Thursday, September 25, 2008

Why hate on McAmmond?

It seems a lot of people are talking about the "dispensability" of Dean McAmmond on the Senators' log-jammed forward roster. I don't really see it, but I'm an unapologetic McAmmond fan. He's played well in the pre-season, scoring one of the six goals the Sens have (in his only game), and he's showing his ability to bounce back. And I still harken back to the 2007 playoffs, where McAmmond made the fourth line a large contributor to the Sens' success.

Those who suggest McAmmond is on his way out do have some reasons. One is that he's set to earn $900k this season (although his cap hit is only $875k). That's not a huge sum for a hockey player, but it's more than Shean Donovan, another fourth-liner, is making after signing for only $600k.

Another criticism is that D-Mac has never really recovered after the two concussions, and his play last season reflected that. To that, I ask: Who on the Sens' roster did play well last season? Players like Donovan and Chris Neil have been able to use John Paddock's coaching style as an excuse for their poor seasons in 2007-08, but the assumption is that McAmmond had a bad year due to concussion problems. I think that's a flawed assumption.

There was a great story on McAmmond this morning in the Ottawa Citizen that really demonstrates some of the value of McAmmond, and that's his positive outlook and his team-first attitude:

"Nothing has been said, not to me, if you're asking me about where I might fit in," said McAmmond, who scored the Senators' goal in a 2-1 loss to the New York Rangers on Monday.

"I think the luxury they have, they can put me wherever they want. I won't complain. I will play the same way."
Imagine, a veteran of 16 NHL seasons who'll accept a demotion, if that's what happens. I'm sure he wouldn't be happy about it, but he wouldn't let that negatively affect his play. I'm sure $900k goes a long way to keeping someone satisfied, but it's still a testament to his character.

McAmmond is a great asset, and could be a great contributor if utilized properly. He's one of the team's fastest players, he's solid on the penalty kill, and he's got pretty good moves to boot. Plus, despite his size, he's not afraid to throw his weight around. I, for one, think it would be a mistake to let him go.
(EDIT: Props to Sens Chirp for writing his own defence of Deaner.)
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