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Welcome to Edmonton East

Thursday, August 27, 2009

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?

More later.

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.

More later.

Audio from the Clouston presser

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

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.

In Memory of Jeff Kent: 2000-2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

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.

No. 15: Now what?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

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.

More later.

Related: Dany Heatley: "Me want options, attention, pancakes!" -- (TUC)

Waiting on Bryan Murray

Friday, August 21, 2009

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.

It will likely be easier for me to tweet this afternoon's proceedings as opposed to constant updates on the blog, so look for me here during the actual press conference. Further analysis will take place at TUC proper later in the day.

Jai ho, emeffers. Let's get on with this.

If Dany Heatley's personal thoughts mean anything to you, thank your lucky stars that this season includes an Olympic year. That's the only reason why he'll be breaking his silence today -- Team Canada has forced his hand, because they don't want the additional distraction. Remember that Heatley's international game reputation has always proceeded anything he's done in Atlanta or Ottawa, so the significance of him maintaining healthy ties with Hockey Canada is large.

It's obviously best to go into today's conference with zero expectations. I assume there will be lot of spin, zero emotion and a whole bunch of pre-packaged semantics. From the other side, it's safe to guess that any bite during this fiasco won't be coming from media within the 613 area code. Baiting, maybe. Passive-aggressive inquiries with no objective? Likely. But based on a good portion of the coverage thus far, I'm expecting not a lot of substance.

On the plus side, James Gordon of the Citizen will be live-blogging the entire circus, beginning at 12:45 pm EDT. You can follow the action here.

Stay tuned...more to come.

A heads-up

Friday, August 07, 2009

The blog will be undergoing a brief shutdown next week -- it will be back (promise), but patience is appreciated in the meantime.

Naturally I assume this will be the time when Heatley will magically be traded. Anything to help the process along, right?

More later.

Down to the 24-hour mark

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Allegedly? Sigh.

I will say this: If for whatever reason Jonathan Cheechoo does land in Ottawa, the Sens' front office can be grateful for an increase in ticket sales that comes along with it. Cheechoo has a significant First Nations contingent that shows up for his games at SBP, and their upbeat attitude adds a welcome vibe to the traditionally staid arena.

Finally, to end the night, a little bit of levity from Chris Stevenson:

"Here's a thought: If Bill Clinton can get two North American journalists out of a North Korean prison and sweet talk loopy Kim Jong Il, surely he can get Dany Heatley out of Ottawa. Worth a try?"

(What's with the shorts? Uh...anyway...)

Despite having no fixed address for the past couple of weeks, it surely must not suck to be Patrick Eaves right now. Traded from Carolina to Boston, only to be bought out by the Bruins for $933,000 (hardly a paltry sum when you're only 25). Then, free as the breeze, decides to sign in Detroit for a one-year-deal worth $500,000? Not too shabby.

Yes, it's not a great sum of money from the Wings in the grand scheme of things, but one must remember that Eaves is injury-prone and has a history of concussions. One false move and he could potentially end up sitting in his closet, talking to his mittens for a third of a season. However, Eaves is still an excellent skater with capabilities along the boards that can be appreciated. And it's safe to say that with a team like Detroit, his numbers are probably going to rebound, which only bodes well for him at this time, next year.

For $500,000, Bryan Murray must've squirmed just a tad, despite the potential injury gamble. He's been losing speed on this team left and right, and knows first-hand that Eaves has got it. But of course, who wants to freely go back to a team that traded you away? And besides, Ottawa has this guy, and he's better than Pat by leaps and bounds:

Right? Right? Wait -- why am I hearing crickets?

More later.