Wednesday, April 16, 2008


The Senators are going golfing after the Penguins stuck the dagger tonight; it was close, but Ottawa was also outscored 14-5 (not counting empty-netters) in the series. Jean-Pierre Allard says the Sens' faithful didn't get enough warning about the greatest late-season collapse in NHL history.

Too bad that Roy A. Mlakar seems to exercise such control over the Ottawa hockey media.

As the season unfurled and serious fans deduced that there were huge issues with the Senators, the media should have assumed its rightful and responsible role of reporting the hard, cold facts, no matter how much this would have displeased the Senators president and CEO.

Alas, they were still gushing over the team's incredible 15-2 start to notice that cracks had begun to appear in the Senators' armour, not to mention that its roster had actually become slower, older and less skilled.

Then, they sat passively while the since dismissed coach, John Paddock and the soon to be departed backup goalie, Ray Emery, damaged what was left of the chemistry.

They cheered the arrival of two former Cup winners from Carolina instead of wondering if GM Bryan Murray had made his team even slower, never mind that he had just shipped away, Joe Corvo, the only defenceman skilled enough to man the power play. (Ottawa was x

They continued to be delusional, even after yet another trade deadline passed without the incumbent GM securing a genuine No. 1 goalie, the lack of which has been the club’s Achilles’ heel ever since the 1996-97 post-season.

Still hopeful that the Senators could push a magic button in time for the playoffs, they inexplicably chose not to question the bizarre roster decisions from coach Murray in the closing weeks, not the least of which was the decision of not resting ailing captain Daniel Alfredsson in the penultimatel game of the season in Toronto.

No wonder most fans are incredulous that Ottawa has suffered such a quick exit.
It is becoming crystal clear (full pun intended) that owner Eugene Melnyk must clean house and then hire competent people at the helm of his once-proud team.

Then again, maybe the old boys network get another lease on life so they can dream up more moronic marketing schemes, arrogant advertising strategies, uniquely deserving locals to lavish contracts on. (Who will be next season's Randy Robitaille?) That way, the irresponsible portion of the media gets to play cheerleaders for another season and keep all their perks.

Only in Ottawa, as our friend Red Fisher would say.

Meanwhile, the question becomes more and more relevant, with each new spring swoon.

How soon before the Senators’ solid and loyal fan base get fed up with a bunch of underachieving players and a management team that still has no clues what type of players are needed to win a Cup?

Jean-Pierre Allard
April 16, 2008


Dennis Prouse said...

There is absolutely no sure formula on how to win a Cup. Anaheim is proving that this year - you could argue that roster is even better than it was a year ago, yet they look really off-balance in their series with Dallas. Dallas, for its part, looked brutal after the trade deadline, yet have come to life in the playoffs. If you have the formula, I would suggest you bottle and sell it, as you will never have to work another day in your life.

Having said that, the point about the Carolina trade is a good one. At the time, most observers thought Ottawa won the trade hands down. With the benefit of hindsight, we can see that Ottawa simply got older and slower at a time when it could least afford it.

Then again, "most observers" thought Bob Gainey was a fool for passing on Gilbert Brule in favour of Carey Price in the 5th slot of the 2005 Draft. Gainey isn't always right (see Ribiero, Mike) but he nailed that one. No team will ever bat 1.000 on personnel decisions - you can only hope to be a little better than your competitors.

Matt M said...

'reporting the hard, cold facts'? I don't think the media in Ottawa ever will address to any specific degree the locker room divide, or even know 100% what is going on inside and outside those locker room doors. Sure, there are all the illicit 'rumours' floating around, but it goes deeper than that. I believe Murray knows exactly what is going on and what has been going on, but because of the cap was entirely hamstrung during the season. Some of the 'cancer' will be cut out of the room. Say goodbye to the obvious ones like Redden and Emery..but don't be surprised to see some of the perceived 'good guys' go.

As to how to fix it, Dennis is right. There is no surefire formula.But there is always one constant and that is a true #1 Goaltender. Not that this was Gerber's fault, not by any stretch, but 2 or 3 goalies could have done better even with that mess in front of them. Here's one of those armchair-GMs trades I hate, but I'd try to pry Luongo out of Vancouver for Spezza.

One more thing that this team missed was another whipping boy in Peter Schaefer; not only for secondary scoring, moreso for his work ethic along the boards and his always active stick on the backcheck and on the PK.

Too much emphasis was put on the 15-2 start. If they had a 15-2 stretch from December to early February and played the same around it, it wouldn't have build all those false hopes. It just made for a totally apathetic fanbase by the time they backed into the playoffs. Everyone saw this coming. Even the diehards had it lingering as the electricity that is usually a sign of Spring in Ottawa was barely visible or audible.

Great blog I read it all the time. I imagine the Media do too, but pretend it doesn't exist!

Anonymous said...

1-13 on the power play. think for a second that might have been 2-13 if Brian Mac had been dressed. In the last 3 games, one goal from an obscure source might have helped.

Murray was simply outcoached.

Too bad this is the worst time to move the 2 white elephants.


Anonymous said...

No, there is no sure way to get a Cup. There are, however, ingredients.

i)Commitment to team defense: Ottawa has been lacking this for a year.

ii)Steady goaltending: Got this from Gerber down the stretch, he's proven he can be relied on

iii)Discipline: Don't let the zebras stop you from playing YOUR game. This team was too undisciplined down the stretch.

iv)Teamwork: Ottawa had none. Missed assignements, lazy defensive gaffes, turnovers, etc.

So yeah, I'm not even surprised the Senators got swept, they never had the leadership (bless ALfie's heart) to overcome these issues.


Big V said...

I agree with most of what you said...

I agree get rid of spezza for a lot of stock. Its been shown in the past that the sens can win without him. For example last year when he go hurt, heatly stepped up and was awsome after a short period without him.

I think the turning point this season was when Volchenkov broke his finger. After that the ottawa defence fell apart and thats when all the high scoring games started to happen. BEfore then the sens rarely allowed more than 3 goals a game.