Friday, August 07, 2009

Is Pascale in Le-Clear?

While the summer months are normally slow with hockey talk, we typically find ourselves digging deep to discuss anything and everything worth an ounce of interest - but not this year. Our once beloved 50 goal man has managed to give us a real scoop! A huge news story with buckets of speculation. It's made us confused, angry, potentially violent, but overall very interested. So, we talk and talk and talk about it. Then we have lunch. Then we talk about it some more.

And so, as we head into another weekend with #15 on our roster, I'm desperate to change the focus a tad.

While Dominant Dany has dominated our chatter, there's another news story that has flown under our radar. Mind you, this is a story of significantly less drama and intrigue. On second thought, it might not even be a story, but consider this...

Much like our recent coaching history, we have had bad luck, or just poor talent, between the pipes. No this is not a story or anything close to news. Hasek was pushing, what, 50? Gerber was Gerber. Emery was sleeping in. Auld was, and will always be, a back up. Elliot, bless him, was (is) young and unproven. Year after year, we end up disappointed with one goalie or another. And much like recent years, we welcome a freshly painted mask to man our net. Welcome Pascale Leclaire.

Given the above mentioned recent history, you'd expect us to put a lot of focus on Leclaire. Not only is he our new tender, but he comes in with a not-so-proven past. Shaky, injury prone and, well, not handsome - Pascale poses a lot of question marks. And while these concerns were being discussed upon his signing, they were quickly overshadowed by the saga to end the decade.

So let's talk about it.

Personally, I like this signing. I have faith in Leclaire. He's a first round draft pick, he had early success on an awful team, and he's still young. I believe he can solve our perennial goalie woes. That said, and I've said this over and over again, Leclaire will be the backbone to our success. If he's as good as I hope he is, he will propel us into spring hockey. But on the flip side, we will be hard done by without a reliable tender.

This should be a lot of pressure! But, thanks to Heatley, nobody's talking about this. And the longer the saga sags on, nobody will be talking about it. And this, my friends, I think is a good thing. To be honest, I don't know enough about Leclaire to know how he handles pressure. But in any case, being out of the spotlight in a new town with new fans who will be demanding success is likely ok for any goalie. And while the hot lights will no doubt shed some focus on Leclaire at the beginning of the season, it will not be the intense pressure as it could have, or should have been.

So, we can thank Heatley for two things at the moment: 1) He's given us loads to talk about, and 2) He's taken some pressure off our new goalie who lacks any enduring success in the show.

How's that for a change of subject? What do you think? Is the saga a good thing for Leclaire? Does it take any pressure off him? Or have I just rambled on for no good reason on a quiet Friday night?

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

3 Reasons why a Heatley trade isn't close

Don't worry, Biff, I'll come back next and give three reasons why Heatley WILL be traded before camp, but I thought I'd start with the less popular side of the saga. By the way, have we overused the word saga? Our friends over at the 6th Sens highlighted how we kept referring to Kovalev as an enigma, and now Heatley can be just referred to as the saga.

But back to our list. First off, this list is more in response to the intense rumour-mongering going on this week about inevitable trade of Dany Heatley.

1. San Jose and a three-way?

Forget it. First off, it doesn't take a capologist to know that Ottawa and San Jose are not likely to partner up on their own. Teams have until camp to get under the cap, but with SJ and Ottawa being at or over the cap, their next move will be to move salary out. So these teams won't work out a trade on their own without some assurances that both teams will fix their cap problems in the same breath.

So enter the three-way trade talk, right? The hot topic is Montreal, for some reason. Montreal doesn't have a single roster player of interest to Ottawa (or at least it had better not) and while the Euge has inquired about adopting PK Subban as his own son, he doesn't crack this year's lineup. So the only way Montreal would be involved would be to provide cap space to us and/or San Jose. Check that: the ONLY way Montreal is involved is to take cap space FROM San Jose so that the Sharks can absorb the Heatley salary. This also assumes that our return from SJ is a pair of roster players (and prospects or picks) that help us save $2M or more in cap space.

There's always the possibility of the third team in this deal being someone other than Montreal, but if the mighty Garrioch hasn't uncovered it, then it doesn't exist, says I. So to repeat from earlier, either Montreal is only helping with salary dumps, or the mystery third team is not the Habs. Does this sound ridiculous yet? That's because it IS ridiculous.

2. The Brian Elliot signing

Everyone was convinced that Murray was holding off on signing Elliot because he wanted to know his cap position after a Heatley trade. So with Elliot signed (last night), it must mean that he knows that Heatley is on the move and how much salary is coming back. Is that the concept? Hogwash! The minute that Alex Auld was traded to Dallas, the Brian Elliot signing became completely independent of the Heatley saga. Think about it - Elliot is our backup goalie and was going to be signed one way or another. The actual salary was probably well known in June. I don't really know why it took until now to actually get the ink on paper, but thinking that the signing is an omen for a Heatley trade is wishful thinking for those that are sick of this guy being a Senator.

3. The Edmonton standard

Whether you agree with it or not, Murray will not take a lower return than what he was getting from Edmonton. That was a fat forward, a young speedster, and a third pairing defenceman. Okay, when I put it like that, it doesn't sound as good. But seriously, he expected to get two top nine forwards (both with potential to be top six) and a defensive prospect. While we might think that since the Oilers offer is gone that Murray has to settle for a lower return (I thought that might be the case), we should know better of this stubborn old man from Shawville. From what we've seen of the GM, it is clear that he would rather just bring Heatley back in the Fall and purge Gator and Schubert before he'll get fleeced in a trade. So unless Doug Wilson the tire-kicker (or some other GM) spots us three cheap roster players, count on the saga dressing in Ottawa this season.

There you have it - the three-way trade doesn't add up cap-wise, the Elliot signing was inconsequential, and Murray is holding all new deals to the non-existent Oilers offer.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Monday Musings - August 3rd

1. So the Ottawa/San Jose/Montreal three way has gone mainstream, eh? Quote from Garrioch's source: ''If the Sharks don't have what the Senators want, then (GM) Doug Wilson might have to go get it from another team,'' a league executive told Sun Media on Saturday. ''The Senators want a proven scoring winger in return and that means you might have to get a third team involved.''. Au contraire, Booboo and source, San Jose does have what we want in guys like Michalek, Pavelski et. al. What they don't have is cap space. Moreover, can you tell me who the hell the scoring winger in Montreal is that we'd covet? They have three guys that can allegedly put the puck in the net and they were all signed a month ago. I'm not saying they won't trade any of those three, but...okay, yes, that is exactly what I'm saying. I believe Plekanec is their next potent scorer and he and his turtleneck can underachieve in la belle province for many more years to come. I'm not doubting the three-way rumours, but either Montreal is providing nothing more than cap space to SJ, or Montreal isn't the third team.

2. The Euge has been quiet lately. Is he stewing in Barbados and burning a hole through his bank statement that shows the $4M expense, or is he over this? The man has a few other business ventures going, for sure, but it is still surprising he hasn't dropped a nugget for Brennan in a while.

3. One more note on the Heatley trade, because there isn't much else cooking this week. Does anybody else think that Heatley is still coming to camp? Granted I think most rumours are nothing more than rumblings since Murray has always managed to keep things so quiet. I've gotta think that the calm before the storm (as far as comments and sound bytes out of Ottawa are concerned) might tell us that something is brewing, and it is something quite different than we've considered. Perhaps it is still something different like Minnesota or Dallas, or as hockeybuzz says, the Rags. And if you ever wondered where hockeybuzz got its Sens rumours, look no further for the source. Final thought - I still say there is no chance that Heatley puts on a Sens sweater six weeks from now.