Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday Musings - July 13th

Hope everyone had a chance to see the Bucci article below. Definitely worth a look at what an unbiased and educated hockey mind has to say about our team.

1. Dany Heatley, still an Ottawa Senator. As much as we all want him gone so we can focus on a go-forward plan for this team, the Euge has been talking code lately about how there's a chance he comes back. Senators management has done an admirable job on showing that they're pissed off but managing to deflect all of their criticism at the agents and those advising Heatley. In the off-chance we can't move this guy, then the welcome mat will come out and the front office won't have had a single bad thing to say about him (publicly). I'm still feeling that he accepts the only offer out there to Edmonton and we all move on.

What's funny about this is our friend over at hockeybuzz listing off 10 teams that are somehow connected, moving salary to make an offer, thinking about making an offer, etc. Listen, Heatley is a 50-goal scorer that is available on a long-term deal (albeit an expensive one) All 29 teams are going to at least give pause to the idea of getting Heatley but at the end of the day, there are only a small handful of realistic offers that can be tabled. And if we take Murray at his word, then only one actual offer has been made that fits the desired return from Ottawa. The offer has been made public and any other interested team knows that for Murray to take their offer, it has to beat what Tambellini put out there. If a lesser offer comes in from the Sharks, which is allegedly on Heatley's list, then there is nothing saying Murray has to accept it. We've gone over this, everyone. At the end of the day, I still see this being a choice between Ottawa and Edmonton and I still think Heatley takes the deal. He wants to be the go-to guy - he'll get that in Edomton, but he's gotta wait 3-4 more years in Ottawa until Alfie retires to get that title here.

2. Lost in the Heatley saga is the importance of Pascal Leclaire's health. With Auld gone, this season belongs to a guy that has had one great season and a guy that has had only half a season. As great as we think Pascal has the potential to be in Ottawa, his list of injuries has to give concern to all of us. Is there anyone out there that thinks we have a shot at the playoffs without a stellar season from Pascal? Speak now or forever hold your peace.

3. I'm starting to come around to the Alex Kovalev lovefest. If I can keep my expectations in check - 70 points - then I think I can handle him spotting time on the top two lines. If you haven't seen it, here's a clip of some of his skills on display in practice mode.


Grinder said...

There are so many variables with the Sens! It is a toss-up whether the team will be in the top three of their division or dead last.

I have never felt so insecure about our ability to contend. In the early years, you could feel the team improving and the fans were full of hope for the future.

Even as late as a few seasons ago, the team looked as though it would be a constant and long term contender.

Now, the turmoil, the weird Murray decisions, the aging captain, etc... not so good.

I find it tough to point to a single moment or to one specific event that killed the run. Some say it was the Emery stuff, but I disagree. Others have suggested that there was rampant debauchery with a few that divided the room... All rumours and speculation. But, you can't argue that something changed with that team rather suddenly.

I have often suggested that, from a pure hockey perspective, it was Gerber who destroyed the flow of our team. When he was in net, the d became so afraid to allow ANY shots (given his one or two bad goals per game habit) that they played way too deep in their own end. The collapse of the d around Gerber neutralized our scorers and made it hard to break out. At his age, Alfie should be able to use his considerable talent to score and make plays, not spend all his energy racing back to play deep in his own end!

It is truly amazing what a bad goalie can do to a team. In fact, I see Gerber as even more significant than the next worse thing to happen to this team, which was the loss of Chara.

Even a decent goalie will suffice, like Emery, who made it to the big dance despite being only slightly better than average. A decent goalie won't destroy your confidence, drain your energy and optimism, like Gerber did.

Going back to Chara... The main issue now, as far as I am concerned, remains the lack of a dominant d-man.

The beauty of a big name d-man, like Chara, is the value-for-money proposition. Take any premium d-man in the NHL and you will see them on the ice for 20 to 30 minutes, which means that the top guy is on for a huge part of the game. The impact for each dollar invested is way better.

Even the best forwards don't log nearly that much time.

So, with Heatley, we will have more weapons to generate goals, which we needed, but we will still lack a big impact guy in the back end.

If Pascal is as good as he can be, that wll only be a weakness, but it won't be a fatal flaw. If Pascal follows in Gerber's footsteps, we are in for another long season.

You want to be hopeful with the likes of Kovalev on a second line, but it is as yet so uncertain with all the rest still up on the air.

pg said...

I disagree with the grinder, that it was gerbs fault. They were 15-1 with gerbs before the wheels fell off. I just don't think they had enough strong personalities as leaders. I think Alfie's great, but I don't think he's the guy who stands up in the room and calls guys out on their shit a la mark messier.

I agree, we have no chance of making the playoffs if leclaire doesn't have a very good year. Our d is slow untalented, and overpaid. Not a recipe for success. And at forward, I personally think we have a decent bunch, if unspectacular after the first few guys.

The Heatley trade will go a long way to determining what happens this year. I too think he will go to edmonton (not a hard statement to make considering it's the only offer), and think it will make us a better team in both the long and short run.