Monday, April 19, 2010

Ticket SNAFU's And The Absurd Return Of Cheechoo???

True story: Someone I know bought a handful of tickets to last night's game in Ottawa well before the playoff dates were set and finalized. He and some members of his family, all bedecked in Sens gear and with their faces painted, showed up at the rink, paid for parking, and were excitedly looking forward to their first ever playoff game.

The problem was that their tickets said "Home Game Three" with no specific date on it. When he initially bought the tickets, he asked the ticket agent specifically for tickets to "game three", meaning last night's tilt. Except that the ticket agent at Capital Tickets gave him tickets to "home game three", which really means game six of the series, if you can follow that. Last night's game was technically home game one, despite it being the third game of the series.

Can you blame the guy for being confused? It's strange that the tickets were labelled "Home Game Three" and not just game six, seeing that Capital Tickets doesn't sell ducats for games at the Mellon Arena. No need for the "Home" distinction in my view. Why not just cut through the confusing semantics and put the actual series game on the ticket in lieu of a date that hasn't been set yet. EDIT: Blood Red Army makes a good point that the Senators didn't know if they had home ice advantage or not when selling those tickets, which validates their reason for putting "Home Game #" on the ticket. The guy I know says he bought the tickets after the Sens were assured to be on the road. Regardless, it's just a sad story I thought I'd relate, the lesson being - don't make the same mistake and make sure you're going to the right game.

You can blame both parties in a way for the unfortunate confusion, but can you imagine the walk of shame this guy and his family had to endure when they found out their tickets were useless for last night? With jerseys and face paint on?

Just brutal, either way you look at it. He was so despondent that he tried to scalp the game six tickets right away outside for face value, with no takers.


I could not believe my eyes or ears when reports surfaced from the Senators today that it's possible Coach Clouston is thinking of inserting Jonathan Cheechoo into the lineup for game four (or should I call it home game two?) .

For one, it betrays a panic, not only to the fans and media, but through your locker room. Cheechoo is a guy who was deemed not good enough to even be a healthy scratch in Ottawa, yet Clouston is now contemplating dropping him into the lineup over two real NHLers in Shean Donovan and whoever the other scratch would be, presumably Ryan Shannon. It was at least nice to hear the seasoned captain of the team, Daniel Alfredsson, say that he doesn't think a major change is needed in order to get back into the series.

Not that inserting Cheechoo would be a "major change", but did Clouston ponder dressing Cheechoo for game one? Of course not. So it's obvious that Clouston has been shaken by what he's seen, while Alfredsson, who has been through these battles many times, is more for staying the course rather than opting for a Hail Mary lineup change so early in the series.

To be fair to Clouston, he hasn't officially made the change yet, but he has already floated the idea to the press, and we're all left wondering why he just doesn't make a concrete decision here. If you're going to make a bold move like that (bold is probably not the right word - perhaps confusing is better) just do it. Don't waffle in front of everybody, compounding a panic move by looking like you're unsure whether it's the right thing to do or not.

Doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

As for Cheechoo, people love him around here simply on the basis that he's a good guy. Yet an even better guy languishes, his career threatened by a coach who seems to have something against him.

And that is, obviously, Shean Donovan. To say that Clouston doesn't believe in Donovan is probably an understatement. Clouston has looked under every rock for excuses not to dress the Senators own version of the "little ball of hate", despite Donovan continually showing that he's not only popular amongst his teammates (giving him a sort of Rudy glow), but that he's effective in the playoffs as his showing against the Pens in 2008 and his long run to the finals with Calgary amply proved.

Clouston threw Shannon into the series, presumably looking for some speed when Milan Michalek went down, but Shannon is miscast on the fourth line. He's a skill guy who can't do the type of grinding needed when slotted beside the likes of Jesse Winchester and Zack Smith. He needs to play with other skill guys to do his thing. Donovan, on the other hand, is just as fast as Shannon, and his game is made for the playoffs - and for that fourth line spot.

Yet now we get Cheechoo hoisted into the lineup, with his "blazing speed and scoring prowess" (sic).

Maybe I'll be totally wrong and Clouston will be right. It's a move so strange that it could just work.

If Cheechoo makes a difference, I'll be the first to congratulate him on this very blog.

Until then, consider me "day-to-day".


Blood Red Army said...

In defense of Capital Tickets, as someone who bought a ticket myself, when tickets went on sale it wasn't yet official whether or not Ottawa would have home-ice advantage.

In regards to Cheech (God love his soul), I don't think it's fair to say that Clouston is necessarily panicking. If Scotty Bowman made a similar move, it would be considered 'adjusting', and he would be praised. As a rookie coach, Clouston can't win.

I agree that Donovan should be in there, 100%. I think we'll see both tomorrow, to be honest. Cheechoo is not as ridiculous an idea as you say. He wasn't 'not good enough to even be in the league', he was too expensive and made the trade for Matt Cullen impossible. He was a sacrifice, and one they were willing to make, for sure.

He's gritty and plays with heart, and I hope he gets a chance to show it.


Anonymous said...

Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

If you ever want a job with the National Enquirer, send this post with you resume. You'll get the job.

I saw the video of Clouston speaking. I saw no panic. He was calm and rational. His points were valid. It's possible, even probable, that he will switch a fourth liner for another fourth liner.

This is THE most minor tweak that a coach can make to his lineup. It doesn't convey any panic, unless you're a fan who is looking for a trigger to express the panic that you're already feeling from within.

It's a fourth line roster move. Not a goalie or D, or a front line player.

Secondly, if it is Cheechoo, let's look at the facts. When he was last here, we were on a 13 for 14 run. We were winning. That's the bottom line.

When he left, we started losing.

I also take issue with your assertion that he was not good enough to be a healthy scratch in Ottawa. Cheechoo was demoted just before we acquired Cullen and Sutton. I think the facts suggest that Cheechoo was dumped because the Sens needed the cap space in order to make room for Cullen and Sutton. The Sens clearly thought that Cullen plus Sutton, is better than Cheechoo.

Now it's nice to see that you're comforted by Alfie's words. Alfie says we don't need a major change. Do you know what Alfie meant by that? He didn't clarify.

But, in a National Enquirer like way, you describe Clouston as shaken and Alfie as opting for no changes.

Maybe Alfie knows that Cheechoo is in, and that he doesn't see it as a major move.

Maybe the guys like having Cheechoo in the lineup. I find it hard to believe that the team will perceive Cheechoo's addition as a panic move. After all, they won 13 of 14 with him.

The way I see it, the decision should be based on needs. If the coach feels the team needs energy, then I'd throw Donovan in. He'll bang bodies and create energy.

If the team needs offence, I think Cheechoo is the better bet, even though he only has 5 goals this year.

He's only four years removed from a 56 goal season. At 29, he's too young to have forgotten how to shoot the puck.

We're talking fourth liners here. But, for production I'd take Cheechoo.

Either way, the bigger factor is how Elliott plays.

Jeremy Milks said...

And I'm fit for the National Enquirer, Mr. Anonymous?

Cheechoo had nothing to do with the Senators winning streak. Absolutely nothing. His career bottomed out this season because he was not an NHL calibre hockey player anymore.

I understand you are a fan of Cheechoo, and that's totally cool, but don't try and inflate his importance because of it.

He was terrible. Straight up.

Maybe Clouston isn't panicking. It's just how I see it.

Thanks for commenting.

Anonymous said...

I'm not trying to inflate his importance. I stressed that we're talking about fourth liners.

My point was that you're inflating the importance of a potential fourth line roster move.

Cheechoo was part of the team that recorded the longest winning streak in team history. Discredit him all you want, he was part of that run. It's hard to argue that he hurts the team.

He's no different than Schubert being part of our Stanley Cup Final roster. Was Schubert responsible for us reaching the Finals? No. But, it's a team game and all players on the team are part of it.

I've got nothing against Donovan. I like him. But, had Donovan had a couple of good hits during the streak, you'd have anointed him as a key contributor.

You credit marginal players all the time. In fact, you over value them.

You've been advocating a big, tough blue line ever since I've been reading your blog. Well you have one.

The guys at the back can hit with the best, but they have limited skill. It's no wonder that we have trouble scoring.

Anonymous said...

Winchester should be on a higher line. I am thinking third. He needs players who can put the puck in the net. If you look at his stats from College he has proven to be more of a play maker more than a grinder or scorer.

I do not mean that he doesn't grind on the boards and work hard for the puck. I mean he is just not the classic fourth line type player.

I would personally like to see him playing with Foligno. And I 100% agree that Dono should be in the lineup.


Love the blog. Long time reader, first time commenter :P

Jeremy Milks said...

Anon at 7:57: If you're trying to say that I've championed marginal players at the expense of skilled players, I'll point out that no blog writer in Ottawa has defended Spezza more than myself over the past three seasons. I was high on Karlsson from the start of the season and even went so far as to call Regin the next David Krejci, which I was ridiculed for.

I spoke out in favour of finding a way to keep Heatley simply because I argued that the Senators couldn't afford to lose his skill. I was even strongly opposed to the Meszaros trade on the principle that it was foolish to trade young skilled defenseman in today's NHL. I was wrong on the Meszaros trade but the principal of my argument was sound.

You are probably refering to my favouring of players like Chris Neil, Jarkko Ruutu, Chris Kelly or Jesse Winchester. Perhaps you would call them marginal players or complain that they are unskilled.

The truth is that these are core players who provide toughness and other intangibles which are just as important as skill. A championship team needs both.

The only players I've run down are the real marginal players, such as Cheechoo, Brian Lee, Chris Campoli and Martin Gerber to name a few. And I think I've been fair in all cases. I based it on performance, not personality.

Check the record. All my posts are here for posterity.

Brian5or6 said...

I wish this blog was toilet paper so I could wipe my ASS with it. FUCK OFF

Anonymous said...

cheechoo is a fucking horrendous hockey player. why dont we just bring back martin lapointe and greg de vries while were at it. retards.

Bren said...

I am absolutely in agreement with you. I've spent so much time trying to understand the unwillingness of Clouston to play Donovan that it is too exhausting for me to even think about anymore. He brings energy every shift and his speed and physical play are ideal for creating a good cycle down low and even creating scoring chances. I love the guy to death and I feel terrible for him. He is a guy who is perfectly capable of playing every night in this league and I really hope they give him a shot. I totally agree when it comes to Cheechoo as well. The jury's out on him. He will NOT make this team any better. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

The only thing I've seen today that has surprised me more than the Cheechoo comments is the fact that people like "Brian5or6" actually have time to leave those kinds of comments. Grow up, buddy.

Great blog.

Young said...

Well Milksy, you've fired up the masses for sure!

Look, I dont think Cheech is the answer, and I think Donovan is a better bet at this point to be inserted into the line-up, but Im tired of questioning Cory Clouston.

Rookie Coach or not, I think we all agree that despite injuries and the fact the team was at rock bottom before he came in, he has made us a playoff team again. The 5th seed.

And at some point, we have to trust he knows more than we do.

Nobody's going to agree with everything you say (I know I dont always), but ignore the haters Milks, because they are just that: haters.

Anonymous said...


It's 7:57pm.

I've said it many times, and I'll say it again. You have one of the best Sens blogs. You do a great job.

Given our opponent, I think Cheechoo gives us a better chance to win than Donovan. But, I don't think this decision will decide the game. It's a fourth line roster move. Elliott's game is way more a determining factor.

I've got no issue with your advocacy of Neil, Ruutu, Kelly, or Winchester. I think all those guys play an important role on the team.

I also think that Campoli has become important. Lee and Cheechoo are also good enough to help the team, in my view.

Let me make this clear. I like all the guys on our team. They're all easy to cheer for. But, it's about options.

Our D has four shutdown guys, and two puck movers. I think two of those shutdown guys need to be replaced with skilled puck movers, in order give our offence a much needed boost.

I know that you've defended a lot of the skilled guys in the past. I'm with you on that.

I think our current D can be fun to watch at times, due to their toughness. I just think that they're lacking some much needed puck skills.

Michael Fisher Portnoy III said...

Its a moot point to argue now, as it is official. Sportsnet has announced that Cheechoo is in. We'll see what happens now.