Sunday, June 29, 2008

Fuck Lalime. Bring back Tugnutt!

Is this rock bottom for Senators reporting?

Other than absolutely conforming to "Stuff sports writers like" Rule #1, this story mixes opinion and journalism seamlessly to create a genre I call "fiction".

Sure, Lalime could come back. But let me sum up the story in a couple sentences.

Brennan: Do you like getting paid, Patrick Lalime?

Lalime: Sure.

Brennan: How about being paid... in Ottawa?!

Lalime: Why the fuck not.

Brennan: Hey Bryan Murray, if you had to rate the chances of Lalime coming back to the Sens either "likely" or "purple", what would you rate it?

Murray: Ummm... "likely"?

Brennan: Booyah.

Sorry Brennan, not buying it.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Building "character" in the dressing room

A lot is being said in the fallout of the Ray Emery buyout, and the subsequent trade of Brian McGrattan hasn't put any water on the fires of discussion about the Senators' team dynamics. The Ottawa Citizen is calling it an "image overhaul", but I don't think that's accurate. You don't solve an image by sending people away; you solve a reality be getting rid of the problem. So I would be inclined to agree with Alanah McGinley of Kukla's Korner in her analysis of "The Bryan Murray Show" as little more than a deflection tactic, using buzzwords like "accountability" and "character" to avoid discussing real problems.

While reading the Citizen's coverage of the trend today, some quotes from Murray had me wondering what it was we were dealing with before Emery and McGrattan were dumped:
"I want a team of real character people," Murray said, watching the club's younger players and recent draftees go through the second day of an arduous development camp at the Bell Sensplex. "I definitely want good people in the room to clear up that perception. Fans are influenced by what they read and hear, and we want to keep good people.

"Obviously, we're looking to make the team better and get in better shape in that area."

What is it we are dealing with, Bryan? This was obviously never simply a perception. Murray's comments have acknowledged that there have been problems in the dressing room, and that the two most recent transactions were measures meant to defuse the bomb that blew up the 2007-08 season before it could do any damage to the 2008-09 season (man, I am on a roll with the metaphors right now!).

If you ask long-time Senators fans for a common denominator that exists between the three biggest departures from the roster to date this season (McGrattan, Emery, and Wade Redden), they won't quote their abilities to fight. I've got no proof, and have no right to make accusations, but the fact remains that all three have been linked with off-ice shenanigans, at least in rumours. I'm not trying to lend credibility to the rumours, I'm simply acknowledging that they exist.

Those long-time Sens fans may also remember an "image overhaul" intended to clean up the attitude in the dressing room from years ago. This one involved André Roy, and the affects his decisions or outlook may have had on who was at the time a very promising developing Wade Redden. Despite being a fan-favourite, Roy was traded for Juha Ylonen in order to clean up the dressing room, so we were told.

It deserves to be discussed that McGrattan and Emery were two of the best friends of much-maligned (at least this summer) Jason Spezza. Although Spezza's apparent disinclination to seriously address the immaturity in his game--a hesitancy to back-check consistenly, a refusal to stop making no-look backhand passes--has not been linked to the deals, he needs to grow his game. And his old friends, evidenced by their on- and off-ice attitudes, were not promoting that maturity. Firing John Paddock and bringing in Martin Lapointe to stop the cancer proved insufficient, so Murray must have believed that the tumour was a lack of work ethic--given form in Emery and McGrattan, and perhaps others--and had to be cut out.

Time will tell whether or not these moves will work as intended. Another very interesting point raised in the above-linked story on Kukla's Corner is the media in Ottawa, and why these stories--which are apparently known by everyone--are never reported. Is it a refusal to use anonymous sources? Give me a break--it's obvious that in his rumour-reporting, Bruce Garrioch has no problem with quoting the anonymous. Is it wanting to stick to the on-ice news? Last year was evidence that off-ice problems make on-ice news. Is it an unwillingness to bite the hand that feeds you? Well, if you're afraid to report the truth out of fear for the repercussions, journalism might not be you true calling.

Salary cap goes up $6.4M

Photo from

Apparently league revenues went up again last season, and the new salary cap is $56.7M, and the new salary floor is $40.7M. Funny note: after only four years, the salary floor is now higher than the salary cap was in its first year. Take that, small-market teams.

This is good for the on-ice product of teams like the Senators, where the owner(s) (Eugene Melnyk, in our case) have vowed to spend the maximum in order to ice the best roster possible. Teams such as Nashville, who set their own salary caps which are below the league cap, become the have-nots as the franchise disparity-gap grows wider.

If the league is making too much money, I have an idea: How about the Canadian teams, like our Senators, lower ticket prices a bit? It was a comment on the CBC article, and I have to say, it's a pretty good point.

I also have to wonder whether, as it becomes more apparent that the players may have won the most recent CBA dispute with the league, will we see yet another lockout, in this CBA negotiation or the next? I hope not.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

McGrattan traded to Coyotes?

You'll notice that by adding a question mark at the end of my headline, I've absolved myself from any wrongdoing should my report prove innacurate. There was really no need, though, as the Senators have released an advisory about the deal, in which Ottawa received a fifth-round pick for the 2009 draft in exchange for the pugilistic services of winger Brian McGrattan.

I am a McGrattan fan. Last year, I wrote a story about how he deserved better than what he was getting from the Senators, rarely dressing, and getting little to no ice time when he was in the lineup. I do think that he's got the ability to play at least fourth-line minutes, 6-8 a night, and he's one of the league's premiere heavyweights. If the Senators had no plans to play him, however, I do think that the right thing to do was trade him to a team where he'd have an opportunity to develop his game.

In Phoenix, Grats will likely get playing time, and I think getting into a full season will greatly help his endurance. He's got speed in straight lines, can hit people out of the arena, and fights--as I said--with the best. Good luck in Phoenix.

I suppose that new coach Craig Hartsburg felt that with Cody Bass and Chris Neil, the team had enough to get through a season, and an enforcer was unnecessary. Or maybe the Sens plan on signing one of Sean Avery or Georges Laraque, two unrestricted free agents with plenty of gumption.

Headlines with question marks

Part one in an ongoing series:

Stuff sports writers like

When approaching any story, always begin with the most speculative statement of the article and make it your headline. Keeping in mind this statement is pure speculation, and does not have a source or basis in reality, you can absolve yourself of any legal liability by adding a question mark.

"Sudin to become free agent" (too direct, implies you know a fact)

"Sundin to become free agent?" (perfect! With a question mark, this statement is pitch-perfect and reflects your level of speculation).

Let's try again:

"Spezza on the market" (Awful. Can you back this up?)

"Spezza on the market?" (Nice! No need to speak to anyone now. You've done your research by adding a question mark.)

Or, try using this tip in real life in the subject lines of emails dealing with sensitive topics.

"I'm the father of your child" (No! Your best friend might go into shock and not read the rest of the email)

"I'm the father of your child?" (Great! Now you can be sure he'll read the rest of the email: "But seriously, I'm not. I'll see you at the bar at 8.")

Using this simple tip, you too can become a writer for,, or the Ottawa Sun. Remember, when you've got absolutely nothing to say, just make some shit up and add a question mark.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

SensBlogCon a total success: Report

...oh jeez... where am I? I remember drinking some beer with the guys from Sens Underground, and Don from Battle of Ontario...

Where are my pants?!
Why does my mouth taste like pool cues?
What the hell am I doing at Scotiabank Place?!

"Welcome to the organization, son."

Ahhh! Cliff Fletcher!

"We saw you stumble up on stage around the 7th round of the NHL draft and well, we were just going to trade that pick for Eric Lindros again, so we drafted you."


Fletch, it was SensBlogCon, the first ever meeting of the greatest hockey minds in Ottawa. I remember insulting Martin Gerber, and throwing punches at Shredder... How the hell did I make the two-hour trip from Ottawa to Scotiabank Place?!

"Originally, we sent Mats Sundin to get you. But he just kept on driving... so we traded his rights to the Habs for a Quebecois Pizza and a stake in MusiquePlus."

But our combined stories barely tell our readers and fellow bloggers anything about SensBlogCon!

"Then they'll just have to show up at next year's SensBlogCon ... when I'm STILL THE LEAFS GM!"

*Fletch disappears into a puff of smoke that smells vaguely of temperance values and the Scopes monkey trial*


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Overheard at NHL Draft 2008

"Nashville! Wooo!" (Heard across the entire Scotiabank Place)

"...dat's a pop-tart with de ketchup"

"Tanguay, eh? Enjoy the extra 10 goals, Montreal"

"Who did we draft? Erik Karlsson or Karl Eriksson?"

Other unexpected events:

Standing ovation for Wayne Gretzky? Really? Sure, he's the greatest player ever, but he is the coach of an opposing team now.

18 year-old puts on Leafs jersey... we have a new enemy.

Alfredsson brings up last season before making the Sens' draft choice at the podium... why?

More thoughts

You know who might want to take a risk on a talented young goalie like Ray Emery? A team with very few goaltending prospects and a lackluster starter going into the final year of his contract: the Ottawa Senators.

Everyone got their hate on Garrioch yesterday. That's a cause I've been championing for months!

GM's unhappy with trigger-happy media - CBC
Trade everyone - Black Aces
The Garrioch Effect - Kulkas Korner

Round 2+ - Sens picks
42nd overall - Patrick Wiercioch
79. Zack Smith, c, Swift Current (WHL)
109. Andre Petersson, w, HV 71 Jr. (Sweden)
199. Derek Grant, c, Langley (BCHL)
139. Mark Borowiecki, d, Smiths Falls (CJHL)
199. Emil Sandin, lw, Brynas (Sweden)

...more to come...

Sens trade up to draft Karlsson, re-sign Kelly

It was a busy Friday for Sens fans. After the buyout process of Ray Emery began friday afternoon, the Sens went into the draft looking to make a splash and made one (although it was minor), and re-signed utility forward Chris Kelly to a four-year, $8.5M contract.

Beginning with the draft, Ottawa was slotted to pick eighteenth overall, but decided that when Swedish defenceman Erik Karlsson--who was the fourth-ranked European skater--was still available when the fifteenth pick, the Sens traded picks eighteen and a third-rounder for the 2009 draft to get Nashville's first-round pick in order to draft Karlsson.

Said GM Bryan Murray of Karlsson:

"We had Erik (rated) ninth overall, I think," said Murray of a player who was named the top defenceman at the Under-18 IIHF World Championship earlier this season. "Very definitely, we're happy we could add him. I like big, strong guys but I also like high-end skill people that do things with the puck and create offence on the back end, and it helps our forwards a great deal. I think he brings that for us."

As for Kelly, the deal was made public while I was at the draft (more on that below), but it's pretty exciting after many reports suggested that Kelly and the Senators were far apart in contract talks, and that Kelly was likely to test the free-agent market. And the deal, which works out to a cap hit of $2.125M per season, seems like a reasonable one for a flexible defensive specialist whose role on the team seems certain to increase this season.

As for the draft, it was cool for a bit, but it got old fast. You know how long it seems when you're watching on TV? Well, imagine that without interludes of intense prognosis from Pierre McGuire and Bob McKenzie, and just sitting waiting. But still, it was neat to hear the many trades that were made over the course of the draft. What surprised me was how many decent players were moved (including Mike Cammalleri, R.J. Umberger, Alex Tanguay, and Olli Jokinen). Other than Jokinen (who was traded for Keith Ballard, Nick Boynton and a pick), all the players were traded for draft picks.

Now it's off to the second round! I'm probably only going to stay for the next Sens pick, but I'll be back with a report later.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Emery buyout officially begins

We all knew it was just a matter of time, but it looks like the Ray Emery chapter of the Ottawa Senators history book is over. According to reports on, the Sens have put Emery on waivers, the first step in the buyout process.

To tell you the truth, I'm a little surprised the Sens couldn't trade Emery. Say what you will about his behaviour or approach, he's a good goalie, and he's got a level of athleticism that can't be taught. I suppose that other teams felt his price tag was too hefty to gamble on.

Although, with Emery on waivers, another team could still pick him up and relieve the Senators of his entire salary. If not, expect the buyout to proceed, and the Sens will be on the hook for a cap hit of about $500k a season to Emery. Then expect some team, perhaps the Los Angeles Kings or Detroit Red Wings, to take a chance on Emery and sign him to a deal.

Anyone know of a good moving company that can deal with boa constrictors, Ferraris, Hummers, and several goalie masks?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A lesson in humility from Alex D

Whenever the NHL draft rolls around, there is talk of late-round bargains and first-round busts. During these (pointless) conversations, one name always comes up: Alexandre Daigle.

It seems that a writer from ESPN recently had such a conversation, and decided to pull one out of the "Whatever happened to..." file. That file is subtitled "The Alexandre Daigle Story: the anti-Sidney Crosby". So read this story, it's actually pretty good.

One hilarious phrase that seemed to encapsulate why Alex the not-so-great didn't cut it in the NHL...
"When you're young, you think the NHL is glamorous and fun," says Daigle, now 33. "But it's a tough job. You have to be made a special way to deal with it. Me, I'm not aggressive at all. Zero percent."

(emphasis, bolding, and enlarging font added)
That's the type of work ethic you like to see from a #1 overall pick.

Oh yeah... I think Steve "John" Stamkos is going #1 this year. Just a hunch.

Sens Blog Con update!

Only a couple days left to let everybody know you'll be at the most happening Ottawa Senators-related blogging conference of the week!

I've booked the pool tables. Sweet.

Join the facebook event, or leave a comment to let us know you're attending... or just show up. But you might not get to play pool right away.

Monday, June 16, 2008

SensBlogCon Press Release

With the SBC 08 less than a week away, I will be sending out a press release to some Ottawa media outlets in hopes of drumming up some support for our little event.

Maybe a preview coming to 24 Hours or Metro? Let's hope there's isn't an intriguing story about tomatoes or Paris Hilton in the next couple days!

SensBlogCon – The Ottawa Senators Bloggers conference 2008

The online voices of the Ottawa Senators meet for the first time.

Saturday, June 21 2008 -- 8pm

MacLaren’s sports bar -- 310 Elgin st. Ottawa, Ontario


Following the 2008 NHL draft, the first ever meeting of the Ottawa Senators fan-managed websites will take place at MacLaren’s sports bar on Elgin June 21st at 8pm.

These websites serve as alternative voices to the mainstream sports coverage. Average fans have taken to the internet to get their own views on NHL hockey to their fellow NHL followers. Many of these websites have been in operation for years and have become a primary source of news and opinions about the Senators.


Writers from the top independent blogs covering the NHL’s Ottawa Senators will be in attendance. These websites receive tens of thousands of hits monthly, and attract a loyal following of readers, commentors, fans and detractors.

Bloggers from Sens Army Blog (;

Sens Underground Podcast (;

Scarlett Ice (;

The Battle of Ontario (;

...will all be in attendance.

The event is open to all Ottawa Senators bloggers and fanatics.
Facebook event:

For more information, contact:

Ben Myers (of Sens Army Blog)
613-322-0121 (after 5pm)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Rumour Mill: Free agency preview

This might be a premature free-agency preview with July 1st more than two weeks away, but I figured I'd give my take on the current Sens' roster, the holes that need to be filled, and some players I'd like to see be signed to fill them.

I'm looking mostly at free agents in this preview, but with rumours in the Ottawa Sun suggesting the Senators might be wheeling-and-dealing on draft day, there might be some established NHLers or young prospects coming in to fill some of the spots I'm going to go over.

Here's a projected lineup for the start of the season, based on players currently under contract:

Heatley - Spezza - Alfredsson
Foligno - Fisher - _____
McAmmond - _____ - Winchester
Schubert - Bass - Neil

Phillips - Volchenkov
_____ - _____
Nycholat - Lee


And now, to get in to the needs:


  1. Second-line winger: GM Bryan Murray has been looking for a second-line winger for two years, going through Mike Comrie and Cory Stillman while looking. It would be great to sign Marian Hossa, but I don't think that will work if the Sens want to stay under the salary cap. Stillman was a pretty good success, aside from an injury that slowed him down, and he demonstrated a good rapport with second-line centre Mike Fisher, which is a great sign.
    Even with Stillman, however, there is still a weakness on that line, and I'm sure Murray would like to upgrade from Nick Foligno to find a better scoring forward for the line. I think the hope is that newly-signed college prospect Jesse Winchester, with his size and offensive abilities, can step up and produce with Fisher and whoever else is on that line. Markus Naslund would be great to see--he'd probably love to play with Alfie--but he's very expensive, so the Sens might be looking for a cheaper alternative, like David Vyborny, Mark Recchi, or Mike Johnson. And I might be alone in this, but I'd love it if the Sens to could sign Sean Avery. He can take an internship at Ottawa Living magazine.
  2. Third-line centre: Obviously, Antoine Vermette is technically still an Ottawa Senators' asset, and could very well be re-signed for a pretty good price. I don't think Murray is ready to give up on the Vermette Experiment, especially considering his special-teams ability.
    If Vermette isn't back, the Senators have a few prospects in Ilya Zubov, Alexander Nikulin, and Peter Regin who I'm sure will get long looks and good opportunities to step up and fill this roster spot. Zubov and SputNik are older and now have a year of AHL experience and at least one NHL game under their respective belts, so one of them could very well get in. If so, Ottawa would have a finesse third-line after a pretty hard-checking second line, which is an interesting swap, but it could very well work with the speed that would be involved from Dean McAmmond and Jesse Winchester. If neither of these three are able to crack the big team's lineup, I would imagine one would be traded to get some more asset(s) on the farm team, rather than three skilled centremen.
Overall, I think the forward corps looks pretty good, but there's definitely room for improvement. I think Murray would like to pick up depth, especially enough to allow him to bump Christoph Schubert back to defence, where he's desperately needed.

  1. Two defencemen: I'm not even going to try to classify the Sens' needs as for a 'number three' defenceman or a 'number five' defenceman or whatever. I think it's pretty obvious that Brian Lee will be back on the Senators blueline after an impressive showing in the playoffs, and Larry Nycholat has a one-way contract and has earned a spot on the big Sens after an all-star worthy performance in the AHL.
    Andrej Meszaros is still around, and the Sens would be in the wrong if this blue-chip prospect was allowed to walk. I do believe that Murray will bring Meszaros back, even if it's just for a one- or two-year contract. And, although he had a tough go at the start, I think Mike Commodore is worth bringing back.
    I think every GM in the league is looking to sign Brian Campbell in the off-season, and Murray is certainly no exception. Reports are that he's going to throw everything he can at Campbell, but I'm not optimistic that's going to be enough, considering the salary pressures the Senators are currently under.
    After Campbell, there isn't much in the way of puck-moving defencemen. Rob Blake would be awesome, but I don't think he's leaving Los Angeles unless it's for Colorado. Ron Hainsey and Mark Streit are two names that come up as next-best-behind-Campbell conversations, so they'll be given looks. I think the Sens should take a look at Dick Tarnstrom; although he's soft, he can quarterback a powerplay, and he led the Penguins in scoring in the year 1 B.C. (Before Crosby, that is). Karel Rachunek was good while he was here, as well, and I don't try to hide the fact that I'm a Rachunek fan. I'm not sure how much he likes the idea of coming back to Ottawa, though.
  2. Defensive depth: This isn't a hole that shows up on the depth chart above, but the Sens are seriously lacking in defense in Binghamton if Nycholat and Lee are both on the big team. Tarnstrom could be signed as depth, if he's willing to accept a two-way contract. No matter what, assistant GM Tim Murray is going to have a lot of work in signing young or middling defencemen. I won't go over names, but it'll be a task of the younger Murray to find needs and ways to address them.
The Sens are in decent shape defensively, but definitely need depth to fill out the D corps. Thank goodness Chris Phillips and Anton Volchenkov are such bargains, because it's great to have their steadying presence on the roster and on the ice.


According to the depth chart, the Sens have two NHL goalies. But Ray Emery will not be back next season, and I think that there are a lot of ways to upgrade Martin Gerber, even. I'm far from certain the answer lies in either Jeff Glass or Brian Elliott, but I'm willing to give it a shot. Nor do I think a goaltender that may be drafted this year could step in right away.
The free agent goaltender crop is slim pickings. Olaf Kolzig, Jose Theodore, and Cristobal Huet are all out there, and any one could be good, but they could also be abysmal failures. There's the prospect of running with an all-Swiss duo of Gerber and David Aebischer, which would be hilarious if nothing else, and would make a huge fan club amongst the hockey circles in Switzerland (especially if Streit was brought in on defence). I like both of Johan Hedberg and Alex Auld, but neither of them could be starters, and would at best be tandem-starters.


Hello, assistant coach? We need one. These rumours of bringing John Paddock back are hopefully hogwash. Nothing personal, but I think we need to move on. I have a feeling that Peter DeBoer's trip to Barbados was a last-ditch effort to talk him into accepting an assistant coaching role, but that's just a personal inkling. I'm anxious to see the other names, though, and whether the successful candidate is one of Craig Hartsburg's people or someone Murray wants to bring in.

That article really made itself grow quickly. Congratulations on making it to the end. Let me know if there are names out there you think warrant a good look from Murray, or who you'd sign were you in his place.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Hartsburg to be named new coach: TSN

It's not even the main headline on, but nonetheless, Craig Hartsburg will be named the new head coach of the Ottawa Senators today.
"It's a good team that needs some structure and some accountability," Hartsburg told the Sault Star. "And if it gets that, then it should be a good hockey club."
I like him already.

Ottawa Sun headlines tomorrow:

"Sens have Hart"
"Hart to put heart in Sens"
"Smart start for Hart"
"Wal-Mart shopping cart for Hart and graphic art"

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Draft update: Drafting positions released, and other fun things

As an update to the 2008 NHL Entry Draft in Ottawa, here are the positions the Sens will be drafting for all seven rounds:

Round 1, pick 18 (18 overall)
Round 2, pick 12 (42 overall, acquired from Chicago)
Round 3, pick 18 (79 overall)
Round 4, pick 18 (109 overall)
Round 4, pick 28 (119 overall, acquired from Tampa Bay via Dallas)
Round 5, pick 18 (139 overall)
Round 7, pick 18 (199 overall)

And that's all she wrote. After only four picks in last year's draft, the Sens will make seven in 2008 (and maybe more, if Bryan Murray really wants to keep the hometown fans busy).

Ottawa's second-round pick was traded for Oleg Saprykin back in 2007, but Murray will still make a pick in that round thanks to the second-round pick we got with Tom Preissing, Michal Barinka, and Josh Hennessy in exchange for Martin Havlat and Bryan Smolinski; it had better be good, because--with the exception of one year of sixth-defenceman services from Preissing--so far it hasn't been a fruitful trade.

That extra fourth-round pick was part of an all-draft-pick trade at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, where the Sens sent a fifth- and two seventh-round 2007 picks (one seventh having been acquired from Phoenix) for one 2008 fourth-round pick.

Finally, Ottawa got rid of the 2008 sixth-round pick when Martin Lapointe was acquired at the trade deadline this past season.

Funny notes about the draft:
  • Toronto has ten picks altogether (tied for the second-most with the Islanders and Coyotes), including three consecutive in round five (numbers 128, 129, and 130 overall). Look for them to package some in an effort to move up a few rounds
  • Los Angeles has more picks than anyone else, with fifteen. It pays to suck, I guess, at least when you get to the draft. Two picks in round one, three in each of round two and three, two in round four, one in round five, and two in each of round six and seven. Picks 2, 28, 32, 48, 61, 63, 81, 88, 92, 101, 123, 153, 179, 183, and 185 overall. Holy crap. Maybe a trade?
  • Florida (31, 80, 100, and 190 overall), Minnesota (24, 55, 115, and 145), Philadelphia (27, 118, 178, and 208), and Pittsburgh (120, 150, 180, 210) only have four draft choices. Pittsburgh won't pick until the fourth round.
  • Like Pittsburgh, San Jose won't pick until the fourth round, but after that they've got seven picks to go (117, 146, 147, 177, 186, 194, and 207). They'll probably try and package some up to move higher in the draft.
  • Phoenix has four picks in round two (35, 38, 39, and 49), the most of any team in one round.
Speaking of the draft, Sens Army Blog would like to invite all friends and fellow bloggers to SensBlogCon '08, at MacLaren's (on Elgin at MacLaren) in Ottawa on June 21, the second night of the draft. Come by for drinks, discussion, and rumours. Check out the event on Facebook.

Pieces falling into place for Sens' head coaching hire

Everywhere I look, I see another clue towards the impending hire of a head coach for the Ottawa Senators within the next few days. And it's not only rumours in the Ottawa Sun suggesting that "the Senators could have a new coach by the end of the week"--although that is a pretty obvious sign.

The one thing I noticed today? is reporting that the San Jose Sharks have found a new head coach, former assistant of the Detroit Red Wings Todd McClellan. This is interesting because an article in the Sun suggested that if Peter DeBoer was interested in the Sharks job, it was "his for the taking". My thinking is that perhaps the Sharks were told DeBoer was off the market, so they took the next best thing.

DeBoer was one of three candidates that Sun article said remained in the running, along with Bob Hartley and Craig Hartsburg. He went to Barbados to speak with Sens owner Eugene "Huge Eug" Melnyk today. Even though TSN is saying it's just a "continuation of the interview process", it seems like a pretty expensive step to do with someone who's not the far-and-away favourite to be hired.

So I await the announcement of Peter DeBoer to be the sixth all-time Ottawa Senators coach. I am predicting it happen in a news conference at 3:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon, but don't take that as a guarantee. Or anywhere close to it; it's speculation, and nothing but. If it happens as I predict, though, I expect Hockeybuzz to come knocking.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Front office shuffle (but not the big one)

Ottawa Senators lifer Randy Lee was recently promoted from conditioning coach to director of player development, a fitting promotion for a guy who seems to have done a swell job at keeping the Sens in shape. Physically, at least. Hopefully Adam "The New Guy" Douglas is as much of a hardass as Tyler Arnason suggested (although not directly) Lee was.

The promotion of Douglas means that Lee will be able to focus more on keeping track of players' development, and where they can be slotted in the organizations' depth chart. Good, whatever, just do what you have to do.

More importantly, though, is that this might have something to do with an announcement about the hiring head and assistant coaches. I might be reaching at straws, but often times front-office work is done in groups. So we'll see how the hiring process goes.

Obviously, Ron Wilson is out of the picture (and just as well). Suggestions that GM Bryan Murray made on the Team 1200 a couple of weeks ago were that he wasn't speaking with anyone who hadn't been fired yet, so John Tortorella and recently-relieved Marc Crawford are doubtful. That leaves a few names, but often mentioned as the front-runner is Bob Hartley.

Hartley's got a few things going for him. He's a local product, which is something Bryan Murray has shown he likes. He's a hardass, and Murray said he was looking for someone who'd keep his players accountable. He's bilingual (I think?), which is a bonus, but remains important in this city. And he might be friendly with Dany Heatley. And he's won a Stanley Cup.

Over at Black Aces, Jeremy Milks brought up the possibility--thanks to speculation from Bruce Garrioch--that Murray may be looking to hire two guys, maybe Hartley as a head coach and either Peter DeBoer or Craig Hartsburg as his assistant coach. I'm not sure about this for two reasons:
  1. Why top coaching prospects DeBoer and Hartsburg would accept an assistant's position in the buyer's market that is head coaching in the NHL right now.
  2. Why Hartley would want to work in front of a pretty big name, if it meant he might be training the guy who would take his job in a couple of years.
But it's all speculation at this point. I hope something happens soon, though, I'm getting bored.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Wow. CTV is an asshole

I've purposely not commented on the CBC HNIC theme song because, as well all know, HNIC has always been a Leafs-centred franchise (at least until April).

But, I must comment. Wow, CTV, what dickhead thing to do. You stole this iconic song right out from under the nose of the network that made it famous. That's the NHL equivalent of submitting an offer sheet to Marc-Andre Fleury this summer, and getting the guy.

I believe that the CBC will be fine with a new theme in 2008-09, but CTV's actions were conniving and evil. They stole the Olympics from CBC with a better bid, and they did the same with this song. Who will be claimed next by this acquisition machine?

Mark my words... BOB COLE.

SensBlogCon update 1

MacLaren's restaurant and pool hall on Elgin in Ottawa
June 21 - 8pm

Attendees include:
Ben and Peter from Sens Army Blog (of course)
Shredder of Sens Underground fame(how come Ben and Peter don't have cool nicknames?)
Sherry the sassy curator of Scarlett Ice (I'm more suave than sassy)
Don reppin' the Sens side of Battle of Ontario (The Sens know the greatest battles are fought within)

(your name here!)

Go to the facebook event, or leave a comment on this post to let us know if you're going to show up!

More announcements to come this week.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Badass mofo on his way?

John Tortorella is one mean motha-shut your mouth-but I'm talkin' about Torts! Then I can dig it.

The man with endless anger was fired earlier today, which should fuel talk of Torts coming to the Senators.

With discipline (reportedly) an issue with the Senators, a real hardass like J.T. ("I'm bringing angry back") could create an interesting dynamic with the dressing room.

PS: Those 50% of people who vistit the Sun website, AND believe that Jason Spezza will/should be traded... I CAST THEE OUT!

PPS: "John Tortorella of the Tampa Bay Lightning poses for a portrait during the 2002-03 NHL Awards at the Convention Centre on June 12, 2003 in Toronto, Ontario." ...or... the next James Bond?

Monday, June 2, 2008

Sens sign C Peter Regin

As publicized on the Senators' official website over the weekend, the Sens have signed Danish centreman Peter Regin to a three-year, entry-level contract. Regin was drafted in the third round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, 87th overall.

Turns out I missed the fact that Regin was another Senators player or prospect (on top of Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza, Martin Gerber, and Kaspars Daugavins) playing in the 2008 World Championships that just finished. He scored two goals and had an assist in Denmark's six games played, good for fourth in team scoring. He had six points in the 2007 World Championship.

Apparently he's got some big fans somewhere, because he's got a pretty thorough Wikipedia profile for a prospect who hasn't played an NHL game.

According to HockeysFuture--the self-proclaimed #1 Online Prospects Resource (it probably is)--his overall offensive skills are impressive, and he might be worth the time and resources that the Senators will probably have to put into his development. HF says not to count on him cracking the lineup this season, though, no matter how weak the team might be at centre if either (or both) of Antoine Vermette or Chris Kelly leave via trade or free agency; he apparently needs some time to adjust, and will probably benefit from some time in Bingo.

If he does go to Binghamton, the B-Sens will have three offensively gifted European centremen in Regin, Alexander Nikulin, and Ilya Zubov. This signing might mean that one of the latter two, both Russian playmakers, might get a long look for the big squad in 2008-09, or that the team is ready to give up on one of the Sputnik or Zubov Experiments. Time will tell.

We'll also have to see what kind of draft picks the Sens make at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, which happens to be in Ottawa. Speaking of which, Ben and I would like to invite all friends and fellow bloggers (preferably friendly) to SensBlogCon '08. Check out the Facebook Event page to sign up for the get-together, which is June 21 at McLaren's (on Elgin at McLaren) from 8:00 pm until whenever.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Draft here, then draft beer

I finally fulfilled a year-long dream: I am organizing an Ottawa Senators Bloggers Convention.

The facebook event is now created, thus making the event both official and legally binding.

If you want to get in on the fun, join the event. If you run a blog, post a link to it on the event page.

Sure, some learning and networking might occur, but it's mostly about badmouthing Garroich... unless he attends.


From the "missed the boat" file...

The only version of Emery you'll see in Ottawa in the future... NOW AVAILABLE!

Kind of a cop-out on the helmet, Mr. McFarlane. A limited edition version featuring the short-lived Mike Tyson helmet could have sold for literally dozens of dollars on eBay. Oh yeah, Garrioch reminds us that Emery can be bought out once the playoffs end.

The real question: With Emery gone, does the Sun still need Bruce Garrioch?

PS: Wow, Mats Sundin is a dick. Refusing to be traded,then leaving as a UFA? That's the sort of thing that could cost a certain Swede a statue in downtown Toronto.
Blog Widget by LinkWithin