Friday, February 12, 2010

Thoughts on a Busy Friday

Quick note: was anyone else pissed off and embarassed with the Canadian national anthem tonight at the Olympic Opening Ceremony? I'm not trying to pick on the 16-year old that sang it, but the version was brutal. Most of the world watching tonight has never heard our anthem so it would have been nice if we could have had someone sing it proudly and properly. Instead, we paraded out some kid that recorded it a month ago in some lame-ass pop rendition that makes me sick. I truly found it embarassing and it made me furious that we would want to represent ourselves to the world in such a stupid fashion. Get someone to sing the effing song right and make us proud.

Finally, a chance to sit back and digest a busy day in Hockey Country. Let me get a few thoughts out before getting to Cheechoo.

1. The Murray extension. I'm indifferent to this. I don't think he's been amazing, but he's done his job. He has made some great signings and draft picks and he's made some bad ones. At the end of the day, his team is leading the division and that is better than anyone expected. During the five game losing streak, I never got to a point where I wanted him gone, but I did point out that this is officially Murray's team. The only contracts on this team that he didn't sign or acquire were Phillips, Alfie, and Volchenkov. Now that we've won 13 of the last 14, I will give him credit because THIS IS his team.

2. The Cullen acquisition. I love it! I had just told Pynch last night that I really like every player on this team right now...except the fact that Picard and Cheechoo make me nauseous (more on Cheechoo later). Picard, apart from Canuknik's love affair, hasn't really struck a true chord with the fans in Ottawa. He showed flashes of top four potential where he could move the puck up the ice or make the brilliant pinch down low. The problem, though, is that he is a poor positional player and is too picky on when to take the body. The Washington game was a perfect example - he can rub you out on the boards on one shift, or let Semin walk around untouched for a goal on the next. There was just never a sense of urgency with the guy and I, for one, am excited that we can move on from the Picard era. Cullen, as I know him, is like a Fisher without the fan club or the celebrity fiancee. He is fast as hell, can manage the puck very well on the point on the PP, and laughs at putting up 45-50 points. No sign on whether he is possible to extend in Ottawa as Murray acknowledged he is only focused on this year (code: he is not re-signing), but we should be able to get a legit second liner here that can produce. He was also huge in the Canes' Cup run, which is nice to know that we have a guy that produces in the postseason.

3. Lee and Derek Smith are recalled. Wow, we're really going into two big games this weekend with Kuba and Lee as our second pairing. Lucky for us, we're playing two reeling teams. Unlucky for us, our defence is subpar this weekend. Murray said today that Karlsson should be back when the games resume in March, and that he will look to address defencemen at the deadline. With a bit of money to spare now, I wonder if he'll try and pick someone up without moving a roster player. I'm curious to see if he wants an offensive defencemen, something like picking up Matthieu Schneider off of waivers, for example. Or will we just find a cheap guy that is NHL-ready like Sean O'Donnell?

4. Cheechoo is waived. One of our best moves, in my opinion. Pardon me here for probably pissing on the guy's grave, but why the hell do Ottawa fans like him so much? He came in here as 'the salary dump' in the Heatley trade. WE DID NOT WANT HIM AT ALL!!! But I think we were so desperate to tell the rest of the league that we didn't get fleeced on the Heatley deal because Cheechoo would find his touch again. I think that was a big part of why people wanted him to succeed - so we'd feel better about trading a 50-goal scorer for Michalek AND....a resurgent Jonathan Cheechoo. The problem is that Cheechoo isn't good. I took a stroll over to SensChirp earlier today to read some of the fan comments over the waiver decision and it just made me angry. Four out of five fans are saying things like how they wish him well and what a great guy he was and how hard he worked. Pardon me, but did Jonathan Cheechoo show up at your house and bake you a Shepherd's Pie and strawberry shortcake for dessert? Did he walk your kids to school when you had an early meeting at work? Did he clean your bathrooms before your in-laws showed up? No, I'm guessing that he didn't do any of those things. SO HOW THE HELL ARE YOU GOING TO TELL ME WHAT A GREAT PERSON HE IS? He is a pro hockey player making $3M a year, he didn't save you from a falling through a frozen pond. Get over it, people. And he works hard? I challenge any of you to tell me that you wouldn't "work hard" if someone gave you an NHL contract and let you play on a Canadian team. That isn't enough. Everyone in the NHL works hard.

The guy cranked out a spectacular season, one of the best of our generation, and signed a whopper of an extension. It isn't his fault. If someone offered you $3M a year for 5 years, you wouldn't ask him to lower the dollar value or shorten the term. The problem is the guy isn't good anymore and is hardly NHL quality. We need to stop making excuses for him and just admit that the Heatley return was a great kid in Michalek and a second round pick. Cheechoo is nothing more than a hole in Mr. Melnyk's pocket. For the fans that say he works hard and was coming around and was a great person, all you are doing is trying to make yourself feel better about the Heatley trade. Cheechoo stinks. When this contract is up, he'll hardly be worth the league minimum and you all know it. Am I kicking a man when he's down? Yeah, I guess, but if he is reading this blog anyway, he should shut down his laptop and drive to the rink and work on his effing skating. If he wants a job this summer, he needs to figure out how the hell he scored 56 goals and then convince someone else he can do half of that again.

Face it, we traded Heatley for Michalek and a 2nd round pick. Cheechoo was awful for us, made his linemates worse, and we still don't know if he was a good person. I wish him the best of luck because I want to see hockey players succeed, but I am insanely pumped up that we don't have to have this guy dress of us ever again. He was awful in Ottawa and he is someone else's problem now...Eugene Melnyk, right now. Don't bother telling me that he is a hard worker and a great person - I'm sick of it. We didn't get fair value on Heatley, but we're still a better team now than we were in the past two years, so we all just move on.


Anonymous said...

Wow, a little angry, but correct. Other than this: we traded Heatley for Mich, a 2nd rounder (i.e. Cullen Rental - call me cocky but I think the sens and San Jose 2nd rounders will be about the same), and now a bit of extra cap space - by next year that will translate into Mich and about 3.5m in extra cap space I think. It's ok. And heatley was a douchebag - we should not forget that.

Anonymous said...

Any idea what Mylnek's networth is ? What is 10 million bucks for him ?

Canucnik said...


Totally agree on our National Anthym.

Totally agree most of 'em at Sen's Chirp don't know Cheech or hockey and that includes Chirp on this one as he took the Company Line early and could not get off.

1. Bryan Murray told Cyril Leader and you, he would be your GM for another year. Eugene Melnyk said sure. You are very lucky to have him.

2. Picard will succeed in Carolina!

3. Cullin is good pick up...try him @ Center, he may end up on the wing, Foligno's return will round it out, up front.

4. We still need one good D-man for Carks to go into the 3-4 pair, as "Karl" can carry Kuba but only in the 5-6 pairing.

Anonymous said...

In the absence of a new D. Lee is a definite upgrade over picard.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Dude, Just heard the National Anthem from last night and your being a bit of a dick about it, It was actually alright....Nothing wrong with a little tasteful twist.

This is the "big show" mothafucka!

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 10:21 AM

Let's just keep the language clean.
It is an opinion. I would have also favored a more traditional anthem
To each their own.

The Dutch Treat said...

Firstly, I agree with the national anthem. Our national anthem is beautiful and unmistakable. Why create some crappy pop version of it that the audience couldn't sing along with. It was TERRIBLE.

Secondly, I have a theory about fans in Ottawa. The majority of fans don't like skilled players. Maybe it's out of jealousy for the high contracts they have, the skill that they do possess or the amount of media attention they get but more often than not, Ottawa doesn't like it's skill players. I find it funny that Alfie has been deified now, considering early in his career he was constantly criticized and even in his breakthrough season, fans wanted him traded to LA. Next is Jason Spezza - the amount of vitriol this guy gets from the average "fan" is ridiculous, all because he creates a few turnovers (ALL THE GREAT ONES DO)and giggles in interviews. Corvo, Yashin, Heatley, they all deserved it at the end but while they were here, they were never really embraced. You could add Kovalev to the list too.

On the other side, fans seem to get bent out of shape when players who obviously don't have it anymore are let go. The outpouring of love for Martin Gerber last year made me sick! The guy stole $9 million from the franchise in exchange for horrendous goaltending. Now, it's Cheechoo. A guy who did nothing but pot a few garbage goals and now he's the "greatest guy to ever play in a Sens uniform". COME ON. Hockey is a business. He couldn't play anymore on the 4th line. Why should he take up a roster spot that could be better filled by a player like Zack Smith?

I wish Cheechoo all the best but the team needed the cap space.

Canucnik said...

Correction - National Anthem Hymn - just trying to express some patriot sentiment.

Alexandre Picard will have to learn "God Bless America!" to sing along!

Master Of Puppets said...

It will be interesting to see if Cheechoo gets called up again after break to see if he'll be taken. Paying him 3M to play in the minors is worse than paying 1.25M or so for air (if he is taken).

People often dump on the +/- rating for players as useless. To me it serves its value for the guys in the bottom 6 who rarely play special teams. Show me a successful team whose bottom 6 has poor +/-. Few and far between.

With Cheech gone, watch the +/- stat for Neil, Winchester etc ...

A playoff D is next - whether its a well rounded type or powerplay specialist.

Karlsson is starting to gain confidence, hopefully in his return he can put up a goal streak (even if only 2 or 3) to gain confidence going into the playoffs.

Tonight was a good example of playoff hockey - Detroit were solid - rarely made a mistake and capitalized on the Sens' mistakes.

Textbook Detroit with Sweathogs like Maltby and Cleary chipping in.

Lee or Smith could fill in #5-6 minutes but not both. I'd love to see Kuba moved - he's the next albatross not Kovalev.

Kuba's dumbass penalties cost momentum and goals.

The team is far from perfect, but with the right tweak or two on D could be set to do damage.

Cullen was probably the better choice over Brunette. Looked pretty good.

I hope the break doesn't work to the teams detriment and wilt the momentum they have now.

Be nice to snag two more from the Isles tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

I've been quiet for a while... As a guy who predicted that this team would suck beyond anything we'd seen since the "early years", I have been totally stunned by the long streak of excellent play.

I still think the team is playing way above its level of talent, but it is getting harder and harder to make that assertion.

Here's the thing... I just don't understand how you win so often with such a crappy D-core!?! Granted, Carks and Karlsson have been HUGE positive developments, but Philips, Volchenkov, Kuba, Campoli, Lee, Smith... Not exactly any Norris trophy candidates on this team!

Nonetheless, they're getting the job done. Good for them and good for us to have such a fun team to cheer for! My only question now is: "Just how good is this coach?!"

So, I guess I'm happy to be proven wrong... and have been content to watch quietly, since my opinion was soooo off base.

The only reason I'm commenting tonight is because, like some have said, I can't understand the love for Cheechoo!? Duh... Cheechoo was BRUTAL! Here was a guy making truck loads of money who couldn't turn right, except by turning left three times! He was a joke and represents one reason I hate Bryan Murray so much (the others being Gerber and Kuba).

I HAD to say how happy I am that he is gone!


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