And my second is, “I hope there’s an organization-wide ban on reading the Ottawa Sun.”
Feelings are largely positive and sentiment high after an unexpected trip to the playoffs. Anderson kept the Senators in most of their games against the Rangers, and he peaked with a 1-0 shutout in game five to send Ottawa home with a 3-2 series lead. He provided the Senators with the sort of competent goaltending they’ve lacked for years. (In related news, the St. Louis Blues, who made Brian Elliott their starting goaltender, were just swept.)
I’m actually okay with a little bit of speculative writing. We do it here. Blogs always propose outlandish deals and moves. It’s part of what makes a community of writing important: we drive one another to consider the outlandish, to think outside the box. If there were only one or two publications or sites covering the Senators, you can bet you’d get a lot more “ra-ra” fluff pieces. We wouldn’t even have advanced statistics if not for that loveable pre-blogger Bill James.
Sure, I’m concerned about the media in this town becoming an obstacle to attracting free agents. And I’m concerned about a prominent hockey writer in our city taking a second to piss all over the good feelings we all have. (Though I’ve done it.) But Brennan has a point: when it comes to goaltending, Ottawa moved from a position of relative weakness into a position of relative strength. If you presume that Ben Bishop can be a starter (not a solid presumption by any means), and you presume that other teams are desperate for goaltending, then you might assume that Ottawa could get a return for Anderson.
But: “trading Anderson, even as part of a package, could answer the need for both a proven, point-producing forward and a defensive defenceman” (my emphasis) is patently ridiculous. These must be the sort of articles that make GMs roll their eyes and cringe when they see press passes issued.
And there is the subtle distinction between speculative writing and trolling. One offers up a hypotheses and then tests it with scenarios, precedent, statistics, or at least logical justification. Trolling is the outlandish for the sake of it. It seeks a response. You can pump out about 15 trolling articles a day.
What guys like Brennan never seem to do is explore the fraternity of a franchise – the notion that there are core guys, bound like a family, and the organization makes a commitment to them as much as they make a commitment to the crest on their chest. Anderson, like it or not, is one of those guys. He was signed with that in mind. And unless there’s a Heatley-esque meltdown, he’s not moving. And it’s sort of insulting to the underlying values of hockey-building in small markets to treat these players as mere resources, to be swapped in and out at the dictatorial whims of a capricious media and the fans who consume it.
Large market teams can do that; there will always be a flood of UFAs who will take a 12 year deal to play in New York or Philly. Ottawa: not so much. We need to be in it for the community, for the group in the room, and ultimately to win. Media could explore possible moves relative to this small-market reality. Instead, it’s fantasy hockey redux.
Brennan either doesn’t get it, or, as I suspect, gets it perfectly and is trolling. After all, we’ve seen this sort of glib, manipulative piece before. It’s only a matter of time before he talks to a half-dozen people on Elgin St., calls it a “poll” and runs a headline about how everyone in Ottawa wants Anderson gone.