Monday, October 26, 2009

Cherry Takes Another Shot At Senators From The Bully Pulpit

Lots of little storms brewing in Senators land. Here's my take on a few:

Cherry Attacks Senators Players...Again

Immediately following Saturday's loss to the Bruins, Don Cherry called out Chris Neil and Matt Carkner for "hotdogging" and showboating after their fights in Scotiabank Place. He claimed that this was the reason that Boston summoned the emotion to fight back and win the game.

You have to wonder why Cherry is calling out the two Senators for actions that virtually all the enforcers around the league do in their home rinks. It's a league wide trend for a guy to wave his arms in an attempt to pump up the home crowd after a scrap. It's been going on at least since the lockout ended and is rarely meant, or seen, as a deliberate gesture to embarrass the visiting team.

Yet there was Cherry singling out a couple of Senators for ridicule on national television. This is just one in a long line of insults hurled the Senators way by the self-described Maple Leaf fan.

Once it was the Senators use of exercise bikes after games to get rid of lactic acid in their muscles. Never mind that all teams practice that now as just common sense. Cherry revisited this again on Saturday night by showing the Canucks players on the bikes and then proceeded to call them "sucks" at least twice to an amused Ron Maclean.

It was also last season that Cherry singled out Mike Fisher for having the audacity to wear a toque into the rink along with his game day suit in the middle of winter. He showed footage of Fisher with the toque and called the Senators a bunch of "bums". It's a wonder he didn't follow it up by saying "Listen kids, never wear a toque in the winter cuz' you'll look bad. Remember, it's all about how you look, not how you feel. And when I do drink beer, I like to drink Dos Equis."

Cherry is a guy who will always says what he thinks and I respect him for that. But isn't it time he just comes out and says he dislikes the Senators as an organization and get it over with rather than foolishly attempting to embarrass them on national television over and over again with petty grievances that the players then have to answer questions about again and again?

Just once, I'd love to hear Bryan Murray stand up for his team and tell Cherry to take a flying
f!*k at a rolling donut.

Rumours of Karlsson Getting Sent Down

With Filip Kuba seemingly ready to return from injury, and Karlsson about to hit the 10 game mark on Wednesday in Sunrise, the organization has been mum on whether or not Karlsson still fits into their plans for this season.

In fact, if you heard Cory Clouston's interview on the Team 1200 Monday afternoon, he suspiciously sounded like a coach who already knew the rookie would be on his way to the AHL, without saying so on the record.

I've argued for keeping Karlsson up in the NHL and I haven't changed my stance on that. It seems to me that Karlsson has suffered more by playing with the largely ineffective Chris Campoli than he has by his own play. He's still getting used to the NHL but he also hasn't been the reason Ottawa has lost any games. Campoli on the other hand has been largely invisible all season but is probably going to get the benefit of the doubt because of what he has done in the past for the New York Islanders. Alex Picard has played better of late once he got the solid Carkner as a partner. Karlsson, meanwhile, hasn't had the benefit of a defensive presence on his pairing since Kuba went down.

A lot of it will come down to politics in the end. Sending Campoli down is not an option because of his one way contract. It's also similar to how politics is playing a role in why Shean Donovan is sitting and Jonathan Cheechoo is playing.

There is no chance in hell that anyone could agree that Cheechoo has deserved his roster spot more than Donovan. Yet Cheechoo is going to get the call every game because his salary says he needs to be on the ice.

If you take stats out of the equation, you have to look at how effective each player is at his specific role. Donovan is expected to create energy on every shift, even if that means playing under 10 minutes and sometimes not at all late in games. Clearly, Donovan has met or even surpassed those expectations.

Cheechoo is expected to provide offense playing with Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek. Obviously he's not fulfilling his role, even if his linemates are having individual success. The painful truth is that Cheechoo just can't skate at an NHL level. Perhaps he just needs a break and that will get the goals coming. That's probably the only rationale you can use to keep him in the lineup, especially when Nick Foligno is playing behind him on the 3rd line and is more than capable of filling that role. Ryan Shannon can do the same.

In Karlsson's case, I'd be surprised to see him get demoted if only for the fact that Murray came out last week and said that 10 games would not be the benchmark for the rookie. I'm not sure why he would change his mind now, especially after a strong game on Saturday where the rookie looked very good at times.

Yet if Karlsson does get sent down, we can probably expect to see him again due to the compressed schedule coming up and the injuries it will undoubtedly cause.


Anonymous said...

Wow, I'd have figured that Cherry would love a guy like Carkner... toiling for years in the minors before making it to the show with gritty play.

As much as I hate to say it, he may well have a point on the bicycling, actually. The whole "cool down" concept has no obvious basis in physiology / exercise science and is pretty much just done because it's always been done. No, your heart isn't going to erupt in a fit of erratic beats either if you don't cool down. Also, it's lactate, not lactic acid, not that there's a significant difference, other than the fact that it's not an "acid burn" that you feel after exercise.

It'll be interesting to see what happens with Karlsson. Everyone took Murray's earlier comments about 10 games as being a confirmation of the team's intentions to keep Erik on the roster all year, but as a lawyer the first thing that I noticed was the vagueness of his statement.

Anonymous said...

Karlsson should be sent to Sweden, not due to poor play, but due to the fact that the Sens should not burn a contract year. It would be foolish to do so. It's all about cap management.

He will provide a better bang for the buck if the clock on his deal starts clicking next year, rather than this year.

If he was making a tangible difference this year, then you consider keeping him. But, he's not going to be a difference maker this year. In other words, he is not going to turn us into a contender this year.

He may be a fantastic bargain and a difference maker at $1.3M, in two or three years though.

I agree with you that Donovon has earned more play. I also think that we have to keep showing confidence in Cheechoo, to try and get him going. I think he has something to give, just a gut feeling. I like the Spezz, Milan, and Cheech combo -- again just a gut feeling.

As for Cherry calling out the guys on showboating, is there a bigger showboat than Grapes? He's a self-promoter. He makes a huge paycheque, on the taxpayer's dime for 10 minutes work a week. He wraps himself in the flag, keeps his message simple, all while appealing to the lowest common denominator.

I never miss his show. To me, he's entertaining because I don't take him seriously. It's only when I do take him seriously that I think that his time has passed. His views are mostly outdated in modern urban Canada.