When In Rome…

Look, let me be perfectly clear about one thing; Innuendo and journalism do not make good bedfellows.  If you, as a journalist, know something, say it.  If you think something…keep it to yourself, until you know it.

Statements like this, penned by Sun “journalist” Bruce Garrioch; “Murray wouldn’t confirm whether Spezza, who has five years and $35 million (all terms US) remaining on his contract, asked to be dealt.” are just plain inflammatory.

Bruce, if you know Spezza asked for a trade, say so.  Otherwise, stick to what you’re good at, eating and sounding like an idiot.

Apart from creating a caustic environment, what does that statement actually mean?  Nothing, but the insinuation is enough to replace the absence of fact, and that is why such a statement is not simply unprofessional, it’s borderline slander.

It’s also why players become disenfranchised with Ottawa.  Sports reporting is not better served by creating issues, it’s better served by reporting facts.

But I digress.

If the talk is about Spezza, so be it.

It will come as a shock to nobody who reads this blog that I wholly support Jason Spezza as an Ottawa Senator.  I do not think it is in this clubs best interest to trade him, but, for the sake of argument, here are some options I would consider, begrudgingly, if I were forced to do so.

Joe Thorton.  Jumbo Joe has likely worn out his welcome in SJ, and no doubt Spezza would salivate at the opportunity to rejoin his former linemate and friend in the sunny confines of California.

Their dollars are a near match (7.2M for JT, 7M for JS), but the term is a major difference, with JT having only one year remaining on his contract.  This is both good and bad.  With an imminently expiring contract, the Sens have greater flexibility, but without any clear #1 centre in the system, it leaves them vulnerable to facing a future without a key position filled.

The truth is, I doubt Spezza’s impending NTC would be much of an obstacle in getting this trade done, should both teams wish to do so.

Nathan Horton – Now this is a deal that would have to be done before July 1st.  Nobody wants to go to the Panthers.  While Nathan has some very intriguing qualities, a number one centre is not among them.  In fact, if people are frustrated by Spezza, they’ll be downright apoplectic about Nathan.  Here’s a guy who seemingly has it all; Great hands, size, grit, and intensity but along with the above attributes comes a bit too much inconsistency, if not downright apathy for the game.  Some believe it is a product of his environment, playing in a 1/3 filled stadium of “fans” in a city more interested in inline skating than ice skating, but, if reports are correct, only time will tell, as it is all but a sure thing Horton will be wearing a new sweater come October.

I for one would love to see Nathan acquired via trade, and playing on Spezza’s wing, leaving Mich to line up with Fisher and AK47.  Say Kelly and a 3rd for Horton?

The truth is, there’s no replacement for Spezza.  Is he perfect?  No.  But he’s a legit #1 centre, coming into his prime.  #1 centres make huge dollars, all of them, and few if any consistently live up to the ideal we die hards hold them to.  I firmly believe trading Spezza will result in a lateral move, at best, and could well leave every Ottawa fan playing the Chara vs. Redden hindsight game.

Spezza is a great #1 centre, and too slag him based upon the “grass is always greener…” analysis is likely to result in the “watch out what you wish for…” outcome.



8 Responses to “When In Rome…”

  1. (Hm… why the tiny font today?) I am fascinated by the fact that you picked JT to mention first. A lot of crazy talk going on in Sharks territory along these same lines, about JT and Spezza, but as far as I can tell only among cranky fans. As I said, it is crazy talk to my ear, at least the talk about sending JT away just now. The ones saying this are the same folks, by and large, who think we will do better without Nabby. (Maybe we could, but not because we would find someone better in goal.)

    Anyway, I am amazed by how impatient/greedy fans are about their top line players- such players might sometimes seem to have super-powers but in the end they can only be as good as their teams and their coaching. Maybe I am not well-informed enough, perhaps this opinion is a result of raw naivete. I thought it was common sense.

    And good call on the negligent article- it reminds me of the old trick question: “are you still cheating on your wife?” That goes beyond yellow journalism, I don’t know what color it is. Did Murray also refuse to confirm that he had purchased a pet Rhino?

    • (sorry, I don’t know why I capitalized rhinoceros…)

    • The parallels for the Sens and Sharks are staggering. You have Nabby, we have Leclaire. You have JT, we have Spezza. And both teams are worrying about losing a key players for nothing.
      I’m not even getting into the whole post season schtick!

  2. Good post GN, and I whole heartedly agree with you 100%. Nice reply Petskark.

    If either of our #1 centers are going to be traded, it is going to be because it is in the best interest of either organization to do so. This is the part that is hard to see, especially in a lateral move. If the big stars move at the almost the same salary, it will because of player interests, and a fresh start kind of thing. Neither team is ahead, but neither loses out.

    If BM is looking out 4 years down the road, then a deal similar to Halak happens, where by some top prospects come back at a low salary, but I don’t see that scenario either, since with Spezza, we are only a winger away… from staying a playoff team.

  3. Differing Opinion Says:

    I think the shots at Bruce, especially his weight, are pretty unnecessary.
    Bruce has been doing his job and doing it well for the past 15-20 years.
    Read his article in the Sun today on the draft, not bad stuff.

    Murray wouldn’t confirm a trade? Why would he? If he denies a trade request/offer and then has to trade Spezza he looks bad and if he says there is a trade in the works panic ensues.

    As for Spezza, I’m not a fan. I don’t think he can elevate and carry on his back a team into a Cup finals, simply too inconsistent and his stunning lack of defensive awareness isn’t helping either. Spezza’s one of those guys that will leave us wanting for the rest of his career, very good but not superstar/elite level talent.

    • And here I thought being called an idiot was the real insult…

    • GelatinousMutantCoconut Says:

      Weight jokes aside, criticism of Bruce’s articles are valid. He’s one of the worst charlatans ever. His sources either know nothing about the NHL or are figments of his imagination. Personally, I believe he makes his stuff up. He basically took what was wood and lightning (let’s call the wood “Fans” and lightning “Spezza’s unhappiness with being booed”) and brought them together and made sure it became a nice fire. He along with the other Sports writers from the Sun delight in demonizing players and convincing the public to hate them, ultimately forcing management to run them out of town.

      In fact…the Sun as a whole is complete garbage…but let’s stick to hockey.

      Bruce Garrioch is a hack and a charlatan!

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