Back to Beantown

- February 8th, 2014

BOSTON _ The Senators will call it a day for the Olympic break Saturday at the TD Garden. Big day ahead. Big two points on the line.
The last time they were here they were blown out 5-0.
This team is playing different. This team is playing better. There is no Zdeno Chara to contend with for the Senators. I will be interested to see what coach Paul MacLean does with his lines. He did a shakeup in practice Friday and Bobby Ryan was demoted.
MacLean claimed he was fooling around. I don’t buy that for a second. Everything he does is calculated. He may have just been firing a shot across Ryan’s bow to let him know that he isn’t happy with his play and will return to his regular lines today.
I don’t know. I somehow doubt it.
MacLean has never been a man afraid to change his lines. If you don’t like what he’s doing just wait a minute because it all could change on the next shift.
Two points is paramount today. The Senators have a tough schedule after the Olympic break. Heading out on the right foot would be helpful.
Tell me what you think of these lines:

‎Colin Greening-Jason Spezza-Milan Michalek
‎Clarke MacArthur-Kyle Turris-Erik Condra
Cory Conacher-Mika Zibanejad-Bobby Ryan
Matt Kassian-Zack Smith-Chris Neil

The guys who need to get going: Cory Conacher and Colin Greening.
Ryan was best with Clarke MacArthur and Kyle Turris.

Categories: Hockey

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31 comments

  1. Mike8888 says:

    They should have played DaCosta one more game before they returned him to Bingo for the Olympic break. The kid was playing well and was productive. It’s a big 2 points up for grabs this afternoon. I hope they come to play.

  2. Bobby Goodman says:

    Is anyone surprised by Karlsson’s performance yesterday? If they are, they certainly shouldn’t be, afterall, the Sens were in Bean Town and historically he doesn’t show up in tough games. Indeed, the plus/minus stat is a “shared” thing but as I have said, some are more guilty than others and the “others” have to wear it regardless.

    The tandem of Cowen and Karlsson were disgutingly bad. Because they were on the ice almost everytime the Spezza line was, everyone on the line suffered. Why doesn Cowen wander and get caught out of position so often? Why can’t Karly make an effort in his own end (Marchand turned him inside out so often it was sickening). Why is he standing still and reaching. Why is he up at the blueline when the puck still belonged to Boston? And, isn’t it time to go into a corner and retrieve a puck? I think he was on he ice for 4 of the 7 goals scrored against (as I have said often, playing the way he does, the Sens will never win anyting of cosequence).

    With the 7 goals scored against, our Sens now sit comfortably in 3rd last place for goals allowed with191 and the DAC and DAACs are powerless to tighten it up. Did he forget how to coach (he did win an award last year didn’t he). Will the Sens continue to allow goals until they surprass the Islanders’ 200?

    Isn’t it interesting that Methot, the man who sat for 2 games because he was “struggling”, was the only D who was even in the +/-. I don’t know about you guys but I suspect the Bruins all loved it when Karly was on the ice!

    Hemler writes that “The future is bright” after the Baby Sens game last night. I think the future is bright for some but so much for others. With Hoffman’s 2 goals and 1 assist last night he now has 58 points in 46 games in the AHL. The numbers are outstanding but not good enough to get a long uninterupted look with the big club.

    The Management Team must be very happy with what Zibanisbad is doing. Again last night the “shooter” did nothing. He had 2 shots (one from behind the net basically), no goals (4 in the last 31 games), no assists and no hits. Looking at the numbers dont’ tell the entire story, one had to watch the game to get the full picture. He was useless!!!!! But hey, the DAC “likes him in the middle”. Go figure?

    I have always liked Stewart; when he first arrived on the scene in Colorado I thought he was the real deal, a big, strong and very tough kid who could be relied on the score 25 (or more) goals a year. The problem with him is, he leaves you wanting. To say he is “inconsistent” is very polite Bruce. I wouldn’t want him here for that very reason, he shows up far to infrequently and the Team doesn’t need another.

    Playing Kassian over DaCosta made little sense and certainly didn’t help the team win the game. I would like to have seen what DaCosta would do but he wasn’t give the opportunity. I just chalk it off as yet another stupid decision by the DAC (like Zzzz centering Ryan and Conacher).

  3. KevinF says:

    Again interesting to see the media spin regarding yesterday’s game. Bruce points several times on twitter Cowens gaudy – stat, clearly singling him out in what was a horrific defensive effort by the whole team. Cowen was indeed bad, slow and often in strange places positionally Karlssons performance was abysmal, non chalant, no effort, no care and most of all almost no criticism, mild talk of a bad game but the always present caveat, ” Karlsson will be just fine”.
    No wonder he plays so recklessly he is never held responsible for his many bad games praised to the heavens for his good, and his frequent mistakes are ignored or lamely excused by the backslapping buddies of the local media.
    If Phaneuf or Subban were ever to turn in such a brutal lacklustre performance the media and fans in the respective cities would be ripping them for weeks. Not in Ottawa , Methot gets sat, Cowens gets the finger pointed squarely at him but the Teflon darling gets a free pass, grins shrugs and moves on. Not a care in the world.

  4. OD99 says:

    So I have about 4 or 5 recent games still to watch but I did fast forward a ton through that debacle yesterday afternoon (and while it isn’t an excuse by any means what is up with the Senators and afternoon games? They must have the worst record in the league) and watched the game against Buffalo…caught one of the games against the Bolts as well.

    Thought Spezza in particular looked very good against the Sabres, with more jump than I have seen from him all season. I said early on that he was still suffering the effects of his injury and whether it was conditioning, etc…that forced break they made him take a few weeks ago seems to have done wonders for him. When he can skate and pick up speed in the neutral zone he becomes hard to defend and we are seeing those lanes open up as he crosses the blue line and the D have to back in a little more. Bodes well for the rest of the season if they can find him a winger. Still think that now that he is going and Ryan is looking for a spark they should unite them along with Michalek.

    Karlsson looked very good against the Sabres and Bolts as well – stepping up hard, taking the puck and pushing the play. Bobby he must have had 10 rushes that led to shots on net in both of those games combined – going right at the D through the center of the ice – very good stuff that I could see.

    Zibby is certainly cold now and I will say the same thing I always do. He does more than it seems on the defensive side, drives the middle with the puck and then goes to the net but he does not show any desire or ability to manufacture a play on the fly. I would love to see him stop up or curl back when he enters the zone but his a straight line guy it seems. That said, he does make some nifty passes in tiny spaces once he is on the forecheck and I still expect he will at a minimum be a 50 point player even by next season.

    Cowen was as bad as he has been against Boston and on a few of those goals I can’t even imagine what he had going through his head or why he did what he did.

    As for DaCosta – I don’t understand taking him out against the Bruins as he was playing quite well overall…Kassian wasn’t needed and a roster spot was wasted.

    Haven’t been reading any of the papers but sounds like the critics are out in full force against Spezza (truth be told Bobby I obviously take it with some salt when it comes from you) and that is odd considering he is trending upwards and has been for some time now. I think he is performing up to my expectations now that he has his legs back.

    The team needs some better team D in our end and even last year was a mirage due to outstanding goal tending as this squad gives up a ton of great scoring chances every game. If that doesn’t get fixed no chance they make the play-off and that is too bad since it is open in the East and you just never know once you get to the dance.

  5. ChokerHater says:

    QUOTE:BOSTON _ The Senators will call it a day for the Olympic break Saturday at the TD Garden. Big day ahead. Big two points on the line.
    The last time they were here they were blown out 5-0.
    ===================================================================
    Not much needs to be said, Karlsson is terrible in his own end TERRIBLE!
    They didn’t show up for that game, some of the young guys made an effort but some of the veterans were disgusting. Why the heck wouldn’t they show up knowing it would be a much easier game without Chara?
    I’ve never seen anything like it but I think it’s time they stopped the pretending and made some drastic changes. That was absolutely disgusting, man I’m glad I didn’t pay for a ticket, unless I was a Boston fan, even then, to be given two easy points like that!
    Mailed in.

  6. just me says:

    Bryan Murray may be talking like a buyer but are they just more hollow words? With no first-round pick, it’s slim pickings for the Sens unless Turris or Ryan are in the mix. If he’s convinced over the break the Sens are out of it, as most fans are, next season starts now. This part of the re~build has been a failure. Losing Alfie and giving up Silfverberg, Noesen and a first-round pick essentially for Bobby Ryan, who is a year away from free agency. The Sens need to hit homeruns with Ceci and Curtis Lazar next season or they will be as bad as the Sabres are this season…might be Alfie’s last game in Ottawa on the 27th…

  7. Visitor - Pierre D. says:

    This team is absolutely horrible defensively and the coach doesn’t have the authority or the players to play a sound game in its own end. Erik Karlsson, who is more embarrassing by the day (Apparently he refused to high five a fan on the way out of the ice, if so that’s absolutely shameful) with his lazy stick swings and poke checks. He got walked by Patrice Bergeron, who is a pretty tough cookie but he can be hit. Cowen had to scramble to cover for his disinterested partner, lost position and goals were scored. Karlsson has 50+ points but has been on the ice for 12-13 game winning goals. So has the captain but generally if a forward loses his assignment the defenceman covers for him no?

    I will say one thing, that if Karlsson plays like that for Team Sweden they will be out in a real hurry. I am reading in the paper that Murray wants to make a trade but it’s “difficult”.
    I am also reading, or rather hearing, that Melnyk has already stated the team will lose money next year so he won’t spend more. Well Eugene, if you don’t make the playoffs you won’t make money. If you want to make the playoffs you should allow Bryan Murray to spend…so you can make money? Kapiche? There will always be 8,000-10,000 Kool Aid dirnkers that hold season tickets, but the other 2,000 or so need to see wins and progress.

    Murray will have won one playoff round in close to 10 years yet all the bloggers, fearful of asking questions, think he is a genius. One even says “Murray is a genius” as his blogger name! I would love to ask that fella if he thinks a slow, mediocre team is something ingenious! Bobby Ryan is immensely inconsistent, MacArthur afraid of his own shadow at times and Turris the only one that plays with courage outside of Spezza, whom is saddled with garbage on his wings!

    But that’s going to win us the Cup? Pass the Kool AId…back to you Bobby.

  8. Bobby Goodman says:

    It’s amazing that the game versus Boston was one that the media defined as “paramount”; it is too bad that wasn’t shared by by some players. What is even more interesting is how easily the game that was “paramount” could so esily be dismissed! But if the GM who built this mess isn’t concerned, why should the media and by default, most fans?!

    After the 7-2 drubbing the GM in an interview said he was “fairly happy with the group”. Whereas he was concerned about the defencemen’s ability to “get the puck going”, he’s “not concerened about that now” (and the opposition are very grateful). He says the “depth of prospects is very good” and after a slow start “the guys have really responded” and are “now playing the way we thought they were able to play”. The GM is “happy to be in a playoff race” (only 9 teams in the league with worse records) and thinks it is a “great achievement”! My God almighty, did he really asy all that?????

    Damn I wish I could share his optimism! But, it is optimism or, is it simply (as Kevin suggests) merely a story spun by him distributed by his agents (the media) to manage the minds of many.

    Cowen was horrendous in Boston and that bit of information was flooded out there for public consumption! Concher is one that “must be better”. Spezza has to be better 5 on 5 (has to try harder, not give the puck away, score more goals, reduce his plus/minus, make a bum a goal scorer). Methot was “struggling”. And the nonsense goes on and on, most of it distractions of course to steer fans away from real issues and some players who truly need to be “better!

    Who is really buying this BS? Does the GM still count Cowen and Zzzz as some of the great prospects (both first rounders and Zzzz was 6th overall!!!).

    After 7 years of Murray, I don’t have high expectations and why would I? The Team has been bad so long many fans are content just to be “in the hunt” for a playoff birth. But, what is so damn frustrating is the media’s universal support and concerted effort to ignore the facts. I was extremely disappointed with the comment “Karlsson will be fine”. Was that a subtle way of saying he wasn’t?

    Karlsson was on the ice for 4 goals scored against the hockey club in the game against Boston but did you read about it anywhere? While some fans are “sick and tired of Spezza’s give aways and his behind the back passes, he never, ever, lead his team and the entire league in give aways. Karlsson not only leads his team but he has regained his postion as league leader with 81. His only saving grace is he doesn’t offer behind the back passes 150 feet from his own net (it that makes any sense to you). Have we read that Karlsson has the 13th worse plus/minus of the 260 defencemen in the league?

    The media should be all over Karly for his play on Saturday but predictably, they weren’t. With their continued support Karly and the Senators with be just fine!

  9. Mike8888 says:

    The Sens should be ashamed of themselves after a performance like that. What a waste of a few hours that I’ll never get back. It was a total team non-effort.

  10. Dan the Man says:

    Well, after that humiliating loss to Boston, the lengthy break might be good for the Sens. The only thing I worry about is the dreaded rust factor when they return to playing. If we lose the first game or so, I can envision all the local pundits explaining the losses on the rust factor and that pretty well the entire team were sitting around while most teams had numerous players in the Olympics. Naturally this goes against the theory that we might have an advantage against other teams because some or most of their players will be fatigued from
    playing in the Olympics and of course the dreaded jet-lag that will curse the players for the remainder of the season. I wonder what storyline wii prevail?

  11. Bobby Goodman says:

    Mikey, it was a total team effort? Are you saying one or two didn’t play worse than the rest? Could it be that perhaps, maybe, it is possible that Karly doesn’t show show up for tough games and that he is indeed a one dimensional rover who is only interested in accumulating points (not winning games)? Certainly you are not suggesting that the others on the team played as bad as Karly…could you? And what about Zzzz? Am I still a hater because I point out all his flaws he is so willing to put on full display game afer game? C’mon Mikey, it is OK to point fingers…but you must point the fingers in the right direction. Labelling all the same is a….very politically correct way to voice your disapproval.

    Well said “Just me”. This part of the rebuild is indeed a failure. But it isn’t this part, the rebuild was supposed to be 3 years and at the end of this year, the 3 years is up! Who here believes the team will “compete with the league’s best” by year’s end? Why is it ignored?

    Pierre, it is sad that a kid playing a sport he loves and getting paid $6.5/year can’t give a youngster a high five. But, what really baffles me is this arrogant, conceited, selfish, rude, crass, disrespectful, and self centered kid is celebrated by the media….he will be fine, no matter what he may do or what he may say. It’s all good! He will be the next Captain.

    Indeed, Bryan Murray is a genius; look at what he has accomplished Pierre! In spite of what’s happened over the last 7 years he’s managed to win the hearts and minds and overwhelming support of the masse and get another contract. This is pure genius. Look at what he had done:

    - his team is entrenced in the bottom third of the league standings;
    - only 2 teams have allowed more goals scored against;
    - again this year he has successfully iced a team that will struggle to make the playoffs;
    - after all these years, Karly is his only star (star to some of course);
    - he and timmie were deemed great evaluators of talent (they just can’t sign any);
    - they will miss out in the 2014 draft but will have Ryan’s services for 2 years;
    - the hockey club is God awful (but 14 of them were drafted by the Murray);
    - the coaching merry-go-round, bad blood, double standards wont attract free agents;
    - the current coach staff are incapable or unwilling to make changes ‘cept line combos.
    - the goalie situation has been totally mis-managed

    I could go on but suffice to say, Murray is pure genius! The Sens are one of 4 teams in the league with only 2 Olympians; the others are Calagary, Nashville and Florida. All are in the bottom 3 of their respective division. Most would say it speaks to how bad the teams really are (the records say it all) but it is ignored here in Ottawa (there is always next year, 2 or 3. But I say it is a statement how poorly the team has been managed.

    I don’t agree with you Pierre on Mac; he isn’t afraid. It may not be popular but perhaps the US knew about Ryan’s…

  12. Bobby Goodman says:

    We, as hockey fans, are never privy to what goes on in the back rooms of the NHL. We can only make assumptions based on what is very obvious. It is for that reason I wonder why Tyler Seguin would be left of the hockey club. I don’t care if he shoots right or left, is a center or a winger. He is big, fast, skilled and young. Selecting Carter and the having him on the wing with Kuntiz and Crosby, doesn’t make a lot of sense (to me). If Seguin was dismissed because he was deemed to be imature, did Mr. Happy think Carter was mature in 2010 and more mature now? Seguin has 56 points in 56 games playing for a team that has scored only 163 goals and the imature kids is plus 10. If he was on the wing and his center was waived out, he could win draws. But it’s all academic now…isn’t it.

    I am not a big Mr. Happy fan. I certainly used to be. Like some other great hockey players, he hasn’t proven himself to be equally as good in the board room. I didn’t like him when many years ago he snuck out the back of the Civic Center rather than sign autographs for kids (including my 9 year old who loved him). When asked about a division in the Central Junior Hockey League named after him, he was almost annoyed and blurted out he has been in the United States for almost as long as he was in Ottawa! Mr. Happy left great players off the 2010 team and Canada won by the skin of their teeth and this year, the team will again win by virture of the glut of Canadian talent, not necessarily because Mr. Happy make great selections.

    Mr. Happy says he is scared of these Olympic games. What a message to deliver to his troops. I am just the opposity. If I were he, I would project a quiet confidence, afterall, Canadians dominate in the NHL! They have 5 of the top 10, 12 of the top 20 and 15 in the top 30! On defence they have 12 of the 30 leading scorers and 16 of the 30 best plus/minus. Why Phaneuf who is 6th with +19 (and has 22 points) was passed over for Vlasic, Hamuis and others is a mystery to me. Phaneuf’s numbers are btter and he is bigger at 6-3, 215. Hamuis who has 15pts and is plus 7 is 6′, 208 and Vlasc who is 6-1, 208 has 18pts and is plus 15. Someone/anyone please explain to me why they were selected over Phaneuf? Between the pipes, of the goalies who have played 40 plus games the team has 2 of the top 3 in save perentage (the only real measurement). The team has a fantastic Coach and Assistants! So why be scared? Why build a team that needs to defend at all. As much as Bergeron is a nice hockey player there are MANY I would take over him!!!!

    I think it is high time Canadian hockey players, the best in the world, start getting the respect they deserve and it should start with the Management. I don’t know about you guys but I will take our boys over the Swedes, Russians and Americans in a heart beat even though some of the best have been left behind!

  13. ChokerHater says:

    gezzus Bobby you’re long winded, If we had a conversation, would I get a word in edgewise?

  14. Mike8888 says:

    Bobby,
    I agree with you on some of the Canadian Olympic team selections. Seguin, Staal, (even though he’s having an of year) and even Hall should have been selected over Kunitz and Carter. Re the job the Murray’s have done: I guess the Buffalo managemet must have been drinking the Koolaid, no?

  15. OD99 says:

    I don’t think Murray is a genius but I do think he has done a fairly good job given the lack of prospects he inherited and the financial constraints he deals with day-to-day. I don’t know how much, if at all, that Melnyk interferes but there could be a bit of that at play here as well.

    The fact that the Senators have as many prospects as they do is a testament to the team’s drafting and development especially in light of the fact that for many years the team was drafting at the 17-18+ position. There are quite a few second, third and even later draft picks that seem to be able to be NHL players and that is an accomplishment in of itself.

    As for how the team sits now there is no doubt there is a transition taking place and how that transition will end up is anyone’s guess but I like some of the young players potential and especially like our goaltending which is the base of any good team.

    I completely disagree with your perception of Karlsson but that is well established and I don’t think it does either of us any good to attempt to sway the other person as it just won’t happen.

    Right now the Senators aren’t in a very good position relative to the standings and their defensive play is borderline horrible but they are in the hunt for a play-off spot (not the be all-end all to be sure) and with a team that is one of the youngest in the league and with one of the lowest payrolls I think being as competitive as they are isn’t too bad.

    Am I happy? Or satisfied? Will this type of play sustain me? No, not at all. But pro sports isn’t fantasy or a video game. You can’t magically get all the best players and turn your team into a dominant force, especially if you can’t go out and sign top FA due to financial restraint.

    I believe our youngest players will get better and contribute substantially more in the near future. I believe we will find another winger for Spezza, either internally or via trade or FA – it is obvious that the Turris line will remain intact for a while and Spezza does deserve (as do the fans) a proven scorer on his wing.

    If the Senators make the play-offs I will be happy and will hope they find some magic and make a little run – it is always fun to have your team in the post season so I will enjoy it for what it is.

    If they don’t make it then I will save a lot of money and enjoy the play-off hockey anyway (and find my happiness with the Leafs demise – that is also my right as a fan – to actively engage in a rivalry and root for a rival’s failure) and expect the team to be back next year.

    I don’t feel I am less of a fan or less committed or easily satisfied, etc…I think I am a realist and believe that winning is extremely hard. I think that has been proven by many franchises over the years, many of which haven’t had a sniff of success of any sort for many, many years. It is hard to win and I will appreciate the effort, complain about the losses and just try to be entertained.

  16. ChokerHater says:

    Pretty hard to second guess a team picking one world class player over another when you have so many to pick from. Everyone in hockey knows that we could pick a second team and the second team still be very competitive. No one is perfect but I think the team they’ve picked is very close to perfect. The only problem I see is goaltending, and I think that is one weak spot in Canadian hockey right now. Don’t be surprised to see Price take the reins though

  17. Bobby Goodman says:

    Coke…probably not. But you can most certainly try!

    Mikey, Who cares what the Buffalo Management Team are drinking, what do you think the Murrays have done here? I wont get all long winded on ya ’cause I have itemized the reasons why I think the Management Team here has failed, are you happy what they have accomplished? If so, what in particular can we as fans celebrate?

    As for Tim Murray (that brilliant evaluator of talent) what has he done that makes him stand out? He may evaluate talent, but where is it here???!!! The funny thing about talent is 80% of it is done for them by N/A and Eropean scouting reports. Bryan is credited for selcting Getzlaf and Perry but had he not selected them, most certainly others woud have! There have been some dud GMs in the league and there are some duds there right now. I have no idea why Buffalo chose Timmie, it certainly makes no sense to me unless they want to emulate what Ottawa has cone in 7 years so they can get where the team is now!

    You can celebrate the team for its mediocrity Mikey, I will look fondly on the teams before the Murrays arrived and hope for much better!

  18. Bobby Goodman says:

    Davey, you are better than I am. I can’t put qualifyers on what the Management team has done here. To say they have done pretty in spite of middle of the pack draft picks and restricted budget means, effectively, they cannot fail. If the team doesn’t make the post season this year, will they have failed or were the successful or were they somewhere in between? Murray has been here 7 years and we are still talking about Mucklar?

    By your comments, are we to beleive the Sens will always mediocre at best? Do we accept it? Why does this hockey club work to hard at trying to make the post season when the team is awful? Edmonton has a losing team but they are further ahead and far more entertaining (to me at least) than Ottawa! If drafting was so good, where are they all? There are 14 on this team and who besides Karly, gets you out of your seat? I’ve mentioned the others the Murrays drafted who are doing nothing or out of the league yet we say they have drafted well? I have identified some I would have prefered they would have drafted but didn’t who are doing very well!

    It is more than the draft to Dave. I don’t like the way the team is run. If Ryan bolts in 2015-16 year, will that trade be described as a good one? With all the turmoil, coaches, players etc. I am at a loss how you can be so generous. The current coaching staff doesn’t inspire confidence and the Organization hasn’t shown any class. I truly believe that no high profile free agent would come to this organization based on the way it has been run the last 6 years.

    I love having a team hear but I long for when the team entertained. I know many who have written the team off (again) and only tune if briefly to check on the score. That is a sad comment (they can’t be alone, the traffic at the Wheel House is way down).

    I have a different definition of prospects. I dont’ think there are bad prospects only good ones otherwise, why even have them? Some will certainly be better than others but no bad ones. Who are the Sens great prospects? If the team can’t get good ones drafting 16th, why can other teams? They can’t get one from the 6th pick.

    The bottom line, excuses are for losers. The management team and owner have promised us a team that will challenge the very best (not on a particular night but every night) and that isn’t happening. They promised us a “rebuild” and then another. They have embarrassed themselves with the team they built, the way it is run (double standards, bizzarred decisions etc) and the way they have behaved. There can be no excuse for that.

    You are far better than me. I can’t celebrate this team that is one of the league’s worst. I can’t celebrate a .500 record. I want players and team that competes hard and entertains. I want coaches/GM who know what they are doing. And, I want an owner and organization to have some class.

  19. ChokerHater says:

    Bobby I think you are missing the point, it’s about making money, having a competitive team
    is down the list and in my opinion, Ottawa is already pretty close to Buffalo in talent. In a couple years Buffalo with be ahead of Ottawa. Remember, you read it here first

  20. Bobby Goodman says:

    What point Choke? I am well aware of the situation here in Ottawa and that is why I am not optimistic at all. Having a team here is great, but not enough and as I have often said, my concerns go beyond the product.

    I simply find it confusing and off-times comical to read that Timmy is a great evaluator of talent (and the same for Uncle Bryan). Since his arrival 7 years ago, where are the examples of it? I know for sure he isn’t a great avaluator of coaching talent! I have heard a few times now from the local community that Timmy “likes a heavy team that can play tough’ and that’s what we will see in Buffalo”. Does Ottawa play a “heavy game and are they a heavy team”?

    I wonder what fans would say of the challenges left behind for a new GM if Murray was gone tomorrow? Is Ottawa in great shape? Is Buffalo in a better position to be better than Ottawa? I certainly think so! In Buffalo, Timmy has 5 years minimum to “build” and although I didn’t like his predessor, he was left with a goo situation:

    - he has a bunch of youngsters
    - a bunch of draft picks
    - he has the worst team in the league so he should get something damn good
    - he can trade their Captain, Miller and Moulsson away for players, picks or both
    - the team is on the bottom of the heap and are horrible, anything he does will be an improvement; and
    - there are low expectations

    Great scenario if you asked me. If he is consistent, he will build a team that will look just like the Ottawa Senators (he is a great evaluator of talent).

  21. OD99 says:

    Bobby I am not celebrating the team – I want them to be better as well as anyone else, if not more than most. I think I am a realist though and I consider that there are many other teams with full budgets trying to get better each and every season too.

    The Oilers aren’t any further along than the Senators but they should be – how many times can you have a top 3 pick with the talent that is available now and still flounder? That is shockingly bad.

    The Panthers, Coyotes, Capitals, Habs, Thrashers/Jets, Islanders, ‘Canes, etc…all have suffered for long stretches with nothing to show. The Canes won a Cup head to head against the Oilers and both have stunk prior and since.

    Over the last few years you see who the best teams are and for the most part they have had some superstars to pick very, very early. Chicago and the Penguins are the class of the league thanks to a few exceptionally talented players and then the GM adding some significant pieces beside them. Many teams try to do this each year but only one is successful.

    Pitt was able to go (in consecutive years) Fleury #1 – Malkin #2(behind Ovechkin) – Crosby #1 (Letand 1st pick of 3rd round)- Staal#2…after their string of top 2 picks they picked Esposito, Nathan Moon, Simon Despres, Bennett (US College player)…it gets hard when you don’t have superstars waiting for you in the first couple of picks.

    I understand your frustration 100% but I don’t share it because to me it is unrealistic to expect success – you want it, strive for it and bemoan it when it passes you by but I think the Senators have given the best effort they could.

    Of course going back you could say that some of the coaches were bad and you did call Clouston way before I thought so (I was impressed by his early success and it seemed to appease some who thought that the country club atmosphere was the reason the team didn’t do well).

    Of course you could go back and pick out some of the bad trades or bad picks but every team has some skeletons in the closet as well.

    I also hear what you are saying about them not being able to fail if I put qualifiers on them but those are cold hard facts, I didn’t make that up.

    Turris, Ryan (if he stays – if he doesn’t I agree it didn’t work out well), Zibby (I still think he will be a lock for 50pts a year), MacArther, Spezza make up a pretty good top 5 and I do believe Hoffman will make a push and due to his speed and shot will find his way up here.

    Karlsson is a lock as a Norris candidate for many years and possibly a Heart contender if he keeps at it. Cowen is an unknown, Ceci looks like he really could turn into a good player, Wiercioch leaves me wanting and I think Gryba is very under-appreciated.

    There are some good young players on this team right now – if some of the prospects pan out and contribute then we are looking much better but some FA finds will go a long way. The new TV deal might make that possible if the CAN$ doesn’t do them in…

  22. Visitor - Pierre D. says:

    Dave, I agree with you that winning is hard and your comments are bang on.
    I think our management has made some crtiical missteps. The year Tavares was available at the top we were closing out window to contention. We might not have outraces the Islanders to the bottom but damn…imagine if we had Hedman AND Karlsson? Hedman has become a very respectable, steady D-man that hits occasionally, has improved his puck carrying and so on. And he’s Swedish like Erik!

    The other mistake was the Anderson trade. If I’m Bryan I hold steady and go for Landeskog. They’d done a bunch of interviews with him and he was an absolutely charming, affable, diligent young man that would have endeared himself to the team and fanbase immediately. He’s also a fantastic two-way player.

    So our lines would have looked like
    Michalek – Spezza – Ryan
    Landeskog – Turris – Alfredsson

    Hedman – Karlsson

    Goalie? If the rumours were true that Anderson had worn out his welcome in Colorado, there probably would not have been too much demand for him. Give him a good offer, make him starter. Or hell, trade for a goalie, the market is in a glut…

    What could have been…

  23. Bobby Goodman says:

    Choke, it isn’t difficult to pick one player over another, afterall, we are just hockey fans and isn’t this blog a forum exclusively dedicated for discussion? Of course the team representing Canada is great but to a fan a galaxy removed from the entire process, I think it could have been much better. Perhaps those who are given the responsibility to select the players don’t make the best decisions and perhaps that is why the Canada hasn’t won a very precious metal in hockey (NHL and Junior) since Vancouver 4 years ago! That’s a record that should shame those in charge of the entire process (but they are shameless).

    Bergeron, a slow (relative to the others on this hockey club) center, is going to start on the wing. Some frighteningly quick kids are left behind who are bigger, stronger and better! That makes no sense to me (again, this is a discussion only). What would Bergeron do on the wing that Hall, Seguin or even Jumbo couldn’t do? No one should be surprised that St Louis is on the team (hell, I made the call months ago). Although I really like him and the gesture is a noble one, is he the guy who is best suited to replace a pure goal scorer (Stamkos). Wouldn’t the much larger Neal be a better choice and he is very familiar with Crosby and Kunitz!

    I’ve watched Hamuis and Vlasic play and IMHO they simply do not stack up with what Phaneuf brings to the party. They are smaller and their numbers aren’t as good! Phaneuf leads his team with plus 19!

    I wouldn’t have selected Carter either but that is just me and again, it is just a discussion point and my silly opinion.

    Hey, did anyone see the AHL Allstar game last night. The best guy on the ice, head and shoulders over anyone else was Mike Hoffman! Yes, the Ottawa Senator’s Mike Hoffman! Yes, the guy who gets gets to have a cup of coffee with the big club.

    In the skills competition that I didn’t get to see but heard, he demonstrated his amazing speed and shot. He actually won the fastest skater competition and we all knew about his amazing shot but it was his confidence and poice/patience in the game that dazzled! He scored a goal and got to wonderful assists and was named first star. He blew by defenders (with the puck on his stick), turned others inside out with this stickhandling and created opportunities for himself and others!

    Based on what he has done for the last 3 years you have to wonder why he gets a one or three games, in a limited role to show what he can do at the NHL level. From the get go, Zzzz got many games, far more icetime and Power Play time playing with some of the teams best. Has anyone seen Hoffman’s speed, skill and shooting in Zzzz’s game?

    Confidence is everything. I can only imagine what The Hoff could do if he knew, absolutely knew for sure he was going to be with the big club, regardless, for an extended period of time! If Butler, Da Costa, DTAR, Silf, Rund’sbad, Zibanisbad get long looks why can’t The Hoff?

  24. Mike8888 says:

    I agree Bobby. Hoffman deserves an extended look with the Sens after the Olympic break. What do the Sens have to lose?

  25. OD99 says:

    Darn – I didn’t even know the All-Star game was on or I would have watched it for sure…glad to hear that Hoffman did so well and I agree 100000% that he deserves and we need for him to get a real long look with the big club. If he didn’t have the blazing speed to go along with his other skills I could understand better him not getting a legit chance but even in his limited opportunities the last few times I think he showed enough to stay longer. I would say I find it baffling. For the record Bobby…Mr. Butler scored 4 goals in his first All-Star game and won MVP as well ;)

    As for the Olympics – what a game yesterday between the US and Canadian women!! You want to talk about playing with speed and heart; it was on full display the entire game in that back and forth match. I hope the jinx is dead as I believe that in the last 4 Olympics the team that won the round robin match ended up losing in the gold medal game.

    The Canadian men’s selections aren’t necessarily wrong either but I would have made a few different decisions too…Carter wouldn’t be on the team, possibly not Bergeron (although I think he is a very useful player and generally steps up in the pressure games) and not Hamhuis.

    I think in their place I would have Seguin, Giroux and…Seabrook. He isn’t as quick as some but he has had a fantastic year, could pair with Keith and is just a steady and responsible player back there.

    How about that game by Karlsson yesterday?! I hope he brings that intensity back to the Senators for the stretch run….he was all over the place and played quite well in his own end, continuing his physical play as well. Easily the best player on the ice.

    Bobby – how about the bone headed decisions by the Czechs with their roster? Leaving guys off, not even dressing Pavelec (sp?)…how good are Jagr and Nedved though? Neither looked out of place best on best and both at 40+…

    Pierre you called it on the Anderson deal. I am mostly tongue in cheek on this one but that could be the worst trade Murray made…the team was cruising for a top 3 pick until he made that move and as much as I think Zibby will be a player Landeskog is a stud for sure and would have made a huge difference.

  26. Neil Harris says:

    OD99 makes some good points and provides a pretty good summary of where I sit as a Sens fan. I differ with him on two areas:

    1) Karlsson is not, in my opinion, a perennial Norris candidate. He may be a perennial “best offensive defenceman” candidate but his defence, sadly, is regressing. He is awful in his own end and his minus play is a testament to that. Kevin hit the nail on the head when he said that if it were Phaneuf or Subban their local media would be ripping on them – and rightly so I say. Here, Erik just smiles or shrugs when his half-hearted own-zone play results in goal after goal after goal in the back of our net and the media always dismisses it with a “no need to worry”. I disagree. I am worried. He’s in his 4th season and he his no closer to being a decent (and that’s all I ask for) own-zone player than he was in his rookie year. I would be surprised to see him nominated for a Norris this year. No GM in their right mind would take him ahead of Chara, Keith, Weber, Doughty, etc. going into the playoff stretch.

    2) Bryan Murray – I won’t say he’s been a disaster here and it’s easy to second-guess choices but I can’t see what he’s done that justifies extended his contract. He’s been ok, average, mediocre, hit and miss….call it what you want, but as a fan, I want more than that. He’s had over 30 years to try and win a cup in this league and hasn’t pulled it off. Let’s move in.

    Bobby, Zibanejad isn’t quite the failure you make him out to be. I’m prepared to give him another season to see if he’s legit. Ditto for Cowen, this season has been atrocious but he clearly showed potential and his a big young defenceman so let’s wait and see.

    It’ll be a tough job to make the playoffs but we could do it…thank god we play in the East.

  27. Bobby Goodman says:

    The Oil is much further along Dave. This is the entertainment business and that team is fun to watch! They’re going to have a real dandy in Darnel Nurse next year and another hight draft choice this spring! I like that a hell of lot better than what Ottawa has, especially when you consider the Sens wont have a first round pick and the strong possibility Ryan will be gone after next year! The Peg is better too.

    Your confidence in Zzzz is admirable but where it come from I don’t know. He shows me absolutely nothing! What bugs me the most about him is also what bugs me about Karly…a complete lack of effort some games. You put that with his unwillingness to go into the corners, sacrifice his body, unability to carry the puck, deke around players, waiting for things to happen…and I am at a loss how he could possible get 50 points. His skating is sadly lacking for an NHLer.

    It is a circular discussion really. I don’t like what what the Murray’s have done here, the draft choices they made, the coaches they hired, the public spats and they way they manage. But the worst part, the product is not entertaing. I can’t stomach players and there are only two on this team, who wont make an effort. These two guys don’t show up in games played hard. It makes me ill. Zibanisbad hasn’t scored a goal in 32 games, he can’t skate, is unsteady on his feet but has been given every opportunity. I don’t get it.

    A team only needs to be slightly better that 50% of the rest to make the playoffs…and many of them have financial pressures. Missing and just squeaking in, is a disgrace, especially after 7 years and in the the tail end of a 3 year rebuild. But that is me. Rather than make trades for rentals to help make the post season, I would have prefered the team fail and secur a draft pick, 2 or 3. I certainly wouldn’t have traded them away for old men who left the following year.

    The media and certainly most fans simply accept what goes on here. They had a 6th overall and they selected Zzzz, and they took Cowen in the first round. They had a kid they selected in the first round and traded them away for a guy who will leave. They traded away a 1st draft for Rund’sbad who can’t make the NHL (I wanted them to take Taresenko and he has 18 goals this year). I wanted them to trade Anderson for draft choices but they traded Bishop, arguably the best goalie in the league this year for Conacher. I wanted them to be patient and move Anderson for something better.

    For sure there are financial pressures but the problems here in Ottawa go much further than that. I hate double standards. I hate favourtism and I hate nonsense. It goes on and on here in Ottawa. I want to see Hoffman to get the same opportunity Zibanisbad got and continues to enjoy…but he wont. Da Cost has played 60 plus games and the same for Butler and Zzz, he is a terrible hockey player but because he is a Swede and the 6th selection overall.

  28. FKevin says:

    Great to see the propaganda campaign spread to the Olympics! Physical Erik! The post here that contained the words”heart” and Erik Karlsson might be the only one in history.. At least if it doesn’t also contain the words NO and lack of attached to the former.
    If Erik can’t succeed in this tourneys early games he can’t anywhere, big ice not a lot of hitting(despite EKs supposed ominous prescience) and weak opponents. Plus he gets paired with the real elite Swede D OEL, someone who can cover up for Erik’s many mental an physical errors. As long as he compiles his points all is hunky dory. He is going to very exposed against the elite speed forwards later on given his weak backward skating and inability to turn. Interesting days ahead.

  29. Bobby Goodman says:

    Dave, the omissions by the Czeck Brain Trust is proof positive that dumbasses (like me) can be found anywhere. I simply don’t understand the decision to leave Hudler back and select a 42 year old no matter how good he can still skate! We can ask why Mr. Happy left some dandies behind or why he seleted who he did 3rd overall in last springs draft (daft). Why Mucklar chose Lee over…well you get the picture.

    As for the Allstar game and Butler, he played when it was all AHL and it was really a friendly skate, just like the yawn-fest NHL All Star Game. You did miss a eal show though Dave.

    Neil, I think failure is not necessarily the right word. He can’t fail because non one knows really what is expected. I will throw out the numbers (goals, assists, shots etc) because there has to be something to measure him by but my biggest disappointment is in his innate skills; I don’t see him as a skater who can go around or through people, I don’t see any vision, creativity, puckhandling, physicality. But my biggest issue is he invisibility. How a kid can go games without makeing an effort is beyond me. I should be a concern but it is not. He also spends a lot of time on his ass. As for Cowen, my opinion of him hasn’t changed from the time I first saw him on the international stage. His strength/asset is his size but if he isn’t going to use it at all, what is the point and of course, he is slow.

    I would like to know what measures were taken in the so-called rebuild. What was done differently (from the previous years)? Does anyone know? From where I sit, there was no change at all and the team got worse.

    I wish I saw things that would make feel differently but I don’t and perhaps it is just me.

  30. Dan the Man says:

    Bobby, the so-called rebuild was nothing more than a feeble excuse to slash the payroll and not tick off the fans. The operation of the Sens over the last three years or so is to reduce costs significantly and fool the fans into thi king some wonderful and glorius rebuild is underway. I think we fans may have been duped.

  31. Visitor - Pierre D. says:

    Dan said it best, the rebuild was basically a cost-cutting measure. Remember prior to its inception, Melnyk was saying they didn’t need to make the playoffs to make money.
    Now they say they are losing 9 million a year. Which is which?
    Cyril Leeder says the Senators are fine financially. Eugene says they are bleeding red. Which is which?
    Eugene says the Senators are overflowing with NHL ready players. Murray won’t trade veterans to make room for them. Which is which?

    The rebuild is simple guys: The younger fanbase (I call them the PaV generation as they are yound, uneducated, uncritical) will basically swallow anything Murray says. The yokels at TSN1200 are deathly afraid to ask questions. Murray made a dumb joke about needing help to find the “Bob” and it was considered “charming” by Steve Lloyd. How is a platitude charming? The DAC making DAJ (dumb ass jokes) about Karlsson, how is that preparing the team for a very dangerous Detroit team?

    Simple. Murray can keep losing because losing means he can sell hope. He can’t sell wins as this team is mediocre, but Curtis Lazar is the next Brendan Shanahan. I know because Ian Mendes said so on the radio at 5:00 p.m. today, and he’d never say anything to contradict the party line or criticize management or ask questions…

    It’s ok Bobby, the team may make the playoffs (they are now 3 points back of Detroit, maybe 5 tomorrow) and then get swept by the Bruins. We’ll hear how it’s a great experience to have Brad Marchand ram Zib’s head into the boards. We’ll hear how Karlsson is so much better than Chara when he gets 8-10 points in 4-5 games but can’t defend Anderson’s net because Boston’s huge bodies just waylay the defence.
    Then he’ll smash a stick instead of using his stick to defend.

    I hear the Propagdanda Machine at Team 1200 say that the team’s destiny is in its own hands. Unfortunately, it is not. With teams around them getting 0-2 points every night, the Senators need a 5-6 game winning streak with no more than a 2-3 game losing streak to get this done. Oh, they ALSO need Toronto, Montreal, Columbus, New York Rangers, Detroit, Carolina to all lose their games.

    That doesn’t seem like the Senators control their fate to me, but hey, I’m a simple public servant that just asks questions when he doesn’t understand…

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