21.07.2010: In which our insecurity about the frailty of the human condition is extended to predictions about the upcoming Senators season

Conrad to James, peter
show details Jul 20 (1 day ago)

I suggest the following subject for today’s conversation: how the hell is a depth defenseman and a 4th round pick the highest Philly could get for Simon(e) Gagne, the next best left winger available after Kovalchuk? How does Philly not let the bidding grow after Kovalchuk signs, but give him away an hour later? And should the Sens, for whom the left winger position is one of their weakest (along with, sigh, goaltending) have gotten in on that knowing they could have thrown Nick Foligno and a 7th at them and probably landed a 40 goal scorer? Would it have been worth it for a guy with injury problems and only a year left on his deal? How could we have made it work with the cap?

I guess what I’m really asking is: do you think this lineup is set and ready to go?

peter to James, me
show details Jul 20 (1 day ago)

Yeah this was strange one. I think it’s worth considering that Murray may have inquired and initially the price for Gagner was indeed higher. Sometimes I think GM’s float an offer and are refused and it’s taken as an insult. Maybe Stevie Y came in late and Philly sold low to end it.  I know this is business but these guys often have tremendous egos. Plus most of these guys making decisions have encountered pucks riccocheting off their skulls on more than one occassion. Or, maybe Philly was inticed by the Tampa guys thinking they fit the system, blah blah blah (fart noise).

Gagner on the Sens never really occured to me because I’m a lazy blogger and my deep-seated Protestant bias immediately offered the excuse of “Ottawa doesn’t have enough French guys for him to be happy and productive.” Which is f-d up for both me and the state of the NHL.

So here’s a theory I actully put a smidge of thought into: Murray secretly worries about Clouston’s brillo pad-like abrasiveness, particulairly with top-flight talent. He doesn’t want his locker-room developing into a caste system with high priced hired guns. Therefore ruining the much valued team chemistry built by watching Jason Spezza chase Alfie’s lazer pointer up a wall. Which, if true, would be a shame. I think hockey players forget they’re pros and essentially they’re all high priced hired guns. Chemistry is for meth-heads.

Long story short (makes wanking motion) this roster is set. I think the real drama will play out on the road between here and Bingo.

Conrad to peter, James
show details Jul 20 (1 day ago)

You’re probably right. I think the Sens have all kinds of question marks in their lineup, but good ones to have. Is Regin a legit top 6 forward? Is Foligno? Is Bobby Butler? Can Corey Locke contribute? How about Cody Bass? How about those couple of Swedish forwards? There may even be a logjam at forward, except when the inevitable injuries pile up. I expect to be missing Kovalev, Alfie, Fisher and Michalek for long stretches this season. That’s when we could really use another bona fide, no question top 6 player. Which is why I hope Murray is considering Frolov right now.

I think Ottawa’s long looked for some rough-edged coach to come in, throw chairs around the room and instill accountability, and it blew up in their face twice – Paddock and Hartsburg – in that it worked for a little while and then the team just tuned them out.

(I remember Paddock always had the same pessimistic tone. Even when his team had that insane, record-setting start to the season, like 14-2 or something, his after-game press conferences were like “Spezza’s got to grow the fuck up or I’ll bench his ass. He may have had five points tonight and gone +7, but this is a man’s league and he didn’t get into a fight doing it.”)

Clouston is cut from the same cloth, but coached a lot of these guys in the minors. He’s earned the right to express disappointment. For how long, though, I don’t know, and I’m afraid that when the going gets tough maybe he loses the room. They were an uber-streaky team last year after all…

I prefer the Jacques Martin / Dan Bylsma quiet type to the Mike Keenan kick these guys’ asses even though they make millions more than me and are rock stars approach.

James to me, peter
show details Jul 20 (1 day ago)

A weird deal no question but I personally think that Gagne’s injuries really devalue him as a trade. A strongish playoff and all but I mean two bad groin injuries requiring surgery in I think Oct or Nov of ’09? (No researching for me just memory -get used to it) That’s Marion Gaborik level risk in my books. Like Gaborik, the stats are there for the stretches that he plays and are great but the injuries ‘twixt them are very serious.

I believe Gagne only played the very last stretch of last of last season and even that was surprising as when he elected to have that surgery he was expected to miss the entire season.

Goes to show how value can fluctuate when Glen Sather aint signing the cheques! Philly didn’t really get anything blockbuster for him, no, but maybe they really needed a Matt Walkeresque (such a thing?) defenseman more than a Nick Foligno? I can’t follow all the teams off seasons holes (– or most things to do with them). I am so Sens-centric whenever a trade or free agent gets signed (WHAT DO YOU MEAN WE DIDN’T GET KOVALCHUK!?!?!) that I try to remember that these GMs have insane flow charts so no team gets the upper hand in a trade (minus the Mike Milburytreal Canadians trading Halak) and staffs devoted this stuff to fucking files on players personalities/problems/gossip we’re not privy to ON TOP of the GMs themselves having their own personalities and problems (SutterSutterSutter)…

Q: So what are you saying, James? A: Weird trade and stuff, bro!
In all, I don’t care that we didn’t get him. The injury bug did us in last season…I need a soldier! (Sing it, Destiny’s Child Mp3!)

Do I think the line up is ready?
I feel weird about this. A lot of things the things I felt really strongly about at the beginning of last season I was wrong on.  (Conrad feel free to back me up about my wrongness)
– Karlsson: I went from being all “yeah like a 5’10 wood sprite is EVER going to make the defensive squad at age 19” to “hands down fav player on team/I do a pretty killer impression of him”
– LeClaire has had enough time to recover from injuries and will be our best goalie ever and then him slipping on a banana peel to death
– Completely not believing in our farm system then loving the great play of Carkner, Brodeur, Z. Smith, and I suppose in a way Karlsson.
– Cheechoo will bounce back from a change of scenery because he is such a nice person.
– Kuba will have an amazing year on the powerplay with Kovalev to….yeah…
– Believing some of the off season prognostications of experts
– Thinking my fantasy team was going to be any good.

Anyway, gone are the unrealistic glory days of guaranteed playoff runs and real cup contenders every year ..wwwwwiiiiiith a lot of playoff let down (Washington/San Jose totally biting our shit right now) and I find I am adjusting to this new off season gumbo …(there was a time I was excited about Craig Hartsberg and bummed out about Cory Clouston). This team could really surprise either way. I don’t know if it would be good or bad to give Cowen a real shot. I think Regin IS a top six forward but I’m biased. I think the goalies will be stronger this year but I was kind of wrong about that in the past too. I think Alfie will play great to age 40. Okay that one is probably right.  A lot of these things could go either way …which sort of worked out last season.
I do think our defense is lacking something. As much as I loved seeing Sutton’s rump shatter the ribcages of nations, dude is pretty damn old and I can see the Sens’ reluctance to resign him (isn’t that why they didn’t resign A train?) I hope that either 1. Cowen makes the squad for better or worse – wasn’t Phillips another top ten first rounder thrown in the pool? That worked. OR 2, they give Cowen(‘s knee) time in the AHL to hone his game -knee- and sign a some other provenish shutdown guy. If one of those two things happens I’m happy.

Oh to Peter’s Ccach theory I think its valid enough but I don’t know…I think that he’s new school; an X’s and O’s coach but with a hard ass old school edge but the latter gets blown out of proportion because Dany Heatley is a huge, huge wimp.

Q. for you guys: Why does everyone suddenly seem to like Chris Campoli? I know he had a good playoff but dude rode the pine most of the season and no one gave a crap.
Q: Have you heard of this guy Ryan Shannonhan?

Conrad to James, peter
show details 9:00 AM (6 hours ago)

So, Spezza spoke to the media. He said he liked Ottawa. Wonder how The Sun will spin this. My suggestion for those buffoons is: “Spezza says he likes city. Time to trade him is now, while his value is high.” Or just the classy “Spezza staying, but is he a war criminal?”

James to me, peter
show details 9:02 AM (6 hours ago)
Before anyone beats me to the punch im putting a topic on the table.

-Given this off season rigamaroll how do you think Jason Spezza will respond on the ice? (dont forget that Jason definitely reads this blog so…)

Conrad to James, peter
show details 9:12 AM (6 hours ago)

I’d say it depends on two things: linemates and injuries.

He’s good for at least 55-70 points: 25-30 goals, 30-40 assists. That’s on low-scoring variations of the team. But if he gets a full season of Michalek or Aflie, or if Regin continues his development, plays on his wing and they develop some chemistry, I could see him hitting 80-90 points. Or if we sign Kovalchuk to a 96 year deal with a cap hit of $1.3M he could hit 110 points this year.

Given I think Alfie continues to age and his point totals might dip slightly, and given the injuries that will no doubt happen to Michalek, Kovalev, Alfie and others, I’d put my money on a 60 point season. In about 70 games with the rest missed due to injury.

The major X factor is Gonchar: does having him on the team transform them into a quick-transition, counter-attack team? Do they stop playing defense first and does Spezza start shooting the puck more if Gonchar’s first pass gets him behind the other team’s d-men?

If what you’re asking is if Spezza goes out and lights it up given he’s just lived through his summer of The Ottawa Sun’s forced intrigue, I think he’s already forgotten that it happened.

peter to James, me
show details 9:39 AM (6 hours ago)

Yeah I think the addition of Gonchar will mean an uptik of points on the powerplay for Spezz. As far as lines go, do you play him with Michalek and Alfredsson? I’m not sure how the they shake out.

Something about Kovalev playing on the first line or playing with Mike Fisher rubs me the wrong way enough to not be able to get an accurate read on who plays with who.

I actually thought Jason handled this whole summer of intrigue quite well. Murray’s duty is to explore avenues to make his hockey club better and I’m glad Jason is a high paid talent that understands that. GMs call, GMs listen. It’s what they get paid to do.

Shockingly, Don Brennan put together an article saying pretty much the same thing. Even though he was pissed to not be included in any of the foursomes for Jason’s celebrity golf tourney.


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