Wednesday, September 30, 2009

We ain't done! Lee and Zubov might be...

Although Pletch won't be posting anymore (and thank you for your service, P) the blog continues onward toward the opening night. Did I mention we're kind of making a big deal of it? (see obvious banner above). You can sign up for a reminder on the left-hand sidebar.

In Ottawa Senators news: I'm rather surprised that Erik Karlsson has, so far, beaten out Brian Lee for a roster spot (as you know, Lee was returned to Bingo a couple days ago). Cory Clouston and the other coaches must really like what they see from Special K.

Word on the street is (well, I heard it in a van) that if Alex Picard were on a two-way deal, it would be him riding the bus back to the state of New York. I'm not sure if that's a compliment to Lee or an insult to Picard... I guess we'll see when the season starts up on Saturday night (!!!!).

Word on the twitter feed is that constant-prospect Ilya Zubov expects that he will be traded soon. Some people have interpreted this as a trade request... although I think that would require a statement of preference, as in: 'I would prefer to be traded'. What he actually stated, however was:

'I'm not very happy about [being sent to Binghamton]. It's not what I want. Both me and the Ottawa team (talked) and I might get traded soon."

So... he suspects he'll be traded? I could see how this could be misinterpreted as 'demand'. Let's not just jump to conclusions based on one quote. This will probably be sorted out tomorrow by a simple question.

Hard to blame the guy though, he's been toiling in the minor leagues for years. A special set of circumstances must exist for a player to make it to the NHL, and if he can't find those circumstances in Bingo/Ottawa, I wish him the best of luck with the Atlanta Thrashers.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye.

It was pretty much academic that Christoph Schubert was not going to make the team this year, wasn't it? Unless you're a proven vetereran of a certain calibre, nobody should take a roster position for granted in the cap era. Now I am a Christoph Schubert fan. I like the kid. But he basically did nothing this training camp to impress.

The writing had to be on the wall for this organization following a playoff-less spring that there would be open competition in camp for a number of spots. It should not have come as a surprise to anyone. So Christoph, you have a right to feel bitter - nobody knows what you're feeling inside but you, but you were two steps behind this pre-season.

This will be my last post for the Sens Army Blog. As much as I have enjoyed contributing the occasional gristle for the readers to chew on, I have to give it up to focus on recovering from some recent health issues. I hope all the fans out there in the Sens Army enjoy the season to come. May our lads bounce back and turn some heads this year. Really looking forward to the first full season of the Cory Clouston era.

All the best,


Monday, September 28, 2009

Post-pre-season pre-season post (ha!) that headline's way too clever.

The Senators have to cut about three players before the regular season begins, and made a tough decision today by putting Germany's least-known export Christoph Schubert on waivers. With his relatively cheap contract, NHL experience, big body, and versatility, I believe that someone will pick him up.

That just leaves two or three cuts to make. The only people remaining on the roster with two-way contracts are Peter Regin, Erik Karlsson, Brian Lee, and Matt Carkner. So... that seems like an easy choice. The only other people who might be expendable are Shean Donovan (yeah, my hate for him continues for some reason...) and Jesse Winchester.

One is led to believe that the biggest competition right now is between Lee and Karlsson for the puck-moving-up-and-comer-on-the-blueline spot. It would be a serious career setback for Lee if Special K (ha!) were to beat him for that place on the roster.

It's going to be a tough choice since it turns out that NHL GMs don't want to trade for the guys you're considering putting on waivers anyway.

Opening Night Blog update!

Momentum is building for the largest online meeting of Sens fans ever (I hope). I recently got confirmation from Five For Smiting and Silver Seven Sens are in (yaaaaaaaay!). And as an added bonus, you can sign up on the left side of the page for an email reminder for the big night. We'll be blogging during the game on Oct. 3 - the game's on CBC, so watch it and send us your comments!

I hope to see you then!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Come (blog) together, Sens Army

The Ottawa Senators season-opening game is less than a week away--October 3, at 7 p.m. to be exact. I'm pretty psyched.

Everyone's getting ready in their own way. For instance, I'm setting up a bat-signal-like device that will indicate to television-less friends that they can come over to my place and watch the game.

Of course, this blog is never far from my mind when it comes to the Sens...

I would like to set up a live-blog to collect everyone's comments during the game and kick off this season with the largest online gathering of Sens fans in recent memory.

The idea is to get as many fans and blogs on board as possible. Get everyone in the same room and share our views for the upcoming season, and freak out IN ALL CAPS when Alex Kovalev scores his first regular-season goal.

For bloggers: I'll supply the code, you put it on your site and make your readers aware that we'll be having one big party this year, rather than separate ones.

For blog-readers: Save the date, and keep in mind that Sens Army is coming together as one this year to talk about our team. You'll find the same discussion everywhere, so go to your favourite blog during the game and hunker down for a crazy-good time.

I've already got the good people at Silver Seven Sens on board (unofficially) and I'm rallying the other troops. All Sens blogs, large and small, are welcome to participate.

Send me an email benkmyers (at) for more information, or to add your blog to a list of participants.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Dark Era ends - Senators no longer On Notice

It was perhaps the darkest era in the modern history of the Ottawa Senators: December of 2008. Martin Gerber was still, sadly, a member of the team and momentum was slowly building to finally relieve him of duty. Brian Elliot had only played a few games--a far cry from his late-season status as #1 goalie. Craig Hartsburg, seen as a breath of fresh air when he was hired as head coach at the beginning of the season, was less than two months from being fired.

We, the fans, were low on ourselves and the team. Plainly stated, there was no reason to cheer. Not even the predictable late-season 'believe' campaign had a shred of sincerity. There was nothing to believe in.

I did the only thing I could do: I put them On Notice. I did not take the decision lightly. I was beginning to loathe my own team, and I had to air my concerns.
The lowest scoring team in the league cannot blame its second-line wingers for not producing, nor can it blame its third line for not checking hard enough. The chemistry is wrong and the will to win is not bubbling to the surface. Defenders are not communicating amongst themselves or with forwards in order to decrease scoring chances, or even checking the opposition. Coaching has been inadequate, failing to find a solution to the scoring woes of a potentially talented team. Recently suggested changes to the lineup have already been tried in past weeks and failed conclusively.
No one was spared of blame--there certainly was plenty of it to go around at the time. From management to coaching, first line through fourth--everything was a failure.

I have been hesitant to remove the team from the On Notice list for the remainder of the 2008-09 season, and the entire summer. It's hard to remove a team that had broken 11 consecutive playoff appearances. There they lingered, a scar on the face of this blog to remind the team and its fans that mediocrity and complacency are not acceptable. We are not Leafers, and failure should be neither predictable nor celebrated.

As long as I can see the light...

But the Dark Era is now over. A change is goaltending is perhaps the best indicator of this. Gerber dragged the team into a sink hole of soft goals and unpredictability. Pascal Leclaire, when he was acquired was labeled "The Answer" by this blog, and the question was "When can we start cheering again?".

Another significant change was unpredictable. Dany Heatley's summer time request to be traded certainly shook up the team. The subsequent trade calmed the waters, but the uncertainty remains... but it's the good kind of uncertainly. What are we getting back? How good can Milan Michalek become? Does Jonathan Cheechoo have any gas left? We're all hopeful that the Sens can bring these pieces together and repay our recently renewed faith.

Bryan Murray did something he's rarely had the opportunity to do: he was proactive. In the face of losing one of his star players, he became aggressive and picked up a new one. Alex Kovalev has been dropping jaws at Scotiabank Place during this preseason with his stickhandling and controversial nature. I say, "Good on ya Alex. Spice up the team fergodssake." We need something to write about other than self-loathing. (I'll admit that I came down pretty hard on you for that last gaff).

At the Sens game last week, I was impressed. Cory Clouston has created a system is greater than the sum of its parts. There were points when the Sens were schooling the Habs and controlling the flow of the game. It felt good that the Sens were in charge of the game again. No longer competing against their own flaws, they could focus on beating the other team.

Ottawa Senators, you are forgiven. I will cheer again, and you can count me amongst your truest fans. Now a short prayer to the Golden God:

Alfie, all powerful and righteous in your Swedishness;
Forgive my dismissal of your former teammates;
Let us reconcile like a handshake after a playoff series;
Allow glory to flow upon the Senators, like your hair circa 1999;
And cross-check our indifference like Darcy Tucker in a playoff game.


Let a new era begin.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Vindication for the Murrays?

There was a lot of sourness in Sens Nation at the end of last season. A good many still believe Bryan Murray should be ridden out of town on a rail. But the way the Sens youth movement has performed in training camp and exhibition play says a lot about the system that Bryan and Tim Murray have been building here and on the farm in Binghamton.

I for one am looking forward to seeing Matt Carkner or Jeremy Yablonski called up for regular season matchups against the Leafs (or Buffalo for that matter) to shoulder some of the load for Chris Neil. Remember the year after the lockout when the Sens were tearing it up because Neil and McGrattan provided enough intimidation to opponents to keep the cheap stuff from touching the elite players on the team? That was the year that raised the quota for pizza to six goals. It's no coincidence.

But I digress. Now it's fair to say that the team hasn't squared off against a team full of NHL talent. Nobody has at this point, so the performance of some of these guys is coloured by that, there's no doubt. But these prospects don't just look promising, they are looking poised and just plain good. Jim O'Brien has been playing better since being sent back down to Binghamton. Zack Smith and Ilya Zubov can be said to have had a lukewarm pre-season - good, not great. Jared Cowan impressed before being sent back to his junior club for this season. Erik Karlsson seems to be a lock for a full-time job with Ottawa. The superlatives that keep getting used to describe the play of most of the prospects this pre-season have mostly been about poise, maturity, awareness.

And this is what you want in pre-season. You want your younger players pushing some of the guys who underperformed last season. Mike Fisher certainly seems energized. Six points in his last two games. The good play of the younger players is like a breath of fresh air for this organization, which seems to finally have turned a corner, be it psychologically or figuratively. And it says a lot about the philosophy of the Murrays where hockey is concerned, and the people they have hired to develop the talent in the organization.

No veterans have lost their jobs as a result of this pre-season. Let's have no illusions about that. But some guys may be hearing footsteps, and that's not such a bad thing. And if a few weeks into the season some can't get their game going, at least we know there are guys waiting in the wings who are hungry.

To me this is the most compelling part of this pre-season. It's not who Spezza and Alfie's new line-mate will be, or who will be on Kovalev's line - that will all get sorted out naturally. What's exciting to me the the total lack of complacency this year. Guys can't afford to have it, because if they do, chances are they won't be around long.

Is that a mini-stick in your pocket or are you just happy to see us?

You've let your imagination run amok again Ottawa. Depth has not been one of the Senators' strong points for the past couple of season, but moderately talented, inexperienced players do not take the place of experienced NHL regulars. (I think I said as much in the last post.)

So while you're drooling that Matt Carkner (why did I not hear of this amazing talent before this season?!) may take the place of Chris "heart and soul" Kelly and his $2.1 million contract, try to remember why he was offered that contract. Kelly is an excellent penalty killer, an occasional scorer, and a solid defensive forward.

I'm not sure exactly what kind of return you're expecting to get for the likes of Christoph Schubert and Chris Kelly, but it's a fact that 4th round picks can't kill penalties or score goals. Hell, even Carkner probably won't.

So before you go throwing the baby out with the bathwater, try to remember that baby is pretty good at hockey. And your bathwater is inexperienced at penalty killing at an NHL level. there!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Send Karlsson to Bingo (and the D lineup)

First, the disclaimers so I don't get slammed in the comments: I didn't take into account who plays left or right (they don't even do that in the Sens program anymore), and it's a bit of wishful thinking, and what I've heard in the newspaper.

Basically, I can't imagine this any other way. I know that Erik Karlsson is The Great Blond Hope, and probably the Ottawa Senators best prospect since Jason Spezza, but from what I've seen of his defensive skill, he's just not ready to take on the towering, powerful forwards of the NHL.

To be completely fair, I do think he's capable of getting 30 points in the NHL this season, but the cons outweigh the pros for now. Even compared to the not-terribly-large Brian Lee, Karlsson is small. Lee also has parts of two NHL seasons under his belt, and weighs 25 pound more than Alfie's babysitter. He's the better choice for this year's squad.

I've had sweet, sweet (non-sexual!) dreams of General Lee and King Karlsson throwing the puck along the blueline on the Sens power-play. Dancing between slower defenders, and setting up one-timers for Dany Heatley Jonathan Cheechoo. But I don't think this is the season to make it happen.

Karlsson is a better puck-handler than Lee (though Lee is no slouch), but the defensive aspects of his game need work. Perhaps when he was paired with towering defender Victor Hedman, he was able to get away with certain defensive lapses against smaller competition, but that won't be the case this season. Karlsson need the AHL experience to gain some grit, put on pounds, and delay his rookie season.

Alex Picard, for example, was not born in 1990, is 6' 2" and 225 pounds, and will pick up 25 points this season. It's a crowded blueline roster, and there's no harm in giving the NHL contracts a chance to prove themselves before making room for the rookies.

I think the rest of the lineup is a gimme. Except for Christoph Schubert, who has been on the trading block for all of last season.

Miscellaneous observations from Saturday night:

Thanks to SBP for making free wireless internet available during games, it's great for twitter during the games (and I took full advantage in case you didn't notice).

Are the NHL refs now wearing strange NFL-style stripes? It sure looked like it to me.

And man! Is Ryan Shannon ever small! I didn't really notice until Saturday's game. He looks like a leftover from the intermission Timbits game.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Sure it's only the preseason, and the record's still 1-3-0, but tonight's pasting of Montreal at SBP was sweet.

  1. Hat-trick and a 4-pt night for Mike Fisher
  2. 4-pt night from Nick Foligno who is trying to make his case as the #2 cente
  3. 3-pt night for Kovalev
  4. 3-pt night for Regin
  5. Over 21 minutes played and a +3 night for Erik Karlsson
  6. Solid performance from Pascal Leclaire, stopping 22 of 23 shots.

The 0-3 start was not a great way to start the preseason, but after the saga of the departed whining player who shall remain nameless, it's understandable.

Tonight the team showed some spark. And can that Carkner kid fight or what? Here's hoping this trend continues into the games that count.

Who's the next Habs captain? Don't ask Jacques

Got an email from Fred at today, asking for some insight on Jacques Martin as a coach and who he's likely to pick as the next captain of the Montreal Canadiens.

I was still a (very) young man when Jack was coach of the Senators, and not yet blogging (or as it was known in the 90's 'wasting time') so I'm hoping you, the loyal commentors, can add your thoughts to what I've written and give Fred some perspective on Mr. Martin.

Jacques Martin, from what I can remember, was very much known as a 'laissez faire' coach in these respects.

When the Senators were gaining steam back in the late 90's, Martin very much focuses on defensive fundamentals. While this produced a team that was extremely successful in the regular season, and made C-caliber goalies look like A's, it was also ultimately his downfall.

Sure, the Senators would win games 2-1 or 3-2, and make the playoffs consistently, they lacked the flair and fight of a team destined for a Stanley Cup when he was coach. For example, Jason Spezza was and is a supremely talented player, but when the Senators first drafted him, Martin refused to play him consistently. He was a defensive liability, Martin would contend. Once Martin could instill that defensive responsibility, Spezza would play--that was the mantra.

I'm not sure what his years in Florida have taught him, but Martin had little to do with captain selections why he was in Ottawa. If anything, Martin merely capitulated to the wills of overbearing players when Yashin was named captain. In Daniel Alfredsson, of course, there was an obvious choice--a player of poise, character, and commitment--but again, I can't recall Martin ever making any grand statements of support or opposition for Alfredsson. (Martin, of course, was already gone during the dark days when the team considered trading Alfie).

To summarize, Martin is a soft-spoken coach who, I believe, will not be the determining factor when the Habs pick their next captain. In all likelihood, it will be whomever the players on the Canadiens roster show their support for.

In order for this player to last long as the Canadiens' captain, I would recommend that he emulate Martin--speak softly, think defensively, and never lose his cool.

Senators are taking on the Canadiens tonight. I'll see if I can ask yell "Who's the next captain?" at Jacques through the glass.

Yablonski gets pwned; prep for the rematch

I'm going to my first Senators game in a long time tonight. I usually catch a few games during the regular season, and one or two in the playoffs if I'm lucky... of course that wasn't the case this past season.

Watching most of the Sens game last night, I was very happy with what I saw (then I went to see The Informant! Yaaaaaawwwwn, chuckle, yawn). Pascal Leclaire made some great saves, including a left-pad breakaway stop on Gionta. The young defence appeared to be doing exactly what they were designed to do: move the puck quickly on the power-play and get the puck out of the Sens' zone quickly when defending.

Also got to see Jeremy Yablonski throw down against the Habs' Eric Neilson. Unfortunately, Yablonski got pwned, he was thrown to the ice and ended up with a cut above his right eye.

Tonight, I'll be looking for the same stuff: How's the puck moving between the defenders? Is Leclaire looking solid? And I'll be keeping an eye out for Erik Karlsson and Jared Cowen. As of the time of this posting, the lineups and scratches for tonight are not yet available, so I'm just guessing. I hope Alex Kovalev opts into this game so I can see some of that much-heralded talent.

Hopefully, the wifi at SBP will be available and I can post some observations on Twitter (conveniently located on the left side of your screen as well as on its own page).

It's also fan fest all day today, so head down to SBP early for some family-friendly fun.

See you at the game!

Update: Of course, the Citizen posts their Sens stories minutes after I begin this blog. Here are some lineup notes.

Workload good for Leclaire

...and a positive review of Michalek's game.
"The former San Jose Shark made his Senators debut here on Friday night wearing the No. 9 his good buddy Martin Havlat used to wear in Ottawa, but you'd never mistake one for the other.

Havlat was and still is a magical player, capable of sublime moments, but he'd never excite you by killing penalties or backchecking. One of the worker bees would have to do that.

That's what Michalek looks like, but with what they call in baseball "all the tools."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The forward lineup (subject to change)

This is half wishful thinking and half what-I-heard-in-the-paper (and half exercise in futility). Depth has been the buzz word recently Senators land, and I think this illustrates it quite well.

After all, offensive depth is exactly what the Sens were seeking before Dany Heatley left. It's too bad they had to trade in the best goal-scorer in franchise history to get it.

Lines will undoubtedly change before the season starts, and there are many more problems with this lineup. For instance, Alex Kovalev plays right wing, not left, and I didn't even put Shean Donovan on here... mostly because I'm really excited about a line consisting of Ruutu-Bass-Neil. Any team in the league would be afraid of that line. (PS: Extremely excited to have Bass back from last season's severe injury.)

It also doesn't account for any rookies other than bass making the team at the forward positions. Ilya Zubov has been dieing to make the team for years, I bet he'll be trade bait soon unless someone gets injured and he can play his way onto the team.

So have at 'er! Is this lineup any stronger than the one the Senators fielded last year?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Are two lines better than one? You do the math

Does 25+25 = 50?

Ottawa Senators fans have been doing the math for the past few weeks, trying to determine if having two second-line players contribute 25 goals each would make up for the loss of Dany Heatley's expected 40-50 goals.

Well, Sens fans and mathematicians everywhere can rest easy, because says it does. Today, they released their point-projections for the upcoming season (mostly for the purposes of fantasy drafting and pure, amusing speculation) and the results are pleasing.

Dany Heatley - 47 goals, 41 assists, 88 points

A definite improvement over last season. TSN obviously expects Thornton to play a large role in Heatley's resurgence.

Now for our new guys...

Alex Kovalev - 26 goals, 38 assists, 64 points

$5-million is a steep price to pay for less than 30 goals, but the fact is that's 64 more points than the Sens would have had this year. That could translate into five more wins this year--and possibly a playoff spot.

Milan Michalek - 26 goals, 36 assists, 62 points

Jonathan Cheechoo - 24 goals, 22 assists, 46 points

There's your 50 goals. This would make a serious turnaround for Cheechoo, and just about meet expectations for Michalek for this season - his contract ($4.3-million until 2014) would indicate that hopes are high for the future (or that his agent is as good as Fisher's).

The upside of having two goal-scorers though, as many have suggested, is to keep the pressure on the opposing team, rather than having them focus on a single trio of scorers. Definitely a departure from the Pizza Line philosophy of yesteryear.

Let's hope it has the intended effect.

PS: Spezza and Alfredsson are expected to match last year's performances... but we all know they both have the talent to surprise.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Where did our team go?

Somewhere between the 2007 Stanley Cup Finals and Saturday's Dany Heatley trade, the Senators lost nearly everything that made them perennial contenders for half a dozen years.

Last season, a streak of twelve consecutive playoff seasons came to an end. Building towards a championship ended, expectations changed, and the term 'rebuilding' somehow entered fans' vocabularies.

Victim of circumstance?

No matter what you think of his philosophy, or skills as a manager, you must admit that Bryan Murray has been in an unenviable situation. It seems that every trade he's made since 2007-08 has not been in order to make the Sens better, but rather, to minimize the damage of some impending catastrophe.

And the free agency has only made things worse:

Joe Corvo - File under: demanded trade, locker-room poison
Andre Meszaros - File under: impending free agent
Dany Heatley - File under: demanded trade, locker-room poison
Ray Emery - File under: locker-room poison
Tom Preissing - File under: left as free agent (maybe for the better, that one)
Wade Redden - File under: bad at hockey

...and let's not even get into Chara and Havlat--failures of past administrations.

Being proactive

Only rarely has Murray been to make a move to to improve the team (Vermette for Leclaire is the only one I can think of at the moment). Free agency, in fact, has been a boon, rather than a detriment, to the Senators for the first time in recent memory (see: Alex Kovalev, forget: Martin Gerber). Except for Kovalev and Pascal Leclaire, Murray has always been reactive, rather than proactive.

Turning assets like Heatley or Emery into returns for the team has not been easy, and in many ways (such as wins!) Murray has failed conclusively. For Corvo: Nothing. For Emery: Nothing. For Heatley... give it a season, but his record is not good.

As the image illustrates, little remains of the team that entered the 2007-08 season, and no one is more responsible for the success or failure of the team--especially in the upcoming season--more than Bryan Murray. He took an excellent team and made it into a mediocre one--receiving little in return for the bounty of talent he was handed. Now his task is to make that mediocre team good again.

He has molded the team in his image, there can now be no doubt of that. If this year, the team is a success, then the corner truly has been turned. If the team is a failure, then bring me Murray's head on a platter--I think he's done enough damage already.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


I have been keeping my mouth shut lately, waiting for a certain millionaire ingrate to be shown the door. Now that he's gone, I feel I can enjoy talking hockey again.

Some will say that the Sens did not get enough back for the player in question. I think it may be the other way around. Michalek is a flashy player with a scoring touch, and a change of scenery may be just what Cheechoo needed to find his game again. The 56-goal season was probably an anomaly, but could he get 39? If he does, he matches the now ex-Senator's output for last season.

The Senators will fly under a lot peoples' radar this season. Nobody expects anything out of this group because of what has played out over the last season and a half. But on paper this is a young team with solid veteran leadership. Having finished out of the playoffs last year, expectations are low, and that can often translate into success.

Kovalev instantly makes the power play better. Karlsson might be ready to roll this year, and Binghamton is loaded with talent this year, which means when injuries happen there will be some talented call-ups who can contribute.

Perhaps most importantly of all, the Sens finally might have found a "franchise" goalie in Pascal Leclaire, provided he stays healthy. Although we don't like to think about him now, remember how loose the D used to play in front of Hasek, just knowing they could depend on him for a save if they messed up? Leclaire is still young, but he has that ability. And Brian Elliott proved he can play in this league last year.

Can't wait for the first pre-season game. Finally something positive to talk about now that the saga of the disgruntled whiner is over. When team success is less important than individual success to you, then you have no place on the team you're with. end of story.

Cheechoo and Michalek for Heatley - deal confirmed

Deal was reported by around 2:30 p.m.

Senators get Jonathan Cheechoo, Milan Michalek, and a second-round pick for Dany Heatley and a fifth-round pick. It's a done deal reported as completed by many media outlets. Bryan Murray has spoken publicly about the trade.

We knew things were getting down to business after ESPN reported that a deal with San Jose and Los Angeles was actually completed... although it didn't actually happen.

Senators fans should be excited about the result of this trade: Cheechoo is a former Rocket Richard trophy winner, though last season was his worst in many years - only 29 points.

In Michalek, the Senators get a young forward with tremendous potential. The 2003 draft pick had 23 goals and 57 points last season.

The trade certainly marks the end of an era for the Senators, who had Heatley on the path to becoming the team's next captain. The Ottawa Senators that exist now are a far cry from the team that went to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2007 - in terms of players, offensive and defensive styles, and coaching, it's all new.

Most importantly, we can stop talking about this whole damned situation.

More info and analysis to come...

Update: Looking at it from a cap situation, Cheechoo has two more years at $3-million (not a bad deal if he can return to any kind of form) and Michalek is the longer deal until 2013-14 at $4.3-million.

Looks like the deal is about equal for both teams, cap wise.

Update: Senators official press release on trade.

Update: Learned it's pronounced - 'mo-hall-lek' and he likes scoring goals.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Triple trouble for Heatley trade

Dany Heatley has been traded to the San Jose Sharks!!!! ....right?

"It's simply not true," Murray told Thursday night.

Lombardi told via text message: "It is complete bull."

"It is an absolute fabrication," Wilson told via text message Thursday night.

Soooo.... all three GMs involved in supposed three-way deal that would bring Alex Frolov and Jarrett Stoll to Ottawa say it isn't going to happen.

That's not to say that it won't happen this week. This preliminary report seems promising. Especially since it's ESPN reporting, and not Bruce Garrioch or Hockeybuzz.

Dany Heatley speculation article template

Have you noticed that the stories about Dany Heatley have become boring, repetitive and pointlessly speculative of late? Well that's because I wrote them all. That's right kids, I sold this template to numerous media outlets weeks ago, and they've been milking it ever since.

Are you an Ottawa sports writer in midst of the dead of summer? Nothing to report on other than golf? Then you might like to order the "Dany Heatley trade speculation template" too! Why write a story with the same old spin, when you could just fill in the blanks sell it to the Sun or Citizen for $100?
Here's a free sample:

It's been ___ days since Dany Heatley requested a trade out of Ottawa, and GM Bryan Murray is still having trouble.

"It's been ________ (synonym for frustrating) trying to trade Dany, but my phone is still ________," (synonym for 'totally untouched since Edmonton called') Murray said today.

__________ (Western Conference team) is reportedly interested in the troubled winger, but salary cap issues have prevented the move.

_________ (Western conference team) would like to unload the __ -million dollar salary of underperforming winger _____________ (one of Dustin Penner, Patrick Marleau, or you fill in the blank), but in order for the deal to work under the cap, the Senators would also have to accept _________ (absolutely horrible player) as part of the package.

"We're looking at all our options," Murray said today.

The deadline that Murray has imposed on trading Heatley is only ___ days away, and Senators teammates are beginning to wonder what it will be like having the _________ (synonym for disgruntled) player back in the fold.

"It won't be a distraction," said _____________, (the only Senator player willing to answer this same stupid question again today). "He'll have to compete like anyone else."

__________________ (first 300 words of the first article you wrote about Dany Heatley wanting to be traded in May).

_________________ (first 100 words of Dany Heatley rejecting trade to Edmonton story).

Done! Send it to the printers!
Also available:
"Ray Emery on cocaine? Maybe!" template - Now 20% off!
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Monday, September 7, 2009

Senators schedule made easy

Last year, I posted about adding the Ottawa Senators' schedule to your google calendar (Gcal), as an easy way of keeping track of what games are game nights. Well, google has done the footwork this year and adding a sports team to your Gcal is now even easier. You'll never miss another game.

If they only added what channel the game was on, it would be perfect.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Alfredsson is a rock

When greedy players zig, Daniel Alfredsson zags.

You never have to worry about this guy. I think it's a testament to what a quality player he is. You have two prime examples of Ottawa Senators players saying and doing pretty damn stupid things over the past couple of weeks, and Alfie just lets it all roll off his back.

No silly comments, no trade requests. He's been through Alexi Yashin, Ray Emery, and Dany Heatley (not to mention the daily onslaught of questions that those people have created for Alfredsson), and the man has barely flinched. Even through several sales and financial uncertainty of his team, he has persevered and led this team throughout.

We, here at the Sens Army Blog, have a particular affection for Alfredsson. We continue to attempt to have his #11 pretired--that is, to have his jersey raised to the rafters, though he is still wearing it on the ice--a first in NHL history, and we'll continue to push for it, because he keeps giving us reason to.

(Honestly, click on that link and check them all out - it's remarkable)

Through all the shit that the team has been through over the past few years, including several coaching changes, a constant rotation of goalies (not sure if that includes Gerber... strange...), you know that Alfredsson is continually the heart and soul of not only the team, but also the fanbase.

As long as he's the captain, the Senators will be my team. Nuff said.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Jason Smith retires, everyone's happy

I don't have much time for this post, so I'll put it in point form:
  1. Everyone loves Jason Smith, his toothless smile brings joy to children's hearts
  2. As soon as he signed that contract last summer, he was overpaid
  3. He didn't do great things as an overpaid player and sat out many games (benched)
  4. Bryan Murray was never too worried about being over the cap for the upcoming season, now we know why. This must have been coming down the tubes for months.
  5. The Senators' overcrowded defensive corps becomes a little less crowded, and much younger. Maybe too young.
...and we finally know what Pascal Leclaire's mask will look like. No Darth Leclaire this season (thank God).
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