Tuesday, November 07, 2006

It starts at the top

First, I have to make a confession. I woke up this morning very disgruntled. Watching the highlights of last night's collapse only frustrated me further. I was far too kind on this team in my wrap-up last night. I was blinded by the fact that the effort was improved, from embarassingly bad to just alright. There is NO excuse to let a three goal lead slip away like that.

And it seems as if a lot of you feel the same way. I haven't seen the fanbase this rilled up in many years. There has been discontent, even disapproval, but nothing like this. As a result, a lot of you are calling on a move of some significance, and the popular theory seems to be that a major trade is just what the doctor ordered.

I don't disagree. At this point, I'm open to any trade that makes this team better. With the exception of, perhaps, Andrej Meszaros, no player should be viewed as untouchable, and if you can truly get a good return, and are not simply trading for the sake of it, then anyone and everyone should be fair game. Jason Spezza? Make your best offer. Dany Heatley? What are you gonna give us? Wade Redden? Hey, I'll listen.

But there's one sort of significant problem: the Ottawa Senators GM is a moron.

If you want to see a trade, don't you want to make sure the guy deciding who to trade and what to get back knows what he's doing? Don't you want to feel a level of trust with that individual? How many of you trust John Muckler to do the right thing?

I felt, and still feel, that Muckler's head should have been on the shopping block after the Sens fell apart in the second round against Buffalo. I said as much at the time.

Nothing that's taken place this season has swayed me from that stance.

Muckler narrowly avoided the axe two years ago because the thirst for Jacques Martin's blood was so severe everyone, myself included, sort of overlooked his errors. But we've driven every other potential scapegoat besides the captain out of town already. Gone are Radek Bonk, Patrick Lalime, Zdeno Chara, and coach Martin. I'd hope the fingers would finally be pointed at the right man by now.

Let's, quickly, review the major moves John Muckler has made as the general manager of the Ottawa Senators that have made me question his ability to guide this team in the right direction:

Bryan Smolinski for Tim Gleason and the contract that followed
Made in the spring of 2003, when the Sens were the best team in the NHL, gearing up for a Cup run. Smolinski was supposed to bring scoring depth and a veteran presence, having played 60 career playoffs. Smolinski was paired with Daniel Alfredsson and Todd White on the second line and as a result tallied some points, but was never really a major factor. And that would be the best way to summarize his entire two-and-a-half seasons in Ottawa. On paper, it might seem like was very effective based on the fact he put up 94 points in 161 games after that. However, Smolinski was a floater on most nights and his major contribution, sound defensive play, wasn't enough to justify his salary. A salary John Muckler gave him. It was thought that Smolinski was a rent-a-player when he was traded for because his contract expired at the end of the season. Nope. Muckler signed the then 32-year-old to a four year contract worth more than $10 million. A contract so bad that, a year in, after the new CBA, the Sens came *this* close to buying him out entirely. Smolinski was basically a throw in in the Martin Havlat deal this summer, the same way Greg de Vries was a summer earlier. If the Hawks wanted Havlat as made as they said (and the equally ridiculous contract they gave him said they wanted him BAD), they'd have to take Smolinski off the Senators hands. Meanwhile, the guy who we gave up for those two magical seasons of Smolinski, Tim Gleason, has emerged into a top four d-man so competent he was the major piece the Carolina Hurricanes got back for Jack Johnson. 20 years old when they let him go, Ottawa essentially gave Gleason away. Yeah, they had (and still have) good depth at D, but can you ever have too many NHL calibre blueliners?

Vaclav Varada for Jakub Klepis and the contract given to Varada
The only thing that makes this trade not look absolutely awful is the fact Klepis has never developed into the solid NHL the Sens appartently thought he would when they picked him 16th overall in 2002. Varada, traded for the same spring as Smolinski to add some grit and toughness to the squad, achieved short-term success with Ottawa. He played with Marian Hossa and Radek Bonk on the top line (think about that for a second) and was effective in the superpest role. But as time went on, his role diminished, as did his contribution. Last season, he was one of the league's highest paid fourth liners. Who signed him to that deal? Oh, right. Perhaps the President of Varada's fan club. Muckler threw a charity deal his way. A two-year deal signed just before the lockout, it ended up being $1.2 million after the rollback. Varada. One year of it withered away due to the lockout but we still had him taking up that cap space while playing six minutes a game for much of last season. If he wasn't on the fourth line, Varada was up in the press box, a healthy scratch, a spot he occupied for two of the team's playoff games this past April and May. No NHL team wanted him so now Varada's in Switzerland.

Peter Bondra
Another move that was salvaged because Brooks Laich, the guy who went the other way, has yet to materialize into much of a player. This one is hard to criticize because it would be insincere. I don't think too many of us thought this would go so badly. Surely no one thought a guy who'd scored over 450 career goals, widely considered one of the best pure snipers in recent NHL history, would struggle so badly once in a Sens uniform. In his 30 games, regular season and playoffs combined, with Ottawa, Bondra scored a total of six goals. None of them came in the seven playoff games the Sens had that spring. Bondra was held scoreless entirely for that series loss to the Leafs. While I'm sure everyone of us would have made this trade if it was an option, ultimately, a GM has to be held responsible for his failures, even if they were wise ones at the time.

Greg de Vries for Karel Rachunek

Rachunek, then 24, had found his way into Jacques Martin's doghouse. Despite having a very good season the year before, mostly as Wade Redden's partner, he fell out of favor with the coach, which is a surefire way to get traded. I was disappointed that Muckler gave up on the kid so soon but everyone seemed to think de Vries and his 94 career playoff games would bring a calming veteran influence, what with his Cup ring, to the team. Wrong. De Vries played 20 games as a Senator, and while he collected one more point in the postseason than Bondra, he had one of the worst series I've seen a supposedly credible NHL rearguard have. He was awful, and as I said above, was a throw in the Hossa-Heatley did, mostly because he was paid over $2 million, a New York Rangers Glen Sather contract. He's since rejuvinated his career in Atlanta, but his run in Ottawa was the definition of a clusterfuck.

Dany Heatley for Marian Hossa
This is one that a lot of people are taking Muckler to task for right now, and with Hossa at the top of the NHL's scoring race, it's easy to see why, but I don't think this one is as bad as some of the other brainfarts our fine GM has been a part of. The reality is, Marian Hossa wanted too much money for him to stay in Ottawa. He wanted to be paid like Jarome Iginla and Vinny Lecavalier. I don't blame him, because when he's on his A game he's every bit the player they are. However, Ottawa just couldn't make that salary work within their salary structure, and something had to give. He's struggling badly now, but let's not be so quick to forget all the things Heatley did for this team. He's not the complete player Hossa is, and never will be, but he can score with the best of them, and comes at $1.5 mil cheaper. Meaning, for the price of Hossa, we get Heatley and Mike Fisher.

Signing Dominik Hasek
Another one that looked good at the time, it's since been rationalized by the handful of Muckler defenders still left in this city (most of them work for The Team 1200 it seems) because Hasek got hurt, which was out of his control. This is sort of true. He did get hurt, but he got hurt how we all thought he would. This was the primary reservation when he was inked to a deal. They could dress it up as an abductor, but we all knew he hurt his groin. This was a guy who had a history of pulling the chute when he was hurt, and the odds of him getting injured had to be considered pretty good considering his history. So counting on him, with no real back-up plan, was asking for trouble. I think anyone who reads this blog with any regularity knows I'm a big Ray Emery fan, and I came to his defence when the blame for the loss to the Sabres was placed at this feet by far too many people, but he wasn't ready to be Plan B. And worse than having no Plan B, Muckler turned a blind eye the obvious until it was too late.As soon as Hasek when down, a call should have been made to Doug Riseborough in Minnesota, or some other GM with a competent veteran netminder, and made something happen. Instead, he convinced himself that Hasek was a week away from coming back. He was always a week away. By the time they realized Dominik Hasek might just be done for the season, it was too late, and apparently, the best option was Mike Morrison, a goalie less talented and qualified than the rookie they already had. John Muckler had Hasek in Buffalo and saw firsthand what he's capable of, both good and bad. If Hasek would have stayed healthy and the Sens won the Cup, Muckler would have been proclaimed a genius. But when it didn't, he has to be held accountable.

Tyler Arnason
Does this even need an explanation?

The Martin Havlat trade
I'm not the biggest Martin Havlat fan. Let's get that in the open first. I think he's an immensely talented player but when the going gets tough, he has routinely gotten going. I don't believe he can be counted on and I don't think he's an elite player all things considered. So when it looked like he was on his way out of town, I didn't shed the tears many of you did. At the time, I even defended the return, because at the time I was under the impression Tom Preissing was a good defenceman, an assumption that has thus far proven itself to be false. Even with Havlat not having a contract and asking for a big payday, and Muckler's options being pretty limited as a result, I have to think he could gotten than all that. It might be unfair to judge this trade so soon, having not seen what kind of NHLer John Hennessy becomes, but it sure doesn't look good now.

Jason Spezza's new contract
How much of Spezza's apathy is linked to a level of comfort he got when he got the new deal? I didn't like the contract when it was signed and I sure don't right now. It was signed just days after Eric Staal got the same contract from the Hurricanes and one couldn't help comparing the two. Staal has just led to his team to a Cup and played like a seasoned veteran during their run while Spezza performed an impressive disappearing act in the second round against Buffalo. It's carried over into this season. He had a couple of good games to pad his stats and give the impression to those who aren't watching the game that's it's not all bad, but trust me, it is. When you're paid what Spezza is, $4.5 million, there are certain expectations, and Spezza has shown no ability, or willing, to play at that level. The excuses about his age are bullshit. He's 23 now, and having played 179 games in the NHL, is no longer the greenhorn he was five years ago when he first came to the city. The mistakes that were easy to overlook when he was 20, 21 are no longer acceptable. You'd expect some maturity as a player, and every now and then it emerges, but he continues to be crippled by the same mistakes that made him ineffective as a rookie. The contract didn't make a lick of sense. Spezza had no arbitration rights and his only leverage was holding out. So why throw the bank at the kid, and not even get a long-term deal out of it?

So what have we learned tonight class? Point blank, John Muckler is an incompotent GM. He's shown little ability to decipher the right trade, and the right fit, from the wrong one. This is the man you want making this blockbuster trade?

Before a single player gets ship in or out, the trigger puller has to changed. As long as this man is the primary decision maker for this organization, the Ottawa Senators will continue to underachieve and disappoint when it matters most.

A sweeping change is needed, and it's long overdue. Hand this old, tired, washed up relic his pink slip and in his place put someone who has a vision, who's contemporary, and who isn't so stubborn that, years later, he still defends his mistakes as if they were something else.

Fire John Muckler.

17 Comments:

At 8:21 AM, Blogger Hightower said...

Chris.

Right on analysis. However, I would add another move that right now seems debatable, namely signing Peter Schaefer last summer for almost $2M a year. Yeah, he had a great year last year but he does not appear to be anything else than a 3rd line wigner. But with the salary he's now making, the Sens almost have to put him on the 2nd line and he cannot produce enough for that.

Yes, Fire Muckler. Go see www.firemuckler.ca.

Hightower.

 
At 11:24 AM, Blogger Nick said...

No mention of the 3.7M per year for Gerber, or Corvo's 4 year, $10.5 (which might end up okay, I guess)?

I agree about Schaefer too. There's nothing to indicate he can produce points at a consistent rate, even though I like the way he plays.

Preissing I'm willing to give Mucks a pass on, because he was pretty solid in SJ last year. Besides, it's still early. What I don't like is that we only get his rights for one year.

 
At 12:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a note, Gleason would not sign a contract with Ottawa and was prepared to re-enter the draft.
That's why he was traded.

 
At 4:54 PM, Blogger PPP said...

That is a great analysis on par with Bitter Leaf's look at JFJ. Both teams are looking at some major changes this season and both have to figure out if they are going to let the incumbents fumble around some more or look for more proven talent.

 
At 10:26 PM, Blogger James Mirtle said...

And this was written before another collapse against Atlanta tonight (which included a nice performance from Hossa).

Well done, Chris (although I think Laich has done alright for himself, given that he's a full-time NHLers at 23).

 
At 2:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm the last person on earth to defend Muckler, but to say Spezza performed a disappearing act in the Buffalo series? Of all the things you can heap on Spezza, you take him to task for Buffalo? He was unquestionably the Sens' best player in last year's playoffs, with under ten games of playoff experience under his belt AND having played through serious pain since January. He's actually been playing pretty well the past couple of games -- being the first man on the puck, shooting more, putting in a solid effort. And he is maturing; whatever you might believe, 23 is not exactly seasoned-vet material. Was it a big contract? Yes. Will he earn every dollar of it? I also say yes.

(And it's JOSH Hennessy.)

 
At 7:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris,
While I don't think that Muckler is a great gm, or better yet a good one. I disagree with your procedure in this analysis. You've focused too much on the result of trades and signings and not on the procedure.
For instance, if De vries, Bondra, and Arnason have all performed well once they left Ottawa can we not attach the blame to bad luck? What makes a good GM is not what the outcome is, it is rational decision making which enhances the teams chances of winning. Therefore,if you agree with a decision made by the GM when it is taken, then you must anticipate a possibility of it going bad. And if it does go bad, then you can't blame a gm for the outcome, it has to be for the decision. Muckler is not a genius if the Hasek or Bondra decision works out nor is he an idiot if they fail like they did.
i'm not disagreeing with you that Muckler should be fired, only with your reasoning.
Phil

 
At 9:50 AM, Anonymous Mike in Raleigh said...

Great Blog. I am a 'Canes fan, but I watch the Sen's pretty close because of the continued track record of excellence.

What I notice about the Sen's most often are these things -

1. A lack of passion and desire on the ice. Talent is one thing, winning and overcoming adversity is another.

2. Stupid player decisions. Giving up Gleason to the Canes was great for me, bad for the Sen's. You inherited a problem child instead.

3. Coaching. This guy is a dinosaur, I really do not think he understands the new NHL.

4. Muckler. For all the good he does do, his negatives are over-whelming.

The fish stinks from the head down, get rid of Muckler and let a new GM get the coach he needs.

Good luck - I do thin the team will do very well in the playoffs!

 
At 10:14 AM, Anonymous ian said...

i'm not a huge muckler fan, but i disagree with a few of the things you said.

spezza salary. this isn't really mucklers fault as it is arbitration. when someone like gomez is awarded 5 million, its hard getting spezza for less then 4-4.5

heatley trade. hossa is def. better suited in the new nhl, but there was no way to know that, and i dont think you can really say its a bad deal when you're "stuck" with a player who scored 50 goals last year.

hasek, gerber. both looked like good moves when they are made.

i disagree with your analysis on holding muckler accountable for 'good' trades/ signings that dont pan out. theres a lot of variance in being a gm. signing a lazy player and having his poor effort hurt you, then yea you have to blame the gm on that. but if you sign a goalie who dominated last year, and for whatever reason isn't playing well this year, can you really blame your gm for not sering into the future?

 
At 10:38 AM, Anonymous TheIceCobra said...

i don´t agree with the majority concerning Muckler at all. most of his transactions looked pretty smart at the time they took place. risky, yes! but not stupid, not at all. Hossa wanted too much cash, Havlat is a one-trick-pony without grit, Bondra´s bermuda triangle performance was more than a surprise and so on...
the team plays more than poorly right now, but that is not his fault!
so, what next?
- Fire Murray - Hire Hitch (or any available coach/gm with the last-name Sutter) and give the players a couple of hard weeks.
- name Emery your starting goalie as soon as he is 100% again
- try to build some kind of structure within the roster and don´t give 3. line players 1. line ice-time...

smile and be happy, it could get worse.....

 
At 12:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Muckler will not be fired, nor will Murray until the team is out of playoff contention OR it flops in the 1st or 2nd round.

Sens fans bascially have to put the Stanley Cup out of our heads. The team is in a perpetual rebuilding cycle being the 2nd youngest team in the NHL. No experience = slim chance of deep playoff runs.

Problem with this is that you'll lose your young players and they won't want to stay in an uncompetiive team.

Muckler is old and confused and the new NHL has passed him by.

Murray is a joke.

 
At 5:29 PM, Blogger Wardo said...

Good analysis. I agree with most of the above. A couple extra comments:

1.) While I agree with everything you said about Bondra's skill as a player, I disagree that this trade is defensible. If I remember correctly, Ottawa was leading the league in scoring at the time, and the biggest question mark for the team was goaltending. So why get another scoring winger? I also seem to remember centre depth being a problem at the time of this trade, something Toronto decisvely took advantage of during the 2004 playoffs; Nieuwendyk and Sundin killed the Senators in the faceoff dot in that series, and even Robert Reichel had over a 50% faceoff percentage. The point is - Muckler didn't address the larger weaknesses of his team, and it cost him (just like Arnason did...they wanted veteran grit, and they got a guy who had FOUR hits all year when they got him?)

2.) I don't get all the heat Muckler is taking over Heatley. At the time the trade went down, Sun polling revealed a decisive majority of fans in Ottawa were happy with the deal - in a nutshell, Hossa wanted too much money, and the contention was that Heatley would provide more "grit". Based on what, I don't know. Actually, I do know: because he's from Canada, and everybody assumes Canadians are hard guys.

3.) It's interesting how often Muckler acquires a guy (Bondra, DeVries, Smokes, Varada, Arnason, etc.) and he ends up ditching them for basically nothing. How many times does he have to trade valuable organizational assets for a guy he's going to unload for free before the finger is pointed at him? The big story in Ottawa right now is "we need a 2nd-line centre" (this would prevent losing three-goal leads?), and Muckler already had one a few months ago when he insisted Chicago take Smokes off his hands. Centre has been a problem for years in Ottawa - why didn't he hang onto White, Smokes, or even Arnason? Arnason would have at least been cheap. Or even a centre like...

4.) Radek Bonk was a scapegoat in town for years, and basically given away to LA for a third rounder in June, 2004, who then immediately flipped him for Mathieu Garon and a third-rounder back? Considering goaltending was the big problem that month - why wasn't Muckler able to trade Bonk for Huet? How good would he look in a Senators jersey right now?

 
At 5:51 PM, Blogger Wardo said...

I just thought of one more - Zdeno Chara.

Muckler offered Chara 6 million in a take-it-or-leave-it contract, and Chara left it.

Muckler's choice to retain Redden instead changed everything for Ottawa. How many of the blown leads this season have to do with the fact that Muckler decided he didn't need the biggest blueline presence in the Eastern Conference anymore? In the past, anytime the game was tight, it was an automatic: you tap Chara, and off he goes over the boards. A 30-minute shutdown defenseman, who can score, who is one of the most frightening players in the league to match up against, the biggest man who ever laced up, and Muckler didn't recognize that the man is an irreplaceable blueline asset. Does Ottawa need a defense core stacked to the minors (Brian Lee) with players who are variants to some degree on Wade Redden?

Worse - this summer, Chara went public with his request to stay with the team. He didn't want to leave...and Redden signed for only a two-year contract. My instinct tells me that the term was his decision, because he was unsure of the directions Ottawa was taking. And yet Chara, a 4-hour-per-day workout machine given the "C" over the incumbents in Boston, was deemed expendable.

Even if Redden was healthy and producing this season, I still pick Chara to anchor the D, and I bet most other people would too. Keeping Chara should have been a no-brainer decision. But in exhibiting his own peculiar biases yet again, Muckler did not.

 
At 6:59 PM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

Wow, where to start. Um, I'll do my best to address each point I have something to say about:

Hightower:

"Right on analysis. However, I would add another move that right now seems debatable, namely signing Peter Schaefer last summer for almost $2M a year."

Considering I was praising Muckler for getting Schaefer to such a good deal, I'd be pretty petty to criticize the deal. Peter Schaefer earned that contract and I for one am shocked he's playing so poorly this season. It may be a bad contract in retrospect, but I don't recall too many people saying so at the time.

Nick:

"No mention of the 3.7M per year for Gerber, or Corvo's 4 year, $10.5 (which might end up okay, I guess)?"

Jury's still out on Corvo and Gerber, though right now the Gerber one certainly doesn't look good. I've soured on Gerber significantly in the past 72 hours. The Atlanta game was the last straw.

"Just a note, Gleason would not sign a contract with Ottawa and was prepared to re-enter the draft."

Hmm, didn't know that, so thanks for making me aware? Was he unhappy with the entry level deal Ottawa was offering?

"I'm the last person on earth to defend Muckler, but to say Spezza performed a disappearing act in the Buffalo series?"

I thought he was awful. So yeah.

"He was unquestionably the Sens' best player in last year's playoffs"

You and I clearly watched different games.

", with under ten games of playoff experience under his belt AND having played through serious pain since January."

I'm getting sick of the whole "he's young, he's inexperienced" excuses from Spezza. So doesn't fly with me. Didn't for then and sure doesn't now. He's the #1 center. He has to perform. Period. I don't care if he's 12 years old. He wants to be the man, and he's talked a big game since coming to town about it,then deal with the expectations.

"And he is maturing"

What's the evidence of this? Are you hanging out with him in bars after games?

"; whatever you might believe, 23 is not exactly seasoned-vet material."

It's not a seaoned veteran but he's also not the greenhorn his apologists make him out to be.

"Will he earn every dollar of it? I also say yes."

Are the two of you related?

- Ian

"spezza salary. this isn't really mucklers fault as it is arbitration. when someone like gomez is awarded 5 million, its hard getting spezza for less then 4-4.5"

Spezza didn't have arbitration rights.

"heatley trade. hossa is def. better suited in the new nhl, but there was no way to know that, and i dont think you can really say its a bad deal"

I don't recall saying it was a bad deal. Just not a great one.

"hasek, gerber. both looked like good moves when they are made. "

Hasek looked good if he could stay healthy. Muckler knew the risks. Gerber was given a lot of money. I wouldn't say it looked good.

"i disagree with your analysis on holding muckler accountable for 'good' trades/ signings that dont pan out."

Alright.

"if you sign a goalie who dominated last year, and for whatever reason isn't playing well this year, can you really blame your gm for not sering into the future?"

Did Martin Gerber dominate? He played behind an incredibly good team. He wasn't even a Vezina finalist.

Martin Gerber appears to be an incredibly sensitive, weak-minded guy who can't take the heat. In a market like Ottawa, how a player will respond in a hockey market where expectations are high is as important as his on-ice abilities. Gerber did well in two cities where he could walk through the supermarket after a bad game and not hear a word for it because no one recognized him. Not the case here.

"The team is in a perpetual rebuilding cycle being the 2nd youngest team in the NHL. No experience = slim chance of deep playoff runs."

How much experience does this core need? Alfie has 79 games of playoff experience, Fisher 49, Phillips 67, Neil 44, Volchenkov 31, Redden 70, Schaefer. They've all been through a half dozen playoff letdowns.

- Wardo:

"2.) I don't get all the heat Muckler is taking over Heatley."

Relative to everything else, he's not taking that much heat. But when Hossa is thriving elsewhere, it's hard to watch is all.

"why didn't he hang onto White, Smokes, or even Arnason? Arnason would have at least been cheap. Or even a centre like..."

I have no answer on Todd White. I think it was largely because he was a Jacques Martin guy and the feeling was, out with Jacques, out with his boys (see Bonk as well). Smolinski was considered overpaid for what he contributed. And Arnason could not have been brought back. He was a disaster. He may not have been that cheap. They didn't qualify him but apparently expressed an interest in keeping him around at a cheaper rate. He was so insulted he wasn't qualified that he went elsewhere for less money just because.

"4.) Radek Bonk was a scapegoat in town for years, and basically given away to LA for a third rounder in June, 2004, who then immediately flipped him for Mathieu Garon and a third-rounder back? Considering goaltending was the big problem that month - why wasn't Muckler able to trade Bonk for Huet?"

Who thought Cristobol Huet was the answer? Yeah, it would be great, but to say that was an error is sort of revisionist history. And as far as getting rid of Bonk, he's a third line center making $2.5 million. No thanks.

"Muckler's choice to retain Redden instead changed everything for Ottawa."

I still think it was the right choice.

"How many of the blown leads this season have to do with the fact that Muckler decided he didn't need the biggest blueline presence in the Eastern Conference anymore?"

I don't think it would have made a difference. How's Boston doing this year?

"In the past, anytime the game was tight, it was an automatic: you tap Chara, and off he goes over the boards. "

Except in the playoffs, when he routinely shit the bed. Oh, right, he had a broken hand. That explains his half-assed effort.

"Worse - this summer, Chara went public with his request to stay with the team. He didn't want to leave"

Everyone says this after the fact. It's so he can save face when he comes to town. Chara wanted to stay if the money was equal. The same way Marian Hossa wanted to stay and cried in the papers about it while also wanting Iginla or Lecavalier money, not realizing one cannot exist with the other. Point being, I think it's a bunch of bullshit.

Chara wanted his money, and he got it.Good for him. But don't try and sell me on the fact it's anything else because I don't buy it.

"...and Redden signed for only a two-year contract. My instinct tells me that the term was his decision, because he was unsure of the directions Ottawa was taking."

I like the term. They're not saddled with a big contract for many years to come.

"Even if Redden was healthy and producing this season, I still pick Chara to anchor the D, and I bet most other people would too. Keeping Chara should have been a no-brainer decision. But in exhibiting his own peculiar biases yet again, Muckler did not."

On this he and I agree.

 
At 10:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, whoever this is, you nailed it! Great Great Great stuff. good job.

AJ

 
At 10:57 PM, Blogger Wardo said...

"Chara was the Senators."

 
At 3:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was also under the impression that Spezza didn't have arbitration rights, but it turns out that he did... Just like Jay Bouwmeester.

 

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