Uh-oh

- June 29th, 2014

PHILADELPHIA _ Well, that didn’t go quite as planned.
For two months the Senators were hoping to trade captain Jason Spezza at the NHL entry draft.
Nothing happened.
Not quite the case.
Spezza rejected a deal to go the Predators. Not quite in the same fashion that Dany Heatley wouldn’t go to Edmonton but there are some similarities. Spezza would not take Nashville off his list.
That strikes me as odd. You would think Mike Fisher would maybe pick up the phone and try to sell Spezza on the city. You can’t make a guy do what he doesn’t want to do.
Part of the problem with the Predators is their image. For some reason people don’t consider them a serious contender. Not true. They’ve got some good talent but definitely need more scoring. David Poile is one of the more aggressive GM’s in the league. He has conviction.
Spezza musn’t think he can win there. That can be the only explanation.
You get the sense this whole Spezza trade scenario is about to turn ugly, very ugly. He hasn’t said a word. Won’t answer calls. Those close to him say he’s pretty much gone underground.
His agent Rick Curran told me the other day he and his camp will be happy to speak when Spezza is dealt. My thinking is they break the silence at some point here. We all know Spezza can’t come to camp. A deal will get done before September. The draft was a good pressure point.
Heading home. Take care.

Categories: Hockey

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9 comments

  1. Bobby Goodman says:

    Bruce, you think it odd that Spezza didn’t want to go to Nashville; one of the 10 he said he wouldn’t go? Spezza wants to go to a legitimate Stanley Cup contender and Nashville doesn’t qualify. The notion that he “rejected a deal” isn’t accurate; he NEVER wanted to go there!

    David Poile is another GM that has been around forever but to suggest he’s built a contender in Nashville is silly. The team will, in all probability, miss the playoffs again this year. Poille has been in the NHL for 42 years and never been part of a Stanley Cup winning team. He couldn’t help Calgary win a Cup, as GM he couldn’t help Washington and since 1998, he couldn’t do it in Nashville. He may have conviction and he may be aggressive, but he is a lousy GM. He was responsible for the 2014 US Olympic team and he made some personel decisions that can only be described as blunderous.

    Will the situation with Spezza and Murray turn ugly, very ugly? It depends on what you define as ugly. Don’t expect Jason Spezza to say anything that might be described as ugly, it’s never been his style. The situation is ugly because the DAGM made it so. Is Doug Wilson playing out the Thornton situation in the media? I’ve only read he will listen to offers. Kessler was moved to Anaheim with no “trouble” and he only wanted to go to two teams and he didn’t wavered. He wasn’t made to look like a hard ass and inflexible. All the ugly is on Murray and it was made that way by his mouth and lack of class and professionalism.

    The uglyness started at the end of the year. Rather than be smart and praise Spezza for what he was able to accomplish after missing year due to back surgery and enduring nagging injuries early, 9 wingers and most of them awful, lousy hockey club, the DAGM said he had to be better, coulnd’t lead, didn’t play defence or a 200 foot game. How would the constant criticism help a trade? Did Wilson criticize Thornton. Has Bergevin criticized UFA Vanek? Was James Neal criticized? Wouldn’t it have been classy, professional and more advantagous to conduct his business behind closed doors? But that is not the DAGM’s way. Perhaps it’s insecurity but he needs to solicit media and fan support to make others responsible for his failure even if it means inventing Gods, Kings and Villians.

    Should Spezza return phone calls? Can you blame him for going dark? What would he accomplish by talking to the media?

    There is trouble for sure and it starts with T and it rymes with B and stands for TRADE. Is Spezza responsible for it, absolutely not. He’s been extremely well paid and been delivering for 11 years and, he’s been totally accommodating. Is Spezza another who should be blamed for his contract ($49m)? Does the GM in Carolina knock Stall, or Sedins in Vancouver? Where else do we continually see uglyness?

    The uglyness, again, is all on Murray. Because of the uglyness, Spezza has to be moved before camp. It didn’t have to be this way.

  2. PaV says:

    Bruce, you saw my comment on twitter and responded. If a player requests a trade, he should give up the right to where he is dealt. There is no difference between him and Heatly. Yes, Heatly did it in a more public fashion, but there is no difference. I get that there are ‘rights’ players have, as Simmer has pointed out many times, but you should give up those rights if you want to be moved. No other job will allow you to pick and chose where you go. If you asked to be moved, you get moved to where they can move you too. I always knew the CBA was flawed, but I hope this is something that gets looked at.

    Spez has always been a bit of a odd ball. Even when he was playing in the minors he was always a bit off. He didn’t really show the leadership that everyone expected him to have this past year. If PM wanted more out of him and Spez wanted to play his own game, this was never going to work. PM is a good coach. Spez is a good player. If Spez does not want to buy in to what PM is preaching, then by all means, Spez should move on where the ‘pressure’ doesn’t get to him. The lack of leadership lost players in the room. They would say the right things to the media, but I cannot see Spez taking control of any dressing room. We lost that when Alfie left. You saw the respect the players had for him. You didn’t really see that when Spez took over. The lack of leadership, the lack of production on the ice, the behind the back passes, the no look feeds to his wingers…. its just not a good fit for him anymore here in Ottawa.

    Bruce, I am with you – I do find it odd that Spez did not jump at the chance to go to Nashville. I find it odd that he would nix a deal that would have allowed him to play in a market where there is very very little pressure on him. He is not a clutch player. He wouldn’t be that guy who will score that big goal when all the pressure is on him; he only scores them when he has no pressure on him.

    The NHL expert on this site (who likely has a life size Spez poster on his wall) blames the GM, the coach and everyone else in Ottawa for Spez fall from grace; but that’s only because he knows more than each and every one of them one would assume. He uses words like ‘lack of class and professionalism‘ I wonder what Murray did to poor Ol’Bobby for him to despise him so much. I wonder if Bobby would have the stones to actually stand up and say all the stuff he says on here to the players he insults. I think it would be safe to assume that his tail would be firmly tucked in between his legs and the only words that would come out his mouth would be praise.

    Have a safe trip back Bruce! Oh look a rant of my own…………

  3. Bobby Goodman says:

    Shouldn’t we be asking the GM about the “plan”…remember the “3 year rebuild (3YRB)”? The Sens are in the 4th year of the 3YRB and they could be looking at 4 wingers!? They need to get Methot, Ryan, Lehner and MacArthur under contract or risk losing them next summer (I suggest at least 2 of them will opt out). Spezza, Michalek and Hemsky will be gone. Is this an executed plan or is it simply a matter of a GM stumbling along.

    Ottawa didn’t fare well in the Draft this year…we may call it their 2014 Daft. While most teams got better (some much better), the Sens did not. Often Potsie and Brownie mentioned the Sens had 16 (or there abouts) drafts on the team but, the team stunk! Karlsson was a player Murray drafted, Spezza has been here for years and the the Turris line came by way of trades or FA. Does this sound like a plan at all. Can anyone describe the plan?

    What is Murray’s vision for the team…big, strong, tough, fast, young, skilled, or is it a moving target? While most GMs have a pretty good idea what their team will look like this year, Murray isn’t sure. IF Spezza is traded they MAY get a forward who can help (I suspect the asking price will be flexible now that other GMs know Murray put himself in a bind and the start of camp isn’t too far away). Michalek MAY return to the Sens but there are a bunch of teams talking to him. Surely Milan, like Hemsky, knows with Spezza gone, his good fortune will be as well. What is in store for the Ottawa Senators?

    Spezza had to be traded but there is no talk about the goaltending situation. If the team is in a protracted rebuild, wouldn’t it have made sence to consider moving a goalie (as well as Spezza) to get a draft pick and/or players? I strongly suspect there will be a controversy this year, both want to play and Lehner in particular, so he can develop!

    I want to believe there is a plan but there is evidence every day that there isn’t one at all. Signing Philips was as dumb as it gets (almost as dumb as having him play the point on the PP which the DAC seemed to think was a good thing). The team needs to have him and the other leader Neal around to…….mentor the youth and lead. Allrightythen. Neil is 35 years old, very slow and a liability. He was minus 10 last year and had 211 minutes in penalties, many of which were of the stupid and selfish variety that put the team in a hole. He didn’t care! Philips is 36 years old and he too is slow. He was minus 12 last year and is as soft as a marshmallow. But, it is imperative to have them on the team (just as imperative as it is to move Jason Spezza off the team)!

    This will post will be described as another rant by at least one here, but does it make any sense? Can someone/anyone describe what shape the 3YRB is taking now or in the 4th, 5th year? Do they build through the draft, trade, free agncey (FA is out, great players don’t want to come here).

    I think we all deserve a hell of a lot more.

  4. Bruce Garrioch says:

    Yes I responded to you. I don’t respond to you know who.

  5. Bobby Goodman says:

    True to form Pav, you’ve come out and publicly denigrated Jason Spezza. Why, because the hockey club and GM are positioning him as the bad guy (shocking) and because I love the guy. If Murray loved him, you would too; if I hated him, you of course would love him. You are very predictable mate!

    Spezza is like Heatley now. PAv, you are a certified member of the Blind Lemming Society and a proud pom-pom waving faniak. You do not possess the ability to question anything you are only programmed to follow.

    Did Spezza “demand a trade”? No. He only asked for one and only when the GM told the world he was going to be traded. This is Healtely-like? Spezza was always an odd-ball but you can’t say how. You say he can’t lead, but Annika did. Exactly how did Annika lead Pav. He Captained the best or one of the best teams for years and 11 times couldn’t lead the Sens past the first round! Is this leadership? Spezza asked for a trade a year before his contract expires allowing the Sens to get something in return; did Annika do the same?

    Spezza’s no-look, behind the back passes are bad for the hockey team but Hemsky never had as many points per game as he did playing with Spezza. He called him the best centerman he’s ever played with! Spezza was second on the team in scoring! But he’s bad for the hockey club? I suppose you want Michalek back and have no issues with him being paid $6m, scoring 39 points and minus 25. If so, why? Karlsson led the entire league in give aways but you have no issues with that at all? The DAC wants Spezza to play a certain way, but not Karlsson? Pav, c’mon…you should be better than that.

    Do I know more than anyone here, no, but I will ask questions Pav. You wont. Do I “despise” Murray, of course I don’t (have said it often) but, I do despise what he has done to the hockey club. You will celebrate what he’s done but I can’t celebrate an awful hockey club that doesn’t entertain and chases the last 3 stars out. Call me crazy.

    I think you have revealed much about yourself Pav. You say men don’t cry but watching the World Cup, I have seen many who have. I’ve seen players and coaches on winning and losing teams shed tears. They aren’t men I would assume. I don’t have the stones to say what I think about a player to their face? Are you really going there mate? Because I’m not a jock sucker like yourself, I am now a coward? I feel sorry for you Pav.

    So the Team is looking at some free agents. But lets look at the free agents. Pouliot is on their list but fans like Pav wont bother to ask why he only signed a one year contract with the NYR. There is a reason he’s been with 5 teams in only 371 games in the league. I, like many others, have been baffled by his performance, he has all the tools but something is missing. Jokinen is 31, small, slick and soft. And he wont come to Ottawa.

    Wants to be moved

  6. Bobby Goodman says:

    Cont’d

    The Sens don’t stand a chance to acquire Moulson. My suspicion is he will go back to the Island and join his very good friend Tavares. Maybe the Sens could re-acquire Latendresse, he was part of the rebuild too!

    Why don’t you ask questions Pav. I want the team to be better and it appears, it really doesn’t matter to you. Do you care to offer how the team will do next year. I suspect you “don’t have the stones” because you’re afraid you might be wrong. I am wrong often and I don’t care…I can still call myself a man. I even cry…can you imagine!!!!???? You think PM is a good coach, but will he be with the hockey club for the Organization’s Stanely Cup run in ’15 – ’16? Will he finish the year in Ottawa next year? If he can say publicly that the bulk of Karlsson’s give aways was in his own end he didn’t make an effort, why doesn’t that matter to you? Is it because Karly may have touched your hand when you had a stogie together? Why is imperative Michalek come back to Ottawa and not Spezza. Why is it an issue for Spezza to ask for a trade if he is not good for the hockey club? You suggested he only scores when there is no pressure on him but he shows up against teams that play hard and he will go into a corner and his 5 on 5 numbers are far better Karlsson’s so again Pav you are wrong.

    Why wouldn’t Spezza go to Nashville where “the pressure wouldn’t be on him” Pav? After all, he flounders under pressure, so much so he has only been able to accumulate 687 points in 686 games and plus 54 (karlsson is minus 28 and he thrives in pressure situations?). Perhaps Pav, Spezza truly wants to be part of an Organization that has a legitimate chance to win the Prize. Unlike your fantasy Annika who only pretended that’s what he wanted (he merely wanted to join 8 other Swedes in Detroit).

    Which reminds me, if I “hate Swedes and “really hate Swedes”, why do I real love Landeskog and a very fasty winger for the NYR or a big defencemen for Tampa and another in Arizona? Why did I like Andre Petersson, Pav? It really is silly, don’t you think? If the writers and commentators are questioning why things tend to get ugly in Ottawa under Murray’s watch, why can’t you?

    I will make another prediction Pav; I think Karlsson will want out of Ottawa within 2 years. Will you then acknowlege his short comings or will he still be a King the same way Annika is still a God.

    Do I know more than everyone else? Certainly not, but unlike you Pav, I think asking hard questions and honest criticism is healthy. As a true fan, I don’t like what’s transpired over the last 6 years. You interpret my wanting much more with anger, hatred and conceit. You are certainly allowed to have an opinion, but you’re wrong.

    Where as I am willing to examine all the reasons why this Team has failed over the years, you are equally willing to ignore them. It is enough that you can share a cigar and shake their hand.

  7. PaV says:

    Oh God Bobby – you are such a blow hard.

  8. Bobby Goodman says:

    Again, great contribution there Pav. You offer such insight.

  9. Bobby Goodman says:

    Pav, if Spezza’s contract, negotiated by his agent and Bryan Murray, had a destination provision, can Spezza be blamed for excercising it? If Murray has a problem with it, he shouldn’t have agreed to it. Didn’t he give Spezza 49m over 7 years?

    What was PM preaching? Was Spezza the only one who didnt’ by in? In case your conveniently forgot, the Team was among the league’s worst for shots and goals allowed. Karlsson led the entire league in give aways and was awful in his own end. Did he not buy in to what the DAC was preaching?

    How did the pressure get to Spezza when he was second on the team in scoring last year and has 687 points in 686 games with the team? If the pressure got to him and he had 8 more points than Turris who played with Macarthur and Ryan (primarily), did the pressure get to Turris?

    Why do you say Spezza lost the dressing room? Is this information you discovered in the smoking room with your idols? Did the DAC lose the room? Did Annika lose the room with great teams he captained all those years? For years they couldn’t get past Toronto!!!

    If his lack of leadership and lack of production (second on the team playing with 9 different wingers) and behind the back and no look passes is bad for the team, shouldn’t you and your buddies all be celebrating now that he is gone? If Spezza’s behind the back and no look passes were so bad for the team, why aren’t you commenting on Karly who led the league in Gva (in his own end of the rink)?

    Why did you think Spezza would be a leader? Who made him Captain, Pavvy? This blow hard made the call straight off it was bad and authored all the reasons why; but you were surprised? Will you agree with Karlsson as Captain if that happens? If so, why?

    Why are you surprised Spezza wouldn’t go to Nashville when it was one of the 10 destinations he said he wouldn’t go? Why did Murray ignore it and negotiate with the team anyway?

    Indeed I do blame the GM and the media for Spezza’s fall from grace. He was never given a grace period! How else might someone explain why he is/was hated by all the mindless lemmings like yourself when he’s been a prolific scorer, exciting and fun to watch, pleasant with everyone, loved by his team mates, fantastic on and off the ice, treats everyone with respect, takes care of the kids and is great in the community? What was there to dislike?

    What other GM has had as many issues with players as Murray? What other GM airs dirty laundry (all of which was soiled by the GM) in public to solicit the support from mindless fools like yourself? Most GMs keep the stuff that went on behind closed doors to themselves. How many GMs needed to explain why there has been “bad blood”? Where’s the class/professionalism?

    I “know more than others” but you KNOW Spezza lost the dressing room? You say he was always an “Odd Ball” even “in Bingo” but wont explain how. Why?

    Perhaps I’m a blow hard Pav, but you will always be a fool.

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