Archive for February, 2012

Great Goalie, Lousy Chef.

Posted in Senators Opinion on February 24, 2012 by sensay

Well, you can’t expect perfect health, and to date, with the exception of some relatively minor injuries, the Sens have had a great season from a key injury perspective.

With a nasty injury to Anderson though, now the test is on.

I’m not happy for it, but this injury does have a silver lining.  The Sens need to rest Andy, plain and simple, and now he will get his rest, and then some, if the more dire prognosis come to be.  The Sens have also got to get Auld into more games, albeit not 20 (worse case scenario).  And lastly, this will give Lehner a much-needed bump after toiling in a rather desperate situation in Bingo.

This isn’t good, losing your #1, in the middle of a dog fight for a play-off position, but it will provide the team with a challenge and motivation to take the next step…assuming they can.

GN

Sens Rumour Wrap

Posted in RUMOUR on February 23, 2012 by sensay

Well I’ve been busy lately, and not able to add any comment to the recent great play of the Sens, but I’ve found some time today to make some contacts, read some messages, and pass along what I’ve gathered since last week, though, not surprisingly, it isn’t much different.

1. Carter is being targeted by Ottawa, this from a western based scout, who claims that Murray is trying to add some size and skill up front.  The problem is that Columbus is considering so many offers, of diverse assets, that they don’t know if they’re coming or going.

Murray doesn’t want to trade picks, or assets, for a rental, he’s been clear on that.  Murray has the cap space to assume Carters contract.  The question is, is he ready to part with one of either Zbad or Silf to get it done?  Rumour has it he is, if Columbus will put a high first in his pocket.

Any deal for Carter might be awaiting what comes of Nash, as it will better define what Columbus needs, and has available to deal (picks, prospects, etc).

But what has been consistent is the talk of Murray’s interest in Carter.

2. Brian Lee is improving his game over game performance, and this provides Murray with some options on the back-end.

A western based source believes Chicago has been very active in trying to land Kuba and the asking price from Murray is very high, rumoured to be a top defensive prospect and a player (rumoured to be Stalberg).

3.  Another one that just won’t go away, Stewart.  Murray wants him, St. Loius doesn’t, but they need something in return or risk looking the fool in his initial acquisition… maybe a 3-way deal with Chicago might make everyone happy.

To CHI – Kuba

To St. Louis – Stalberg

To Ottawa – Stewart & Shawn Lalonde.

But that one comes directly from my fantasy world.

GM

Sens Rumour Rundown

Posted in Chatter, RUMOUR on February 16, 2012 by sensay

For those who want it, here is a summary of recent conversations with league sources regarding the Ottawa Senators activities on the trade front.

1. A western based NHL scout claims Ottawa has remained in contact with Edmonton and Columbus, and speculates the names involved are Sam Gagne and (gulp) Jeff Carter.

2. A western based league employee claims Ottawa has had talks with St. Louis regarding the cost of acquiring Chris Stewart, a pending RFA and current coaches whipping boy.

3. From a Ottawa based source claims that Murray has been listening to offers on defenseman Kuba and Carkner.  Teams reportedly involved are Vancouver, Philadelphia and Edmonton.

4. From a “virtual” source, of unknown pedigree, rumour that Penner is imminently Ottawa bound, in return for Lee.

There you go folks, FWIW (nothing).

GN

Nature Is Not Human Hearted.

Posted in Uncategorized on February 16, 2012 by sensay

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.  – Lao Tzu.

It is from this one simple observation that Lao Tzu expresses the right path for the Senators.

The club, and its fans, find themselves enthralled by the flash and hope of trade deadline day, an environment able to seduce the weak-willed into delusions of grandeur, both in terms of their clubs prospects and the ability of certain players.

Rarely, in the cold light of day, do either come to fruition.

Yes we can all point to examples of deadline deals that seemingly put teams and players over the top, leading to the glory of a Stanley Cup victory…but we must always remember only one team won, while many made deals.

I suspect putting the weight of proof on any one action leading up to a Cup win is folly, the true root of success cloaked more in luck, circumstance and player health than any particular asset move.

Winning the cup, after all of the analysis of hind-sight, seemed an obvious outcome for the winning team.  That’s what we humans like to do…find evidence of human ingenuity and greatness at the wheel of destiny.

If only it were that easy.

To my mind, there is only one team to admire and attempt to replicate, the Detroit Red Wings.  They have had success, have been a highly competitive team for nearly a generation, but have always remained focused on doing the hard things while they’re still easy, like developing players through the draft, not the trade deadline or UFA market.

I believe Ottawa would be making a huge mistake attempting to make a splash on deadline day.  Now is the time to see the advantage of doing things right, bolstering ones commitment to the plan.

Yeah, my view may be “boring”…but when creating frivolous excitement becomes more important than winning, you’ve probably just made a huge mistake.

GN

Andy Saves The Day

Posted in Senators Opinion on February 15, 2012 by sensay

The Sens owe Andy a big thanks for saving them from an embarrassing loss in Tampa.

Yes the Sens won, but the scoreboard did far more to reflect the amazing play of Anderson than the stellar play of the skaters.

But let’s not quibble, the team needed a win, by hook or by crook, and they earned one.  Add to this the loss by Toronto and suddenly the Sens find themselves at least even with their provincial rivals, or better.

But, if the Sens want to continue this streak, they’re going to have to play more like they did in the third and less like they did in the second.  They will have to rely on sound defensive hockey, not stellar goaltending.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m ecstatic for the win…but anyone who watched that game knows Andy stole the show…and the points.

GN

Let The Madness Begin

Posted in Chatter, General Opinion on February 14, 2012 by sensay

It has been simmering for sometime now…the trade talk.

There have been rumours, quips from various GM’s, even full-scale “rumour” shows, all with little or nothing of substance behind them.

But, with one word, the anticipation around the trade deadline just took a huge bump up.

“Open”

Seems a rather innocuous word, hardly something one would consider capable of initiating 29 GM’s frenzied examination of their rosters.

But, in this instance, it is the name that surrounds the word.  Scott Howson confirmed he is “Open” to offers on star forward Rick Nash.

You’re not “open” to offers on Nash, and then publicly discuss that fact, unless you’re trading him.  You don’t even say a word on the subject, publicly, unless a deal is done, either now, or in the off-season.

Nash may not be moving now…and unless it includes a package of prospects and multiple picks, he isn’t, but he is moving this summer, and both Howson and Nash know where.

Howson is just hoping to sweeten the deal, by increasing the demand, in hopes that some GM will lose his mind.

Always a  good gamble.

But where would Nash be willing to go?

Here’s the thing, he isn’t going to want to go to Toronto or Montreal…too much pressure, especially if the price those teams paid made his trade a “must win” scenario, something which the raBid press would point to after anything but the best of performances.

No, Nash would want to go to a team that he could compliment, not “save”.

Boston, Detroit, Anaheim, Chicago Vancouver and maybe San Jose.

If I were a betting man, I’d say it’s one of either Boston or Vancouver, with Boston leading the charge.

Thanks to the Leafs they’ve had the bounty of some free top draft selections, so parting with a string of them now would be acceptable.  They have a team capable of supporting Nash, not needing him to be the only horse in the stable.  And maybe, most importantly, they have two legitimate number one goaltenders.

GN

All Hands On Deck!

Posted in Senators Opinion on February 13, 2012 by sensay

There will be no turn-around in performance until there is a turn-around in confidence.  It really is that simple.

For whatever reason, this team lost its way, began winning games they should have lost, and then, when the ship began to take on water, they panicked, quit bailing, and lowered the lifeboats.

Now this team has to accept the ship hasn’t yet sunk (the Leafs, thankfully, came back down to earth) and find the mental fortitude to get back on board, man the pumps, and right the ship.

I have no idea if they can do it, and that’s the thing with this team, with the exception of few,  nobody really knows what they’re made of, from HC down to 7th dman.

I believe Alfie can get everyone back on board, but I remain unconvinced he can get them to play through the rough weather that is still lashing the good ship Senator.

The Sens deserved the win on Saturday, they played well, but still came out on the losing end.  Like the similar result in Boston, will the Sens scurry back into the life boats, or will they pull together and work the bilge?

We’ll soon find out, for better or worse.

Talk Is Cheap.

Posted in Senators Opinion on February 7, 2012 by sensay

“making the post season has been the goal since the beginning…”

Well Jason, talk is cheap.

Now make it happen, on the ice.

GN

Everyone Has a Plan

Posted in Senators Opinion on February 6, 2012 by sensay

Until they get punched in the face.

That one quote says a lot about working under pressure, in any context.

We all like to make grand plans, rarely do they come off as expected.  When things go too well, we think the plan is too conservative.  We begin acting as though we’re bullet proof, taking more risk, and paying less attention to the details.

When things go badly, we naturally blame the plan.  We begin trying to make in-process fixes, that more often than not just lead to more problems, with less clear causes.

In the worst of cases we behave with reckless abandon (as did Ireland), when things are going too well, or abject panic, when things have gone horribly wrong (as is Greece).

Yes, until you’ve been put to the test…you just have a plan.

The Sens went into this season with a plan.  They intended to get their young prospects some ice-time, see if their AHL successes could translate to the NHL for some of their lessor prospects, and hope that a rag tag group of veterans could sufficiently rediscover their games to provide this squad with an ounce of competitiveness.  They cast the die, and hoped for the best.

Going 1-5 to start was a shock, and had management wondering what lay ahead for the remaining 76 games of the season.  But the players turned it around, they didn’t panic, they knew it was a long season and they had to get better to stave off abject embarrassment.  They shook off the first punch, and stuck to the plan.

Then things went (too?) good.  Some of us wondered if the un-expected success would lead to a break from the plan.  I myself refused to believe that what I was seeing, albeit consistently, was the real measure of this teams ability, and was concerned that too much of the future might be traded in return for present day impact.  That was my concern with the Turris deal.

I’m now glad to say that management didn’t step away from the plan, as Turris seems to be worth every asset that went to Phoenix in return for his rights.  This kid is legit, and has a long bright future.

But now the fortunes have changed, and the Sens have taken another massive right to the jaw.  Worse, they had been dominating their opponents to this point and got caught unaware.  Can they recover?  Are they able to accept the dual impact of a losing streak and a blow to their ego’s?

It’s one thing to improve on a 1-5 record, with a whole season to go, with little or no real pressure, but something altogether more difficult to find your legs, late in the fight, after thinking you were just going to cruise your way to the finishing bell.

The Sens have been rocked, badly, and the opposition knows it.  The opponent sees them staggering on their feet and will be going in for the knock-out…now the Sens have to come up big, plan or no plan.

GN

Pressure Points

Posted in Senators Opinion on February 4, 2012 by sensay

If the Sens thought they were in trouble before, well, now they’re really in the deep end.

While every team around them continues to collect points, the Sens begin playing their worst hockey of the season.  With the exception of Anderson, this team has looked inept and out-classed.

Losing skids happen, and anyone who thinks this team was going to be immune was nuts.  Every other team has had one and now it is the Sens turn.  There’s no good or bad time to lose, it just happens, eventually.

The good news is that Ottawa has played well for much of this season, and is able to weather a losing skid.  Had they been on the bubble when the skid started, they would now be out, instead of now being on the bubble.  No, losing isn’t good, but it is inevitable, and can’t be seen as the beginning of the end.

What matters now is that the Sens stop losing.  What’s done is done, there’s no do-overs.  The good has kept them in the hunt, the bad has put them under pressure.  Now is the time to get back to the good.

Just as no team goes 82-0, no team is going to go 0-82, as much as it may feel that way when everything seems to be going wrong.

Buck up boys, suffer through it, know it is only temporary, and get back to your winning ways.

This team is trying to learn how to win, and stumbles are a part of the process.  Look, I’m upset, and I have no doubt everyone in this organization is upset, from owner to trainer, but this isn’t the end f the world.  If this team is going to be legitimate contenders (not this season, no matter what happens) they have to learn how to accept losing as a part of the game…all teams lose.  When the team was on fire I was the first to be cautious in pumping up their tires, and now that they’re down, I’m not about to slash them.

This, in the long run, is a good thing, if it leads to improving this clubs NHL readiness and ability.

Nobody said this season was going to be easy…but we should all be glad  (fan, owner, GM, players, etc) “we” have something to play for.

GN

p.s. Some other losing streaks this season;

CHI 0-4-1,

DET 0-5-1,

PIT 0-6-0,

WSH 0-4-0

It happens, and a lot of other teams have multiple 0-3-0 stints this season…why would the Sens be different?  they weren’t even contenders for the post-season, but, if they respond to this adversity, they will get right back into the hunt.  If they don’t?  It has still been one hell of a great season.   Seems win/win to me.

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