the day and were able to find a structure that works for both,'' said Heatley's agent J.P Barry.

''Dany is very excited. He's had nothing but success in Ottawa and he's thrilled to be on board long term with one of the best teams in hockey,'' Barry added.

Monday morning deglaze

Monday, October 01, 2007

Two events I'm relieved are over: The Sens' pre-season and The Presidents Cup (a.k.a. Canadian golf Jesus v. American golf Jesus...at least on Sunday). One should not be listening to putter talk from Montreal in the afternoon on Team 1200, only to come home at night and watch Sens games on Rogers 22. Blech.

The pre-season is incapable of holding my interest for extended periods, but this Manatee storyline has the potential to get interesting with Ray Emery not ready for game play just yet. Contrary to popular belief, there are many persons of interest pulling for Gerber to succeed, and it has little to do with earning his keep. Emery may be considered the better goaltender in the city, but the issues he creates -- both publicly and privately -- do not strike the correct cohesive balance for this team (and we have provided the controversial reasons why in the past, albeit in an extremely roundabout manner).

Meanwhile, you have to think the one guy who might be getting anxious about the Dany Heatley negotiations (or lack thereof) is Daniel Alfredsson. Alfie committed to Ottawa for a lengthy period with a contract that now looks like a relatively frugal investment. He'll be making $5.451 million this season, and provides a salary cap hit of only $4.339 (according to NHLnumbers.com). His option years begin in 09/10, and the team's makeup could look drastically different by then -- particularly if the worst occurs and the team loses both Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley.

Speaking of future team makeup, the shortsightedness of some local media never ceases to amaze me. According to one talking head, Ottawa, over the course of the season, will gear up to trade Andrej Meszaros and Joe Corvo for forward building blocks while letting Wade Redden walk at the end of the season. How many quality offensive defensemen do they think the Sens will be hoarding in Binghamton? Are they going to clone Brian Lee? (Oh Jesus, I can't believe I said that.)

And finally, you know the normally placid LoCal fans in San Diego must be getting restless if they start chanting "Marty" in the fourth quarter. With the Bolts currently sitting at 1-3 (last in the division!), The Driver is in disbelief and has ceased wearing his Chargers hat out in public (he's gearing up to pull a hamstring, jumping off the bandwagon that fast). I know people are calling for Norv's head*, but the head coach midseason firing is something of a rarity in the NFL. Regardless, it's going to get oogly...can't wait. (I can say this now, before Denver goes 2-3 next week after the D inevitably throws up all over itself once more. O John Lynch, where art thou? Oh, and guess who they're playing in Week 5? LT can chew it.)

More later.


* About Norv's head: Back in the day when he was coaching Washington, if you called Rome and referred to Turner as a "pineapple", Jim would hang up on you (funny as it was). Not to be insensitive, but I think it's less about the face, and more about the neck -- it almost looks like an octogenerian's knee-high stocking when it gets bunched around their ankle.