Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Screw arbitration, new deal is done

It was announced that Ray Emery has re-signed with the Senators, narrowly avoiding the arbitration process. The deal is for three years worth $9.5 million total. For you cap-watchers out there, that means a $3.16 million per season average.

This is the deal that everyone expected, but didn't hope for. The Senators' faithful realized long ago that every dollar used to lure Emery back to the nation's capital is a dollar that would not be spent on keeping our dynamic duo, Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza, in town. So there's been a bit of Emery bashing on the part of Sens fans - understandable.

My thoughts? As stated a few days back, I would have preferred a shorter contract that would give the Senators the opportunity to see if Rayzor is, in fact, the shiznit. With this deal, if Emery stinks up the place next year, we've pretty much been Gerbered ®... again. That's just my pessimistic opinion.

This deal does indicate quite a bit of faith in Rayzor on the part of Bryan Murray. While behind the bench, Murray may have seen the effects of Emery's attitude or confidence on the rest of the team - what some may call 'the intangibles'.

Update: The Senators have also re-signed Christoph Schubert to a 3-year contract.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Emery goes to arbitration Tuesday

...and that's pretty much the whole story. I'm not sure how long it takes for the arbitrator to get their answer back to both parties, if you know then post it in the comments.

If you're looking for more insight into the deal, this story from Canada.com provided some good info.

Also, Emery was supposed to sign a deal last week according a report on the internet. Needless to say, we won't be using reports from that website anymore. I gave random insanity a chance and it failed me, just like the time I tried to paint a self portrait by placing ants on a canvas and trusting them to line up in a way that looked like my face.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Sometimes it's better to check than bet, even in hockey

I had an epiphany yesterday. Ray Emery is going to arbitration. Players who go to arbitration are usually awarded 1-year contracts based on their peers' salary. Ray Emery doesn't want a one-year contract, he wants a multi-year contract that will capitalize on his performance during the Senators' playoff run last year.

Whatever Emery was asking, contract-wise, our faithful GM, Bryan Murray, didn't want to give.

In poker, one can 'check' rather than bet to see whether his opponents will bet. This allows a player to gauge how strong his opponents' hands are. I think this is what Bryan Murray is doing.

Ray Emery will go to arbitration and be awarded some contract that will likely outrage everyone, myself included. But it will be a one-year contract, and this will give the Sens an extra year to gauge whether Emery is the goalie for the Senators. At the end of next year, all the bluffing must come to an end, but by then Murray will have a much better idea of what hand he has.

All those RFA offers for Emery never materialized, revealing yet another person who was bluffing, Emery's agent, J.P. Barry.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Sens trade Schaefer for Donovan!

The Ottawa Senators finally did an NHL deal now! After signing two players who are more than likely to be Bingo-bound--Niko Dimitrakos and Larry Nycholat--the Senators made a relatively significant move in trading Peter Schaefer to the Boston Bruins in exchange for Shean Donovan.

After Schaefer had a relatively poor season, and a worse playoff, it had become necessary to trade him, and most importantly the $6.3M left on his contract, in order to make room for other players (notably Ray Emery).

A lot of fans liked Peter Schaefer. I know I did. But I'm not terrifically disappointed in this trade. The fact of the matter is that Schaefer was signed to an inflated contract, and the Sens are simply not in a position to earmark $2.1M a season to a player who, quite frankly, didn't show up in the playoffs until it was too late.

There seems to be mixed reaction to the addition of Donovan. Personally, I've liked him since his days in Calgary, when he set a career-high in 2003-04 of 42 (18g, 24a), not bad stats for the grinder we've picked him up to be. He certainly strikes me as a Murray player, not afraid to go into the corners and able to make a hit. Schaefer was good along the boards, but he wasn't a regular hitter, and didn't create enough chances off his work on the boards for the price tag he had.

The biggest loss I see from Schaefer is his penalty-killing prowess, but with Dean McAmmond, Daniel Alfredsson, Antoine Vermette, and Mike Fisher still in the fold, the PK units will be alright.

The biggest gain is the $1.15M extra the Sens now have to spend. While it will probably be routed towards a new contract for Emery, if we manage to dump Martin Gerber's salary, there's an opportunity to sign a veteran free agent--perhaps Martin Gelinas or Mike Johnson or, if I'm dreaming, Peter Forsberg--and a back-up goaltender--look at someone like Ty Conklin or Jussi Markkanen.

Anyway, tough to say right now whether or not this was a win for Ottawa or for Boston, but I'm happy with it for now.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Why the world needs sports blogs

TSN and Sportsnet run the same Associated Press story on their main pages at the same time with the same teaser sentence. C'mon people, I thought you both had crack teams of investigators working hard for scoops.

I criticize because I love. This is just a prime example of why we need sports blog: diversity of opinion and pure interesting, entertaining writing.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Emery deal could be done this week

I don't create internet rumours. I don't have the contacts, the authority or the gravitas to make people believe me. Rumours, in my opinion, are best left to other people.

With this in mind I present to you a rumour that says that Ray Emery will sign some sort of contract with the Ottawa Senators this week. This is from 'a contact' so take it for what it's worth. But for the Sens right now, any news is good news.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

They literally paid him to go away

The New York Islanders made their least insane (some would call it "best") move of last year buying out the remaining 4 years of Alexei Yashin's mind-blowingly ludicrous 10-year $80-million dollar deal.

Alexei Yashin is, and will always be, On Notice here at the Sens Army Blog for being a little girl and sitting out the 1999-2000 season when he was an Ottawa Senator. It just goes to show you where his priorities are - in his wallet.

Now it appears that no one wants Cash-in Yashin because, as he's proven over the last 6 years, he'll never again be as good as the 94 points he scored with Ottawa in 1998-99.

In my opinion, he's probably worth 3 or 4 million for a whole season, but he didn't even make it to 60 games last year. Estimates of what he's worth varies with a person's opinion of how much he detracts from a team's overall morale. But if Yash is not happy with playing for a pittance of $3-million in the NHL, then please go back to Russia. I don't think there's a team in the NHL that would miss you.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

No news in Sens land

I said that I hate outdated blogs, but don't blame me - blame the Senators.

Yeah, they appointed a new coach, I probably should have said something about that, but it wouldn't have been any different than what any of the other major media outlets: "It's Paddock... okay then." The only reasonable thing to do is sit back and see what he does with the team, then have a freak-out 20 games into the season and call for his firing (It'll happen, I guarantee).

One article of note is Darren Dreger's article on how Dany Heatley it going to want insane amounts of coin (his words!) come next year's free agency. With the Senators virtually invisible in this year's UFA (and even our own RFA) market, it seems they're gearing up for some signings next year.

The recently announced Sidney Crosby deal (5 year - US$43.5 million) will probably help the Senators retain Heatley for about $8-million per season... at least, I hope. If Jesus-on-skates only gets 8, then who can Dany possibly compare himself to? Yes, I know that Crosby doesn't score 50 goals per season, but the boy is the undisputed MVP of the league for this season (and even had some votes last year).

Keep an eye on this page for the date of Ray Emery's arbitration. Wow, I am all about TSN.ca today.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Cole and Neale on the way out!

Bob Cole has been On Notice on the left side of your screen for some time now. We can thank him for such insightful quotes as, "It could be over! ...but maybe not!," as well as other non-sensical and contradictory phrases.

It now appears that the brass at the CBC began listening to their own broadcasts late last season and are now prepared to phase out Bob and Harry Neale. Harry I have nothing against, but if it's a package deal then go ahead and eliminate the lesser evil with the greater.

Chances are that Jim Hughson is going to take over the play-by-play. This means that from now on, every game is going to sound like NHL 2002 to me. If I begin yelling at HNIC with a Playstation controller in my hands, just ignore me.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Lame Duck already?

Pull the trigger dammit! Last night, watching Live Free or Die Hard, Bruce Willis pulled the trigger, shooting himself in the chest (I won't tell you the result he had in mind) - now that's courage. I would like the Senators to pull the trigger on something very soon. Hopefully it won't result in many large explosions and a plot that takes the team across the United States in search of a techno-terrorist.

I was a little too forgiving of the Sens' GM Bryan Murray in the last post. Other than a little house-keeping, the Senators have made no moves so far in free agency. They've done nothing to improve the team that came to close to winning a Stanley Cup only weeks ago. Let the comparisons between Muckler and Murray continue...

Word is that the Senators still have their eye on Bill Guerin (and this move already has Ben's seal of approval). He's looking for 4-million per season, according to some reports. Based on their roles, I would say that the Sens are going to sign either Mike Comrie or Guerin, and I don't mind that the team apparantly favours Guerin.

We've heard so little news on the Comrie situation that I expect him to say 'enough!' very soon and move back to some crappy team that doesn't have a shot at winning anything.

Onto the Gerber debate...
After weeks of shopping him around, there still is no deal imminent to get Martin Gerber off the Senators' payroll. Dang.

Let's keep our eyes open for something in the next couple of weeks, because an outdated blog just looks bad.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Sens looking to next year's UFA's

It was either Ryan Smyth this year or Dany Heatley next year. I think the Senators have made the right decision by passing on this year's crop and waiting to sign their own UFA's next year. Hopefully Heatley and Jason Spezza can see that they're playing for a contender and sign a contract extension with the Sens during the off-season this year or during the 07-08 season.

The prices for players this year is ridiculous, I would never imagine Daniel Briere as a 10-million dollar player and I think that the Flyers will find out what he's actually worth all too soon. Call me a pessimist. Ryan Smyth has never scored more than 70 points in a season and he just scored a 6-million per season contract.

As much as it pains me to admit, I agree with Sean McCormick - this year's crop simply doesn't compare to next year's, and the NHL's GM's are going to regret splurging on the moderate talent that is available this off-season.

I had a great Canada Day. Because Canada is a great country and I have awesome friends to celebrate with. I hope you had the same.
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