Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Senior: Tim Baines should target mental institution

Are you ready, sweetie? It's been a little while; I'm not sure how good I'll be at this. I just hope that you enjoy it, and that you won't be disappointed if I finish earlier than you'd hope. Either way, I'll feel a lot better afterward, so regardless if this satisfies you or not, here I go! Fuck yeah, bro!

Tim Baines is one of a group of writers for the Ottawa Sun that I just cannot stand. During what I'd consider one of the more intriguing weeks of summer for the NHL, Baines and his Caribbean Jerk colleagues find a way to irritate me year after year with articles that just don't make sense. Based on the title of this one, I'm in for more of the same. Great.

Before Bryan Murray decides to go on a Canada Day spending spree, he’d better pull out a shortlist of recent Senators free-agent signings and wash down a couple of Tylenols with water.

Alex Kovalev. Sergei Gonchar.

Let's not forget about a slew of other fantastic moves that have put the Senators on the cusp of greatness; resigning Kuba for three years in 2009, trading Antoine Vermette for Pascal Leclaire, giving Chris Neil anything more than $13.33 per season, and, more recently, giving Chris Phillips a three year deal with a NO TRADE CLAUSE(!!^?!#^?).

But yes, these deals aren't the greatest. I'm glad that Baines actually made a solid introduction. Does he keep the knowledge flowing? More, at eleven.

Ouch! Painful to Eugene Melnyk’s wallet. And painful to Senators’ fans, who may have to take the patient approach rather than putting a Band-aid on a team that likely needs a couple of years to recharge and rebuild.

Shit, rebuild!? I had no idea! Trading away top nine forwards for draft picks, hope of winning the draft lottery, or the countless articles that feature the Senators rebuild gave me no indication that Ottawa wasn't a Band-aid away from being a cup contender right now.

There certainly doesn’t appear to be a quick free-agent fix. Mediocrity will be made into millionaires as some NHL owners seek a missing piece of the puzzle and others look to get to the $48-million salary-cap basement level come July 1.

Well, hey, any team looking to reach the cap floor could always pick up Filip Kuba or Sergei Gonchar!... no one? Fuck.

The Senators have $20 million or so to spare under the $64-million cap, but Melnyk won’t be looking to give a big chunk of that out to a guy like Brad Richards, who some team will give $50-55 million or so for seven or eight years.

I'd like Brad Richards in a Senators uniform, but this is another valid point. With plenty of prospects to develop and a new contract due for Erik Karlsson after next season, it makes more sense to have the cap space available. Not awful so far, Baines.

Nor are the Senators likely to crack the piggybank for a stud defenceman like Kevin Bieksa or a proven veteran goalie like Dwayne Roloson.

I get my Ts and Ps mixed up all of the time. Bieksa is the latest example of players that score a couple of goals in the playoffs and earn a big, unnecessary raise from it. Serviceable at best, he is, but stud, he is not.

And isn't Dwayne Roloson dead or something? He played really well for Tampa this year, but they also executed that effective, yet DREADFULLY BORING defensive system during the playoffs. I expect Phoenix to sign him, only to be disappointed that he can only start 25 games since the season schedule interferes with Bingo nights and new episodes of Curb Appeal. Regardless, after locking up Craig Gander(at ice girls)son for four years, I'm sure the Senators won't be tempted. Alex Bauld might not be a bad option to bring back for the backup role, though.

While the Senators need scoring support everywhere, there is a guy available,

Brad Richards? Simon Gagne? Chris Drury (LOL)? TOMAS FLEISCHMANN?

a former Ottawa 67’s star, who would provide a big boost.

Logan Couture? Bryan Bickell? Andrew Cassels? The 67's NHL alumni pool isn't too deep, unless I'm missing someone awesome.

Zenon Konopka.

Where did I put my shotgun?

The guy can fight. He can hit. He can win faceoffs. He’s a leader. He’s a good guy on and off the ice.

The guy can fight. He can fight. He can win fights. He's a fighter. He's a fighter on and off the ice.

I don't get it. How does Konopka fill a need on the Senators roster? We already have two idiots in Chris Neil and Terry Carkner (WAKKA WAKKA), and we saw how unnecessary it was to have three idiots on the roster when Francis Lessard saw ice time (and blood) for a few games late last season. The only reason I notice at this point is because he's familiar with the Ottawa area. What a boost!

He’d be a third- or fourth-line centre here. It seems like a no-brainer, assuming the price is right.

Behind Spezza, we have Peter Regin, Zack Smith, Jesse Winchester, and potentially this year's 6th overall pick, Mika Zibanineleven (insert lawsuit here). The Senators will have about four skaters jockeying for the third and fourth line center jobs, since none of them appear capable of running the second line just yet (or ever). It seems like a no-brainer that Ottawa shouldn't pursue Konopka, but attempt to bring in a second line center, even if just for this season. If this team is as serious about the rebuild as one could imagine, they could plug the second line with one (or more) of the aforementioned skaters. On second thought, putting Konopka on the second line would all but insure that Ottawa won't finish above 29th next season, giving the Sens a chance at some phenom named Nail. Sign him now!

Long-ago Senator Brooks Laich (dealt away for Peter Bondra) would be a good fit. But if he's fetching four or five years at $3.5 million per season, it's too pricey.

Since this article was posted, Laich resigned for six years at $4.5 million per season. Baines must have cooked a goose over that deal. It is a tad pricey, but he's a reliable two-way player that can center the second line, chip in 20 goals and manage the PK. Perhaps we could trade Bondra for him and Washington's first rounder next season.

Does Ottawa take a chance on injury-prone Tim Connolly? Or maybe a once-good Simon Gagne? Or inconsistent Michael Ryder? Maybe Ville Leino or Tomas Kopecky?

No. Probably not. No. That would be cool, and no. Why does everyone think that Kopecky is so talented? Anyway, it's obvious that this year's UFA selection is limited. It's always fun to see a favourite team sign a big name player (Kovalev notwithstanding), but this isn't the year for Ottawa to do that. With players like Tuomo Ruutu, Patrick Sharp, Ales Hemsky, Dustin Penner, Chris Kunitz, Mikhail Grabovski, and Alex Semin as UFAs-to-be in 2012, that might be a better opportunity to make a big signing. In other words, shut up, Tim Baines.

I love the deal for Nikita Filatov, one of those unfulfilled potential guys, who could fit into a top-six forward spot. Don't expect much from the Senators on July 1. Just sit back and watch other NHL teams get stupid. It's good entertainment anyway.

Grammatically awkward and unrelated to the point of the article. Time for more mockery.

Stupid would be signing Zenon Konopka, one of those fulfilled punching guys, who could fit into the ECHL or JAIL. I'm definitely not expecting much from the Senators on July 1, but I'm sure they'll make a couple of signings. Either way, I'll just sit back and watch Tim Baines get stupid. It's a good reason to keep me on this website, anyway.

Sorry, sweet cheeks. I'll be better next time. I still love you, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Friday, June 3, 2011

What do you mean I write for a blog?

Alex Ovechriguez.

Not never contrived.

I know this article is old, but I’m a really super busy doing all kinds of other things that are too countless to name. Plus a month later, it’s still ridiculous.

Enter any comment thread on a Washington Capitals playoff loss, and the barbs are frequent: "Ovech-Choke" … "Well, we know what the 'C' stands for" … and the rest of it.

Oh! I know! It stands for “Captain”, I think. Or maybe Capitals or “CHKIN.”

There are three “Cs” on his jersey. You gotta be more specific, man.

They're not necessarily fair to Alex Ovechkin as a playoff performer, given his 47 points in 35 games and 24 goals — four of them coming in this postseason.

Correct. End of article. Have a nice summer everyone!

But it's also not fair to let Ovechkin off the hook simply because he's been more competent than many of his under-producing teammates in the playoffs — Alex Semin in 2010, Nicklas Backstrom in 2011 — because Alex Ovechkin needs to be something more than that.

Why? Why is that not fair? What more do you want from the guy? 24 playoff goals in 35 games. Should he play goal? Maybe ref a few periods? Juggle line combos? Rip tickets at the door? WHY IS THAT UNFAIR?

He needs to be the guy who ties the game and then wins it. He needs to be the guy who gets the goal that captures momentum at a critical moment in a game, or in a series, for his team.

No one has been, is ever, or will ever be that guy. No one. No one skates down and just scores. If they could, they’d do it every time. I defy you to tell me who this player is in the NHLs history. And why does it have to be Great 8? Other players are also on the team. Just because he's the captain? Makes sense now. You know why the Islanders didn't make it to the Conference Finals? Doug Weight didn't tie and win every game with a breath-taking goal.

It used to be that Ovechkin wasn’t using his teammates enough. Remember those halcyon days? Now, he’s not automatic enough or something.

He needs to be the guy who said "we're going there, and we're going to win two games" after Game 2 (no matter what the official transcript indicated he said) and backs it up by leading his team to a pair of victories.

For the record, in Games 3 AND 4 Ovechkin gave Washington a 3-2 lead. They blew them of course. Ovech-loss.

The question for Alex Ovechkin, his fans and the Capitals as they face back-to-back games at the Tampa Bay Lightning: Is he that guy?

No. See above.

In Game 3 on Tuesday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning, with the Capitals down 2-0 to the Bolts and facing back-to-back games, Ovechkin's team faces

Facing the face of the faceless face off. Faces of facing faces face facing faces.

what John Keeley of On Frozen Blog feels is nothing short of a referendum on the franchise — and its captain:

This hockey club has the requisite skill and experience to rise to the challenge.

But will they be lucky enough!? That is all that stands in their way, right?

What we don't yet know is if it has adequate leadership. It's a point that's been debated with some robustness for more than a year now: Did the Caps get it right in stitching the 'C' to Ovi's sweater?

No. Unless they started wearing Phoenix thirds, they got it left.

Failure this week in Tampa will bring fresh and heated scrutiny to that question. 2010-11 has not been a year to remember for our captain; its premature conclusion would intensify the evidence against his leadership. And the late-season arrival of Jason Arnott only adds fuel to that fire.

What does Jason Arnott have to do with Ovech-disappointment’s ‘lack of leadership’? If anything, Jason Arnott, a former captain and Stanley Cup winner, should be partially held RESPONSIBLE for Washington’s ouster. 3 assists, no goals against Tampa. NICE JOB OVECH-NOTJASONARNOTT.

This is a postseason tailor-made for Ovi to ascend, but to date, we don't have that breakthrough performance suggestive that he's ready to seize that moment and lead his club. Tonight is one such opportunity.

Please, explain to me why this year was tailor-made for Ovechkin over any other. He had a down year. His centerman was awful in the post-season and had the lowest point total of his career. Their star defenseman played half the season because he was counting ducks in a circle all year. Sounds to me like the odds were stacked against him as an individual in a team sport.

Japers' Rink echoes the sentiments, adding that the Capitals are in danger of being "your father's Capitals" with another playoff disappointment.

I see. They want Ovech-Neverinventedshitever to invent a time machine, go back to the 1987 and score in the Easter Epic. That somehow makes more sense to me than “He’s not a leader and needs to score 9 goals in a 9-8 game 7 win.”

No one expects No. 8 to post an Ovechtrick in Game 3

You sure?

… although his first three-point night since Game 4 against Montreal last postseason would be welcome.

The team changed styles. It’s not about 3 point nights any more. In 9 2011 playoff games, he had at least a point in 7 of them, including 3 2-point games. I don’t even like the guy that much. Why am I doing this?

Where he needs to lead, where he needs to be a difference-maker, is on one five-man unit: The Capitals' terrible, momentum sapping power play.

I know this is going to sound crazy. Maybe teams are focusing on shutting down Washington’s power play? Tampa was 8th this year in PK%. Washington was 15th in PP%. Yes, these are regular season numbers. I refuse to look at the playoff numbers. Using 6 or 7 games to come to conclusions about a team’s ability makes you really dumb.

It's 0 for 11 in this series, and it's 3 for 27 in the playoffs, killing them as softly as it did vs. Jaroslav Halak last year.

You’re really dumb.

The Capitals are 2-2 in one-goal games, and lost Game 1 of this series with an empty-netter being scored. The margin for error is so slim, yet the power play has erred with frequency.

The margin for error is always slim. They are not the Washington Generals. Close, but no. And, also how about that? 2-2 record in what is essentially a primo luck stat. Huh.

Ovechkin has assists on all three Capitals goals in this postseason, but hasn't scored one.


In his last 19 playoff games, Ovechkin has one goal and six assists on the man advantage … which can also be read as one power-play goal in his last 19 playoff games.

Fish? Meet barrel.

You can talk all you want about intangibles as a captain, but there's something significant about the kind of kinetic kick-in-the-ass an Ovechkin goal provides his team. It's better than any barking broken English speech he could shout in the locker room between periods.

I want to talk none I want about intangibles as a captain.

Which is to say they need one Tuesday night. A goal that gives them a lead. A moment. Something from their captain, at an important juncture of the game, that brings focus to the task at hand rather than concern about the next bad line change or fluky goal that'll crush their spirit.

You mean like a big power play goal to give them the lead? Something like that?

As Keeley said, it's been a challenging year for Ovechkin. No love for the Hart Trophy. An 18-goal decrease from last season. Injuries that have nagged him and kept the cortisone flowing.

Ovech-hurt. Plus, remember like 2 minutes ago when you said, AND I QUOTE, "This is a postseason tailor-made for Ovi to ascend." Which is it? A challenge? A cakewalk? A walk in the cake?

There's always going to be a section of Ovechkin's fan base, in and out of Washington, that'll say it's not about him — it's about a supporting cast that doesn't step up in the postseason.

I like the undertone that these people are complete idiots. "There's always going to be a section of historians that'll say the Holocaust was not a hoax."

In a seven-game series, based on the history of the player and his team, that's accurate.

Cool. Great article.

In a Game 3, facing a dire second-round predicament against a Tampa team not giving them an inch, it's an excuse. The next 48 hours are Ovechkin's time. There's no other way to measure it.

Measure what? Ovech-time? The next 48 hours? Are you saying there is no other way to judge his 'playoff legacy' than what his team does in TWO games?! He's 25 years old. He MIGHT get another shot at it if he gets traded at the deadline next year.

The thing that bugs me the most is that Washington gets it. GMGM said there is no such thing as a playoff coach, just good coach or bad coach. He got ripped for it, but Goddamn he’s so right. McPhee even added that they’ll keep the roster largely the same and give a try again next year because that is really all you can do. Look for part 2 soon. (Really)