Jean-Pierre Allard is sticking to his guns about your beloved Sens today.
While GM Bryan Murray absolutely made the right decision in dismissing John Paddock, he will soon find out that it doesn't matter who is behind the bench of the Senators.
The reality is that this team has no capable goalie, only one dependable defenseman and far too many dipsy-doodlers up front.
Some players care only about their individual statistics, others are sadly over-rated, a few are grossly overpaid, many have lost a step or two while the majority very seldom bother putting in a solid 60 minutes a game, a telltale sign of weak leadership. Throw in the growing belief that there are far bigger issues with the Senators than their on-ice struggless.
Simply put, the current edition is not nearly as good as the media led us to believe ever when they came out of the gate with a 15-2-0 record. The irony of it all is that Murray is now in for the biggest challenge of his long career as the coach of this rudderless crew, having the mandate of fixing the very problems that he's mostly created during his short tenure as the team’s GM.
He chose Paddock as his replacement, gave long-term contracts last summer to one-dimensional Dany Heatley, overrated Mike Fisher and mediocre Ray Emery, traded for ineffective Shean Donovan and signed aging Luke Richardson and Randy Robitaille. He sat back while Paddock totally mismanaged the goaltending situation, then traded for slow Cory Stillman and even slower Mike Commodore.
Then let the trade deadline passed without Ottawa so much as looking for goaltending help, instead settling for Martin Lapointe, a gritty forward who, alas, even Murray acknowledged may have lost a step or two from his better days. Welcome to this year’s edition of Rob Ray, Vaclav Varada and Oleg (Freakin') Saprykin (hat tip to Ian Mendes on the nickname).
At the risk of permanently alienating 500,000 plus Red Army supporters, I can’t help but wonder if the Senators would be a far better team if Murray had shipped that big, lazy Spezza in a blockbuster move for a top goalie, a mean SOB of a defenceman and a big and gritty forward. (Ed.'s note: One of the problems with the new NHL: Any team which has all three of those probably still thinks it's in the hunt to win something.)
Seriously folks, open your eyes. Former coach Jacques Martin was right about Spezza being a boy in a men's league. What is appalling is that this assessment is still very much accurate five years after it was rendered.
Then again, trading everyone’s darling would have taken guts.
In the end, Murray took a giant risk by refusing to take risks and part with his 2008 first-round draft pick in exchange for securing a big fish because he curiously thought it more important to put on a show for Ottawa fans at this year’s June draft to be held at Scotiabank Place. So a GM thinks a draft is more important than a chance at winning a Cup and not one sleepy hockey writer calls him on the carpet. Only in sleepy Ottawa, as Joe Corvo would say. What is it anyways with the Ottawa Senators always having their effin' ducks grossly misaligned?
So good luck, Mr. Murray. It seems to me that you are the principal architect of your own demise.
The time might be soon coming when the Senators’ solid and loyal fan base will get fed up and start tuning out the milk and honey message from the Mighty SOPO on the second floor of The Stash, just like Jason Spezzanator and the rest of the sweet little players in the “country club dressing room” tuned out Capitaine Haddock like an AM radio station.
Meanwhile, it’s high time that owner Eugene Melnyk stopped being careful with his axe.
He should forget what his favourite band The Eagles said about when "hell freezes over" or that my top group Pink Floyd dreamt that "pigs can fly" and pay attention instead to what Jann Arden insensitively said about "they shoot dead horses, don’t they?"
February 28, 2008