The crisis kids

- December 19th, 2013

The Senators are in full crisis mode.
Read the riot act by GM Bryan Murray following a 5-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils Wednesday night, they don’t have a lot of time to recover.
The Senators are back on the ice Thursday against the Florida Panthers at home. Murray didn’t point any fingers during his eight minute session with the players but he let them know in no uncertain terms he isn’t happy.
“Pulling out all the expletives: ‘Wake up … wake up and show up,” said winger Bobby Ryan.
“I think what I took most out of it was that we can be the most maddening team (Murray) has ever seen. We show up and play a great 64 minutes against St. Louis and then play zero against a team like New Jersey.”
Every aspect of the Senators is under the microscope. The coaching, leadership and character is all being questioned because the club hasn’t won two straight in over a month.
It should be noted MacLean took responsibility himself and admitted he has to do a better job coaching this group out of this mess. He needs to find answers as well but pointing the finger at the leadership group is quite something with captain Jason Spezza in his first year.
“We don’t play good enough, we don’t play hard enough, we don’t play long enough,” said MacLean Thursday morning. “That’s been going on since the first day. That hasn’t changed.
“We’re here again today trying to find solutions, trying to find a way to fix it, however that is. We’ve tried lots of things to this point that works for a game. We can’t seem to get it going to the next game. We have to keep trying.”
MacLean sounds a bit like a broken record. It was pointed out to him by the Sun that he made similar statements in mid-October, mid-November and early-December. This theme has been constant for 35 games. More was expected from this team.
“We’re still saying the same thing. We haven’t got consistent work ethic, structure and leadership in our group since Day 1. We still don’t have it,” said MacLean.
“We’re still searching for our best team, we’re still searching for our best game and we haven’t found it. If you work hard and your leadership group makes sure the team is prepared to play, your team should have the opportunity to have success.”
MacLean said he understands the expectations were high coming into the season after the club made the second round of the playoffs last spring.
Spezza said Murray has “been disappointed with the group from the onset of the season. It was just him letting us know that it’s not acceptable how we’re playing.”
Spezza, who is expected to play with Clarke MacArthur and Zack Smith against the Panthers, said the leaders have to be better at their jobs.
“Whenever you’re not winning you start looking at the top down,” said Spezza. “Being captain, it gets reflected on me first and I have to find a way our group more consistent and my own game more consistent.
“When things go wrong you look at the top down. It’s always been that way in sports.”
MacLean will make changes with defenceman Marc Methot playing. He was a healthy scratch against the Devils because MacLean didn’t want to change a winning lineup. Blueliner Patrick Wiercioch is out.
Craig Anderson returns to the net.

Categories: Hockey

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40 comments

  1. PaV says:

    Bruce, after the way that the SENS played post season with all the injuries and walking over the Habs – I would have NEVER thought that we would have played this badly thus far.

  2. Mike8888 says:

    If I was Murray, I’d recall Robocop from Bingo. At least he plays with an edge. Something too many on this team just don’t seem to have in them. I’m not surprised Gryba is still sitting. After he made the show, he seemed to forget completely what got him there, except for maybe 1 or 2 games. MacLean, despite his contract extension, must be on thin ice. If one or two players aren’t coming to play, it’s one thing, but when 15 don’t, well, who else is responsible?

  3. ChokerHater says:

    but MacLean’s job is safe………………..right!

  4. Bobby Goodman says:

    The Sens were stellar beating the small, gutless, slow, iligitimate Habs last year even though the team should have lost two games they won (the media all believed it and wrote about it). What wasn’t stellar was the way the team was rudely dismissed by the Pens. The complete collapse againt the Pens was a clear picture of what the team really was. Can you imagine if the team had a healthy Karly….with the his penchant for giving the puck away and watching while the other teams score, Ottawa would have lost the best 7 with the Pens in 3!

    The Murrays and Friends all enjoy a sinecure for as long as they want it courtesy of the Owner. What is the foundation for the future. Greening, Pageau, Conacher, Zzzz, Cowen who was awful last night but, he had to cover for the Rover, Wiercoch, Gryba, Da Costa, Petersson, Hoffman, Stone, Grant? Will Ryan want to stay in this environment (I suspect he will not).

    There is rot here in Ottawa and there needs to be a major overhall. The rebuild is a joke. The coaching is God awful. The Assistant Coaching is God awful…what did Dave Cam-moron ever do, what did he ever win that made him a great candidate for a NHL position? Perhaps he had the same credentials the Little General had!!! It is obvious to most, that Mac does not possess Head Coaching skills. When he cites all the reasons for a loss, 90% of the time they are under his control! The line changing has become bizarre. He loyalty to a couple of players defy reason and I have to believe there is some tampering going on from Murray’s office.

    Murray can read the riot act all he wants…no matter how hard he, family members and friends may try…they can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear!

  5. PaV says:

    Choke makes it easy to blame the coach. Spez needs to step up. That goal was out of this world at the end of the first.

  6. PaV says:

    Wow the Habs are down 3 zip. Lucky Subaan doesn’t have a point. It doesn’t matter.

    Kev the 24/7 is good. I like Lupul. May I ask why they had to show Phaneuf get dressed?

  7. ChokerHater says:

    Now you meet the Dogs
    After watching them and Ottawa’s game tonight, it doesn’t look good
    how long can Mac hang on
    tic tok, tic tok tic, tok, tic tok,
    It’s not his fault, but you all know that the Murray’s will be pointing at him
    Save my skin and fire him!
    AGAIN
    37 years and no cup

  8. Bobby Goodman says:

    York, Yorks, Yorkie diclined to say the Ottawa Sens were in crisis mode yesterday, but he offered if the team lost to Florida, they would be. I guess the Sens are now in crisis mode.

    I think it is time for loyal fans, friendly media and the Owner to face the truth. For Murray to suggest he thinks the team can still make the playoffs is foolish; he may be right, but is that the end game? Didn’t he promise a team that would compete with the league’s best? He certainly missed the mark, last night the Sens lost to one of the worst teams in the league.

    Indeed, for him to question the leadership, he is pointing a finger at the his hand picked Coaches, his hand picked Captain and Assistants, the un-lettered leaders on the team and of course, himself! Where is Melnyk and does he truly have confidence in the status quo (the media all do).

    Again last night the DAC was all over the map with the line combinations. The defence and defencemen were awful. The Ottawa Senators now sit second last in the entire league in goals allowed! What about team defence? Is this team difficult to play against? Why Kassian? Some writers said it was a better effort, what nonsense. Honesty/candor was never considered in coverage of t his team. It is now time. One writes how Coro was caught up the ice for the second game in a row….really? Isn’t there another who is caught many times every game? Was sitting Conacher for the slow Kassian in a game against Florida a smart move? Where is the Coaching?

    The DAC concedes that after 30 some odd games the team is what their record shows (duh). Sitting a point ahead of the Panthers and having played one more game, we have to concede the team is very bad. Yet, the GM tells us the team can make the playoffs (damn I feel better now!).

    Fans should be loyal to the organization but not to a horrible team and the people responsible! If we wont stand for bad service in a store, bad government/politicians, crappy actors why are there so many so very willing to offer their loyalty to those responsible for building a bad hockey team? If one points out some realities like how bad the team really is, the failings of the many coaches and the architect of the entire mess, does it mean he is a hater? Or, does he really care and wants more? I don’t think it helps to be so willing to accept failure.

    It’s time for everyone (fans and media) to demand more. It is time for everyone to ask questions (if something is worthy, it should hold up to scrutiny). Is this hockey club entertaining? Can it truly compete? Does the future look bright? Can the club continue to allow some to focus entirely on one side fo the puck (especially when only one team in the 30 team league has allowed more goals!!!!!)?

    Anderson and Lehner aren’t standing on their heads this year but they aren’t the reasons for the team’s record. The “pesky” weren’t very good last year and the “fearless” version is worse.

  9. Mike8888 says:

    Nice goal by Spezza, but another dismal effort. You have to think something will happen after the Christmas break. Either a big trade or a coaching change. The players don’t seem to be playing for MacLean anymore.

  10. ChokerHater says:

    navel gazing time
    ask yourself this
    if Alfie was here, would it be different.
    I think so.

  11. OD99 says:

    Changing the coach isn’t the answer, the players need to find it in themselves to be better at this stage.

    MacLean wasn’t in the running for Adams two years in a row, winning once, simply because of good net minding. The teams played with discipline and moved the puck well. This years team is a shadow of the team that they have been.

    There is no easy answer or single solution…this will work it self out some way. The team will play better or players will be moved, then perhaps some assistant coaches (no complaints here on that) and perhaps Murray won’t re-sign if things aren’t looking like they are turning around. Who knows but the status quo won’t remain.

    Very disappointing to watch them these days. My PVR was all screwed up so the 3rd period was choppy the entire time but from what I saw it looked like the Panthers were in our end for a good majority of it…brutal.

    Bobby I know you are passionate but my goodness…your soap box is growing daily with the Senators woes. Think what you will but supporting your team doesn’t mean you “willingly accept failure”…

    Guess you are over joyed Zibanejad got hurt last night, eh? Now if only Karlsson can get a severe injury, perhaps Cowen? Maybe then things can turn around.

  12. Bobby Goodman says:

    Don’t think so Choke. If Annika were here many of the problems would remain:

    - the GM and his friends would still be incompetent (but many here think otherwise)
    - the DAC and DAAC’s would still be juggling lines and dreaming bizarre combinations
    - Wiercoch, Gryba and Cowen would still be slow and vulnerable
    - Boro, made a difference would still have been sent down for his passion and intensity
    - Karly would still be caught up the ice many times every game (not his fault, it’s what the GM and DAAC want)
    - Greening would still be a big strong lug who cannot score goals
    - Neil would still be running around taking needless penalties but earning first star of game they lost
    - Kassian would still be the big, slow, tough guy that makes the team slower and weaker
    - Zzzzz would still be flailing all over hells half acre pretending he wants the puck but unable to carry 15 feet
    - Condra and Pageau would still be working very hard (but Pageau much faster) but contributing little
    - Conacher would still be sitting and penalized for his speed/courage and trying to make a difference
    - Spezza would still have be blamed for …. anything and everything

    Rather than rant about another team, you would think a Fool’s frustration would be focussed on the root cause (how awful his beloved Sens are).

    MIkey, I think you are right on. Once a Coach loses the bench/locker room…there can be no turning back. The silly thing is, he and his assistants shouldn’t have been there from the get go! If he and the other two go, that would mean that Murray would have hired and fired 12 coaches since his arrival and he would still need replacements so you could add 3 more for a total of 15 he brought on board!!!!! And player leadership is one of the problems?

    Is Murray still the GM to guide this hockey club? If so, by what measurement? I am expecting a reponse from a Fool who will go on about how bad the Habion’s are, the coach and Suckuban. I guess he needs something/anything that will offer comfort in these desperate times!

  13. PaV says:

    Mike8888 yeah another crappy effort but great goal by Sepz.

    Love the contradiction from the senile old man.

    Habs lost again. It’s ok, Subaan didn’t register a point. That’s a good thing.

  14. PaV says:

    OD loved the post you made a few entries down. Same crapped being spewed over and over and over. Classic.

  15. FKevin says:

    You would have to ask HBO as to shot selection Pav, I would imagine it was set up to showcase Phaneufs opulent, genteel lifestyle in what appeared to me to be Yorkville luxury condo. Good for him I reaaly don’t care where they live or who they live with as long as they compete on the ice. Sure would like to have somebody have my car warmed up and waiting when I leave for work though.
    Switching from the Leaf to Sens game frequently I think McLean and Carlyle must subscribe to the same “system” of getting out of their defensive zone. Either that or neithers D is very good.

  16. OD99 says:

    Just trying to bring some clarity to the whole thing Pav.

    Friggin hell the Senators are frustrating me these days…looked so goo for so long against the Blues (and even against the Kings) and then just forget it all for a couple of games.

    The Coyotes have some scorers throughout their line-up so if we run around our end and give the puck away like we have it will be over in a hurry again tomorrow.

    Spezza’s goal was sick – I was happy for him to keep the wolves off for a bit but a W would have made it much sweeter.

  17. Bobby Goodman says:

    The Fool only measures a defenceman on points earned…that is what he is told to do and he is a good follower (no room for free thinkers in his group). However, some (not many in Ottawa) subscribe to the notion that defencemen should defend first. Radical, I know. Montreal had 5 goals scored against them the other night and some players were minus 2 or 3); Suckuban, he was 0 in the plus minus. He doesn’t hurt HIS team.

    Those who possess the capablility to think on their own don’t hate players. Fools do though. I wish nothing but sucsess for Suckuban and Karlsson but I want Karly to care about winning and about defence…a tiny bit more. To see him smiling in an interview yesterday reveals much about how much he really cares. Call be crazy (indeed I am) but wasn’t he caught up the ice yet again last game trying to do it all on his own, did a Zibanisbad and fell down which led to another odd man rush which allowed the other team to score????

    Dave, you may be a stubborn man (most are to a certain extent) but even you cannot believe this hockey club will work itself out. If the DAC isn’t the problem and shouldn’t be moved, why should players be moved? And what does, work itself out mean? Does making the playoffs meat your standard?

    I remember working for a large teleco and a new salesman took over an account where we had 10% market share; he believed he was doomed. Having been around for centuries, I new differently. I told him he was in a position to shine. The salesman he replaced was awful. He worked for a large teleco (largest) and even a bit of work would improve the company’s position. He made the calls and he blew his numbers away. The same can be said for Maclean. He came here to replace The Little General (a brilliant choice by the GM). All Mac had to do was show up and he would be better. Mac inherited a team that wasn’t very good (squeezing into a play off birth is no measurement of success). He was the polar opposite of The Little General and the players loved it; they worked for him. Last year, again their were low expectations, the two goalies were unconscious. The hockey club wasn’t good when he took over the first year and just like my friend in sales, it wasn’t difficult to be better than his severely incapable predecessor. This year the goalies are not unconscious, the defence that Murray built, isn’t either. Coaching skills beyond being a nice guy, is required. It isn’t happening.

    If we fans question everything from starting goalie, who plays the PP, who should be called up, the gazillions bizarre line combinations, who sits/plays, style of play and approach to the game…can the Coach and his Assistants be doing a good job? How can anyone not look at the coach(s) if the team continues to allow a lot of shots (one of the league’s worst), a lot of goals (3rd most in the league) and poor record (23rd place in the 30 team league (with everyone back and healthy)?

  18. Bobby Goodman says:

    How mindless are the fans here in Ottawa, predictably, they are calling for the GM to “rip the C off of Spezza’s sweater”. He was put in a position to fail from the get go. The mindless lemmings didn’t like he when he was among the league leaders in scoring, they didn’t like him when he was 4th in the league 2 years ago on a bad hockey club and they don’t like him now (even though, as I pointed out, he is having a good year).

    Captains aren’t the only leaders on a hockey club. The Sun exposed the truth after Annika left (it was safe then) that Spezza was a team leader. But while Annika was here, fans didn’t know this. This year, he wears the C and they are looking for another reason to hate. If these mindless followers were blessed with an active brain cell, they might ask where are all the other leaders? Are their mouths glued shut (Annika’s was). Isn’t The Big Rig one of the team’s leaders? Why wont the fickle faniacs share a bit of their endless supply of venon for him? What about Neil? Isn’t he another who is celebrated as a leader on the ice, off the ice (and he is a real good guy!)? Shouldn’t he help the Captain in this time of crisis? Do the A’s stand for Absent?

    Can Spezza make Zzzz “Fearless” (that would be a big nope). Can he keep him on his feet, go into a corner (he wont anymore), skate with the puck, lead a rush, win a one on one battle etc. etc. etc. Can the C make Karly care about winning, not quit on a play and take some responsibility for goals scroed against? What about Greening? Can Spezza make the Android score goals (the team/media are now on a capaign to find other ways to celebrate the man with the $2m, no trade contract for 3 years). Can Spezza make “The Lehner” and Andersson better? Can the Captain: reduce Michalek’s +/- (now – 21), make Cowen, Wierchoch, Gryba more physical/quicker/better, make decisions for the Coach (like playing Kassian when the guy is not needed), make the Coach coach (structure – whatever the hell that may be – I know it is important though) (systems – there are many from what I understand),

    Spezza goes into the corners and gets the puck, he protects the puck better than anyone of the team and one of the league’s very best. He is one of the league’s best at the dots with 57%. He is 3rd on the team in scoring playing with anyone and everyone but mostly Michalek and Zzzzz (The Shooter). He is among the league’s leaders at the Center position in a number of stats. He is told to play a 200 foot game but another, who plays a 100 foot game is not! What else is this guy supposed to do?

    MINDLESS LEMMING AUDIENCE ADVISORY – Spezza is NOT the problem

    This hockey club ins’t very good. What does it take for someone to take notice!!!! Some don’t even make an effort! Some don’t care! The same mistakes are made game after game. Some sit for them while others are celebrated. Silly decisions are made behind the bench and in ivory towers. Lemmings, wake up!

  19. ChokerHater says:

    so one of the old guys comes back and scores
    a hat trick with the third in overtime to win
    WOW!
    tik tok tik tok tik tok

  20. OD99 says:

    Bobby I disagree with your thoughts on many things but I agree that the people who are all over Spezza are out to lunch. He isn’t the problem and while he isn’t necessarily a guy to get the crowd going (except for the very odd time one of his junior dangles work) he does work hard on the boards and has been more physical protecting the puck and working down low than he ever has before.

    His face-offs are under rated as is a good portion of his game. That said, I still think he is bothered by the groin or knee or back or something…he hasn’t had the same jump through the neutral zone as he has in the past although it seems he is getting a bit more zip to his stride lately. Would be huge if he could be a difference maker again.

    I don’t know if the club will work itself out or not but I believe there is enough talent in the forward ranks to play much better than they have and I think even a small improvement in the defensive zone play would go a long way towards having some success in games. It isn’t coaching or fear or anything that is preventing these guys from making basic passes to one another and THAT is why the team looks slow and turns the puck over.

  21. Bobby Goodman says:

    The overall stats were too close to give any team a real edge in yesterday’s game (Coyotes/Sens). But it came down to a single goal in OT and Bruce was right, indeed, Vermette was left alone/unattended in front of the net to score the game winning goal. But Bruce failed to identify who the flat footed defenceman was who left Vermette alone. There were only 3 on the losing team that ended up in the minus column and one of them was the same guy who offered the free pass to Antoine Vermette. Karlsson is now, minus 10 for the year (oh yes, for the Fool, Suckubban was plus 3 for his team that scored 4 goals and he with one of them).

    Cowen, was plus one before the game, but now he is 0. Interestingly enough, Methot has reduced his minus to 6. Methot has a different partner, Cowen in now with Karlsson.

    The Sun again blessed a nasty Letter to the Editor lambasting the Captain (and agreed). It shouldn’t surprise me. Spezza didn’t have a good game but, he didn’t hurt the team either. Again he played with Michalek who leads the team by a large margin with a whopping -21(only Nail Yakopov is worse). He may have had a break away if someone could have made a decent pass. Many times he moved the puck to a team mate who simply turned it over. On the PP he was often open when a certain D selfishly blasted away often having the shot blocked and leave the zone (everyone had to come outside and valuable PP time was lost). Shots from well outside when to goalie has a clear view, rarely go in.

    A man advantage means just that, the team has an extra man on the ice but Ottawa managed just one PP goal! The players moved the puck quickly finding the open man with brisk accurate passes and Methot finished with a goal from 25 feet out (not 50). How many times was the puck lost because someone wanted to do it all himself? What good is it to take the puck coast to coast if it will abruptly be lost. Why dump the puck in when there is no chance of recovery? Why try to do it all yourself and force your team mates to stop at the blueline? This can only turn out bad: 1) the puck carrier continues to enter the zone, alone; 2) team mates put him off-side and momentum is lost; 3) everyone has to belly back a re-group (killing valuable PP time). All too often the Sens shoot themselves in the foot with bad passes (behind the reciever, too far ahead and 100 ft long), poor dump ins, shots that are blocked or miss the net and exit the zone etc.

    According to the letter (a certified member of the Blind Lemming Society) Spezza is responsible for the team’s problems. It matters not that the Android does nothing, Kassian dresses, Pageau was 14% in FOs last night and is -5 in 14g, Zzzz is -8 in 29 games, Boro returned to Bingo, the goalies poor performances, the DAC and DAACs inability/unwillingness to effect change. And it doesn’t matter if Karly continues to focus on one side fo the puck, pad his personal stats, and hurt his team.

  22. Bobby Goodman says:

    Oh yes, it is rumoured that Eugene told the GM to reduce the team payroll by 2 meg.

    I think the GM and his brilliant band of managers who, according to some guy named AJ, is a well oiled machine can accommodate the Owner, He may kill two birds with one stone: reduce the salary and make most of the Sens fans in Ottawa deleriously happy. He should focus on trading Spezza.

    Actually, it would be a good move for eveybody (especially Spezza).

    - reduce Cap hit and organization financial losses
    - gain assets in return to help Murray in the 4th, 5th and 6th year of the 3 year rebuild
    - allow Murray to make Zzzzz the number one center
    - free up the GM to acquire more Swedes, more Kassians, Androids, NCAA players, tiny forwards etc
    - free the GM to get yet another puck movng defencemen they so desperately need (WTF?)
    - free up resources to spend even more money on the incessant promotion of all things Karly

    The only downside I see is who will the GM blame the team’s woes on should Spezza be moved (ditto the DAC). Certainly the situation would immediately improve!!! The team would be faster, stronger, better!!! But, what if the move didn’t help the team at all? My God, what would the blind lemmings all do????

    I sincerly hope Jason Spezza is moved. I can’t imagine how it must be for him. He “must try harder” yet others who don’t, are celebrated! It makes me physically ill listening to Dumb and he of he nasal drone, Dummer continuosly promote Karly. It was revealed yesterday that skates faster backwards than most forwards (Lord tunderin’ Jesus). The Swedes in the League are the best defencemen! I think this is absolute nonsense of course.

    There are so many very good defensemen in the league now and some coming from Junior who will blow many of the Swedes away! Kronwal of Detroit is the only Swede that comes to mind who is very physical the rest primarily are soft. Kronwal must be a Canadian. There are phenominal American defencemen: Buff, Suter are but two veterans but newcomers include Jones and my favourite Trouba for the Jets. For most teams in the league, Canadians are the ones who are counted on to win games/championships (they can play the game any way yo want). Of course there are the usual suspects that include: Weber, Seabrook, Keith, Subban, Fowler, Letang, Bieksa, Phaneuf, Doughty and many more but their are kids on the horizon like the 19 Oreily, Gingras and in junior: Nurse, Ekblad; there is no comparison who the better defencemen are! Should anyone take the time to look at who won the cup the last few years (Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh) they wouldn’t see a many Swedes if any. Some of the top teams out west: LA, San Jose are short on Swedes and they are legitimate contenders for the Staley Cup.

    Dumb and Dummer truly must think we’re all bind lemmings! But there are some who appreciate great skill but know that it matters not if sacrifice, passion and will to win is…

  23. Visitor - Pierre D. says:

    MINDLESS LEMMING AUDIENCE ADVISORY – Spezza is NOT the problem

    Laughed a lot, but 100% correct.

    The problem is Eugene Melnyk. He who has allegedly asked for payroll to be slashed anothe $2,000,000 by the end of the year.
    The Senators need a new owner folks, it’s that simple. Melnyk has said he is never going to sell the team and that’s very unfortunate. This team will never grow and never be successful under a salary structure this low. You need to spend to be successful, in any enterprise. Melnyk says the team will win 6 of 8, I say balderdash. They will struggle to defend, score some goals and the poor goaltenders, I have nothing but sympathy for them. Shift after shift they are left alone to fend for themselves. It is the same thing in Toronto and at times in Montreal. But those two teams are not constrained by a an all-too-low budget.

    Bruce, I know what I’m saying isn’t popular. It might not even be permissible in these parts. But I truly believe the Ottawa Senators need new ownership. The salary cap is only going up and if the spending doesn’t increase, the wins will not.

    Spezza is not the issue, I agree.
    Talent is the issue. Ottawa’s team lacks talent and until then Bryan will have to struggle on a shoestring budget where he can’t and will never win.

  24. Neil Harris says:

    The last time I posted here there was a bit of a debate. I said that Karlsson is not in the same league as the likes of Subban or Doughty (I would add several more that list if asked….Keith, Weber or Chara to name but a few). Some agreed and some disagreed as should be the case – this is after all an exchange of opinions.

    But my point was reinforced last night on Vermette’s OT goal. None of the defenceman I consider superior to EK65 would casually allow a player to walk to the net like that. His indifference to defence could not be more obvious. Until he knows how to play in his own end, he will never be, in my humble opinion, a truly elite defenceman, in spite of his prodigious offensive talents.

    As for Spezza, I only partly agree Bobby. He is unfairly demonized by the press and many fans but I also don’t see him as captain material. I could be totally wrong on the guy but I don’t see him lighting up a dressing room or inspiring a team. Some would argue Neil should get the “C” but his questionable on ice judgement (i.e. ripping at goalies face mask) would negate that. The pickings are slim on this current roster. I would give it to Methot, whose scratching the other night shows us why there will be no Adams nomination for Mac this year, but that’s a whole different matter.

  25. Mike8888 says:

    I really do hope Melnyk sells the team. For most owners, professional sports teams are a very expensive toy that elevates them to the limelight. Although spending to the cap never guarantees success, spending to a self imposed cap usually ensures failure, except for the odd season, when absolutely everything goes right.

    Spezza is not the problem. He’s a world class centre that every team would love to have. I believe the main problem is that Murray put too much faith in the progression of Cowen, Grybra, and Weircioch. Cowen perhaps because of losing almost all of last season and his surgery, Gryba, because of his inexperience and refusal to play physical every night, and Weircioch, just not being ready for anything but a 5 or 6 slot.

    That being said, I don’t know why the coaching staff doesn’t adjust by simplifying the d zone breakouts to compensate. I’ve seen less talented teams just throw the puck up the boards and at least get it out safely. Anything would be an improvement.

  26. Bobby Goodman says:

    Good early morning Pierre!

    It is a double edged sword; we in Ottawa are extremely fortunate to have Melnyk come to the rescue, otherwise we wouldn’t have a team here. Whether he spends money or not, we should be grateful. What he can and should do if money is scarce, is hold he employees to account. While some (many) suggest the current GM and members of his staff are a “well oiled machine” and should “get a Christmas bonus with a new contract”, I ask what the hell they have done? 2.5 years ago he promised the Owner and we fans he was going to build a team that would compete with the league’s best and that isn’t happening, is it. The current version of the Sens have trouble competing with some of the worst!

    Dave suggests the team has enough good players to compete every niight. While I think anyone, no matter how good or bad, they should compete hard, but the team is far from competitive. I have confidence in Lehner but Anderson is the team’s starter!? The 4th line isn’t really a 4th line (too small and 2 aren’t NHLers). Turris’ line is great, Smith’s line is 1 player away from being good and Spezza’s line is short 2 players. The defence are the teams achilles heal (sending Boro down showed how “committed” the Organization is to icing a competitive team). This game is all about spee and the D, by and large are slow and soft.

    This team is awful, the coaching is awful and the numbers prove it (“after 30 games you are what you are”).

    One of he Leaf’s staff got to O’Reilly. Late last week he spoke how he would love to join his peers at the WJHC (you could see the excitement in his eyes). But, the Leafs decided he was going to stay (they really need the 19 year old and his minus 11). O’Reilly said he was ‘relieved” but we all must know that isn’t true.

    How is it possible for Hokey Canada to fail? Afterall, they have the “program of excellence” (that has seen the Countrty’s NHLers and Juniors fall in the world rankings). They have a history of hiring the best coaches (who are averse to skilled skaters) and this year is no different with the amazing Sutter at the helm!

    Connor Brown leads the OHL with 21g, 47a for 47 points in 35 games and he is plus 26! But he wasn’t invited to play for his country; neither were two others who are 2nd and 3rd in League scoring! With the shutout loss to the Swedes in pre-tournament play, perhaps they could have used these 3 talented kids. Team Canada was outshot 16 to 5 by the Swedes in the first period alone and only the remarkable play by their goaltender prevented the outcome from becoming more embarrasssing. Perhaps the team could have used the 6′, 4″ 185 pound Darnel Nurse. Nurse is described as an exceptional skater, very physical, best in his own end (who the hell needs that, right) but his downfall most certainly has to be he currently leads all the defencemen in scoring (OHL). Perhaps his plus 23 makes him too risky?

    Man predict they’ll finish 5th, it…

  27. Bobby Goodman says:

    ….many predict they will finish 5th. What that means is they will not be in a metal round. I agree with that prediction. It is difficult to understand what Hokey Canada are thinking; these are the very same people who scorned RNH (Cam-moron), Mackinnon (he played a 4th line role and saw little icetime), Toffoli, Ceci and hosts of others. This year the NHL will ignore what Seguin is doing. They may ignore Duchene, Subban and many more. Do the Americans play their best? What about the Russians, Swedes and other countries? I Nicholson and his clique believe they know better than most. They don’t. Sometimes overthinking can lead to very bad decisions and ultimately failure. Hockey at anytime but especially on the big ice surface is ALL ABOUT SPEED AND SKILL! Smaller ice surfaces are a great equalizer. I find it amusing that Mr. Happt scouts games and players; he should of course why do that when he has his mind made up already. Wouldn’t that imply he is considering those are currently playing right now? We all know that isn’t the case at all.

    This is the same guy who wanted Sakic who was well past him prime AND RETIRED! He had Morrow on Team Canada. Canada was very fortunate to win Gold the last time when it was hosted in Vancouver because he didn’t select the league’s best! It may happen again for the 2014 Olympics.

    I’m likin’ this Simpson guy more and more; I don’t always agree with him but he is the only one in the local media who is couragous enough to speak the truth. That aside, he is very well spoken and can get wordy sometimes but has opinions that are worth paying attention to. A month ago the discussion was about the sad but all to real, decline in the number of kids playing hockey in Canada. There are a few reasons why that is happening but prohibitive cost(s) is the most compelling. When you consider the equipment which includes comsumables (sticks, tape, drinks, gasoline), fees etc. the sport is out of reach for many families and it is a damn shame. I grew up when all you needed was 2 Macleans magazine, your brothers skates, a fozen horseball, toughe/sweater/gloves and an outdoor rink where we all lived. Today, outdoor rinks are disappearing. Sean Simpson acknowleged the financial burden on Candadian families and introduced the notion that the federal governement explore options to make hockey accessable again and he cited Sweden’s model. It made great sense!

    I get a kick out of the the NHL lexicon. Recently the word is “heavy” (physical). They play a heavy game, he plays a heavy game I heard it 50 times one night (that too was heavy). There must be a memo that goes out to everyone. Time and Space replaced room/open. It is akin to saying a player is tall and long, for the sport of hockey time and space is the same! Many of the terms used in the coverage of basketball are now used for the NHL. I am wating for someone to say put back.

    The shooter’s back tonight and he’s coming in hot baby!!!!

  28. Bobby Goodman says:

    I am consciously going against the grain of Governments at all levels, the news/enertainment media (print, radio, TV, internet), the publicly funded CBC – Hockey Night in Canada and businesses of all kinds, to wish you all:

    A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY, HEALTHY AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR!!!!!

    For the majority of those who I may have offended from time to time, I hope you will consider that my rants are my opinions only and I do it in a self deprecating manner……..

  29. PaV says:

    Can always count on the senile old man rant eh?

    The tying goal in the third was due to Spez having three (comes after two Bobby) chances to clear the puck. Granted he didn’t have much puck support, but three chances is a lot.

    OD – I skip over the rants now, they don’t mean much. You can summarize them with as ‘Spezza is good and the rest of the team is bad’ Throw in some immature nicknames and we are good to go.

    Kev – great comeback by the leafs on Saturday night. What did you think about the CBC conspiracy that Reimer gave RC a dirty look?

    VIS – I do not think Spez is the problem, I do however think that he is trying to do too much. We do not know what kind of leader he is yet because of the teams struggles. When Alfie was here, he lead by example. I think Spez is trying to do that, but also trying to do too much. I hear that his back is acting up, which is never a good thing.

    I thought that we had some great positives in the loss to PHX. I think that we let our foot off the gas, but when it comes down to it we can blame whoever was on the ice but sometime the other team is just better. The Sens ‘identity’ this year is of a team that isn’t very good. They are inconsistent and when we get a lead it seems that they wait for the other shoe to drop.

    Bring on the PENS.

  30. ChokerHater says:

    I keep hearing that every game they have “some great positives”‘ I’m not seeing any though, maybe I should close one eye.
    Good luck with Pittsburgh

    MERRY CHRISTMAS TO DON AND BRUCE
    AND ALL THE OTHER CONTRUBUTORS ON HERE

  31. Bobby Goodman says:

    Senility….but of course, is but one of my many problems Fool.

    Should Karly take no blame for the winning goal? Do you support him standing still and watching the other team score (again)? Can you at the very least acknowlege he has been on the ice for more goals scored against than for. From time to time, men actual do cry, they don’t fantasize abot the very fortunate few who play in the NHL and they will accept reality. Since some members of the media are now saying the team isn’t very good, the Fool can be so bold as to join them.

    “I thought we had some great positives in the loss the Phoenix”…please share what impressed you so much? Was it the Sens 1 for 7 with the man advantage? Anderson’s .895 save percentage. The DAC’s decision to dress and sit Kassian? The turnovers? Karly and Cowen’s minus 1 (Karly now minus ten)? Spez’s 2 shots on net and his 3 turnovers…no, his four…five ya that’s right, his 5 turnovers in his own end in the OT? The play of Pageau and ConCon? Please share with us what those positives were…I may have missed them.

    So the team’s ID is “not a very good team”??? UNDERSTATEMENT ALERT! BTW: identities (and the term is nonsense) is predetermined by how skilled they may be. That will then dictate what kind of game they can/should play to be effective. I doubt that in the fall teams decide, hey, we’re going to decide where are going to be good.

    It looks like Crosby is pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes again this year; most believe he is the best player in world. He isn’t of course, just ask the Fool. He doesn’t know who the best player is, but he is abslutely sure it isn’t Crosby!!! The fact that, again this year, he leads the NHL in scoring (54 pts in 38 games) matters not. The reality he is leading his team with Malkin, Letang, Engelland, Oprik, Martin and Scuderi all out of the lineup is inconsequential. The fact that he is padding his lead in league scoring with all those missing is mis-leading. According to the Fool he is not the best because…………he is not the best damnit!!!!!!!!

    “When Alfie was here he led by example”. Yep, he led the team to squeak into the playoffs last year. He could pass gas and the Fool would say he led by flatulence and it would be a good thing! He led the team to victory over the small, slow, cowardly, frightened and iligitimate Habs but couldn’t lead for a single game agains the Pens (he actually conceded defeat; he leads every Captain in Sens history…he is the only one to say such a thing). He led by example against the Leafs all those years. Annika is leadig again this year and don’t even think about Detroit’s 7 or was it a 10 game losing streak…Annika was there, leading by examle. When Spezza was 4th in the league scoring two years ago, I never heard a word from the Fool that Spezza was leading in any way (measuable or not).

    It will be tough for the Sens the next few games, they play the depleted Pens and Boston home and away!

  32. FKevin says:

    Neil, forget about the veteran elite D,after paying increased attention to the western conference the last month or so I am not convinced that Karlsson is even the best young Swedish dman in the league Ekman-Larssen is already a superior player in my opinion and Brodin in Minny is own his way to being an all around force, as you corectly stated Eriks indifference to defence is obvious. It’s actually become almost defiantly indifference, very puzzling that it’s allowed to continue.
    Pav I don’t think there’s any conspiracy Reimer was pissed and I’m happy about it.i wouldn’t want him to take being yanked nicely. I think it’s clear that the coach and for that matter management are convinced that Bernier is their #1 and are slowly moving in that direction. For at least this year the situation is tenable and as long as both play well there is no risk into going into the off season. The only way I see one moving during this season is in a huge deal with Reimer as just a part. Given that the Leafs are cap tight, it would be very difficult to swing a major deal. So hopefully they push each other for game time for the rest of the season.

  33. Neil Harris says:

    Kevin, the Leafs are a lot like the Sens last year. A team that is ravaged by injuries being bailed out by excellent goal tending. Realistically you guys, much like us last year, really have no business being in the playoff picture. The silver lining for you is that if you can squeak into the playoffs and get healthy, you might actually be able to make a run in the weak East once you get Bolland and Bozak back. I still think you need another top tier defenceman to be a real contender though. That’s a lot of “ifs” and if history has taught me anything the Leafs will find a way to fail but unlike most Sens fans I actually wish you guys well….I figure we only have ourselves to blame for getting out cheered every time we play you and losing every time we play you in the playoffs.

  34. Bobby Goodman says:

    Last night may have been Spezza’a worst in his entire career. He was horrid, even his performance in FO was terrible. I wonder if he is suffering an injury of some sort. I would hate to think he played that bad, completely healthy.

    It was good see Conacher get rewarded for his hard work. If Greening is worth 2meg for 3 yeas then Smitty is worthy 4m. He wont get it of course and he shouldn’t, it is a testiment to how awful Greening is. Smitty is playing some outstanding hockey though. He, IS a centerman and on is way to matching his best year in the League!

    Karly’s goal was a thing of beauty; no one ever questioned his offensive skills (altough he played one on one against a 19 year old). Predictably, the Team won and Karly had a good offensive game entirely because the bangers were all out of the lineup (Scuderi, Letang, Engelland, Martin and Orpik – 5 of the starting 6 defencemen on the hockey club). The Pens lost Dupuis when his knee was hurt when Crosby was tagged by Methot. Crosby was hurt as well. The win was needed but with so many out of the lineup the Pens were indeed the Wilkes-Barrey Penguins. Still, the Pens managed 27 shots on net (2 less than the Sens). They had the puck enough to force Ottawa to take 8 penalties to their 3. The hits count was the same. With all the yute in the lineup, they gave the puck away 18 to the Sens 6 but took it away 12 to 8 and in the circle it was almost a push 28 – 27.

    I hazzard to think what the Sens might have done and what their record would be if they were missing Karly, Methot, Philips, Cowen, Gryba, Wiercoch (the last 3 plus Corvo are interchangable). Bennett has been out of their lineup for a while as well and now Dupuis. I can say for certain, they wouldn’t have won 7 games straight!!! Christmas came early for the team in need in the way of a team ravaged by injuries. Maclean said we fans need to be patient; I suspect he meant we should wait until the Sens play a against a team that was missing 5 of their top 6 defenceman and a regular forward!

    Karly got 3 points last night but was God awful in his own end. This is what we have come to expect from him against soft teams and Pittsburgh, with the lineup the way it is, is soft! It will be very ineresting to see what game he brings when he plays against the Bruins the next 2 games. For the most part, they are healthy and McQuaid is back from injury.

    Seguin now has 19 goals, I wonder if Mr. Happy is paying attention.

    Winnipeg is so much better than their record; I am not a big fan of their Coach. They may have some player issues (Kane and Buff dance to the beat of their own drum and I think some players – Ladd, Wheeler – have had enough).

    Every time I get to watch San Jose (what a game last night between them and Colorado) I am amazed by the size, speed and skill of Brent Burns. I loved the kid as a rough and tumble defencemen but had no idea he could be so good up front.

    Annika led by expample again.

  35. FKevin says:

    I’d like to take issue with you Neil but have to agree, definetly a good dman short, also need to get the goons off the 4th line and develop an effective unit centered by McClement, D’Amigo is showing signs of being a useful utility player, they day of playing goon only types may finally be over. Not a moment too soon.

  36. OD99 says:

    Catching up a little…I don’t think that Karlsson is indifferent to defense but I do think he isn’t that defensively aware. It isn’t that he didn’t want to defend Vermette, I don’t think he had a clue he was there and that is almost as bad.

    That said, Spezza didn’t do much that game either and he had ton of time to clear the puck on the tying goal but he made a desperation swipe at it and gave it right to the point man. As in almost all plays, there isn’t one person responsible.

    This talk of leading by example…who are Alfie’s line-mates these days? He is playing quite well and producing despite being 10 years Spezza’s senior. I don’t know why you want to constantly compare them but in my opinion you will lose that argument each time. Alfie has scored game winners in regulation, in OT, set up many great plays that led to goals this year (while being physical, hounding the puck, controlling the pace of play,etccc) while Spezza has one nice goal of note on a dangle…that came in a loss. I like Spezza but trying to disparage Alfie to somehow make Spezza look better won’t work because Spezza never has been and especially at his age now, never will be as complete a player as Aflie. Spezza may be out of the league in 5 years if his skating continues to decline at this pace as well. One of the reasons I am not totally opposed to trading him before he becomes a UFA.

    On Karlsson again…Keith has been able to keep pace with him while playing on a star studded team that is killing the PP (there are 4 Hawks forwards in top 29 of NHL forward scoring) while Bobby Ryan is the only Senator in the top 35 in forward scoring.

    Outside of Keith, Karlsson is 10 clear of the next wave of offensive defensemen and on this pace would be 20+ clear. That is pretty incredible no matter how you slice it and quite frankly I think Karlsson has only show his old self in the last 10 games or so. In addition, he has been more aggressive defensively as well – pinching guys off at the defensive blue line and clearly taking the body much more. I think Kalrsson will be the last man standing if he keeps up his current play (in the last 3-5 specifically he seems to have more determination) when the Norris is handed out.

    Burns is a very good player, always liked him.

    I also wonder if Seguin might not get a look for Team Canada…he is having a great season and has speed to burn so it would seem he should meet the criteria. Good to see Giroux playing so well now too and will be hard pressed to keep Kunitz off the team. Will be very interesting to see how the team shakes out.

  37. Bobby Goodman says:

    Dave, I hope you (and everone here) had a great Christmas).

    I don’t disparage Annika to make Spezza look better. I have never called Spezza a leader (the Sun/Sens did that!). Nor have I ever questioned Annika’s performance…ever! I have only said, and I have said it many times, Annika’s leadership is totally over rated. Leadership has been described by hockey people and this paper as a quality players possess to make the others around them play better. If that is true, why didn’t the Sens show up against the Pens last year. Where were they against the Ducks in ’07? Where were they year after year againist the Leafs and against Buffalo that year? Where is Annika in Detroit’s mighty fall this year? Is he leading?

    What do you expect from Karly tomorrow night Dave? Will we see him collect 3 points? What do you expect from Zzzzz?

    I watched the Canadian’s this morning against Germany and what struck me was how in the world Mantha would be passed over by so many teams to end up in Detroit. Who he hell would want a 6-4 (some say he is now 6-5), 200 lb (and growing) natural goal scorer. I said before the draft that the only kid to score 50 goals in Major Junior Hockey in Canada should go early…he didn’t.

    Lazar looked very ordinary against a bad Germany hockey club as did Drouin!

    Dumba made some great plays but he also made some glaring mistakes as he did the other two games. Ekblad was solid but not amazing. Morrisy (5-11) and the other defensemen looked ordinary but the exceptional skating and difficult to play against 6-4 Darnel Nurse is too risky and wouldn’t help the hockey club! Go figure.

    Dave, where do you expect (not hope) the Canadian Juniors will finish? I have them out of a medal for the second year and by default out of Gold for the 5th year. I hope I am wrong, but if I am right, you have to wonder if Hokey Canada will make an about face and start selecting the most talented and leave the politics out of the selection process (Dumba was cut two years in a row and he does play for Sutter out west).

    I watched Niscushkin (SP?) play a few times before last years draft and was shocked he went as late as he did. Jim Nill snatched him up! Again, how often does a 6-4, swift skating, extremely talented kid come around??? Not often enough! The kid is getting more comfortable in the NHL as a 19 year old and from what I have seen, he is simply amazing. I don’t know if anyone here, heard of some of the questions that is asked when a personal profile is built for the prospects. I can only describe them as absurd. If someone’s business is only hockey how he hell can kids like Niscushkin and Mantha be over looked? How the hell in the world could Lee be selected over Anze Kopitar (a tall, swift skating and talented forward)? And how could Zzzz be selected over Couturier and Brodin? It is my opinion the NHL is an old boys club of cliques, family and freinds and ofen sound hockey acumen is not really necessary.

  38. OD99 says:

    Bobby I will agree that Alfie was put on a pedestal and that some of his attributes were made larger than life. I think wearing a C is over-rated by many. To say that a captain is at fault when a team plays poorly is absurd – they are grown men who are extremely competitive and strive for success at all times. You don’t make the NHL without these attributes.

    I don’t care what kind of leader Spezza or Alfie were quite frankly – I care about what they do on the ice and Aflie did just about all you could ask of anyone. Spezza does a lot of things but the heart, determination and grit aspect seems to leave many wanting. His skill separates him but the same things you call out Karlsson on are the same things people have been on Spezza about his entire career. I am shocked you don’t see the similarities.

    I haven’t seen enough of Team Canada yet to say where they may finish but I did see them get dominated by the Swedes so I don’t think we are the gold favourite many said we were. I would expect to medal and think the Russia and Sweden will be in the finals with Canada beating the USA in the bronze match.

    I agree on Mantha and Nikushkin but Mantha was talked about as being a lazy player and Nikushkin is Russian and everyone is worried about them staying to play in the KHL so there is some risk. Still, you just never know – Mantha looked good against Germany, let’s see what he does against other teams and in his NHL career.

    I don’t agree on Couturier…yet anyway. Too early and Zibby was too raw to say how their careers will go along. Brodin Is going to be a keeper for sure, really like his game. Hindsight is easy though.

  39. Bobby Goodman says:

    Indeed hindsight is easy, but what did Zibanisbad do that inspired Murray to waste his first round pick (and the 6th overall) on him?

    2008-09: For the Junior 18-year-old team, he scored 2 goals and added 2 assists for 4 points in 11 games. In 4 games for Sweden’s Under-16 team, Zibanejad scored 1 goal and added 1 assist for 2 points.

    2009-10: Spent the season with the Djurgarden club. In 28 games for the Junior 18-year-old squad, Zibanejad scored 14 goals and added 21 assists for 35 points. In 5 playoff games at that level, He scored 5 goals and added 4 assists for 9 points. In 14 games for the Junior 20-year-old team, Zibanejad scored 2 goals and added 2 assists for 4 points. Zibanejad played for Sweden at the 2010 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, scoring 5 goals and adding 4 assists for 9 points in 6 games. In 13 international game overall, he scored 9 goals and added 6 assists for 15 points.

    2010-11: Zibanejad again played for the Djurgarden organization. For the 20-year-old squad, he scored 12 goals and added 9 assists for 21 points in 27 games. He also played in 3 playoff games at that level, scoring 1 goal and adding 2 assists for 3 points. Zibanejad also saw his first action in Sweden’s Elite league, scoring 5 goals and adding 4 assists for 9 points in 26 games. He also played in 7 playoff games at that level, scoring 1 goal and chipping in 1 assist for 2 points.

    His successes were in inferior leagues with age restrictions that pale in comparison to the CHL. In the SEL when he competition was stiffer he was awful and road the pines.

    Indeed hindsigh is 20/20 but for my money, I would look to Major Junior Hockey in Canada. Yes you will find the odd Swede that plays like a N/A player but they are few and far between. I wanted Zzzz top be good and he came with much fan fare (like Daisey the Air Rifle with full page pics and promise of greatness). But from what I have seen and I think most would have to agree, we don’t see the speed, skill, toughness, passion and competiveness necessary to make a contribution at the NHL level. In spite of getting evey opportunity, he hasn’t scored in 11 games. He doesn’t creat opportunities for himself or others; hell he can’t even skate! I have to ask you Dave, what feeds your trust in his potential?

  40. OD99 says:

    First, I don’t believe he is going to be the player many say he will. I don’t see him ever being a true #1 center and hope he can continue to improve (he is only 20) and grow in the areas he needs to grow. I have agreed with you from the beginning on his creativity Bobby. I would love to see him do a curl and look for a trailer, or keep the puck and circle the net looking for a guy breaking into a lane. So far we see him shoot the puck from a fair distance and dish the puck to a winger right at the blue line.

    That said, often he will get the puck in our zone and skate it through the neutral zone, dish the puck and drive the net – these are all good hockey plays – and it gives his wingers some time and room to make a play.

    He also almost always played above his age group so I don’t think he ever was in a position to thrive and put up lots of points – it probably stunted his growth as a player a bit – but he clearly has an NHL shot and an NHL body. He isn’t lightning quick but he has a powerful stride and you can see he is strong. A big body that can score 20+ goals and get 50+ points would be fine in my eyes. I don’t know what Couturiers potential is either but he hasn’t translated all of his junior points in to NHL points yet either.

    Both are young and have lots of room to improve.

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