28.09.2010: In which get our hopes and dreams stenciled on the back of one of those black SNES jerseys

Conrad to James, peter

The season begins a week from Friday. Let’s all talk about the things we most want to see from the Senators 2010-2011 March to Glory.

 Pascal Leclaire in a contract year: he’s basically playing for his career. He’ll probably get into at least one freak accident (my money’s on biplane dogfight) but in between we’re looking at desperation goaltending. Could be good. Like watching a mongoose fight a snake.
 
Sergei Gonchar: I hated watching the Sens play against this guy. I know I keep predicting all kinds of injuries, but when we have him on the ice it’s going to be great. One timer to Alfie on the PP? Sounds good.
 
Filip Kuba coming back: yeah, I know, how unsexy is this pick? But rolling three puck movers will be great to see. Greater even than watching Greg DeVries pass to Tom Preissing.
 
Nick Foligno and Peter Regin duel for the last spot in the top six: all the competition tends to center on the defensive core, but these two have shown they can be intermittently awesome. I think Foligno has the inside track given his exhibition play, his experience, and how last year, at times, he seemed to control the play a little (seriously. I stick by this contention.). But when he falters, Regin can step in. (Problem with this theory: Foligno can play on a third line for you, but Regin is sort of a scoring winger / center or bust.)
 
Bobby Butler: shut your face, he’s gonna be great. His mother and I are so proud.
 
Which Siberian team does Brian Lee end up playing for this season?: The Siber Schmelgorsk? Top Flight Hockey MZ Kattan? Steel Fortitude Wheat Glory Bear Strikers?
 
Next season: what a cop out, right? But with Leclaire, Kovalev, Ruutu, and possibly Phillps coming off the cap, and no one major to re-sign, there’s gonna be some serious cash to play with and some quality UFAs coming up. Does Tim (that’s right, Tim) Murray make a run at somebody?

James to Conrad, peter

Regin v. Foligno (BOTH OF YOU CAN BE VERY, VERY GOOD EQUALLY IF YOU WANT, BY THE WAY) for role of top whatev forward

First of all, Conrad, I don’t think its weird to make a light allusion to Foligno’s ability to control the play. Dude is pretty fantastic on the cycle given the chance, and his secondary, even thirdendary efforts are definitely a feather in his cap in terms of possession skill. On the Regin front, I disagree that he is a pure scorer or bust. He was only revealed as a scorer in the latter days of last season and was brought on the team as more your defensively responsible centre who can pot a shootout goal if given the chance ( – a chimneysweep man’s version of Pavel D I suppose). In fact, I will say, despite not scoring for a couple of preseason games Regin’s been very good on the back check which I think is totally fine. Why am I saying this? Because I LOVE debating Conrad. No wait I meant to type Conrad is smarter than most smart human beings and I am going to go back to fully agreeing with him NOW: If this turns into an awesome all around play/scoring derby sign me up!….for …a …ticket to that…derby or whatever!
 
Leclaire and Kovalev in Contract/Mortal Kombat Career Fatality Years

While Kovalev can always fall back on reprising his role as The Most Interesting Man in the World in those Dos Equis ads, I don’t think he strikes me as the kind of international man of mystery who would ever take a big pay cut while he’s playing professional hockey until he’s 50. So, if he plans to make in the neighbourhood 5M a year for the next 13 years now is his time to strike because Glen Sather just waived Wade Redden!

I think Kovalev, barring knee/sleep apnea fatality, should have a more consistent year in terms of point production especially on the PP (more on that in a little). Tip for this year:  Watching the Sens was most fun last season when I would try to forget that Kovalev MAKES FIVE MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR. FIIIIVE. Second Highest Paid…don’t think about it.

LeClaire with pretty much his career in the balance is…oh lord…hold on I’m actually not much looking forward to this but my Memories of 2009 Preseason Cheechoo Hopes Backspace Button is broken so I suppose I’ll keep going. This desperation year, and on a mayyyybe he could get a job with Dallas or Tampa if he effs this year up level of desperado, COULD have the highest return for the entire team’s standing if responded to positively. Imagine a hors lumieres year from Leclaire? Suddenly the team’s two biggest question marks (goaltending and defensetinal fortitude) would become whatever the opposite of a question mark is! The only thing in the way of this happening though is …all kinds of stuff. So…………………………………………LETS MOVE ON!

A Resurgent Jason Spezza

You guys!
 
A First Line Power Play That Could Consist of…Gonchar, Karlsson, Alfie, Spezza, Kovalev or Michalek.

There were a lot of injuries last year. And there were a lot of bullshits last year. And there were a lot of power plays that looked like nightmare plays. I remember posting in anger on http://anothersensblog.blogspot.com/  (who I wish would post more) that I was actually getting bummed out during a lot of games where the Sens would get a 5-on-3 or a bunch of power plays when they wouldn’t convert any of them and it was making the other team have Erik Karlsson levels of confidence as a result of killing them all off.

Sub-thing I am most looking forward to: Gonchar

-Riding home after a playoff loss to the Penguins on the drunk people carrier (bus) and a guy at the front of the bus wearing a shiny powder blue pens jersey and was facing away from me. The whole ride all I could see was GONCHAR 55 staring at me. I was tormented with thoughts of “Curse that handsome devil!” the whole sad-drunk way home. Now, not even six months later dude is on the team? This guy has been a pain in the ass forever and now he’s ours to love? This is like 100 Ruutu signings.
 
Around November when the actual team roster is hopefully figured out.

And then we can concentrate on endlessly speculating over the line pairings and starting goalie. Seriously though folks, is anyone else teetering between thinking our glut of players fighting to make a roster spot is great news in terms of depth but is also nervous that it ensures making the correct decisions going forward that much more difficult? I guess the giraffe in the room I’m talking about is Cowan (are we rushing him or do we need the guy now?). I’ve also heard about 10 players referred to as ‘likely the first call up to fill in for injuries’. 
 
Following the Binghamton Senators

Real Talk: The last two times I’ve likely mentioned Binghamton was in back in the Jacques Martin era, as in “When are they gunna call up that Spezza kid who is getting about 100 points down in ________” and the last couple of years, “Finally, they manned up and demoted ‘so and so underachieving player’ to _______” Over the past decade or so we have been very lucky to have had both A) A very competitive pro team that was pretty much the end all be all of our focus and B) John Muckler’s drafting skills that made the AHL very easy to overlook. I think since around the drafting of Karlsson there has been an awakening to how much our scouting and player selection has improved on the d-low since Murray became GM. Given this years horse race for about .05 of a roster spot there are going to be a lot of players going back down to the AHL that I am going to be keeping tabs on. I don’t even think I need to name them, that’s how exciting our farm team has gotten. 
 
So Sens, lets keep the drama to a minimum and have a great 2010-2011!!!!!!!!

Peter to James, conrad

Road trip to Bingo in the ccfr’s future?
 
Reading James’ last mail made me think of those great 80’s movies with training montages that all end the same way. 3 authority figures all turn to each other at the same time and provide an approving nod. Triumph! Approval! Zenith! Futon! Words! Things!
 
I’m looking forward to very simple things. Things like going to a game and bitching about the parking while my car refuses to start in the balmy January nights. I’m looking forward to watching Jason Spezza slowly dangle his way back into my heart, that charming half-wit!
 
I’m looking forward to Ottawa fans further cementing Alfie’s legacy as an all time great while fans of every other team hate him. (seriously, I know we love him but dude is actually a polarizing figure of the highest order).
 
I’m looking forward (cue “the battle hymn of the republic”) to the sens going on a series of winning and losing streaks that makes this whole crazy love affair worthwhile. I’m looking forward to Conrad’s continued debate on which Sens jersey to buy knowing full well the rational man inside his crispy coated fan exterior wouldn’t be caught dead in something equalling 200 dollar PJ’s.
 
I’m looking forward to once again having something to talk to my Dad about. I know he’ll appreciate being able to gloss over his disappointment that I am not a world famous lawyer-chemist. It’ll be good to curse that hot-dog Spezza together (Don’t worry, Spezzy, I’ll still pledge my love later that night in my journal.)
 
I’m looking forward to watching overtime winners and seeing the transcendent beauty of Kate Bierness describe the play as if I’m seeing it for the first time. I’m looking forward to bad Jubilee Jewellers commercials and seeing which product Chris Neil will inexplicably endorse. I’m looking at you Lanark Cedar!
 
I’m looking forward to bad MS Paints, Yahoo photos, Toronto bias, American ignorance and the 300 level at Scotia in May.
 
PS. we are the approving figures in the 80’s montage, we are the exiles on main street, we are between the buttons. We are letting it bleed.

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