Monday, June 21, 2010

Murray's Comments On Spezza Brings The Circus Back To Town

"He said he wouldn't object to it," Murray said. "He didn't come in and say, 'I have to be traded.' He didn't object to the fact that maybe it's time - the way (he's) been received - now maybe it's time."

"I said unfortunately, that doesn't happen," said Murray. "You signed a long-term contract. We committed to you, you committed to us...we're not going to make a bet for you."


First question that comes to mind is this: Why is Bryan Murray throwing Jason Spezza under the proverbial bus by revealing comments made in a private year end meeting? Especially so when Spezza denied to the media not very long ago that he wanted a trade out of Ottawa.

What does this accomplish? One, it makes Spezza look stupid for keeping the details of the meeting private when asked by the media. Two, it makes Spezza look like the bad guy (just listen to Murray's tone of voice as he half-heartedly reprimands Spezza, talking about honouring contracts etc.).

Three, it ignites a semi-dozing controversy that was pushed aside for awhile after Spezza's awkward non-denial/denial to the press and the result will be that an important Entry Draft for the Senators will get completely overshadowed by a re-run of the Dany Heatley circus.

Four, it weakens Murray's bargaining position around the league, with everyone and their grandparents knowing that Spezza wants nothing to do with this city and it's boorish fans anymore. Much like the Heatley crisis, Murray now has a ticking time bomb on his hands and the rest of the GM's can wait and watch him squirm all summer until they can wrangle a sweetheart deal like the one San Jose plucked from this organization.

Five, it completely covers up the fact that Murray admitted that he is about to let Anton Volchenkov, the team's best defenseman, walk for nothing, or possibly a mid-level draft pick if he can convince a team to make a mercy move before July 1st (it's highly unlikely he can land a similar package to the one Nashville got for Dan Hamhuis, but you never know). Notice how all the stories are about Spezza and not Volchenkov? As they say, when delivering bad news, might as well do it all at once so it doesn't seem so bad.

The end result? Two of the Senators best and in-their-prime assets are likely going to be leaving shortly, further eroding the skill, grit, heart and reputation of this now reeling organization.

How low can the Senators sink? Will there ever be a time when the team is not engulfed in controversy?

Who's next? Kovalev? Fisher?

Alfie? Remember folks, Alfredsson didn't rule out the possibility of leaving the team in order to win a Stanley Cup. That may very well be a reasonable option if the team is thinking of starting a rebuild with much older players like Matt Cullen and Andy Sutton.

Stay tuned....


Andrew said...

"this city and it's boorish fans anymore."

You're getting as old as the morons on the talk radio you claim to hate when you continually bash Sens fans and citizens of Ottawa.

Grow up, stop generalizing, and stop insulting people who don't think like you.

Jeremy Milks said...

OK Andrew. I will.

Jeremy Milks said...

But how about one more for the road?

A lot of Ottawa fans are complete idiots. Just like a lot of fans of other teams in the league.

It's how I feel.

tim said...

Sorry, but i think you're blowing things out of proportion here. I'm sure that Murray and Spezza recently talked about what kinds of things would be discussed in media. The message is, really "we have a contract, we like Spezza, we'd like to keep him, he's like to stay, but everybody is cool with him being traded if the right deal comes along". It's just an invitation to GMs to make big offers, just to see if anybody is stupid enough to offer a gloldmine. And generalizing by saying "Ottawa fans" or "hockey fans" are idiots is ludicrous. Of course they're not.

Jeremy Milks said...

No Tim, they're idiots.....

Anyways, just relax people. It's a game we're talking about. Fans call players idiots all the time. I get called an idiot all the time. It's a joke. It's a game. Relax.

dzuunmod said...

I'm surprised people are so thin-skinned as to be taking offence at your comments, Jeremy. Fact is, writes of all kinds (sportswriters, arts writers, whoever) generalize all the time, and there's nothing wrong with what you said about Ottawa fans.

Although you had it *more* right when you said that every team has fans like this. For anyone who thinks they aren't boors in Montreal, in Toronto, in Philly, in New York or anywhere else that they are passionate about the game, I would advise those people to actually spend some time in those other cities.

GelatinousMutantCoconut said...

My anger is more at Bryan Murray. I thought he only sounded mentally challenged. It turns out his brain matches his voice. He's letting the media and fans dictate the future of the franchise. Instead of saying to Spezza "Look, your a big part of this team, we don't want to lose you, we have faith in you. You have some things to work on, and you've worked hard to get better and adjust to life post Heatley. We want you to continue to grow as a player in Ottawa) and then maybe quietly gauge potential interest, he publicly tries to make Jason look like the bad guy.

This may be the straw that broke the camels back. I may be done with this sad-sack franchise until management gets it's head out of it's collective arse.

Anonymous said...

Great post, Jeremy. Very timely, and accurate.

Bryan Murray's conduct has been deplorable. The Sens organization looks really bad. Why would you reveal the details of a private conversation? Twice!!!

You're bang on about his tone.

It's pretty clear that Murray wants to trade Spezza, and is now in the stage of laying the PR ground work to give him cover.

Look at some of the headlines that will appear in our local rag, the Ottawa Sun, tomorrow morning:

"Spezza needs to go: Fans"

This article is written by Justin Sadler. I will forever remember this guy's name. I now know that this guy is fully capable of writing propaganda. Such a poorly written article that I do not know where to begin. For a great review, check out Peter's review at the Silver Seven blog. Peter, you nailed it.

Next up, the guy who never disappoints. Don Brennan.

"Time to deal Spezza is now"

You get the feeling that Brennan was getting jealous that people have been bashing Garrioch so much over the last week. Brennan wants us all to know that he can be just as bad.

And lastly, the king. Garrioch himself.

"$4 million reasons to trade Spezza"

I understand that these writers do not write the headlines. But, their stories all have the same theme. They are helping Murray lay the ground work to run Spezza out of town.

Senschirp ran a poll a few weeks ago. In it, 90% wanted to keep Spezza. That's staggering. That is the most one sided poll that I have ever seen on his site. And, that's saying something, because he normally defends management.

Spezza's poll numbers were higher than the 80% support that Volchenkov garnered in a similar poll a few months ago on the same site.

The Keep Spezza Facebook group has 1000 members.

I have never seen the fan base mobilise around one player in the history of this franchise.

The fans want to KEEP Jason Spezza.

Bryan Murray is trying to run Spezza out of town, and the Ottawa Sun is trying to help him.

Last year, the Sun ran a year end poll. Only 52% of respondents expressed support for Murray at that time. That was before the Heatley debacle.

It is curious that they did not publish poll numbers for Bryan Murray this year.


I tell you why. Because he is extremely unpopular.

Hey Melnyk, we've had enough. Murray sucks. He has turned our perennial Cup contender into a has been. Now he's trying to run our best player out of town.

Why is Murray doing this?

Murray has a one year deal. He knows he can't win with this roster. If he can't win, he won't get another contract, and he won't be able to turn the team over to his beloved nephew, Tim Murray.

They want to trade Spezza, so that Melnyk and the fan base start to view the Sens as a rebuilding project. In that way, it buys the Murrays time. In other words, they can keep their jobs longer.

Anonymous said...

Garrioch has another article in tomorrow's rag, the Ottawa Sun.

"Sens will go mobile if they lose Volchenkov"

What I find curious about the article is the question that wasn't asked. The fact is that we were mobile in 2007, when Murray took over.

At that time we had four puck movers. Someone needs to hold Murray accountable, and ask him why he changed the philosophical direction of the D.

In the article, Garrioch suggests that the Sens may be interested in Sheldon Souray.

Get this. Souray's cap hit is $5.4M. Let's say Volch wants $4.5M.

You have a better chance to win with Volch. Why would you let Volch go, and pay Souray more?

Souray would be better on the powerplay, but Karlsson already has that role. We don't need Souray.

But wait ... Souray is 33 years old. If we pick up another old guy, at the end of next year, Murray can sell the story that we are too old and we need to get younger.

Anonymous said...

Don't be surprised if the national media starts picking up on the Sun headlines tomorrow. I'd expect a flurry of reports stating,

"The Ottawa Sun reports that fans want Spezza traded."

I think Murray will try to put as much pressure on Spezza as possible. He'll want Spezza to ask for a trade before July 1. Before the $4M bonus is due.

Teams will offer less before July 1. They know Ottawa is on the hook for $4M. Also, I don't believe that a team will acquire Spezza unless they know he wants to play for them.

If they did, they would be on the hook for $4M, and then Spezza could ask to be traded to his preferred destination. They'd be screwed.

If the Sens want to trade Spezza, I'm on Jason's side on this one.

Advice to Spezza: You've said the right things. ("I'll be there if they'll have me.")

If Murray trades you to a team you don't want to go to, ask for a trade after July 1. You have a newborn, and just like Chris Pronger had family reasons for wanting out of Edmonton, you probably also have family reasons for preferring certain destinations.

Anonymous said...

More advice for Spezza:

You've been treated like dirt by Bryan Murray. You will win the PR war. The fan base will be on your side. Ottawa's a pretty civilized place. People don't like to see someone treated unjustly.