Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Reason # 89 to not trade Jason Spezza

It would mean Alexei Yashin remains number two on the Senators all-time scoring list for at least 3 more bloody years with 491 points to Spezza's 475.

Once Spezz is shipped out, only Mike Fisher has a chance to break 500 points before another possible labour stoppage (he's got 324 points). But don't worry Yashin fans, a certain tabloid paper will cook something juicy up to get Fish traded to Nashville.

The great legacy of Yashin will remain intact....

As for the playoffs, Spezza is already in the number two slot with 46 points in 46 games (compared to Yashin's mark of 15 points in 26 games). Yet for some reason, the "fact" that Spezza is not a playoff performer gets repeated as gospel on talk radio all day long.


Have you noticed the winds of change? Is it my imagination or is there a major backlash going on amongst fans that isn't being properly addressed in the city's mainstream media? Virtually all of the Senators related blogs are vehemently opposed to dealing Spezza this summer yet the papers seem happy to focus on the failure of a poorly organized facebook rally and a few pint swilling fans on the Elgin Street strip to illuminate this story to the non-blog reading public.

Are the bloggers out of touch with the real fans, like the ones now famously quoted in the bizarre Sun article yesterday, or is it the curmudgeonly columnists who actually cover the team for a living who don't have the pulse of the city?

It seems to me that there is a curious and great divide here. I'm not saying one side is right over the other, but there are two drastically different narratives going on.

It's almost as if this fight isn't even about Jason Spezza anymore. It comes down to perception, something that is usually only an issue in politics.

It's about the established press in the city going about their business they way they have for years, creating villains and heroes like all good sportswriters tend to do. They haven't changed. Their audience has.

The story has been sold so many times before that it's just not working anymore. It was easy to buy the Dany Heatley and Ray Emery storylines, but it's rings false when it comes to the "aw shucks" personality of Spezza. "Do we have to do this .... again? To this guy?"

Fans feel like there's something more at stake this time. Maybe it's the reputation of their city. Maybe it's guilt. Maybe it's nothing more than something to argue about so we can all avoid real politics.

Whatever it is, there has never been such a passionate response to the hockey press in this city. Just read the comments under Don Brennan's article to see what I mean.


And just to point out that not all established press is salivating at a Spezza sacrifice, here's TSN personality James Cybulski on the matter:

"Another big thing to consider as everyone wants to give him the boot out of town is that he enjoyed playing in Ottawa for the most part. Despite being an easy target, he liked being a Senator - something you can't say the same about with other star players aside from captain Daniel Alfredsson. Dany Heatley, Zdeno Chara, and Alexei Yashin all preferred to play elsewhere. Sure it's now being reported that he "wouldn't object" to a trade, but how many times can one guy be told by fans and media how crappy he is before saying 'uncle'? "



Anonymous said...

You're bang on about Fisher being next. His no movement clause expires next year and then turns into a limited NMC. If Murray succeeds in tossing Spezza, you can bet that Fisher will be the next target. It's pretty clear that Murray wants a full rebuild, and Fisher won't fit the long-term plan.

I'm with you on the winds of change as well. The Kool-Aid is wearing off. People are angry. It's like the main stream press is creating their own story, and the fans aren't buying it. There's such a disconnect.

Good on you to point out Cybulski's article. For every idiot in the media, there are some gems out there. Cybulski, James Duthie, Steve Lloyd, Phil Melanson, etc... At least some guys have some integrity and care about their reputations.

Lastly, a re-occurring theme that some reporters keep bringing up is getting old. Versage, Garrioch, and Brennan have alluded to the fact that Spezza hasn't come out and said that he really wants to remain a Sen.

The fact is, he has said that, "I'll be here if they'll have me."

Quite frankly, that's enough.

In 1997, Joe Sakic signed an offer sheet with the NYR for $21M over 3 years. That contract was front loaded with $17M owed in the first year. The point of front loading the deal, was that it would be more difficult for Colorado to commit that much money up front and match the offer.

Colorado matched, and everyone lived happily ever after. But, doesn't the fact that Sakic signed with NYR mean that he didn't want to play for Colorado?

Of course not. He was a great player who had options. He was happy to play for Colorado, but he was open to other options if they were better. Colorado fans did not punish him for it, and they shouldn't have. That's the business of hockey.

Why should Spezza feel any differently? He said he'll be here if the Sens want him. If management doesn't want him, it's entire reasonable if he quietly tells management that he's open to other options.

Good players have options. They don't have to beg.

Canucnik said...

Go to a game, sit down low and listen...to the "Cat calls...the loud comments during silent stoppages...remember he got booed off the ice more than once...

The man did not have a very good play off trying to cary an injured Alfie and Petr, a good kid trying and failing vs Sid and Malkin but when you make $7 mill it's tough to find excuses...

Watch out! Curran has just been waiting, the tables turn after July 1st!

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear more support for Spezza. I'm on pretty much the same page with you man.

Check out my piece too: http://route19.wordpress.com/2010/06/23/running-spezza-out-of-town/

JA said...

In truth, how people perceive the world affects far more than politics, so it comes as no surprise that this is an issue here.

I think people in Ottawa have taken Spezza for granted, as at once the team's most offensively-gifted player and scapegoat.

I'm dismayed by the number of people who think that being paid a lot of money magically makes a person invulnerable to criticism, the quantity and vitriolic quality of which people complaining about Spezza will have never experienced.

I'm not sure why Murray would be going into rebuilding mode when it was he who signed players like Spezza, Heatley (now gone), Fisher, Neil and Kelly to their deals in the first place. If he is, that strikes me as less a master plan than a tragedy of errors.

Kara said...

The feeling I get around town is indifference to Spezza's plight mixed with anger at Murray.

A friend of mine works at SBP and he knew about the Spezza rally and was:

"I knew I forgot something when I woke up this morning. Who cares, he's a millionaire and laughs like a hyena." <---- word for word.

The fact is, we want whipping boys here. It comes from being lied to routinely by politicians and being unable to do anything about it. We *can* do something about the players, who are wealthy, so we boo them.

As for Jonathan's point...if I were getting 7 mil a year, to paraphrase Patrick Roy:

"I can't hear you, I have $1,000 bills in my ears".

Lastly, on Steve Lloyd...he toes the party line. He is an honest guy but he's clearly a Murray supporter and never once has questioned his decisions.

Jim Jerome was on today and said he was afraid Spezza would move, take that as you want.

Scanlan, Adami, Warren, Versage and Melanson are the only ones in the media that voice opinions...the rest of Team 1200 and Ottawa Sun are just arse-keessers for Senators brass.