A New Year, A New Low

Look, I could pile on here, but honestly, why bother?

We all know what to think of that game, I need not elaborate simply to add my voice to the chorus of demands for change.

I’ve already said my piece, now it’s in the hands that be.

I also will not make excuses for this loss, as no amount of fatigue can explain the lack of execution of even the most simple of plays.  But fatigue no doubt did play a role in the big picture outcome of this game, that being a loss, in humiliating fashion or no.

The question now is, ultimately, will there be changes?

Will there be a change behind the bench?

Will there be a change to the roster?

Will there be a change in the on ice performance?

As for a change behind the bench, if body language is any indication, it would at least appear Clouston expects a change.  His “stare to nowhere” after every goal, and penalty, has been omnipresent over the last few games, and if nothing else, it certainly indicates a degree of paralyzing frustration on Clouston’s part.

As well, the fact that, after the 5th goal against, the only people paying the least bit of attention to Clouston’s commentary were numbers 15 and 42, may well indicate a lost room.

Should he be fired?

Well, to be blunt, why not?

His presence certainly isn’t seeming to help.  But, with that being said, if management fires Clouston, they have to acknowledge the blood on their own hands, and maybe, even more damning, the utter failure of this roster to perform at even a modicum of their on paper ability.

But, like the back to back games, Clouston’s coaching ability, or lack thereof, does little to explain this teams inability to complete even the most basic of hockey plays.

So, as is so often the case, the coach may well die for the sins of the players, but to what end?

Will Elliott now stop the easy ones, Kovalev hit the open net, or Gonchar complete a pass.

The truth is, for whatever reason, this team has performed well below expectations, and this has been done on the back of players doing the same.

Regin has been a major disappointment, as has Gonchar, Kuba, Leclaire, Phillips, and Kovalev, I guess.

Will a new coach fix them, too?

What needs to be done is for management to make a very difficult decision.

Blow it up, or suck it up.

If it is blow it up, the model has got to be that of the Flyers, a team that decided it would part with key players, in an effort to wipe the slate clean, and build around those players identified as having a future on the club, both currently signed, or available.

It was swift, harsh, and gutsy.

It was also highly effective.

Could this fan base accept the trading of Phillips, Kelly, Ruutu, Neil, Kovalev, Kuba, Fisher, Michalek and even, if possible, Gonchar and *gulp* Alfredsson?

This isn’t to say all of these players would even have a market, let alone, in some cases, be willing to waive their respective RMC’s, but this is what a full “quick clean” rebuild would entail.

As mad as we may all be right now, are we truly ready to go to extremes?

More importantly, is management?

I doubt it.

The truth is, more often than not, the action in the face of reality, pales in comparison to the reaction in the face of emotion.

The suck it up entails a somewhat similar reaction, but less far reaching.  It means firing the coach, if he is identified as a legitimate part of the problem, and the exodus of certain players, similarly identified, and accepting that parting with these players may well result in little or nothing in return, apart from change, and a cleansing of the air in the dressing room.

I’m concerned that management has been un-willing to make moves, in hoping that either the team will respond from within, or a palatable return, for certain players, will come to the fore.

I believe Ottawa has to be wary of the Toronto and Calgary model.  In the former, they just dumped everything, chainsaw surgery, and ended up with a tossed salad team with little cohesion or direction.  In the latter they attempted to acquire a host of spare parts (from the Leafs…) in a sort of “let God sort them out” trade, leaving CGY with little to show for it, at the end of the day.

Murray needs to do something, no doubt, and I would like to see him start by getting his hands on Iginla.  I believe this team, like Iginla, needs a new start, in the leadership department.  No, not to replace Alfie, he is the captain, but instead to plan for his eventual retirement.

Spezza needs a scoring winger, Iginla needs a play-making centre.

Secondly, I would like to see him acquire Vokoun.

I see both of these as strategic acquisitions, and worthy of parting with some up and coming talent, and draft picks.  Dip into the depth of young centres (Foligno, Regin, O’Brien, Silfverberg) or young defensemen (Cowen, Wiercioch, Gryba, Rundblad, Wideman).

Then part company with the likes of Kovalev, and Kuba, by whatever means.

Adding Iginla and Vokoun won’t make this team a Cup contender, but it will fill 2 key holes so obviously hampering this teams progress.

The losses of Heatley and Emery are looming large, and Murray has to either suck it up and replace them, or accept this current roster is beyond a minor repair, and blow it up.

Indecision, to date, has hampered management, as much as players, and the results are not pretty.





9 Responses to “A New Year, A New Low”

  1. Differing Opinion Says:

    There isn’t a player on this roster I’d miss.

    They’ve gotten too comfortable and too complacent. Alfredsson’s comments on the post-game were brutal, wishy-washy stuff. No aggression, no anger, no frustration, no flared temper…just the same even-keel game after game.

    When will he lose it?
    When will be sick of losing and say so?

    • In defense of DA I believe his comportment is because he has become the ambassador of the Team and Ottawa for that matter – I have no doubt he is furious inside – I suspect his effective playing days are over – by next year we will know for sure (i.e., is this because of an injury or age) – hopefully he will retire gracefully and become the Sens’ Jean Beliveau.

    • First of, there’s no doubt Alfie has “lost a step”.
      That being said, he is still a legitimate top 6 NHL forward, on any team.
      What is also true is that this team lacks a premier scoring winger, in the mold of an Iginla. Alfie has never been a sniper, he’s an all around forward, with puck control, and game control ability. Simply put, he’s the guy who allows the more one dimentional offensive players do their thing.
      As for his reaction after the game, well, in one way I see your point, but, cooler heads prevail, and Alfie “lossing” it would result in more negative pressure for the team, not less.

  2. IMHO you have to blow it up – Ottawa simply doesn’t have top 6 offensive talent down on the farm to make a transition by bringing in other players to fill out the core – they have to sink to the bottom to get high draft picks – the bonus is that they have excellent back line talent and as they are phased in the new offensive draft picks can mature in an synchronous fashion as forwards take less time to develop than D-men – still the process will take 3 to 4 years – and this also assumes our “Swedish Monster” is the real deal in goal.

    The demolition shouldn’t be precipitous – only trade the veterans at the trade deadline and only for draft picks as that is when they are the most valuable – use the cap space next year only to get young talent – and fill the spaces left with our AHL farmhands – that should keep the Sens low in the standings until the draft picks start arriving

    • Honestly, if it is a blow up, I’d like to see Melnyk accept some bad deals, in exchange for picks.
      Clear out the deals you do not want, then leverage the cap space to get picks and or prospects.
      To me, if you’re going to be bad, embrace it.
      Does Rolston come with a prospect and/or pick? Take him.
      Does Souray come with a prospect and/or pick? Take him.
      Take any soon to be expiring contract that contenders, or cap crunched teams need to move out, if it garners you a pick and/or prospect.

  3. The problem is with Management. They assembled this roster and the team has gone into the toilet big time since Murray took over.

    2-8 with two years missed will be his playoff record. Never mind the revolving door coaches or the constant gong show atmosphere. That alone should be reason to fire the guy.

    Looked at from a granular perspective it’s also pretty easy to mark every one of his signings or moves as a bad transaction.

    If Melnyk won’t make changes then ownership becomes the problem. Remember Jeremy Jacobs ?

    Don’t complain when you have 15k in the seats, Eugene. You brought it on yourself with your buffoon like comments and bull-headed determination to stick by Murray no matter how bad a job he did.

    I’m not buying my six game pack next year if Murray is still in the drivers seat – either Murray.

    • I’m going to be honest Kyle, I don’t know whether I agree with your position or not.
      1. I supported the Leclaire move, and do not lament the loss of Vermette. The fact Leclaire is unable to remain healthy (for whatever reason) can hardly be the fault of the GM, can it? But, he has been a bust.
      2. I supported bringing in both Stillman and Commodore, and I fully supported not resigning them.
      3. I believe he made the right move in not signing Volchy to that deal.
      4. The drafting under his leadership has been very solid, if not exceptional, but this is not all Murray.
      What I dislike?
      1. Kovalev…but was this Murray?
      2. The coaching carousel…but was this Murray?
      3. Failing to make in season moves…but we all know this is a challenge in the cap restricted NHL.

      I wish I knew what the hell is wrong with Leclaire and Gonchar. Both have been awful, in their own ways, but nobody expected this. I contend that, had both of those moves worked, this would be a much different conversation, but, alas, to date they have not.
      But unless the reasons why are understood, and corrected, no move can be expected to result in change.
      As for not buyng tickets, that is absolutely your right, just remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

  4. I have a little issue with some of your comments.

    By the way, Kelly is a keeper. You do not trade the only good defensive forward you have who gives it his all every night. Those are players you keep.

    Yes Flyers turned it around in one season.. BUT I don’t expect a Pronger type player coming into this lineup. He makes a big difference to that team.. as does Richards & Carter.

    Clouston should stay. 4 coaches in 3 yrs? That tells me the problem is the players. Clouston is very good with the young guys, and this team gets younger next season. IF the veteran players have ‘tuned him out’ — then SHAME ON THEM. These so-called veterans (especially Alfie) had better start picking up their game… they are the ones that should be setting an example for these young players. Right now they should be ashamed of how they are playing. Their lack of compete is disgusting.

    Deal what you can at the deadline. Trading now.. you are in a position of weakness. When teams are identified as being in the playoffs they will be looking for players to add to their lineup. More teams looking for same type of player.. may upgrade your return.

    This team does not need to be ‘blown-up’ but re-tooled. The future of goaltending & defense has been done. It’s time to add some good young forwards. Sens will probably draft in the top 5 this season… they will get a good one with that.

    This team is not making the playoffs — no team in the top 8 in the East is falling ‘out’ of the race.

    Also big NO to trading any prospect. That was Muckler’s way of running a team.. which has contributed to a point — the mess that the Sens are in now.

    I cheer for this team win or lose.. but lately they have to be the most frustrating team in the league.

  5. Differing Opinion Says:

    The coaching caroussel is all Murray. He hired guys that were “Yes-Men” and that would not challenge him, knowing he could throw them under the bus as needed. Kovalev is a Murray pattern, remember Fedorov in Anaheim? ANother guy he overpaid for on the downside of his career.

    Leclaire was an OK move, didn’t pan out. WE’re quickly forgetting all the pluggers he brought in…Donovan, Commodore, Lapointe, that other plugger bottom 6 guy whose name escapes me…just a lot of grinders when the team desperately needed talent. Let’s not forget the off-ice circus seemingly every year.

    Yeah, I’ve had enough of Bryan.

    Fair cop on Alfie. He’s a decent guy, fantastic in our community. Just wish he’d lose it every now and then and say what’s really on his mind. The town could use that.

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