Saturday, December 27, 2008

flames v. sens: the freefall

the underperforming ottawa senators roll into the saddledome tonight for a long-awaited matchup against the calgary flames --a game which should be won soundly by the currently hard-working NW division leaders, but is worrisome for that exact reason...

i realize that when a cup-contending team falls to pieces, there is probably a waterfall of reasons behind it, but here's my theory: bryan murray.

things started to go down the tubes when bryan murray (then-coach) and GM john muckler called out goaltender ray emery for being a bad boy. what they probably didn't consider was that emery, though troublesome to the coaching staff, seemed to be fairly well-liked in the lockerroom. emery was a former long-term roommate of jason spezza's and total jokester [once having eaten a cockroach in a carolina lockerroom, on a $500 bet with daniel alfredsson]. his loose-cannon behaviour was oft-explained by him being a goalie, and shrugged off by his teammates, "He beats to his own drum. He's a leader, not a follower. Razor definitely does his own thing, he gets away from things all the time." (j. spezza from the ottawa citizen 12/11/05).

when emery's behaviour became too much of a problem for the sens' brass to handle from within, murray and muckler turned to the media to publically chastise their #1 goaltender. this was precisely the moment, in my opinion, that the senators started tanking, and it's been in freefall ever since... the moment wasn't when emery missed his wakeup call before a charter to NJ. it wasn't when emery threatened the life of a man with whom he'd gotten in a car accident. it was when the higher-ups publically threatened his job because of it, and emery's stock lost all value.

the problem then, as is the problem now (it seems to me), was that you can't expect a return on a player you've openly deemed toxic. unable to find a trading partner for the starting goaltender, the only alternative left for the sens was to ship emery off to the KHL. this left (leaves ?) the team to deal with the four remaining years of emery's contract and a gaping hole in the goaltending department.

i don't think the senators ever entirely recovered from that situation, and bryan murray returned to the idiotic media comments just a week or two ago when he announced there would definitely be a trade. heatley has a no trade clause, and murray suggested he wouldn't trade his captain, which essentially says that he's readily attempting to move spezza... well, once again murray has placed himself in a situation where his public comments have turned his players into commodities without value. if 29 other GMs in the NHL realize that murray needs to make a move to save his job, and that spezza is the best guy he's got, well the return offers would presumeably be low, non ? ipso facto, there will be no trade, murray will lose more respect from his players and the freefall will continue...

all i have to say is that it's awful sad the calgary flames don't have any room under the cap, cause i all-but-guarantee that dany heatley would waive his NTC to get out of ottawa and come home to cowtown.... sarich + langkow + lombo for heatley ?? i'd seriously consider doing it.... :P

like i said, tonight's game should be a sound win for the flames, but it's just games like this that make me nervous for the boys.... the canucks have been handed back to back regulation losses by the sharks and the greasers, which leaves calgary in sole possession of first in the NW, with two games in hand... pressure ? hell yeah...

:)

4 comments:

David Hesson said...

When the Flames(19-11-4) last hosted the Senators(12-15-5), they were looking to play one of the toughest teams in the league. With the Senators struggling in the first half of this season, the Flames now look to take advantage of a team that has lost its last 10 straight road games.

The last meeting between these 2 teams was over 2 years ago with the flames pulling off a 1-0 win in Ottawa.

With 2 games in hand and a 1 point lead over the Vancouver Canucks, the Flames would like nothing more than to achieve the possible 5 point lead over their Western Conference rivals.

Although the Flames are on route to clinching the first spot in the Northwest Division, teams such as San Jose and Detroit still have a much more impressive record.

As game time approaches, the players have only one thing on their minds. Each game is of epic importance in a race for the number one spot in a tough hard hitting conference, and every win is needed.

Read more: http://bit.ly/vzbI

Check out more of my ramblings here: http://www.davidhesson.com

Kent W. said...

He beats to his own drum.

this conjures a disturbing image for me.

awildermode said...

all i have to say is that it's awful sad the calgary flames don't have any room under the cap, cause i all-but-guarantee that dany heatley would waive his NTC to get out of ottawa and come home to cowtown.... sarich + langkow + lombo for heatley ?? i'd seriously consider doing it.... :P

lombo? really? i would throw in boyd, since keenan is not using him the way he should. or throw bert in there. either way, it ain't gonna happen.

walkinvisible said...

i decided today that boyd is being under-used so they can re-sign him for cheap (he's in a contract year).

next year he'll be top six.