Round Table of Death: Good Times? Great Times Edition.

Photo of the Sens taken in the third period

Photo of the Sens taken in the third period

James:
Hi Varada, how’s goi– let’s cut to the chase here:I love the Ottawa Senators, you love the Ottawa Senators…something seems kinda wrong with the Senators! Let’s make Coach and General Manager masks using these popsicle sticks, this construction paper, paste and left handed scissors. Try not to cut yourself with the scissors! It’s still only November!  Follow along at home!
Question: Do you think we should see see Cody Cheechee? 
JAMES SAYS: 
There continues to be a lot of talk about the need for / possibility of Murray making a trade. I don’t know about you Eddy, but I’m not confident that Murray can make some kind of miracle swap in mid-ish November. Who knows maybe he can pull off another Foligno for Methot home run but prices will be high right now and if it means sacrificing more prospects I think that’s a bit short sighted for a team that despite being pretty bad most nights is still on the bubble of 8th in the East.
With Ottawa’s transition game in a shit state, Wiercioch and Corvo battling for the high score for Plants vs. Zombies 2 instead of a roster spot and J. Cowen….frankly starting to look like our own Luke Schenn, maybe the right move is to call up Ceci even for a cup of coffee.
Given the way Luke Richardson has been talking about him and his mouth watering (sorry, disgusting) 13 points in 15 games, I wonder if given a brief call up with sheltered minutes if Ceci can’t provide a bit of a spark. Clearly Wiercioch and Corvo are leaving all the transition and PP work to Karlsson maybe easy minutes could provide a bit of spark and remind Wiercioch in particular that there are other guys hunting to take his place. What do you think?

VARADA SAYS:

I’m not necessarily against giving Ceci a few games for the sake of his development, but I don’t think he’s going to be a solution for Ottawa. Weak, puck moving defensemen we have a few of.
You know, after the way the team lost last night — that Heatley goal…*throws up in bag of Wonderbread* — and then the way they just let Koivu walk in through four defenders, I really expected MacLean to light the team up in his post-game presser. But he had positive things to say, and I don’t think he’s wrong. Weird things happen over the course of a season. Sometimes you get massively outshot and your goaltender steals the game. Sometimes, as in last night, you outshoot and outchance the opponent but you don’t bury your chances. If you look at the aggregate, Ottawa is getting better in some places, and worse in others. The places where they’re getting worse — the penalty kill, Anderson’s goaltending — are not going to be fixed by Ceci.
Having said that, I completely agree that there is no magic trade waiting to happen. You need to 1) find a team who is also looking to trade, 2) has something useful to give you, 3) is asking a reasonable price, and 4) doesn’t want you to take on money. Looking at Capgeek I see….hmmm….nobody. Somebody the Florida Panthers have scratched five games in a row? Sign me up!
I am losing patience though. Concacher, Spezza and Michalek are not producing at all, the entire bottom six is friggin’ invisible most nights (remember Colin Greening? RIP) and Anderson didn’t regress to league average. He regressed to the league bottom.
Mostly I just don’t understand the mental state of this team. They fight back to tie the game last night, have the puck in the attacking zone, and then make a soft play, give the puck away, and stand aside to be scored on with a couple of minutes left. Where’s the urgency? I hate to say it, but it seems to be a coaching issue more than anything.

Next Question: What’s the long game here?

VARADA SAYS:
I think we need to be the most concerned about next season. Yes, this team has some young debt. It can build around Karlsson, Turris, Zibanejad, Lehner, I guess you have to say Cowen even though he’s terrible, ditto Concacher, ditto Wiercioch, and maybe you’ve got Ceci and Puempel coming up pretty soon. But with potential to lose Michalek, Spezza, Ryan, Methot, Anderson, Phillips, and MacArthur all in the next two seasons…welp, Ottawa doesn’t have that kind of depth.

When players are asked what they look for in a potential destination, they overwhelming say they want to go somewhere where they can win. And for that the team needs to be a little bit more aggressive, and usually that means with its money. Looking out beyond 2014, where do you see this team heading? Are you concerned about a mass exodus? Do you think this team can establish itself as a competitive presence in the next two years?
JAMES SAYS: 
I think you might be being a bit grim on the “potential to lose Michalek, Spezza, Ryan, Methot, Anderson, Phillips, and MacArthur” thing. I, for starters I would be completely fine with losing almost half those guys without even thinking about it. Good luck in future whatevers: Michalek, Anderson and Phillips. Now Spezza I’m actually on the fence about right now because: Emotions. If he at age 32 had been playing like he’s been playing so far this season over those two years and demanded more than his current $7MM? That would actually be a hard signing for any organization to justify I think. Too early to call how that one’s going to play out. 


Anderson I wouldn’t necessarily welcome losing but push came to shove I’m totally willing to hang onto Lehner if the organization had to choose. Like you said, you gotta build around him not Anderson. 

Phillips I am worried the organization wont have the guts to let go of but I don’t even want to see what that guy’s play will look like in a year or two. C’mon bro I was at Big Rig on the weekend and it was PAAAAAACKED, please become a restaurateur or consultant or something for the good of the team. 

Michalek is a good player but at this point he makes me feel like A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE GOOD PLAYERS and we could have what he brings for much cheaper. I mean let’s face it the guy has been getting 3rd line time this season. That is not a 6MM dollar player. Its a no brainer to let him go. That doesn’t solve the hole in the top 6 but neither does Milo. Happy trails. 

Marc Methot WHO MAKES LESS THAN JARED COWEN BY THE FUCKING WAY, is due for a raise but from a source who’s close to him … I’m actually not joking about that, he apparently has no plans of leaving Ottawa and wants to stay for the long haul. So, whatever that’s worth, maybe he will take somewhat of a cap friendly deal? 

Hopefully the organization is smart and actually hangs on to MacArthur unlike pretty much every other team he’s played for. His contract is so hilariously reasonable that I just wish they’d have given him more term in the first place. 

The biggest thing for me is keeping Ryan in the fold. I know we’ve only had him for a sprinkle over a quarter season but damn. He’s a keeper. Plus we don’t have a forward close to his caliber being developed. You have to buy these tyoe of players most of the time. Lord have mercy with this constant Philadelphia  Flyers connection stuff. He’s still ours for another year goddamn it! I’m holding out hope that the Flyers are too much of a cap nightmare to obtain him. Someone needs to convince Melnyk to put Bobby Ryan on his credit card or something because I think what he’ll do for the team is worth the money. 
Losing Michalek, Anderson, Corvo and Praise Be To Jah, Lion of Judah, for He makes all things Possible, Chris Philliips, that’s what, 12 Million dollars in savings right there?Hopefully playing on such an amazing line with Turris and MacAurthur, with Erik Karlsson, who despite criticism is still clipping along at a point per game, moving the puck to him and (please) improved overall team play will be enough to keep Ryan around.
 As for Spezza sucking up the budget, again, that one is a toss up. Maybe he might have to make that right of passage as an Ottawa Senators captain must: and make a team-friendly deal lest ye be banished to a better team 😉
Terrifying potential Curveball: Kyle Turris, who incidentally has become the team’s no.1 centre and may very well continue to be, realizes he’s become the lowest paid top line pivot in the league and wants to renegotiate his contract. RUH ROWWWWW. This is why I only like to be pretend GM!

DAT VARADA THO: 
I mean, the scary thing is that all of these contracts are interconnected. If one of these bigger pending free agents decides to bolt (and don’t even act like it won’t be to A) the Rangers, or B) Philly, because hockey players just can’t fucking help themselves. They all want to be rich 20-somethings in a big American city), and the team doesn’t indicate that it will replace, perhaps even BUILD with that cap space, well then they might also decide to go. I don’t think any of these players are particularly easy to replace, especially on the free market. We’ve been pretty lucky to have internal options of late. I don’t know what happens when we don’t anymore.

Anyway, this team still has the horses to turn it around, and I think they’re only a piece or two away from moving from a bubble team to making some actual noise. I do think the team is trying to trade Anderson – there are a lot of scouts at each of their games, and they’ve been playing Anderson an awful lot even though Lehner is pretty clearly the better goaltender, at least at the moment. Between Anderson and Michalek, they have some intriguing assets to unload, though again, I can’t imagine who has the money and the cap space.
BUT, BUT, BUT JAMES THO: 
Well, speaking of interconnectedness, what I’m afraid of is all these little, bad and hard to trade contracts (Greening, Cowen, Greening, Wiercioch, Greening, Greening, Greening,) adding up to prevent a good big contract (Ryan) from getting done down the road. My admittedly wide eyed hope is that the current budget’s purpose is for saving up for two years from now. Surely Murray has started calculating for this…aaaand surely Melnyk does not remember this conversation if it happened. As for the big city thing, definitely a lot of players want that but the cap has changed whether or not it’s possible to sign whoever to a degree thank god. Remember when you could literally trade players for money? Also, I think in a way we’re fortunate to like a league made up of quiet country boys who kind of don’t give a fuck. This is why the issue of ‘what Bobby Ryan wants’ is a mystery to me. He has those Philly connections but also, literally lives in the middle of a field in Idaho in the off season. Like you said, getting back on track and building a winner is what’s key. People love the beach and Miami’s a really cool spot but i don’t see any quality players running toward Florida right now.

7 thoughts on “Round Table of Death: Good Times? Great Times Edition.

    • I’d like to take this opportunity to express my agreement with James. Methot, he’s such a hipster with his Tequilla Jack’s meshback hat! Just like the guys in Parquet Courts wear!

  1. Jeez, I thought this was going to be much more positive than it ended up being. Next time put a “SARCASM” neon sign on the title, mmkay? Thanks dollfaces. (Ew, dollfaces plural sounds terrible.) I don’t really get into all the money & contract talk, but I agree in that there are some wonky numbers in terms of salary right now, and that’s not helped by our infernal “internal budget”. Like, the fact that Methot makes less than Cowen… we’ve had excellent prospects and free agent signings (except Corvo, please, can we get rid of him) but in hindsight it seems like a lot of the contracts the team has signed players to haven’t been all that great.

    And I still have no clue how the Sens are going to get better. Just… GET BETTER. UGH.

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