He’s here to fill the Chara sized hole in your heart…

though that would probably be your entire chest and part of the couch also…

I wish my phone’s auto correct would give up the idea of changing the word “Sens” to something else, not happening. Sorry you can have “Konopka” though…haha “Manillla”, priceless.

Tons of folks got excited texts from me today (join the Pete’s excited texts mailer).  I only wished I knew more Islander fans. The remorse on the message boards is profound. They’ll miss a solid guy and someone who isn’t easy to push around. What’s not to love? I think it’s perfect for this team and a huge coup.  There are scores to settle that the former 67 now knows all about. We need to start thinking of an awesome nick-name for this fourth line.

I was going to go with "Deadliest Catch"

06.14.2011 In which we, for one, welcome our new mustachioed overlord

And with the new hire, the CCFR looks to expand it’s publishing empire…

It’s the dawning of a new era in Ottawa and the CCFR plans to herald this mustachioed age of Aquarius the only way we know how. By forging past any semblance of coherent analysis and heading straight to the meta discussion of picking a new name. The CCFR (web and defense contract division) steering committee failed to accurately forecast the life cycle of  our current name and now we need help from you the reader. While we still have money in the petty cash coffers, feel free to suggest a new name and perhaps reap the fiancial reward of selling your fabulous prize on kijiji (yeah, that’s a thing these days)

…(checks watch, checks wall clock)… Well looks like we’ve got a bit of extra time…

Okay so maybe we do need to talk about this new coach. I personally like the hire. Professional sports are quickly becoming copy cat leagues (if not a reasonable hand drawn fascimile, or write parent’s brains on a 3×5 card and send to…) and I applaud the acknowledgement that Detroit is a fucking amazing organization. Recently Ottawa has implemented maverick personnel moves like employing a Danish player and trading for the only non-talented French Canadian goalie in the league. In the business world, its called course correction, in pro sports it’s two news conferences sandwiching an interview process.

You know what team hasn’t a press conference in a while, whose GM hasn’t appeared regularly between periods of meaningless March games? Detroit… their success with Swedish scouting efforts, the front office consistency and many other factors have made the winged wheel the envy of many fan bases. Will Paulie Whiskers (still working on it) bring all these successful traits with him? I doubt it, after it all we’re still using the rebuilding taxonomy here in Ottawa (Genus: Cellar, Species: Dweller)

You know what I’m looking forward to? A  little less freak out face from behind the bench. The one thing I like about coaches, leaders and Harvey Keitel is the ability to stay calm in the face of adversity. Never let em see you sweat, you know? I know it wasn’t demonstrative, throw water bottles rage but Clouston often looked rattled. If you’ve been the recipient of some bad calls and tough luck, at least you can act like you expected it. Am I way off?  Any Detroit fans have any stories about the time they saw Paul at Cici’s pizza and he made them lick white dog crap cause they scratched his impala? (translation: is he volcanic behind the bench?)

Anyways, lots to be excited about here, I’m already drawing up an off season workout program for my mustache.

Chime in with your jubilation or consternation in the comments…oh and think of a fucking name for this blog already!

Cranky letter to the editor: Murray’s new deal kills any talk of a “rebuild”

Watching the Sens finish out the season versus the Bruins and still trying to wrap my tiny mind Murray’s new deal. Trying to process what this means for the club going forward is kinda futile, the larger statement focuses on the fact that no one has any idea of the nature of the professional relationship between Murray and Melnyk. Also that the notion of a rebuild can’t really be considered when the man making the decisions is still making the decisions.

You may have noticed the title of this post, what I mean is that we’re undergoing a bit of revisionist history. Locking Murray up for three more years is an explicit acknowledgement that the level of talent on this squad is adequate enough to compete for a playoff spot and compete for the Stanley Cup in the not too distant future. These are still his players, the draft picks are still at his discretion. What went wrong during this season was a result of injuries, guys playing hurt and suspect goaltending.  Essentially the organization is passing the blame square to the shoulders to the players.

Correct or incorrect, I don’t think its entirely fair, how many games were lost while watching Brian Elliott put his pads on backwards? What conversations between the training staff, the coaching staff and the front office were being held in regard to injuries? Everyone lauded Murray for robbing the Avalanche at the deadline, in my opinion, he made that deal 30 games too late. He held on a little too long to the idea that Leclaire was going to be the answer. (I don’t blame them when you’ve got that much salary involved) Of course hindsight is 20-20.

Earlier I mentioned the professional relationship between Murray and Melnyk and its nebulous nature. I’ve long been a proponent of an additional resource embedded somewhere within the organization’s infrastructure with a focus on oversight. If this were a professional organization outside the spotlight of sports there would be a loud movement for greater oversight. Imagining the players as red and blank ink on the balance sheet one can only determine that the sheet was examined a little too late. What mechanisms are in place to foster course correction?

Well there is the argument that re-upping Murray is a form of course correction. Is anyone noticing the discrepancy in play here? Organization re-signs the GM responsible for massaging a roster into something that has shown great promise late in the season, essentially a bunch of AHL’ers, Jason Spezza and Craig Anderson saved his job. (but not his coach’s?) Winning is a great salve, but my question is what happens when the youngsters falter?

I sincerely hope they don’t but realistically it will happen and when it does the call of “rebuild” emanating from the minaret on top of Scotiabank Place will fall on deaf ears.

 

2011.03.14: Anderson aims to kick out the rubber while Murray kicks the tires.

It looks like a real headline. Seriously…

Anyways, the city’s a buzz about keeping goaltender Craig Anderson. He’s an UFA at season’s end and we all know he’s here on a tryout. He’s played well and since Sens highlights are quickly falling in the TSN programming hierarchy he’s a big part of the conversation, positive and negative. Often, Anderson himself is the highlight. He’s displayed some flashy athleticism without a stout group on defence. So its time to weigh in. How long, at what rate? What about Lehner? What about Andy’s chances on the open market?

Conrad:

Simple question for you today: what kind of offer, if any, do we give Craig Anderson? I doubt anyone will say they don’t want him back, given someone has to play for this team next year, and I think we can agree that 19 year old Lehner probably isn’t quite it yet. But how high do you go? Would you pay him in excess of, say, $3M a year for 3 years?

It’s been exciting to see someone play their heart out for a team nowhere near the playoffs, but I think the sample size is too small to give him much in terms of money or years. He’s been playing out of his mind since coming over from Colorado, facing 40+ shots on most nights and allowing a team of B-list talent a chance to eke out 3-2 games, but no one can keep that up every night. Colorado tried to run with that strategy and ended up running him into the ground. I like him as a player, and would love to see him re-sign, but I just don’t see the organization wanting to pay him more than he makes now, which is about $2M. If he has to take a discount, I wonder why he wouldn’t take a discount for, say, Washington or Chicago. Ottawa might have to overpay to keep him, and I wonder if they should. (Though after our $5M Kovalev experiment, I’d probably be ok with the team overpaying for a character guy who also happens to be a more-than-serviceable goaltender.) So: I’d probably give him the money it will take to keep him, but I also think that’s probably why I’m no GM. Thinking with my heart here.

Side question: Is Pascal Leclaire still alive?

Peter:

I think the length of the deal is the most important aspect. Basically the question is how long till we make Lehner the numero uno? How about a two year deal? Worth about 4 mil total. Maybe put some incentives in there to sweeten instead of overpaying?

Do you think he wants to stay? Being an everyday starter is tempting but to face 40 shots a night with some suspect defenders in front of him. If he does decide to stay in Ottawa his stats won’t reflect positively on his time, eventually hurting his chances at a new deal once Robin takes over. Is the rest of the league even watching Ottawa anymore? What would be the market? I’m sure there’ll be interest but the Sens will probably over value him thus bidding against themselves. Tricky stuff.

Allow me to add a caption to Steve’s latest masterwork “I can’t clear my crease no more, cuz I got too much money in it.”

Prianka:

After Leclaire injured himself during rehab for his current injury that he had received during the rehab for that previous injury … yeah, I don’t know. Either hiding in a bubble in his basement, or confined to a hospital bed would be my best guess.

In regards to what to offer Anderson, I think Steven’s picture says it best. Although we have a small sample size to go on, I don’t feel like Murray has a lot of other options when it comes to goaltending. Either he signs Anderson to whatever he wants, or we go into next season with Lehner (who is currently injured) as our starter which is just asking for another terrible season. Lehner is great, but at 19 not to mention still in his development phase, there is no way he can carry the team.

Conrad:

Good points. With his two year deal with the Avalanche, it was his first time ostensibly being handed the starting gig. You could argue that his one phenomenal season proves that he is capable of, if not definitely is, a starter. Meaning, he’s already taken his short, low-pay deal to prove he can be the go to guy, and now he’ll want term. He’s paid his dues.
Part of what makes me so skeptical that Ottawa can re-sign him is that Colorado are in essentially the same boat as Ottawa, and probably would have loved to have him back for two years at $2M per. You don’t just trade away a goalie who was in the Vezina conversation after one bad year – and for Brian Elliott, to boot – unless there’s something keeping a deal from getting done. I suspect that part of the reason he was traded was that he wanted more than the Avs were comfortable providing.
I wager that he makes it to July 1st without signing a deal in Ottawa and looks at his options. Ottawa will put a deal on the table, and he may well take it, but not before seeing if a contender comes calling first. Or a rebuilder offers more term. I could see him in Washington, Chicago, Philadelphia, Edmonton, Columbus, Atlanta, Detroit, Florida. Toronto, Tampa…
All of which makes me think that Ottawa will have to give him *gulp* Leclaire money to stay.
James:
Conracts are pretty hard to talk about for the non-GM/player agent (so basically we’re cool seeing as this is an exclusive forum for GMs and player agents to sling the hash) – btw Jay Grossman still waiting for you to get at me about that etting-gay olchenkov-vay ack-bay to the enators-Say thing i paged you about! I KNOW YOURE READING THIS DUDE! 

Anyway, I go into this thinking aside from Crosby for like 8.7 years at 8.7 million because he thought that would be “pretty cool eh” fans rarely seem happy with contracts. I think why they always seem to be leave one wanting a mulligan down the road is 1. players are human men and not machines 2. because there are two people on the end of the negotiating table – i know i am blowing your heads off with deep knowledge here – the shrewd GM (minus Glenn Sather/ Mike Milbarfy) and the probably even shrewder (wow thats actually a word) player agent – who gets a piece. After a player has finished their entry level and arent seen as a marginal NHLer, there is a fixation on two things maximum payout, maximum term. You get a bit of a an idea why in our post-Marc Savard/Max Pacioretti/You name the player world.
Maybe Conrad’s right, maybe he goes to a contender, maybe Contenders have a good thing going on already hence why they are contenders. Maybe Anderson is their piece and some golden chariot swoops in and signs him. Yaaaaay (for themmmmm) But also, i dont know, maybe not…seen plenty of great goalies play on teams with less hope then the Sens (one rhymes with BROkoun)…
Anyway, back to my point about about Term/Salary, Anderson is probably (definitely) in the drivers seat on resigning here…and…the contract is probably going to be disliked by a lot of people if it goes down.
PEEERRRRSONALLY, Ottawa needs a good goalie as they always have (NO MORE BRIAN ELLIOOOOOTS FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!) but i think Prianka rightly raises the issue that the sample size is small and we have the image of a glassman and a raw prospect who played in the OHL a year ago as options. What Im saying is Ottawa is going to have to find a goalie anyway and i kind hope its Andy – and if its not well, 50 save overtime and shootout shut out of the leafs in TO on a Saturday night = lifetime pass buddy…life time pass
True he cant keep facing 50 shots a night but i hope that the additions of Runblad, Cowan, Larrrrrrssssssssoooonnn??????, a not career worst season from Gonchar/Phillips will cut down on that. Maybe they sell him the future? *tugs collar*
For me I would be happy to see a competitive (read: highish/high) salary be offered at the trade off of short term – 2yrs max. Ottawa is actually in a position to overpay a little here and there with so much cap space (our first line wingers are currently Colin Greening and Bobby Butler btw…) for a year or two and maybe plug in a certain Swedish 21 year old entry level scapegoat/saviour/nutcase  by then.

2010.12.28: In which we discover the Sens via their Cable TV movie equivalents

The Ottawa Senators and their Cable TV Movie equivalents. It’s the season for lying on your couch and realizing that the movies running late at night have more in common with your favorite Ottawa Senator than you think. Join me won’t you? The balcony is open:

Forwards Daniel Alfredsson – The Fugitive

 

Credits to credits this is an outstanding film, can’t say a word against it. Has a great habit of showing up during cold and flu season or during a rained out Atlanta Braves game. If I were starting a cable channel franchise, this would be the movie I build around. Re-watchable, gritty. Harrison Ford’s last great hurrah and only more fuel to the “he’s held on too long” argument.

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2010.11.12: In which Conrad disappears, Steve finishes his English homework, James gets fired and Peter finds comfort in the arms of another sport.

Busy day at the CCFR, Conrad’s off eating dim sum in the shower of a Mississauga Super 8. James is scrubbing his resume  for all references to Snoopy and Peter is searching frantically for recaps of the VAN-OTT game that haven’t been edited for seniors.

33 seconds in, your popcorn is still poppin