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And Another Thing!!!!!

Just a quick add on to my previous blog.

As I sit here on my porch, watching it rain for the first time in like two weeks on a day I booked off for vacation, enjoying a nice Gamay Noir, ( Thanks Tubby. Would not have even known what a Gamay Noir was if not for "THE BOOK") I'm still having a great day.  I feel even better about the trade than I did before after hearing an interview with the Sharks radio play by play guy, Dan Rusanowsky on the Team 1200 this afternoon. Kudos to Steve Lloyd and Jason York for  great interviews with him and with Brian Murray today.

Dan could not say enough about the character these players will bring to Ottawa, especially Cheechoo. The scoring he will add remains to be seen but Dan said that Cheech is an outstanding dressing room guy that can really bring the guys together and that Milan ( Chong?) is not far behind. For my money, that's worth so much more than Heatley's goals.

I am so pumped and optimistic about the season now.  I wanna rock!!!! ROCK!!!! neh neh neh-neh, neh nehhhhh!!!!


Thank God!!!

It's not often you see a trade of this magnitude and your initial reaction is simply one of relief! But that's the case with me right now. I'm just soooooooo happy it's done and over with.

Of course, as the season plays out we will all judge this trade to death but I think the most important part of this trade is the intangible part: clean slate. There is nothing more important, in my opinion, for the Sens this year than to put everything aside and just be a respectable hockey organization again. Over the last few years, we've gone from "model franchise" cup finalists to laughing stock, dysfunctional trailer trash. Nothing could be better for this team and it's fans than to be rid of this selfish doucher.

Now then, the trade itself. We knew all along Murray had a tough job to do, trading a very expensive player with a bad attitude and a trashed reputation. I think Murray did alright. He certainly held out as long as he absolutely could and I give him the Brass Bawls award for that, considering the incredible pressure he must have been under. It seems to me this trade must have been available to him many times this summer but he only took it when he knew there was nothing better to be had and with training camp beginning.

Michalek I like a lot. No problem with this guy at all. He's young and has lots of upside. He'll get you 25 goals and is apparently sound in all aspects of his game. A second round pick never hurts, either. Cheechoo is obviously the key to this deal and one I suspect Murray didn't really want but again, had no choice but to take. I heard someone, I believe it was Pierre McGuire but I could be wrong, say that the reason Cheechoo's numbers had dropped was because he has fought injuries and as a result had his role on the team changed. He was no longer looked to as the goal scorer. If this is true and he's healthy, and he can find some chemistry with Spezz, then maybe he can get back to a 30-40 goal guy. If he doesn't, we now have Kovalev.

And right there is another angle to this trade I really like. DEPTH!!! We FINALLY have some good scoring depth which has been an Achilles heal to this team for years. If Cheechoo can perform well we now have 2 killer scoring lines and of course the extra depth means our third and fourth lines will be that much better too.

And finally, certainly neither of these guys could be any more one dimensional than Heatley. For all his regular season goals, a guy who refuses to do anything other than stand completely still, with his stick cocked, will never be anything other than easily covered in the play-offs. Imagine what Zetterberg would do to him? He could shut Dany down in his sleep, something the Sharks are likely to discover in about 6 or 7 months. I don't see this trade helping the Sharks solve their play-off woes one bit.

In the short term, this trade may look like a win for the Sharks and as Dany (Isn't that how a girl spells Danny?) fills the net in the regular season, which I'm sure he will beside Thorton, we'll be tempted to think we may have been fleeced, especially if Cheechoo struggles. But I suspect that as we get into the spring, we may find that we now have what the Sens have needed for so long: not the better player, but the better team.

Heatley, you suck like a Leaf and I hate you for putting us through what you have, just when it looked like the team was finally coming around. I hope you blow out a knee right before the Olympics. And as Stooli would say, "Get the Hell outta heeeeryaaaah!!! Get the Hell outta heeeeryaaaah!!!"






SNEAKER Heatley Back in a Sens Uni!

Recently Easton Hockey did a catalog photo shoot and Players testing the new gear with: Getzlaf, Man Child Heatley, Chara, Gaborik, Roy, Burns, Parise, Cammalleri, etc


A few things to note ...

  1. Dany's sweater seems to have a reduced role?  Where is the A?
  2. Do you think he burned the gear when he was done being all pretty
  3. How much razing did the other players give him when putting it on?  LOL!

Reading over the Tweets ... Here is the Baby Lala specific updates ...

"Heatley's chomping down on a breakfast burrito before his catalog shot"

--> Really I couldn't tell from the Wellwood sized BELLY he got hidding out like a fugative!  An elite athlete our Dany boy is.

"Heatley's jumping out on the ice between photo shoots today, can't keep the guy off the ice right now"

--> One can only assume that another millionaire dropped some $1,000's, cause Heater only skates for $$$$.  Still love the missing letter! ... Lead the way Danny!  I wonder if your sweater will ask you for a trade for its reduced role?

At the Easton Pro Camp, Chara, Parise and Heatley just showed up, got them in our locker room putting on the new gear

--> I would have a farmers a tan too if I was fat and lazy!  Read Ray Ferraro's perspective on you're out off shape arse Danny.

"He had a terrible year last year because he wasn’t in shape. He signed a 50 million dollar contract in the summer and he kind of went on the “Summer of Dany” I called it. He had a lot of fun and he was going to ballgames and he was a half a step out of shape when he got to camp and so he had a terrible year."


Senators Conference Call

Just listened to the fans conference call with Melnyk, Murray, LeClaire and Leeder - no real surprises and nothing dramatic happened, which is entirely what you'd expect I guess. Worth noticing that I got my invite 10 minutes after the call started so there may be other stuff out there.

BM was asked about the changing shape of the Eastern Conference - said Toronto want to be the toughest team in the league and you'll have to deal with that. Montreal have got quicker and more active but he doubts they will score more goals than last year. Boston are the same as last year with a great defence and even though Pittsburgh have lost a couple of players they have a good young core. The one team that surprised him are Tampa and he believes they will be much more competitive although he does wonder how they'll work with 28 or so one way contracts. He didn't go as far as to say the balance of power had shifted but that it was much more comparable now.

He said Ottawa has to get better and he believes they will be a very competitive hockey team and that they will "build on the fact they were much better organised in the 2nd half of last year". Clouston "lead the way", Believes they will score more goals and will be much better on the powerplay with Kovalev. He would like one more big body on the blueline but expects it to be better and more mobile than last year. Importantly he said that the goaltending is in better shape than it has been for many years with the devlopment of Elliott and the signing of PLC. There is "no doubt" in BM's mind that the team is playoff bound.

LeClaire was asked about his general fitness, said he'd been skating for about a month and whilst it felt weird for the first couple of weeks being in pads again he feels very good and is "pretty close to perfect". Had a good summer workout and is excited and ready to go.

The only Ottawa player from last year that had a question specifically about him was A Train. Caller was concerned that he's a UFA at the end of the year and with all the new dmen coming up does this mean the end of A Train as a Senator. Murray loves the A Train. He is a physical, good character and is a good guy in the room even though he doesn't say an awful lot and he loves Ottawa. In a cap world harsh decisions need to be made but they are looking at moving forward with A Train beyond the end of the season and they believe that is what Volchenkov wants as well. Just because we have a load of good dmen coming through doesn't mean the end of anyone because you can't have too many.

Speaking of good young dmen, Erik Karlsson will be given every chance to make the big team this year. Murray's belief is that he'll be at worst very close to the team. Karlsson has bulked up from 158 to 172 pounds but is never going to be a big player but he will be excellent on the powerplay and plays bigger than his size in terms of his shot - a fact PLC confirms. If Karlsson doesn't make the Sens roster it has been agreed that he will do whatever the Senators thinks is best for him, whether that is Bingo or Sweden. It's likely to be Bingo because Murray believes he'll be on the team or one of the first call ups. Leclaire said that in the practices that he has had with Karlsoon he comes across as very calm and confident and is always in control. Murray commented that the farm system is much stronger than it was 2 or 3 years ago and that there are 4 or 5 players slated to be in Bingo this year that can step in and help the big team if the need arises but he wouldn't name names. The important thing is that he and Clouston both believe that the best players will be the ones called on first.

One caller mentioned players that he felt we missed out on in free agency. He specifically mentioned Moen, Bertuzzi and Boynton as players that are cap friendly and could have helped. Murray ignored the later two but said that he liked Moen and always had done, he looked at him a year or so ago but he was tied up with the Ducks so they signed Ruutu who is a similar player. Murray admitted that after the signing of Kovalev and with being unable to move Heatley his hands are to a degree tied until he makes a couple of other moves because they are over the cap. He did bemoan the lack of flexibility but did say that he didn't want to make big changes from last year's roster. Apparently no GM likes big front loaded contracts but that's the world we live in. Same with NTC's,a lot of the time, if you don't offer them you don't get the player.

There was a quick mention about the coaching changes, impressed by the new HC of Bingo should be a hardworking coach. The new assistant Lauer was hired partly because Clouston feels very comfortable working with him and feels that he will compliment him well. Luke Richardson will be doing some work with the young defencemen but is currently coaching a girls team (i had no idea Wilson had been sacked in Toronto).

Cyril Leeder spoke a bit about a few things, apparently the parking situation is going to be much better this year and has been the number one non hockey related thing on the agenda this off season. Also they are looking at a new scoreboard within the next 5 years and when it becomes a fans priority it will become an organisation priority. He likes the new scoreboard in Montreal. Las Vegas has the Hockey Awards on a 3year contract, Ottawa will look to getr involved in the negotitaions next time round, but more energy is being put to trying to get an All Star game.

PLC was aksed what he is looking forward to any particular games. Obviously the CBJ game and he is looking forward to playing in Montreal but his focus is the Rangers game first up and then the first home game. He's not so focused on particular individual games he just wnats to get back playing again. He's changed his shirt number because it'a new team and a new start and went for 33 because of Patrick Roy.

That was about it. No real questions about Heatley although the conversation about NTC's started with a mention of disgruntled players. I decided not to go into too much detail regarding the question about George Parros' moustache, but they did say I don't think it's as bad as that dude's porntache from the underground - don't know what that meant.


5 Key Questions - Part 2

A while ago I posted the first of my 5 questions that I thought faced the Ottawa Senators going into the new season, the blog was all about what we would get back for Heatley which has turned out to be a whole bunch of nothing so far. Of course the worst thing about Heatley not going anywhere is that all of my other key questions (except this one) revolved around the Senators POST Heatley. He has spoiled my blogging schedule the selfish bastige.

So the one question I had that isn't impacted on by the fact that Heatley, at this point in time, remains an Ottawa Senator is this - Have Ottawa finally found a legitimate number one Goalie?

This has, of course, been a key question for the organisation for a number of years. As many of you know I am not from Canadaland and therefore have not grown up with Hockey in the blood and have only been following the Senators since the 03/04 season. The first goaltender I ever watched play for Ottawa was Patrick Lalime - didn't end well. By all accounts, Lalime was a nice guy but had a tendancy to throw the puck into his own net from time to time.

Since then the baton has been handed to Hasek, Gerber and Emery. Hasek left it behind at his doctor's surgery, Gerber kept dropping it and Emery threw it away and then drove over it with his Hummer - twice.

Brian Elliott arrived from Binghamton on a pleading wave of desperation and hope and showed that he might be a goalie for the future, but he also might not be. He played well in patches but also displayed a worrying tendency to let soft goals in. Would anybody really have been comfortable or confident going into the season with an Auld/Elliott combination for this season?

Midway through last season there seemed to be questions everywhere for the organisation; no secondary scoring, no dman who could get the puck to a player wearing the same colour shirt as him and goaltending that couldn't find their arses in the dark with both hands, let alone a puck through a crowded crease. Say what you like about Murray, and I have my own issues with some of the contracts he has handed out since becoming GM, he has a good trading record and with everybody moaning about these three problems he went out and did something about them.

For those that doubt the ability of Brian Murray as a GM I would point to his draft record, but I would first ask you to consider the following three words, The Meszaros Trade.

To get rid of Vermette and a 2nd round pick for a legitimate number one goalie was a great deal. But you know what, he got rid of Vermette for a number 1 goalie AND a 2nd round pick which we used to pick up the best European goalie prospect in the draft. So even if Leclaire doesn't work out we have a second shot at goaltending. The trade and subsequent draft was a work of hockey magic.

Leclaire has credentials no doubt about it. He also has issues with injury, but the guy is only 26. At the end of his contract, a very reasonable contract, with Ottawa he'll be 28. Prime goaltending age. Elliott will still be in the system at about 1 million per year and we'll have an idea whether Robin Lehner is something worth keeping an eye on. There was criticism about the trade from a lot of quarters, but mostly from Leaf fans and we all know what they know. Let's be honest taking criticism from the fans of a team that took Gerber off our hands isn't really criticism, it's like a bald guy telling you that your comb isn't any good.

Immediately Leclaire will give our team real confidence in the goaltending. I don't care what the players say in public, but it must be so disheartening to be playing in front of somebody who is always one shot away from from letting in a softie. This confidence should allow our defensive play to be a little more considered. The urgency to get the puck out of our zone in an anywhere but here manner should be gone and with players like Campoli and the possible appearance of Erik Karlsson as an Ottawa Senator and the eventual emergence of Jared Cowen and Patrick Wiercioch we aren't going to be the easiest team in the NHL to forecheck anymore.

Yes Leclaire spent most of last year injured, but he spent most of the year before that collecting first star awards and shutouts. He has had operation after operation but he is now saying he is fully fit. As long as he hasn't had his skill muscle (copyright StooLi) removed he should be good to go. For the first time in a long time the Senators can go into games truly confident in their goaltending and we won't have to score 5 goals to win games.

Of course we won't know the answer to the key question until at the very earliest mid way through the season, but at least this year we can expect a positive answer when we ask it.