Monday, April 03, 2006

Hard to believe

To follow up Jay's post below, I thought this piece from Hockey Country was worth highlighting here:
Martin Gerber for Carolina, Ryan Miller (and plan B Martin Biron) for Buffalo, Antero Nittymaki for Philadelphia, Henrik Tellqvist for the NY Rangers, and Cristobol Huet for Montreal all have the exact number of NHL playoff games under their belt as Ray Emery: 0.

Good point. And if Lehtonen and the Thrashers catch Tampa that would leave Brodeur with 108 playoff games - the rest of the East combined: 0


  1. J.S. Aubin has played a game in the playoffs.

  2. You must be excited about the Easter Bunny coming soon too 5-0.

  3. What will be really great will be Ottawa starting both Hasek and Emery in a losing cause to a goalie with no playoff experience. What to say then?

  4. Sure Emery can do it and other teams will be relying on unproven goalies to win them a Playoff series. You just better hope Emery doesn't have another lapse like he did midway through the season.

    I'd feel a lot better with Hasek in Nets if I was the Sens, he's a proven goalie and one of the best all-time. He's won a cup.

    It is interesting though how many goalies with no Experience are leading their teams into the playoffs. I guess whichever goalie is the hottest in the Playoffs will determine who makes it. It'll be fun to watch.

  5. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I completely agree with yoda.

    The apocalypse can't be far off.

    Sens have taken Chara off their landing page -- anyone want to get the negotiations or DL rumour mill started?

  6. Actually, Gerber has participated in 2 playoff games for Anaheim though he didn't start any and totaled only 20 minutes of action giving up 1 goal on 6 shots in the 2002-03 playoffs.

    John Grahame has only played 2 games and 145 minutes so he isn't exactly Mr. Experience either.

  7. Yeah I'm not in the Shit Disturbing mood today!! HAHA

    Got a good hit to the head the other day so that may be it to??

    Whats the story anyway with Hasek, looking at the post below it seems the piller of Truth Don Brennan seems to think hasek won't be back which is looking more and more like the truth, but the Sens say he will be back?

    Anyway the Sens need to get their roster healthy if they really want to make a run for the cup. The amount of injuries they have it isn't looking good. Though they seem to be doing alright but I'd be skeptical of going into the playoffs with all these injuries.

  8. Well having players come back partway through the playoffs isn't the worst thing in the world. So long as they do, in fact, come back. Though I think getting Hasek back should probably be about 'sell-your-soul' priority...

  9. Given the lack of experience in goal on every team in the east (other than NJ), I don't think having Emery in goal will hurt the Sens in the playoffs. While having a healthy Hasek in nets is probably more desirable, I think the biggest thing for them will be getting Chara back.
    They need him if they're going to win the cup. Not that I think they will.

    I just spent 2 weeks in Calgary and went to the game against LA last Wed. (and watched the CAL/COL and CAL/EDM games). I think they've got the best chance to win the cup.

    They're playing like a team that's possessed, they're young, fast and have amazing goaltending... They seem to have the "team game" down to a science.

    While Kiprosoff, Phaneuf and Iginla are obviously the big three on that team, it was their utility players that stood out for me.
    They definitely have guys that can step up and put the puck in the net and/or lay big time hits to turn a game around.

    Does Ottawa have a guy like Chris Simon?

    Notable mention... Phaneuf is UNREAL. He scares guys! You can see it on the ice. His name will be on the Norris trophy many times before his career is over.

  10. Does Ottawa have a guy like Chris Simon? Nah, all our guys are sober (ok, poor taste, but I'm 2-degrees-of-separation from the dude so it's a friendly jab).

    How about Chris Neil? Tough & talented (hey, surprised me too). It's hard to say if the Sens have a guy "like C.S." without knowing which characteristics you're writing of.

    On the Chara negotiation front as suggested by geeiwonder, it is pretty suspicious that they removed his pic from the landing page at this point in the season, replacing it with the Pizza Line. Why now? Why not earlier in the season when the line was lighting up the league? Here the guy is for 75 games, negotiations haven't been going well at all (so says a friend-of-a-friend who's close to Big Z) and "bloop", image gone. You'd think the image would have changed weekly or monthly. Why now?

    G'bye Z, welcome back Redden. Hey, at least it will make those guys who hate Czechs happy.

  11. Don't confuse ability to fight with being a gritty role playing type. Neil is a nice player (expecially when position in front of the goal) but I have always seen Chris Neil as a reluctant tough guy. He can do it and he'll do it on occasion but isn't the constant in your face pest that Simon is and that Ottawa so desperately needs. Teams really need that hard worker that never backs down from anyone and energize his team and the crowd every shift on the ice. In past years Toronto had several of those kinds of players (Roberts, Tucker, Domi, etc.) and that certainly helped the Leafs beat the Senators. I am not sure Ottawa has that kind of player on its roster and certainly Neil isn't that kind of player. Chris Kelly shows some of those characteristics but is still developing his game and if/when everyone gets healthy might end up being the odd man out (though Arnason should be as he has done next to nothing and shown very little usefulness).

  12. Chris Neil isn't even close to Chris Simon...

    Tough, yes. Good at what he does, sure. Elite tough guy, no.
    Talented, to a degree.

    While he has played well this year, keep in mind alot of his points have come while playing on the power play with players that have ten times the talent he does.
    (not to take away from what he's done this year, but keep it in perspective)

    What I meant was... do they have a guy that's been to the cup before, a guy that's been around, who knows what it takes to push a team over the top, or to regroup the guys whe things arent going well,
    intimidate guys with physical play

    Dave Andrechuk, Martin Gelinas, Chris Simon, Mike Keane, Joe Neiwendyk, Gary Roberts, Scott Stevens, Jamie Langdenbrunner...
    Do they have one of those guys on their team? I don't know.

    Mike Fisher and Phillips are the two that come to mind... while they may not be the most talented players on the team, it's usually those second or third line guys that make a difference in the long, tight checking playoffs.

    Can they step up and become one of those guys or should they have gone after someone like Roberts/Gelinas/Neiwendyk/etc in the off season... I guess only time will tell.

    It looks like the Battle of Ontario has already been won this year. Kudos to your team for that.
    But I think your team is a long way from being a Stanley cup champion. I've said it before and i'll say it again, I don't think they have the veteran leadership that it takes to win a cup, and although they have definitely improved over the past year or two in the "grit" department, let's see them deal with some adversity in the playoffs before determining their true team grit.

    If they go into the playoffs without Hasek, Chara etc. and can make it to the finals I will be convinced.

  13. Teams really need that hard worker that never backs down from anyone and energize his team and the crowd every shift on the ice.

    I'd nominate Chara for that. He's demonstrated all of the above and more. He'll never back down from any guy, can score, hammers forecheckers and is quite consistent. But he's not Canadian and doesn't have a Cup. That seems to be an issue.

    Also up for a nod is McGrattan. Sure, he definitely doesn't have the scorers touch, but he busts his ass every minute he's on the ice (all 5 of them). He won't back down from anyone (I'd like to see him and Chara go for fun) and he seems to instinctively know when to start bopping guys in the lookers. As for lighting up the team, those guys love him. I still remember his first NHL goal. It was like the whole team had won the Stanley Cup, I think they jumped the boards to mug him on the ice. And last night's short handed beauty.... Murray looked like a puppy dog who's owner had come back from a weeks vacation.

    He's got some years to go, but give McGrattan a few years and he'll be one of the core leaders of wherever he plays.

    Give him 4 months and he'll add a Cup to his resume :)

  14. Chara is certainly a physical force and a great player but I was referring to forwards. Being a defenseman Chara can't be the same in your face player that a forward can be because he has to be far more aware of his position on the ice in order to not get out of position and give up 2 on 1's. For instance, Chara can't go banging in the corners in the offensive zone.

    McGratton is a tough guy and a fighter who may not even dress for most playoff games and if he does he will only play a couple minutes here and there. You can't be that in your face, hard working, 'energy' player if you only play 2 and a half minutes per game. Anyone Ottawa plays in the playoffs would just love to see McGratton have 12-15 minutes of ice time because he is just not that great of a player. He has a role which he does great but he is pretty much useless come playoff time.

  15. David,

    Neil is one of the leading hitters among NHL forwards, and is a physical presence every night. To suggest he isn't an aggitator is foolish.

    As for his reluctance to fight, that's foolish. He's no more reluctant than most people. He'll fight when he has to. His role on the team has changed somewhat, and with McGrattan around, he doesn't have to drop em as much. He's not a heavyweight the way McGrattan is.

    As far as your assertion that Kelly might be the odd man out when they get healthy, you're out of your friggin mind.

  16. Exactly!

    Jesus! What's gonna happen if Ottawa doesn't win the cup with their absolutely perfect team.

  17. Exactly to David.

  18. If you fools would rather have Chris Neil than Chris Simon then you are far more stupid than I thought.

    He's a good agitator!!!!!
    He's good at what he does!!!!
    No one is arguing that!!!!

    Sorry to slightly insult any player on your perfect team!

    The Oilers of the 80's should be jealous!

  19. Btw, with Chara leaving, and presumably a lot of other players wanting some salary upgrades (who could blame 'em, a lot of guys are having career seasons), how much of this Ottawa team is even around next year?
    Could that motivate the team (ie. we have one shot) or hurt morale?

  20. Five-0 continues to prove why I never both to post comments here. The partisanism is so out of control it's almost sad.

  21. Lots. Hasek might be gone. 1 of Chara, Redden and Spezza. And probably Havlat. Depends on where the cap is too.

    Which leaves a lot of talent. What's scary is that some of the guys that are stepping up now (Vermette, Meszaros etc.) are so good. Hell, the Sens could potentially be better next year.

    You'd think the Leaf fans might be laying about toughness with Tucker pulling that Kaparitish crap last night.

  22. No suspension for Tucker.What's new.Looks like Colin Campbell thinks the Leafs still have a shot at the post season.Tinfoil Cup Nation.

  23. Chris,

    Hitting doesn't mean you are an in your face agitator, just that you play the man. That's a good thing, but that doesn't make you an in your face, never say die, never quit, high energy, agitator.

    "Kelly's a serviceable role player, but he's a four line guy."

    That is what you wrote on your blog a while back. How has he gone from a fourth line guy to a lock not to be relegated to the bench when they get healthy. You have 12 spots up front. Alfredsson, Spezza, Heatley, Havlat, Smolinski, Fisher, Neil, Vermette, Schaeffer are all locks to make a post season lineup. That leaves 3 spots for Kelly, Varada, Arnason, Eaves, and McGratton. I would sit Arnason or Varada and McGratton but I wouldn't surprised if they any of them sat at one point or another. Only Varada and McGratton have less ice time per game than Kelly.

  24. "Lots. Hasek might be gone. 1 of Chara, Redden and Spezza. And probably Havlat. Depends on where the cap is too."

    Doesn't matter much where the cap is, Ottawa will have a self-imposed cap probably in the $36-38 million range. I think Chara will be gone and probably a forward or two. They'd probably like to find a taker for Smolinski's contract but might have to rid themselves on Havlat too.

  25. David,

    I said that, but in the past three or so weeks Kelly's game has really stepped up. He's been playing big minutes of late and doing good things with it.

    If they get healthy, McGrattan is definitely sitting, and I think Varada does as well (he's already been sat this season), leaving:

    Arnason shouldn't be sat. He's not scoring goals but his game has really come around in the last little while. I've been pleasantly surprised because I wasn't a fan of the trade and he didn't wow me with his first few games as a Sen.

  26. Interestingly, the Ottawa Senator fans seem to be making the most sense.

    Kelly > role player

    Neil >> Simon... omg, Simon has been TERRIBLE this year

    Arnason has been great the last week. He is definitely coming around

  27. Sorry guys, Arnason isn't anywhere close to the second line center he was aquired to be. It wouldn't surprise me if every forward on the team has produced more points than Arnason since his arrival. When the deal was made I said that I didn't know what Arnason brought to this team that Smolinski, Eaves, Vermette and others don't. After 13 games the only thing he has shown is that he might not be as useful as those players. So far he has played like a 4th liner.

  28. Arnason seems to be doing okay for a guy who just got here. The Sens don't have much of what will be their top two lines in the playoffs playing yet, but he's still as many points since as, say, Recchi in Carolina. More than that, he's often on the ice and involved in many chances (30shots) and is responsible defensively.
    The great play of the others shouldn't count against him. Anyhow, the playoffs will be his chance to earn more respect.

    Interestingly, the Ottawa Senator fans seem to be making the most sense.

    It might be interesting, but surely it's not very surprising. :)

  29. Neil >> Simon... omg, Simon has been TERRIBLE this year??

    The whole team hasn't been playing like they should be (with the exception of Phaneuf/Kippr) yet they're still at the top of the strongest division in the league.
    How could that be???

    Simon has been to the finals 3 times, he's a better fighter/player and I think anyone in hockey would take him over Neil in a heartbeat.

    Not to take away from how effective Neil has been this year or how much he's improved as a player... but are you saying if Calgary offered Simon straight up for Neil you wouldn't take it?

    That's a joke!

  30. Simon is seven years older (players who play his style don't age very well), costs twice as much as Neil, and isn't as offensively productive.

    So no, I wouldn't make that trade.

    Neil still has a lot of upside, where as Simon is in the downside of his career.

  31. For a run at the cup?

  32. For this season? I wouldn't make that deal.

    Neil is one of the most popular guys on the team, has good chemistry with Fisher, and is playing well. Why mess with that? It's not as if Ottawa has a great history of trades working out.

    And let's remember that this isn't the same Chris Simon of the late 90's. He's a different, inferior player now.

    Would I take him on the team? Sure I guess, though I'm not sure who'd I sit to get him in there. But I would not give up Neil to get him.

  33. I must make a quick interjection to the contention (there's a song in there, methinks) that It's not as if Ottawa has a great history of trades working out. Arnason an exception (I'm waiting out the playoffs), let's look at the following two:

    #1: Hossa & DeVries for Heater. This was a great trade for both teams. No need to detail it as I can't see many disagreeing.

    #2: There was once this young fella' named Yashin who played and didn't play for the Sens. He got shipped off to some elongated piece of land off the Eastern Seaboard. As payment, the Sens received another young fella named Chara. As a bonus, a 1st round pick was thrown in. Turns out, that ended up being used on Spezza. There was a third guy in that trade, but I'm forgetful. Smolinski? Anyway, not too many teams manage to pull off such big trades like that. Except the Leafs. But then again, how successful has trading away the future for melonheads and geriatrcs been for them?

  34. Kanye West already did that song. Track 11 I think:

    What's your con-ten-tion?
    Is it money, is it skill, is it grit?

    I've in-ter-jec-ted
    My theory, my will and my wit.

  35. Spezza, Chara...
    and the amazing Bill Muckalt.
    But don't feel too good about that trade. Anybody with a hockey card collection and a general knowledge of hockey can rip off Mike Milbury in a trade. In all seriousness though, it was a great trade though.
    Same with the Heatly trade., although that was a pretty staight up, star for star trade but a good one none the less.

    As for the Neil/Simon argument... To each his own I guess. Personally, I think that's the type of guy they've been missing for five years, but that's just my opinion... Unpartisanismically or not.

    "But then again, how successful has trading away the future for melonheads and geriatrcs been for them?"

    Up to this point, obviously it's been more successful than the Senators.

  36. Up to this point, obviously it's been more successful than the Senators.

    This is 2005, not 1967. Let's see: in the past 5 years, the Sens have been one missed hip check on Madden from the finals. How close have the Leafs made it? Type as much as you care about the Leafs beating out the Sens, but we've still made it further. And in each season where the Leafs did, sadly, eliminate the Sens, the Leafs get dished in the next series and every commentator in the land puts it up to the way the Sens played them.

    Let me do this again:
    Up to this point, obviously it's been more successful than the Senators.

    How are the Leafs doing this year?

  37. Actually, I was refering to their deadline dealings, as in, messing witht he chemistry of a team that is already in place, which is what a Neil for Simon swap would be.

    Ottawa's history in this area is brutal:
    Nelson Emerson
    Tom Barrasso
    Greg de Vries
    Peter Bondra
    Mike Sillinger

    All busts.

  38. ok. Now I know we're talking about deadline deals, I can agree on the poor history of the Sens trades. But now I'm even a bit more confused about the Leafs and their trading habits. Ah, me. Add one to the '67 ticker.

    Anyhow, given the performances this year, I'd still take Neil over Simon.

  39. Well if you want to look at it that way...

    They've actually made it to the final four twice since 1999, both times with teams that consisted of mostly farm team players.

    Other than that you've got a final four appearance in 94 against Vancouver and in 93 they were a high sticking call away from taking out LA in 6 games to go to the final.

    It's funny... I say something like that and Sens fans say I'm a typical Leafs fan, always looking in the past. Yet you say your team was a missed hip check away from making it to the finals and it's all good.
    Actually, I'd say they were a boobus Redden play and a shitty goalie away from making it to the finals.

    As great as those 4 straight playoff victories over the sens have been, I could really care less because the Leafs were still unable to win a cup... so it's fair to say that neither team has really been successful.

    I was simply making a comparison between two teams and two players. I said that I think Simon is a better player than Chris Neil and that Ottawa has been missing that type of player for the past few years.
    My comments had nothing but good things to say about Chris Neil.
    I gave kudos to your team for doing well this year, for having a good team and I mentioned how they have definitely improved on the grit front.

    You turned it around into a pissing match with your melonheads and geriatrics comments.

  40. 5-oh, best to change your tag to "elastic man" as I'd say you're stretching. I simply made the comment. First guy to piss is simply pissing. Second guy makes it a match.

    I like playing the history game with Leaf fans. What are you doing in 2007? We should meet and celebrate 40 years. Let's make plans.

  41. I'll be parading in Toronoto after the Leafs win the cup...

    You're welcome to tag along.

  42. That will be quite the parade...I hope for your sake that it doesn't conflict with the Raptors parade date...that would be traffic chaos!!!

  43. Wow you guy's have been lighting the posts up without me stirring anything up. Neil has turned his game around. He isn't the fighter you all make him out to be. He never seems to fight the tough guy's unless he has no way out of it. He usually fights more grit players versus tough guys.

    Yeah he's put the puck in the net more than normal but when you get to play on the Top power play in the league and with some of the better players in the league that will happen if you have some skill.

    I would take Simon for Neil. Obviously at the trade deadline it didn't make much sense as you'd kill the chemistry of the team but at the beginning of a season I'd make that deal.

    As for Toronto winning the Cup, sorry 5-0 don't think that will be happening unless they pull off some good upgrades.

    Penguins on the other hand have it locked for next year!

  44. Simon for Tucker.Now there's a trade the Leafs should make!

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