Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Pre-Draft and July 1st Notes

The hockey world is buzzing with the story that Ray Emery is about to sign with the Philadelphia Flyers and Bryan Murray made some very interesting quotes to writer Tim Panaccio:

“He didn’t have many problems on the ice other than there was a little stretch when he didn’t play as well as he had been playing for us,” Murray said. “He’s a good goaltender. He’s a good athlete. He had issues where he tried to do more off the ice than he should have done.”

Would Emery be a sound investment for the Flyers? Murray was very direct on the matter.

“Well, he wasn’t in Ottawa because he was scrutinized so much,” Murray replied. “He missed a plane in Ottawa and every media person knew about it and wrote about it. When you are late for practice, we have 30 press guys in the stands with TV cameras going. They see that happen."

Another anonymous GM had this to say:

“Every person deserves a second chance and this guy has cleaned up his act,” the GM said. “Tell me you haven’t done something bad when you were younger and got a second chance? Why should Emery be any different?”

For those of you who have followed this blog over the past two years knows that I've always been a big Ray supporter - and that hasn't changed a bit.

This is a great move by Philly and I suspect Emery will continue to play great, carrying over from his All-Star season in the KHL.

Senators Notes

Bryan Murray has made some good moves since admitting defeat and firing Craig Hartsburg.

Among them was hiring a great coach in Cory Clouston who believes in a modern puck-possession game, getting a franchise goalie in Pascal Leclaire and signing 1st round pick Erik Karlsson in hopes of getting the slick young blue-liner into the lineup next season.

But some pitfalls remain ahead.

On paper, the defense still isn’t good enough.

To be considered a contender, you need a clear cut number one guy back there and Ottawa doesn’t have one, no matter how highly you rate Filip Kuba.

For the Senators, it should be Jay Bouwmeester or a similar player through trade - or bust.

Without an upgrade on the blueline, this team should still be good enough to make the playoffs but there is no way they can be considered an elite team anymore. Maybe they get lucky like Carolina and go on a sort of Cinderella run but that's all anyone can hope for at this point.

Yet Murray seems content with his defense core:

"I think our defence is more than adequate now. It's very different than it was at the beginning of last year. We've made our commitments to four or five of them and if we can sign another we will, but my focus is to get a good forward."

He's right. It is more than adequate. But it's not that great either. Murray is in a tough spot due to the cap but if there is even a glimmer of hope to get someone like Bouwmeester, even at a Brian Campbell-esque contract, he should go for it with all the resources he has.


According to the Ottawa Sun, Chris Neil is a lot closer to re-signing in Ottawa than he was when the season ended and that's positive news, if only to avoid Neil donning the Maple Leafs sweater this coming year.

With Brad May teetering on retirement and some money to play with under the cap, getting Neil in the blue and white would be a no-brainer for Burke. The signing would significantly weaken the toughness of their divisional rivals and add a player with a ton of playoff experience to their roster.

With Burke in the same cozy division, this is not the time for Murray to be taking chances with the Senators toughness. Already, Ottawa is the softest team in the NHL outside of Buffalo.

Nobody is going to be afraid to come into Ottawa’s building if Murray doesn't sign Neil or replace him with a suitable player. It’s hard to believe that not long ago, the Senators were probably the toughest team in the NHL with the likes of Zdeno Chara, Brian McGrattan, Neil and Mike Fisher getting in opponents faces. Now only an injury prone Fisher remains. If Jason Smith can't return from his knee injury, this team will get run over every single night.

And if someone mentions Cody Bass as the answer to everything, I might lose my freaking mind. He's got heart, but he's not the same type of player that Neil is. Not by a longshot.

NHL Notes

The arrogance of Canadian hockey fans is astounding. We feel it is our divine right to demand that Gary Bettman bow to the wishes of Jim Ballsillie and let him move the Coyotes out of Phoenix and into Hamilton.

Yet these same fans cry and moan that the NHL didn’t do enough to keep the teams in Quebec and Winnipeg. Moving a franchise, no matter where, is heartbreaking for the fans. People in Canada should recognize that and feel some sympathy for loyal Coyotes fans who are going through an uncertain time right now.

If Ballsillie succeeds in his precedent setting back-door style bid, that will lead to all sorts of problems, such as a billionaire deciding that the Senators or the Oilers might look better playing in Las Vegas or Houston.

Letting outsiders decide where the NHL can locate its franchises is sheer lunacy and a terrible omen for Canadian hockey fans. Love him or hate him, Gary Bettman is on the side of stability and reason in this battle.

Hamilton may be a great market for a team, but they should get in line like everyone else.


Canucnik said...

Slippery, stupid, silly, a bad sort of way, sticky, stinkers, savage, sawed off, satanic, stitched together,scarey, screw loose, screw balls, screwy, skruffy, secretive, sell outs, self willed, semi skilled, senseless, senile describes the Murrays (plural) and their plan to go forward with our American League DEFENCE!


Anonymous said...

I'm glad Ray will be back in the NHL, where he belongs. I really hope he has a great year. I'm still a fan. Hopefully under a new management team, he finds his way back to Ottawa.

The fact that people seem so interested, tells me that the last chapter on this, still hasn't been written. His departure from the team was an injustice, in my view.

I'm ok with most of the D, except for Kuba in the #1 role. I'm with you in that the Sens will not contend without an upgrade in this department. You need a stud. Defense by committee is like calling a "Hail Mary Pass" a game plan.

What to do?

Jeremy, I know that you're a Smith fan, but I say dump him and Kuba. That frees $6.3M to spend on a stud.

I'd also like the Sens to take it slow with Karlsson. I'd prefer he stayed in Sweden for another year of development. Sundin, Forsberg, Selanne, and numerous others took their time coming to the NHL, and it paid dividends. He's not even 170 pounds yet. He'll be better if the Sens let him mature at his own pace.

Glad to see that the Neil and the Sens are close. The salary range under discussion seems to be fair for both sides. Hopefully a deal gets done.

I'm with you on the Balsillie situation also. I think that Bettman's stance is the right one.

There will come a day, just like 7 years ago, when the Canadian dollar is weak and the Canadian franchises are in big trouble. At that time, fans in Canada will need Bettman's support. I think he's doing the right thing.

A franchise in Hamilton will only come through expansion, not relocation. In an expansion situation, the NHL can demand a $300M expansion fee. It would be an open competition and Balsillie would have to compete with other bids.

That's the way it should be. I don't like his idea of having taxpayers pay $150M for upgrades to Copps. He should pay for it himself. He has the dough.

That being said, the NHL will expand to other US markets before Canada. Only because franchises in the US cannot generate as much in fees. Columbus paid $80M. Maybe this time someone would pay $120M, but I cannot imagine it being much higher. They'll milk that, and then go to Southern Ontario and ask for $300M. The optics don't look good if they did it in reverse order.

It's not about hating Canada. It's about making as much money as they can.

Pieere McGuire said...

Emery will have a mediocre season... the KHL is not the NHL.

Good for him though... definitely deserves a shot.

Canuckfuck, you are retarded.

Anonymous said...

The defence isn't good enough on the ice either. I feel like I'm watching an expansion-club defence. Karlsson clearly is nowhere near ready, and playing with the big boys is a waste of a year. The biggest problem with this team, IMO, is that we don't have a #1 d. Or a #2. Maybe you could consider kuba or phillips 2nd pairing guys, but on teams like detroit and chicago, these guys might not even play. We have a long long way to go if we want to contend, but if BM actually thinks the d is "more than adequate" and doesn't try and fix it, well, he's got to go. That's all there is to it. It's starting to smell like lake ontario around here.

Oh, and Bettman's a fucking knob. He's done more to embarass and water down hockey than any other ten people. He's an embarassment to the game, and his anti-canadian bs has to go. Get rid of this midget with small-man-and-penis syndrome.

BTW I have a buddy who works for the flames, and says that the rumours of phaneuf's availability are indeed true. For the right price.

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight. It's okay for some rich guy to move the jets, a team that only needed a new building, a team that had good attendance, better than phoenix has had since btw, to phoenix, where it they have been a complete disaster since day 1. But it's not okay for some rich guy to want to take this total disaster of a franchise, in a revenue sharing league I should add, and move them to a market where there can be absolutely no doubt they can be succesful. Doesn't make sense to me. Why the hell would anyone ever buy this team if they WEREN'T going to move them? Think Balsillie became a billionaire by being a total fucking idiot with money. "Hey! I've got a good idea! I'll but this sack of shit franchise losing tens of millions a year, and i'll pay those tens of millions just so I can own a team, and share in Gary's megalomaniacal vision of teams in the tropics and desert." C'mon man, you're smarter than this.

Another thing is that the league has bent over backwards for the coyotes floating them tens of millions to try and keep them there, while it has kicking quebec and winnipeg in the ass to try and move them.

Canucnik said...

Pieere McGuire:

There are better goal scorers and more scoring chances in the KHL.

Ray earned another chance you condescending arsehole, he doesn't need your permission.

You are a reminder of your name change your name and pretend you didn't say that bad you always do "Ya gutless prick!"

Anonymous said...

The Edgers will be happy today. They got their wish. Heatley wants out. I'm sure Spezza is not far behind.