Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A quick clarification

I was getting a lot of traffic yesterday because someone posted a link to this blog on the Supportive Hawks fans In Turmoil message board (acronym speaks for itself) saying the following;

Chris McMurtry, who runs Hockey Country and follows the Senators, is especially critical of Havlat and happy to see him go.

Of course, the next three pages are spent saying how I'm bitter and have sour grapes. So be it.

If I gave the impression I'm happy to see Martin Havlat go, then I didn't get across what I wanted. I'm not happy about the trade. Anytime you lose a 30 goal scorer who's 25 years old and still not in the prime of his career, who also happens to be among the most exciting players in the league, it's difficult to be happy.

However, I'm also not all that sad about it either.

This is a trade anyone who's been paying even the slightest bit of attention saw coming. It's an unfortunate side effect of that lovely CBA we lost a year of hockey to get. The same one advertised as benefitting small market teams like us, glossing over the whole "if you draft well and develop consistently, you won't be able to keep them" thing. Whoops.

Martin Havlat would have left in a year. This much is certain. The contract it would've taken to keep him here for longer is one I don't think any sane Sens fan could rationalize paying.

So knowing that, trading Havlat was the only option, I believe, because to lose him for nothing would have far worse. I've seen some say "well, keep him for a year and then make a run at the Cup!"

That's great if they win, which they haven't been able to do with all the stacked teams in the past, but if they come up short, then what? Running a team on a "Cup or bust" attitude in this new era is akin to playing Russian roulette.

You have to look to the future, and in this scenario, holding onto Havlat for one more year knowing you'll lose him didn't make sense.

Question the return they got if you wish (and I'm not disagreeing with those of you who think we didn't get as much as we should've), but, all things considered, if you think trading him was the wrong move, then I can't agree.

As far my criticisms of Havlat as a player, perhaps, in retrospect, I laid it on a little thick. Make no mistake, he can be a great player, and if one were to make a list of the most talented players in the league, he's surely chart towards the top. However, being talented and being effective, especially when it matters most, are often two entirely different things.

I've also seen some, when defending Havlat against his detractors, point out how exciting he is. There's no disputing that. He's often the most electrifying player on the ice and a collection of his greatest goals rivals anyone's in terms of excitement. But we've had six years of it. Exciting is great, but winning is better.

Chicago, as a franchise, is in a little bit of a different position. They need to give their fanbase, who've been kicked in the balls so often, a reason to care again. Havlat is that reason. He'll put asses in the seats.

I can't speak for every single Ottawa Senators fan, but I believe I'm on point when I say most of us want to win. We want a Cup. I'll sacrifice a little excitement if we can get that, and it's not like without Havlat, we're suddenly the Minnesota Wild. The Senators still have an explosive team full of entertaining and creative players.

I said it yesterday, and I'll say it again: changes needed to be made. Going with the same crop was not going to do it for me. Deciding who to move out was made easier by Havlat's posturing. Are they, on paper, a better team? Probably not. But being the best team on paper hasn't gotten us anything before.

Changes, even if they were solely for the sake of them, were necessary.

The Sens will move forward without Havlat, and I'm sure he will as well. He's finally got the contract he wanted and he'll now he able to be THE guy on a team, which, due to Ottawa's depth, was never an option here.

I'll be anxious to see how he handles it.

11 Comments:

At 2:19 PM, Blogger AZApoker Entertainment said...

will Ottawa be booeing at havlat if he goes there and play?


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At 2:26 PM, Anonymous Anshu said...

Remember that Havlat was injured most of this past season and it didn't keep the Sens from being at or near the top of the standings anyway.

He wasn't worth the asking price (to Ottawa, at least) and a trade was preferable to keeping an unhappy Havlat here for one more year and then losing him to free agency for nothing.

 
At 2:27 PM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

I can't speak for everyone. I'm sure some will, but I won't be doing so. Not that involved emotionally in the whole thing to be honest. He played here for five years, gave us a lot of good memories, and now it's time to move on. Not really a big deal to me.

People seem to assume that when someone leaves, Ottawa fans boo them. That's just not the case.

Alexei Yashin gets booed for pretty obvious reasons. Bryan Berard, pre-eye injury, did for saying he'd never play a game as a Senator.

Last season, when Marian Hossa came back as a Thrasher, the reception was anything but cold, as he got quite a bit of cheers. As much as someone on the opposition can anyway.

There might be some anger towards Havlat for handcuffing the team slightly with his insistance of signing a one-year deal, but by the time Chicago comes to town, I'm sure most will have forgotten that.

 
At 4:01 PM, Anonymous RobberBaron said...

Chris, "methinks you doth protest too much." Your staunch defense of this move approaches political-level spin-meistering. Am I remembering wrong, or weren't you calling for the head of that same GM after the end of the season? Oh right, here it is:

http://hockeycountry.blogspot.com/2006/05/john-muckler-should-be-fired.html

Now your criticisms are restricted to how Muckler overpaid for this guy or that, when it's got to be freaking clear as day that in an expanded-cap league its a sellers market.

You were right in the first place: Muckler is way over his head in the new economics of the game. Good GMs turn Bertuzzi into Luongo; bad ones go on the radio and whine about poor me, it's just not fair. When Muckler said the price was too high was it because Keenan was asking for, say, Havlat and Smolinski and a draft pick?

Go on, say it with me:

"We got robbed in the Havlat deal deal"

Feels better, doesn't it?

 
At 4:14 PM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

Chris, "methinks you doth protest too much." Your staunch defense of this move approaches political-level spin-meistering.

If I don't think it's the end of the world, what do you want me to do, lie?

Am I remembering wrong, or weren't you calling for the head of that same GM after the end of the season? Oh right, here it is:

http://hockeycountry.blogspot.com/2006/05/john-muckler-should-be-fired.html


And?

Now your criticisms are restricted to how Muckler overpaid for this guy or that, when it's got to be freaking clear as day that in an expanded-cap league its a sellers market.

I believe, in this instance, because of the position Havlat and his agent put the team in, this is an oversimplification.

When Muckler said the price was too high was it because Keenan was asking for, say, Havlat and Smolinski and a draft pick?

Actually, he said they turned down his offer, which we've seen learned was Phillips, Havlat, Emery, & a 1st. Keenan's hard on for Bertuzzi made him take that one.

Go on, say it with me:

"We got robbed in the Havlat deal deal"

Feels better, doesn't it?


Robbed might be an overstatement. Did they "lose" the trade in the short term? Yeah.

But I ask, what were the alternatives? Because of the circumstances, I can't see them getting much more than what they got.

It is what it is.

 
At 4:14 PM, Anonymous SomeOne said...

trading Havlat was the only option, I believe, because to lose him for nothing would have far worse.

Trading him was the only option because he couldn't fit in under the cap. He'd have made at a minimium $3M next season if he went to arbitration and possibly more. Unfortunately, the Sens are up against the Cap even without him.

If it weren't for that, I'd have said keep him. Who cares if we lose him for nothing? Preissing only has one more season before he's free and Havlat is far more likely to bring the team the cup then Preissing next season.

 
At 4:41 PM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

Preissing only has one more season before he's free and Havlat is far more likely to bring the team the cup then Preissing next season.

Not necessarily. With Havlat, it was a foregone conclusion he was going to leave. I haven't seen anything that makes me think this to be the case with Preissing. Certainly not the economics.

 
At 11:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I am big Havlat fan. He was one of the top or the best talented skilled player in the Sens team. Let’s be realistic. We all asked for changes in core group after this year’s playoff failure. We need some changes. There is no way we can keep Chara and Raden paying 6.5 million each with the salary cap restriction. Every body knows that. Chara is a great defenseman, but in my opinion keeping Raden is the better option because he is good for the city (with his charity work and fan base), better leader (compare to Chara) and good for the new NHL. So here is a core change. Next better option is to loose Havlat. Why? We can’t pay him 3 million or more for next season and keeping rest of them under salary cap. You have to sign multi-year deals with Vermette and Schaefer. So am I happy with what Muckler got in return for Havlat? NO. Specially, I am not happy with Preissing UFA after next year. Muckler should have demanded more for Havlat. At least a first round pick instead of a second round pick. I was so sad when we lost Hossa last year, but at the same time I understood we can’t pay 6 million for him. Sens is small market team. We were in a situation where we were about to loose our team in 2002/2203. We can’t go back to that situation again. We were the best team last year and we couldn’t do it. We need some changes and I am willing to loose my one of the best player (Havlat). I am going to loose him next year any how.

- Sathees

 
At 10:17 AM, Anonymous zamboner said...

Preissing is signed for 2 years.


GREAT deal.

 
At 11:39 AM, Anonymous Sathees said...

Really. I didn't see any where in the news. Is it on any of the sports sites. When did Preissing sign?

 
At 1:25 PM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

I believe he thinks Preissing has another two years on his deal, which isn't the case.

 

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