Monday, June 2, 2008

Criticism Of Spezza Getting Ridiculous

First thing Sunday morning finds me browsing the local papers online and right away I nearly choke on my Honeycombs.

The Ottawa Sun has a poll going on whether or not the Ottawa Senators should trade Jason Spezza. At that time, well over 50% were in favour of trading the young superstar. I did not check later in the day to see the end result but I'd put my money on that margin staying the same.

People always talk about how smart the Ottawa hockey fans are. The truth is somewhat different.

These are the same fans who bombarded the Team 1200 early in the 2007 season demanding that Daniel Alfredsson be traded or at the very least, stripped of his captaincy.

These are the same fans who were calling for Bryan Murray's head when the team got off to a slow start that same year.

These are the same fans who idolize Martin Gerber and cheer for him to return next season even though he has been nothing but an unmitigated disaster for the team since he was signed by John Muckler.

These are the same fans who at times have wanted Wade Redden, Mike Fisher, Andre Meszaros, Martin Havlat and even Dany Heatley traded.

In short, these are your average everyday Ottawa Senators fans who are suspicious of skill, intolerant towards any sort of different personality and spoiled rotten by a team that has given them at least a decade's worth of exciting hockey even if the end results were short of a championship.

Spezza is a bonafide number one centre who will easily average 100 points a season for the foreseeable future. He is young and still maturing in terms of his defensive game. He is a natural fit with Heatley and helped him towards two 50 goal seasons and a 40 goal campaign. He might be the best pure passer in the game and an underrated shooter.

Yet the fans are in favour of trading him. It blows the mind.

It's a monolith of stupidity.

It's nonsense.

Yet the sentiment exists and perhaps even Daniel Alfredsson will not be immune to a resurgence of criticism from a fan base that allows him to be booed on home ice by a handful of Leaf fans.

The skill in the organization is slowly being run out of town. We have seen the departures of Marian Hossa, Martin Havlat and Mike Comrie. Soon we will see Wade Redden, who gave his heart and soul to the team for over a decade, get booed out the door by the fans. Ray Emery, easily the best and only goalie the organization has developed, is on his way out for some lackadaisical behaviour that could easily be fixed with some discipline and patience.

Next on the list is young and promising defenseman Andre Meszaros who is the subject of ire wherever Sens fans congregate. It doesn't matter that young skilled defenseman are perhaps the most sought after commodity on the market today and figure to be the focus of this year's Entry Draft in Ottawa. Meszaros will be the focus of the boobirds this year, along with Spezza.

There was once a team who exhibited no patience and traded their star players left and right whenever they damn well pleased. That was the Mike Milbury led New York Islanders of the 1990's.

Be careful what you wish for Sens fans.


Adam said...

In fairness, I'm not all that certain that the Sens organization has 'run' the skill out of town.

Hossa was traded for Heatley in a bit of a salary-dump, oft-injured Havlat wanted 6M/season, and Redden is not worth what he's probably going to get offered.

I don't know what the Islanders pay Comrie, but I'm inclined to give you that one.

With all that said, if Spezza is traded for anyone buy a top-flight goalie, then the team has lost their friggin' minds. In spite of the 50%, I can't see this happening. Hey, the guy was at the top of the playoff scoring table last season!

Soble said...

What I'm worried about is the Sens becoming a poor man's Maple Leafs (and that is about the ultimate insult). I used to be proud of the ways Sens fans wouldn't jump to insane, rash decisions and generally were extremely supportive of their team with out being excessive. This seems to all be changing. Maybe it's the result of some long-time Leafs' fans changing over or maybe they are rubbing off on the Sens fans, but they should be better than this. Sens fans have spent years criticizing the Leafs' fans and organization but here we are quickly headed down the same dangerous path.

Please, Sens' fans, stay calm. Becoming as obnoxious as the hardcore Leafs' fans is not a path we want to venture down.

Ben said...

Let's not become as reactionary the fans are supposedly becoming. Sens fans are not Leafs fans.

Look at the case of Bryan Murray, the guy made some BAD decisions last year but he's not being replaced.

There is no way the Sens will trade Spezza, except for some wicked deal. No such deals exist in the NHL anymore.