Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Setting the blueline bar

This should provide some insight into the market value of Redden, Chara, Jovanovski, etc...
It appears Bryan McCabe won't be testing free agency and will re-sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

A source told The Canadian Press on Wednesday that the two sides were close to agreeing on a new contract that would keep the defenceman in Toronto.

Reports on ESPN's website and the Fan590, an all-sports Toronto radio station, said the a five-year deal was already done while Rogers Sportsnet reported the sides were closing in on a multiyear deal.
Or does it?
If he's not allowed to talk to other teams then should we look at it as his value to the Leafs only?

UPDATE: The Toronto Maple Leafs have agreed to a five-year deal with defenceman Bryan McCabe, a source told The Canadian Press. The deal is worth between $5.5 million US and $6 million per year, the source said Wednesday.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

"This is not fantasy hockey" John Muckler

But for us....

My 2006-07 Senators lineup:
Left Wing: Dany Heatley, Peter Schaefer, Jamie Langenbrunner, Antoine Vermette

Centremen: Jason Spezza, Jason Arnott, Mike Fisher, Chris Kelly

Right Wing: Daniel Alfredsson, Patrick Eaves, Chris Neil, Brian McGrattan

Defence: Zdeno Chara, Chris Phillips, Andrej Meszaros, Anton Volchenkov, Brian Pothier, Christoph Schubert

Goalie: Nikolai Khabibulin, Ray Emery

(That's a goodbye to Havlat and Smolinski to get the Bulin Wall) So long to Reds via free agency and the team picks up UFAs Arnott and Langenbrunner. Resign UFAs Chara, Pothier, Schaefer, McGratton, Neil, and Kelly. Do something with Arnason - anything. Payroll would have to raise to probably close to $44 million - see below. Unrealistic? Well, the Canadian dollar is pretty much 90 cents US now you know.
Player 2006-2007 Salary (US)
Nikolai Khabibulin $6,750,000
Zdeno Chara $6,500,000
Dany Heatley $4,500,000
Daniel Alfredsson $4,339,000
Jason Arnott $4,200,000
Jamie Langenbrunner $2,500,000
Chris Phillips $2,090,000
Jason Spezza $2,000,000
Mike Fisher $1,500,000
Peter Schaefer $1,300,000
Anton Volchenkov $1,300,000
Brian Pothier $1,200,000
Andrej Meszaros $984,200
Patrick Eaves $942,100
Antoine Vermette $750,000
Chris Neil $600,000
Christof Schubert $550,000
Ray Emery $550,000
Brian McGratton $500,000
Chris Kelly $500,000
Total $43,555,300

Steve Warne from the Team 1200 has his team here.

(Quote from Muckler here.)

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Owners matter

You'll never read something like this from the Ontario Teacher's Pension Fund.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The curse is up!

Finally, a good reason for what happened...

The Curse of King Clancy

In the early years of the NHL the Ottawa Senators (Silver Seven) were the most dominate team in hockey. Winning more Stanley cups than any other team. The team was a powerhouse that couldn't be beaten. No one was better than their star player, King Clancy.

Ottawa received $35,000 and 2 players in 1930 to trade Clancy away to rival Toronto.

Clancy whose feisty play was legendary had made roots in Ottawa and was infuriated by being traded for more money then they were going to pay him.

As he was boarding the train to Ottawa he was overheard shouting at Ottawa's coach by his former team mate Frank Finnigan.

"Mark my words! I will be dead for at least 20 years before they lift that cup again!"

King Clancy died on November 8, 1986.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Emery deserves blame

Some common theme has been to say "Emery is not the reason the Senators lost". Well, when I look at this goal, when the Sabre player has the puck at the goal line and is cutting out, and I see the worst poke check attempt I've seen leaving himself in no position to make any save if it doesn't work, I disagree.

Mind you, Alfredsson should have at least dove and took a tripping penalty when he got beat.

Anyway, I make take this video off after a while as it's hard to watch but, for now, look at Emery's attempt at stopping this.

Who are the free agent goalies? Joseph, Nabokov, Turco, Legace, Roloson - hell, if Keenan wants a top forward (Alfie), a top 4 defenceman (Phillips) and Emery for Luongo go for it.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Open post for game thoughts

I can barely type myself.

Self-Imposed 48 Hour Ban

Sort of like the Virgin Mobile 333 blockout feature, I'm going to prevent shame by keeping away from the keyboard for up to 48 hours following the outcome of tonight's game.

Depending of how things fall, I figure I'd either be issuing a fatwa on the blue-eyed infidel Alfredsson or writing mildly homoerotic poetry in his praise. Not something you want to appear in your browser window in either case.

The forecast is wet and gloomy in Kanata, but out west it's all sunshine and puppy dogs.

Go. Sens. Go.

Friday, May 12, 2006


Some people seem to think that Emery's performance last night - and even his play the night before - has earned him the right to take this team into tomorrows and any future do or die game.

I disagree.

The outcome of the first four games of this series have been a coin toss each time. It's as if these people are willing to accept the probability of getting three more of these to land the same way. (1/8 or 12.5%) I don't want to accept that.

The series dynamic needs to change and the only way that the Senators can create that change is by putting Hasek between the pipes.

I understand the risk associated with playing Hasek. He's a 40 year old tender coming back from a recurring injury who hasn't played in months.


I believe the Ottawa Senators have the ability to dominate the Buffalo Sabres if the Sens can play to a man up to their talent level. If having Hasek behind them on the ice can loosen up the players to bring them to that level the Sens can win this series.

You aren't making the change to hope for more saves. You are trying to change the team by making this switch. I think it's well worth the risk considering the odds they face with the status quo.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The start of the greatest comeback in 30 years

Start of the game: Good first couple of minutes. Wow - they didn't let Buffalo pass on the 2 on 1!

The first goal of the game! I've heard of those before.

Mid first - Emery stands tall after a great PK. That breakaway stop could be huge if the Sens can score on this PP - they'll loosen up with one more goal.

After the 5 on 3: this isn't going to be easy.

End of the first - 20 bucks says Cherry shows the 2 on 1 were Phillips prevents the pass.
After CC - I'm glad nobody took me up on that bet. I'm going to need that money for Rd 3 tickets.

Start of 2nd: Emery is as confident as ever - he's storming out of the net on these shots.

End of second: Alfie's miss on the 2 on 1 - could have been huge but instead they come back and score the tying goal. He's so due.

Intermission: If Ottawa wins this game God I promise I won't make fun of Aki Berg again.

2 to 1: The Sens cannot sit on this - full press guys.

Huge PK coming up. I gotta go pee!

5 left
4 left - great shift by the 4th line.
2 left - great save by Emery!
1 left - another great save!

They did it!

Yeah, Whatever. What He Said

I slept about two hours last night, and my scrambled mess of a brain is incapable of putting together coherent thoughts. Thankfully, Ian Mendes put it succinctly enough on his blog and in an interview on the Team this morning.

Fooled Once Again

My name is Ian and I'm an idiot.

An idiot for believing this year was going to be different in Ottawa. An idiot for thinking this Senators team was going to win a game when it mattered. Not to mention the fact that I'm an idiot for the way I've analyzed this series to date.

In this very web space after Game 1, I insisted it didn't matter that Ottawa lost in heartbreaking fashion. I was even naive enough to suggest the defeat would build character.

I was wrong.

Then after they lost Game 2, I proposed that Bryan Murray reunite Alfredsson with Spezza and Heatley.

That didn't work either.

So that now brings us to the wee early morning hours here on Thursday after a dramatic overtime win by the Sabres here in Buffalo. I'm thinking of writing that Bryan Murray has to use Dominik Hasek for Game 4. But really, what's the point?

Goaltending has nothing to do with why the Sens are down 3-0. Emery's let out some ghastly rebounds that Miller hasn't, but you're right there's no point in bringing Hasek back into the picture. Hell, if there's any justice the Sens defense corps (and most of the forwards) should write a formal apology to Emery for their appalling coverage.

The Senators, unlike the Oilers, have no ability to play with desperation or passion.

Yep. Fragments of Ryan Smyth's front teeth have more heart than the entire Senators locker room.

What I find baffling, is that the critique of this team in the past was how they looked like deer in headlights in big games under Jacques Martin.

All of that was supposed to change when Bryan Murray came on board. Yet, it appears there is something else wrong with this team.

I don't think two coaches, who are polar opposites in personalities and style, could be making the same mistake in failing to push the right button with these guys.

At least Murray is playing Spezza, so I wouldn't completely absolve Martin's puzzling decisions, but simply firing the coach hasn't changed the story. They looked like chickens with their heads cut off in the first forty. Lots has changed but the stink of defeat still hangs over this club.

On the radio Mendes recounted, in anguishing detail, the parallels of Game 3 in the 2001 sweep. You'll recall, I'm sure, how the Sens were down 2-0 and languishing before Hossa and Alfredsson tied it up late. You just knew - as I knew last night - that they weren't going to win that game, nor did they deserve to win that game.

There are only three players on the team who have been present in every playoff nightmare (see below), so I'm not planning on taking a 'blow it up' attitude after tonight's game. But Peyton Alfredsson is going to wear this one like it or not.

UPDATE: Forget to mention the point about their record in one goal games. That's been a problem all season and it's come back to haunt them.

Senators in a World Of Shit

No, as a matter of fact, I don't believe in miracles.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Season Franchise Defining Game

Here we go again. One hour to puck drop. I can hardly type my hands are shaking so bad.

Tonight's Beverages:

Regulation - Sleeman Honey Brown (all the Ontario karma I can handle)
OT - Jack Daniel's (right out of the bottle)

No reason whatsoever why they can't roll these guys.

Spezz, Heater - Remember, remember the 2nd of November.
Daniel ``I don't think we hit our peak yet'' Alfredsson - Stop sucking anytime.
Razor - I hope you practiced 2 on 1's with your D men. Instead of burdening Chara with making a decision as to whether or not to take the shooter just tell him to stretch out flat on the ice until the puck stops moving.
Meszaros, Volkchenkov - May the spirit of Steve Duchesne - not Igor Kravchuk - reinvigorate your broken, tormented souls.
Fish/Schaef/Mach 9 - A skate blade to the package cannot compare to the pain I will feel if you guys pick tonight as a rare off-night.

Pizza time, boys.

Grier Brings The Noise

Hockey Hearsay:

"They're taking runs at guys like Connolly and Daniel Briere," Grier told the National Post after practice Tuesday. "Maybe it's time for guys like me to go after guys like [Jason] Spezza, [Dany] Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson."

Or maybe it's time for guys like you to keep your head up when cutting into center.

Hasek To Dress Tonight?

Sounds like a coaching stunt if the rumours stemming from this Garrioch column are true.

"He could probably play if he had to," said Senators coach Bryan Murray, whose team shockingly lost both opening games at home and trails the series 2-0. "It appears he is able to do everything. He stopped the puck a lot and so we'll see."

Hasek, 41, who has been sidelined with an adductor muscle injury since Feb. 15 at the Olympics, was going down in practice and giving it a good test.

"I feel like a goalie again," said Hasek. "I am the closest I have been. I can do everything. I can go up and down. I can jump and I can move around."

A bit of bait to get the media babbling about something other than Alfie's playoff grit? Do they need a ring on the bench that badly?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

>< this close

I'm not buying the line that the Sens are out of this series. Buffalo pounced on every little fuckup the Sens presented to them and Miller rebounded to play the game of his life.

While its tough to figure out exactly what's bothering Alfie, I wouldn't mind at all seeing him back on the top line for games three and four. Go ahead and put all your eggs in one basket. Are they really that worried about the likes of Tallinder and Lydman keying on one line? If the captain is to get it going, best to put him front and center and challenge your 100 point guys to carry the day.

It's all good, people -- keep those car flags flying stiff and defiant.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Flying into Toronto

I'm in south western Ontario for three days - how many car flags do you think i'll see?

For some reason I can't see people getting excited enough to put Paul Maurice flags on their vehicles.

Update: No flags yet and the hot topic on the sports radio here is Josh Towers. Ouch.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Game thoughts

Mid first - forget what I said about not needing many chances to score - Buffalo's had 2 chances and 2 goals for Christ's sake.

Mid second - can we decline power plays?

End of second - 4-4 Buffalo with 4 or 5 chances? The Sabres and the Sens must know they shouldn't be in this game. Whether that helps them or hurts them in the third... We'll know in an hour.

End of third - for the love of all things holy!
Who stole the souls of our defence?

End of game - Murray better have said something like this.... (old Jardine post)
DRILL SERGEANT MURRAY: How tall are you, Private?
PVT CHARA: Sir, six foot nine, sir!
DRILL SERGEANT MURRAY: Six foot nine, I didn't know they stacked shit that high....
[to PVT MESZAROS AND PVT VOLCHENKOV]: You had best unfuck yourself and start shitting me Tiffany cufflinks or I will definitely fuck you up!
or.... he goes into the dressing room and simply says
"I am confident we will win the next game. I say this because I have never seen our defence play like such pieces of crap. If you are even capable of playing that poorly for two games in a row then I will sincerely shit myself like you have shit yourselves tonight."
Wade Redden was minus fucking four?
I'm going to go to sleep before I write or do something I'll regret.

Some keys for the Sens

1. Patience.
The Senators need fewer chances to score than the Sabres. Forwards or tandems like Havlat and Fisher/Schaefer or Spezza and Heatley can create goals while the third forward plays conservatively and ensures no odd man rush is available the other way.

2. Alfredsson
I was on his back a little in the first series as he didn't produce like he can. If he can step up his game while still being on the 'third' line then I think Buffalo is in for a world of hurt. If he doesn't create opportunities then I will again call for him to be moved up with Heatley and Spezza to allow our best player to be that.

3. Special teams
Duh. Just to say here that the Sens only need to keep pace with any Sabre production. They were both very good on the PK and PP during the regular season with the only real difference being Ottawa's 25 SHG vs Buffalo's 10. (Buffalo allowed 17 SHG while Ottawa allowed 11).

Buffalo radio

Here's a rip-off of the Toronto version of Sandler's song but I'll admit there are some good lines in it.

It's much better than their Chara/Varada bit.

Hat-tip to The Team1200.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Sabre Rattling

Nice preview of the series from a Sabres perspective here.

For Matt...

That's a tough one anyday. As a multiple-first-round waxing victim, my sympathies are with you at this difficult time. I flipped over to the game midway through the third and I honestly don't think I've ever seen a more horror-stricken crowd. It looked like they had been herded into Pengrowth at bayonet-point and forced to watch a massive seal-pup cull at centre ice.

Hope you'll forgive me for picking Calgary coming out of the West - I can't help but feel partially responsible for giving the Flames the kiss of death. Good news for Sens fans, however -- my playoff pool was a perfect 50/50 mix of Flames and Sabres!

Afraid to lose

Watching the game last night I was reminded what it was like to watch the Sens 4 or 5 years ago against the Leafs. The Flames were afraid to lose. They weren't skating and as a result any attempt to play aggressive or generate offense was hidden. They looked like they simply weren't trying.

That's what some success in the regular season and high expectations can do to a team that hasn't experienced it before.

Now, before I hear the baying of Leaf Nation, the Senators did over come that in 2002/03 when they went to game 7 of the Eastern final. The game 7 win by Toronto in the first round the following year was not a result of the type of play we saw last night. If Kiprusoff was in net for Ottawa in that game, it would have been Pat Quinn that would have been shown the exit.

Anyway, for you Flames supporters that still want to participate in these playoffs as fans - unlike the 'hockey fans' in Toronto who haven't realized they didn't cancel the post-season due to the Leafs absence - come and join us. You don't even have to change the colour of your shirts.

As a bonus, we actually score goals - a lot of them in fact.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

A few things about Buffalo

Besides the fact their city is on par with Toronto for being a stinkhole.

The season series:
Date Ottawa Buffalo
Oct 8 2005, Sat 5 0
Nov 2 2005, Wed 10 4
Nov 12 2005, Sat 6 1
Feb 4 2006, Sat 1 2
Mar 18 2006, Sat 4 2
Mar 24 2006, Fri 3 1
Apr 5 2006, Wed 4 5
Apr 8 2006, Sat 2 6

Should note that those last two games where without Chara, Redden, Phillips, and Havlat.

Both teams have three in the top ten in playoff scoring after the first round...
RK Player Team GP G A P

Monday, May 01, 2006

"Act Like Ya Been There Before"

I sincerely hope there was no overexuberant celebration in the Byward Market Saturday night. Like me, perhaps you quietly lit up a victory cigar on the balcony (one for each round) and savoured the moment. Nothing would be more indicative of the fan base's collective insecurity than imitating an NFL rookie doing the first down chop after a routine catch.

As to who is next, unfortunately it's probably going to be the Sabres, although I'd prefer Les Glorieux due to Emery's (earlier) success against them and the fact that any team counting on Radek Bonk to centre their top line cannot be long for this world, Forum ghosts notwithstanding.