Ottawa, the Leaky Boat

So, Spezza is as good as gone. This I’ve come to terms with. I suppose you could argue it makes sense from an asset management perspective, though I think it makes more sense to hold on to your elite scoring center who’s only making $4MM a year and who carries a $7MM cap hit, helping you to reach the cap floor…

So, Hemsky is as good as gone. This I’ve come to terms with. I suppose you could argue that the player is best suited as a complementary scorer rather than the central piece he’d become if he stayed on the cash-strapped Senators, and that having a skilled winger making north of $5MM a year is difficult to justify in a market who loves them some grinding, hardworking schlubs who are terrible at playing hockey.

These things I can accept. What I have trouble with is: how on earth is all of this information about teams on Spezza’s no trade list and Hemsky’s contract conditions getting leaked in the first place?

I know the playoffs are over and we now turn to full time rumor-mongering. That’s the name of the game. And a good deal of these rumors could be entirely fabricated. But they’re stunningly precise for rumors, aren’t they. Hemsky was offered $10MM over three years? Spezza’s list includes all of Canada, the Isles, Preds, Blue Jackets and Panthers? Who is letting this stuff get out?

It makes Ottawa seem like a mickey mouse organization. We out our 11-year veteran as having requested a trade. We let everyone know that the market for their skills is diminished and that we don’t expect a fair return in a trade. Then we tell every UFA and RFA that if you come to Ottawa, even if only for a few weeks, we expect a hometown discount.

It’s sort of stunning that Ottawa finds themselves in this situation. Outside of Erik Karlsson and Bobby Ryan, the team really doesn’t have many players who could be considered elite talent. And if they hope to be competitive on the free agent market – not just for the high end guys, who Ottawa isn’t getting anyways, but for the value players like MacArthur – they need to clamp down on these leaks. We already have a massive PR problem in Eugene Melnyk, which is just the disaster that keeps on giving. Can we at least agree that the substance of contract negotiations should remain between the player and the organization?

I’m not sure if Bryan Murray just isn’t that good at communication – see the strangely mixed messages that come out of his office, contradicted by coach Paul MacLean, about what went wrong last season, or the unexpected re-signing of Bryan the senior to a contract extension precipitating the exit of Tim the junior to Buffalo, or the traumatic departure of Daniel Alfredsson which, truth be told, everyone should have at least considered, given he wasn’t under contract. Or is the problem that they just don’t have the staff to manage information? I don’t know.

All I know is that we don’t see that many other teams have their laundry quite so embarrassingly aired for all to see.


5 thoughts on “Ottawa, the Leaky Boat

  1. Seriously!!!! Why does it seem like we are the only team who doesn’t know how and NHL organization works?

    When it comes to anything hockey personnel related it just seems like we don’t have a clue. Not to say that it should be ALL cloak and dagger, but recognize when it time to keep your tongue in your fuckin cheek! Not only does it put us at a disadvantage for making potential player moves, but try bringing in some top tier talent with the lure of “you’d better come on the cheap, and you’d better get ready to be run out of town in 3-5 years.” Thank GOD we draft half decently cause that’s the only way good talent is coming by this franchise anytime soon.

    Good point about B-Murr too. Should have stepped aside and let Tim show him what he’s learned. Hell you know he’d have a spot right next to him and would still have plenty of influence.

    Next year…………FACK!

  2. Umm guys this isn’t a mystery at all.
    Murray is the master of the “woe-is-me” soundbite. He even has the patented “I’m a confused old guy, how could I know what’s going on?” look to go with it. All the leaks come from his end of the deal. He (allegedly) leaked the Heatley stuff and the media turned on Heatley and so did the fans. Now he leaked Hemseky and TSN1200 obliges and slags him as overpaid. Then Bryan comes up to the podium, tells a few jokes and a story about Paul Kariya leaving 23,597,723 years ago and hey, do you know Curtis Lazar is the next Dustin Brown? And what about our other prospects?

    And on and on it goes. This organization is an embarrassment on and off the ice and we badly, badly need a pro up top. Not just a hockey pro but a media pro as well.

  3. OK, I agree mostly with what you said, Varada, but I’m wondering whether we really seem this leaky from a non-Sens-fan’s perspective. When you say “All I know is that we don’t see that many other teams have their laundry quite so embarrassingly aired for all to see” — do you follow other NHL teams as closely as you do Ottawa? Because I’d speculate that you don’t see other teams’ laundry quite as much simply because you’re not paying as much attention. I’d be interested in seeing how non-Sens-fans see our current situation. That being said, I’m not refuting any of what you’ve said — we really do need to learn how to PR — just how much of a big deal it can be considered as.

    Of course, when a boat’s leaky, we can always try jumping ship, eh? Following two rats named Spezza and Hemsky to their new teams doesn’t sound too bad… (okay that analogy kinda flopped. :P)

    • You may be right about that. But usually when I see interviews with other GMs where they’re outing their best players as having asked for trades, etc. it’s the Columbuses of the world who’ve done it. And the next thing you know they’re on every team’s no trade list – which we know because that somehow also got leaked.

      You’re right – it might not be anything specific to Ottawa. It just seems suspiciously common.

  4. I never buy this “keep it a secret that they guy wants out” idea. Everyone knows Kesler wants out. Everyone knows SJ wants to trade Thornton. Is their value diminished? Not a chance. The more teams know that someone is available the more potential trade partners you have… and the more likely you can start a bidding war.

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