Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Some things are worth fighting for, some feelings never die. Jean-Pierre Allard isn't asking for another chance for the Ottawa Senators, he just wants to know whyyyyyyy .... there's no easy way out, there's no shortcut to the Stanley Cup.

Reading about how Jeremy Roenick played Game 7 hero once again on Monday only served to remind me of my reaction last September when Sharks GM Doug Wilson took a flyer on the former Flyer.

Of course, I couldn’t resist revisiting my epitaph on a few days later in which I alluded to Ray Emery continuing to be a huge bummer should Martin Gerber steal his job.

Which only made me curious as to why I would even bother sending a riposte to venerable Red Fisher when he came to the defence of then-Senators GM John Muckler in June 2007 after he was canned by Eugene Melnyk.

Even before the Senators hit the ice in September 2007 and eventually proved everybody wrong, old gal Edna was warning us all that a hard rain was gonna fall in Ottawa this season.

No one was listening.

Just like hardly any one from the Senators' players, coaches and brass are likely still watching the playoffs right now. Pity, for they could take notes on how to come up with a winning recipe for the next real season.


Anonymous said...

The Senators are interesating organization. You can't really fault them for bringing hockey back here...but they stumbled early and their constant refusal to bring in winners and hold themselves accountable is puzzling.

You get the feeling...and I've only ever been in the dressing room when the Palladium was being constructed, so no great insight on the goings on...that they are basically a family, bunch of friends that are afraid to step on each other's toes.

Bad idea if your goal is a championship. This team badly needs an ass-kicking coach and a few players to wake the dressing room out of its torpor. Of course, this being Ottawa, they'll be bounced in round one or two and the local scribes will be wondering what went wrong...


Dennis Prouse said...

Fans never seem to be able to accept that a lot of what happens is sports is random, and cannpt be planned and predicted.

Jeremy Roenick had something like 31 points during the regular season for the Sharks, somewhere in Chris Kelly territory. Yes, he had a huge game seven, but he was a healthy scratch for game six, largely because he had zero points through the first five games of the series. Fortunately, he was carried by a great team, and had a breakout game in game seven. Terrific - let me know if he can keep doing this right through to the Cup Finals.

The playoffs often produce interesting heroes, guys who pop up and score big goals or have a big playoff, only to slide back later on. Chris Kontos and John Druce, anyone?

The Ottawa Senators didn't need to sign a 37, now 38 year old at the end of his career. What the Senators lacked this year was young legs. The Sens got slower, older and less skilled, starting last summer with Preissing walking out the door for free and the departure of Schaefer to Boston for Donovan. It continued with the ill-advised signings of Robitaille and Richardson, and culminated in the poor trade with Carolina, in which the Sens shipped two speedy, skilled guys to the Canes for two slower players. Adding Marty Lapointe, a guy who simply can't skate well enough to play in the NHL anymore, just compounded the problem. Between that and the injuries to Alfie, Kelly and Fisher, three of your better skating forwards, and all of a sudden the Senators were just too slow to keep up with a faster Penguin team. (Heatley and Speeza, for all of their great skill, are not particularly fast.)

The Senators don't need to watch the playoffs to know what they need to do. This team needs to get younger and faster. Bass, Foligno and Lee, the young guys, were about the only three Ottawa players who showed well in that abysmal Pittsburgh series. Everything you need to know is right there.

Anonymous said...

Yep, and they also know of course that playoffs are won with only a 20-minute effort. And that great teams NEVER use excuses for their losses. Naturally, they also know that winning teams usually have 1 goalie that steals a game. I'm also quite sure that they know that coaches and marketing people are supposed to keep their mouths shut instead of providing extra motivation to their opponents. And they also know that a Roenick or your second favourite pet peeve, 47-year old Roberts, would have fixed the country club cancers in about the time that it takes Alfie to down teo 53 cents IKEA dogs.

Did I forget anything Mr. Prouse?


Dennis Prouse said...

You forgot lots of things.

If Gary Roberts cures what ails a dressing room, why didn't the Penguins win last year? Answer -- because they weren't ready. Gary Roberts is a nice spare part, but the Penguins are being carried by their gunners right now, in addition to some better goaltending than they got last year. Roberts missed most of the year with injury and only played two games in the playoff series with Ottawa. I know the media loves to talk about him, because he is an identifiable veteran, thus making for an an easy, neat story line. The simple fact is that the guy is no longer a major factor most nights.

Regarding JR - if he was such a great leader, why was it that so many of the teams he has played on in the latter part of his career have sucked? I am not blaming JR for the fact that the Coyotes sucked in 06-07. What I am saying is the notion that one veteran leader can wave a magic wand and fix everything is a fantasy held by fans and some media members, and bears zero resemblance to reality. Do you think that maybe, just maybe, JR's career has undergone a mild revival because he is playing on a loaded team? In San Jose, Roenick doesn't have to carry that team. They have the luxury of making him a healthy scratch when need be. Since when are vital cogs in a team machine made a healthy scratch in game six of a playoff series? Ottawa might have been able to do the same with Marty Lapointe if the team had been healthy. They weren't, so the guy was being called upon to do more than he is capable of doing at this stage of his career.

Mark Messier missed the playoffs seven years in a row at the end of his career, and he was allegedly the greatest leader in hockey. If you want to cling to the theory that Gary Roberts would have saved the Senators season, go ahead. I think the reasons are a lot more varied and far less sexy.

Anonymous said...

Apparently, James Duthie agrees with this humble writer on Mr. Roenick, for the second time in a week, after the former Blackburn Hamlet resident chimed in with the fact the Sennies, after 11 years, were still looking for a goalie that can steal games.


Anonymous said...

Don't waste your breath J.-P. Senator management needs a bunch of Dennis to fill their pockets, not asking questions, not wondering what if...keep on handing money to a losing franchise.

As for Roenick and Roberts, they're aggressive, tough forwards. Ottawa has precious few, if any, of these.


Dennis Prouse said...

Right you are, Pierre. Roberts is playing it especially aggressive tonight, really giving that ice in his Diet Coke a rough go as he sits in the press box with what is officially being called a groin pull. (Apparently that's how you spell "healthy scratch" in Pittsburgh.)