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Friday, December 26, 2008

Shakeup not a question of if...


You know what I'm real sick of? Seeing teams that were better than the Jackets when they entered this league actually become worse than the Jackets for a few years....and are now better than them and contending again.

Teams like Chicago, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Boston, Philly, LA, Carolina...heck even the Rangers were worse than us back in the '04 season. All either are contenders now or have been the last couple of seasons.

Meanwhile, the Jackets continue the same circle of suck.

I look at the standings over the past 8 seasons and the only team that hasn't made the playoffs at least once is the Florida Panthers. Still they've managed 3 seasons of .500 or better hockey in that stretch.

Of course the ultimate measure is to look at our sister expansion team, the Minnesota Wild, a team who has made the playoffs 3 out of their first 7 years including a conference final.

The Jackets are a miracle that they have essentially accomplished nothing in their 7 year existence...outside of a Rocket Richard trophy.

They've have never played .500 hockey. They have averaged the highest first round pick since they came into the league. They have averaged 69 points per year with their best coming last year @ 80. Their best finish in the division was 3rd in 2005-2006. They've blown through 4 coaches and are on their 2nd GM. They've never been good enough to sniff the playoffs, lucky enough to win the lottery or bad enough to guarantee a top 2 two impact player (without trading up).

This season the playoffs are now a pipe dream. Their PP is the worst in the league. Their offense has collapsed like the stock market after a 21 rookie went on the shelf. With 6 of their next 7 on the road the Jackets will likely fall out of contention by the mid January.

This team is fragile, complacent and lacks any killer instinct. Yeah they have competed most nights but if you don't have wins to show for it...so what?

They are not nearly good while also being not nearly bad enough.

I read message boards where season ticket holders are finally saying enough is enough. I want to tell them a bad hockey team is better than no hockey team but how can you say that to folks who have shelled their hard earned cash for 8 years...stood by this franchise with a year of no hockey...and haven't been rewarded with a team that can at least play .500 hockey? Its embarrassing to even type that... I mean .500 hockey still blows but I suspect many folks paying the bills would consider that a positive step.

These are folks who drag their butts out to support this team in horrible conditions like against LA only to watch a group of paid professional athletes sleepwalk their way through a game.

Its unacceptable and its not the fans fault. They've stood by this team longer than most fans in any city of any team with a similar losing record would. In fact I'd challenge anyone to find better numbers with a similar track record.

I'm not sure how you can fix what ails this franchise...the disappointment almost seems to just linger in the fibers of anyone who straps that jersey on. Moves are made but the holes and results remain the same.

I realize there are up and downs in a season and this is a very big down right now but I can't stomach anymore the Jackets are 'x' amount of points out of a playoff spot. I've heard it for 7 seasons and we know those results. They need to be in the playoffs right now!This season is on the same path as the rest. At this point this team is what it is -- ain't no magical trade going to fix it.

One thing is for sure...if the panic button wasn't hit yet....Howson better be whacking it with a sledge hammer now as this season is spiraling out of control.

Its not a question of if at this point, but a question of when....when does the shakeup come?

First things first... Howson and Hitch aren't going anywhere. Howson will be given more than two years and Hitch just signed a 3 year extension that kicks in the start of next year. Quite frankly I don't think it does any good to throw more turmoil into the front office or coaching staff right now - we need some stability there. Howson has rid himself of some fat but he has got to start filling some real holes now. We all know what they are.

So if not a coaching or GM change then what?

I think Howson makes a couple of mid level moves which has been hinted in the paper (i.e bring in a guy like Doug Weight) to try to keep the Jackets in it...ultimately its just a band aid on a broken leg that's not going to heal anything.

I think a much bigger shakeup will need to occur most likely in the offseason unless something presents itself sooner...unlikely.

This team has got to get much stronger up the middle of the ice and it has got to upgrade its skill on the blueline. This will drastically improve our scoring punch and special teams.

I know some are saying.. well that's just great LTL....why not throw me a winning lottery ticket while your at it. How do you propose we get those assets Captain Obvious?

Let me ask you a question. Who or what are the Jackets most valuable assets? Rick Nash right? Everything says time and time again just get this guy a center and he'll go nuts. Well what about getting a center for Rick Nash?

Here me out.

First off. I love Rick Nash. He is a class act on and off the ice. He is the kind of pro athlest you want your kids looking up to. He is always willing to represent the city of Columbus and we know he's a very talented player. The biased fan in me says no way you can deal this guy....he our captain and face of the franchise....but putting my blind homerism aside for a sec the big picure objective guy in me says lets take a step back and look at the situation.

Nash has never broken 70 points over his 5 year NHL career. He has a good shot this season as TSN has him on pace for 77 points. He is making 6.5 this season and 7 next. That is a lot of dough for a small market team to tie up in their "franchise player" who has yet to lead them even to a .500 record. There are also many nights when he isn't noticeable...which to me you can't have... even if he's not scoring he must be noticable night in and night out.

Lets look at guys who make 6.5+ mil a year:

Ovechkin, Crosby, Richards, Heatley, Chara, Hossa, Lindstrom, Gomez, Thornton, Vanek, Campbell, Drury, Spezza, Iginla, Lundqvist, Lecavalier, Luongo, Khabibulin, Niedermayer, Datsyuk, Boyle, Briere, Redden, Phaneuf, Jovanovski, Kovalchuk, Timonen, Smyth, Kiprusoff & Visnovsky

Add Malkin and Zetterberg in that group next season.

There are some duds in the there who shouldn't be making that dough (Redden, Drury, Smyth), but for those most part these are your impact players in the NHL right now.

Does Nash belong in that group because if the Jackets re-sign him he's going to get at least 7+ mil a year? Over his 5 year career he's scored 39, 57, 54, 57 and 69 points. He's primarily a goal scorer and has topped 30 goals 3 out of those 6 seasos.

Of course on the flip side 40 goal scorers don't grow on trees and Nash is only 24. He should only keep improving both in his skill and leadership abilities.

Some say well just get him a center and he'll be better. My argument is shouldn't your franchise player have the ability to make the players around him better?

If your going to consider moving him now or this summer is the time. He is signed for one more year after this and then he's a UFA. His value will be at his highest this summer and lets be honest here, he may also look to move on as losing year after year will wear on anybody.

Honestly my thoughts are that if things continue on the same route they are there are two things that must happen before next year -- 1. Howson must bring in a legit #1 d-man...and 2. How must either bring Nash a center (unlikely) or consider moving him as the way this team is currently configured with him as the centerpiece is not working.

To get those kinds of assets you have to be willing to part with something significant.

I'll throw one scenario out there just for the sake of discussion: Rick Nash for Eric Staal

Huselius Staal Voracek
Modin Brassard Filatov
Chimera Umberger XXX
Boll XXX Dorsett

Gone: Nash, Malhotra, Novotny, Peca

Kaberle Tyutin
Commodore Hejda
Russell Methot

Gone: Klesla, Backman, Tollefsen

Mason
Leclaire

If I ever consider moving Nash it has to be value for value and I don't move him unless its for a legit young #1 center or for a legit young #1 d-man. I don't ever consider a package of picks or players -- that does us no good and those kinds of deals rarely pay off (think Joe Thornton/Marian Hossa/Roberto Luongo trades) -- we need to address the center of the ice or #1 d-man.

The Hurricanes are sputtering and Eric Staal has been struggling (although he's come alive recently under his new coach) so maybe a guy like that is available. He's signed for the next 4 seasons. I feel we'd be left in decent shape on the wing with a combo of Huselius/Modin/Vorack/Filatov and even moving an Umberger there if needed.

I highly doubt Kaberle waives his NTC to come here but that is the caliber of player the Jackets must acquire. I'm done watching the Jackets PP sputter b/c of lack of skill on the blueline. I offer up our first rounder and what ever 2nd tier prospects/players or additional picks it takes to make a deal. Ain't no UFA of this caliber of player going to sign here like a Bouwmeester so I think it has to come via trade.

I'll throw yet another scenario at you. What if a guy like Evgeni Malkin became available? Nash would sure look good riding shotgun for Crosby....but how would adding the leagues top scorer to the top of this lineup look? I doubt Pitt would part with him, it would take more than Nash to get him and you worry about the Russians bolting at any time but that is the kind of impact player I'm talking about...

Bottom line -- if we miss the playoffs, again, then I'm shaking things up in a big way even if it takes moving the face of the franchise to get it done b/c quite frankly if we haven't been able to take the next step (even if that is a .500 record) with him as the focal point....whose to say we ever will? This market doesn't have the available capital to add another 7 mil a year player to help him

...and with him scheduled to be a UFA after next season this summer a big decision has to be made on the direction to take this franchise. Are the Jackets prepared to tie 7 million up in a guy per season on a long term deal who has yet to crack the 70 point plateau or lead this team into the playoffs?

In losing Nash it would be a big PR hit for the Jackets short term and I'd hate to see him go as he's a very likable guy but my bigger concern at this point is losing this franchise and if this losing continues. who knows what may happen.....

If they miss the playoffs, the Jackets will tie a league record for most consecutive season without the playoffs this season with 8. Its time to start asking/exploring the tough questions.

Enough is enough.

Now all this said, watch 61 get a hat trick tonight.

Fire away - would you ever consider moving Nash? If so, what would it take?

-LTL

10 comments:

Pub said...

Great rant LTL. Would I trade Nash? 2 months ago? NO WAY. Today? Yea way. Not real impressed with him right now. Doest seem to project any leadership on the ice and like you said...not noticable at all right now.

Im freakin sick and tired of losing. I really thought Hitch would bring in a new attitude...but it has not worked.

JAL said...

Sorry, have to disagree here LTL.

First -- Chicago, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Boston, Philly all have long hockey traditions, and most are in major media markets. Pittsburgh was almost toast until the Crosby/Malkin deal.

Second-- As I have mentioned elsewhere, our fundamental problem is not the allegedly bad deals/drafts/trades made or not made by McLean, though some of that has contributed. Instead, we scrimped and took shortcuts on coaching, and never instituted a system until Hitch. Through King, McLean and Gallant, coaching was a game by game proposition. Teams like Minnesota and Nashville assumed systems and identities premised upon defense first, which allowed them to grow organically. Hitch has put in a system, and Howson had his first opportunity to add players to the mix this year. Some have panned out great, others are works in progress. You cannot seriously argue that this team is not light years better than any previous team in terms of skill.

Third -- They have played exactly two games since Brassard went down, which did not occur in a vacuum, but on top of Chimera and Murray going down. For a team that had big turnover in personnel, and is working on chemistry, the disruption to the chemistry is more harmful than the absolute drop in talent. Still, talking about "collapse" is over the top.

Fourth -- They are nowhere near out of the playoffs. See the discussion on my blog about where things stand. Yes, we can use some help up the middle and on the power play, and Howson will make incremental steps, maybe even bigger steps in that direction. You can't build Rome in a day. Look at the SJ Sharks. While they made the playoffs a couple of times in their first several years, they also hold the record for most losses in a season. They have built incrementally, which is what we are in the process of doing.

Fifth -- Strongly disagree with the statement that the Jackets are complacent. Sure, they had an awful outing against LA. However, they have been more competetive, and have played the best games in franchise history against San Jose, Buffalo, Washington,etc. They are young, and are going to be drastically up and down, as Hitch has warned all year.

I am a Day 1 season ticket holder who pays good money to go and root for my team. While we are not now where we want to be, Howson and Hitchcock are putting the pieces in place to be very good for a very long time. I really want us to make the playoffs this year, but it might take another year of moves and seasoning of our younger players.

I suffered for years watching the SF 49ers in the 60s and 70s. Finally rewarded in the 80;s and early 90's and then back down. Still waiting for SF Giants, who have not won the World Series since they moved to SF in 1958.

This year, I am being rewarded by seeing great effort most nights, and much more skill on the ice. Can the results be better? Sure -- but progress is happening.

Yeah, we have had to undo some of the mistakes of our formative years, and making that right takes time.

Keep in mind that if we had just 3 solid games out of LeClaire (other than the Buffalo game), we would be in a playoff spot.

This was the first year that Howson had any money to do anything material. While Backman has not contributed, Commodore, Tyutim, Umberger and Huselius have added lots of skill to the lineup. Some of it has not shown up on the ledger yet, but the pieces are there.

I am terribly afraid that the myopic, "do it now at any cost" mind set of the Central Ohio fan is going to cost the area the franchise in a few years. Abetted by the Dispatch gloom and doomers, every loss becomes a national tragedy, which poisons the public mindset.

If we lose the franchise, we will not get a new one in any sport for a very long time. Instead, people can go back to OSU football, and obsess over 18 and 19 year old kids playing for an institution whose conviction rate is higher than its graduation rate. I really hope it does not come to that.

Just some more fuel for the fire. ;-) Reasonable minds can differ.

--JAL
A Shot From The Point

lamdeveg said...

I have no sacred cows on the team but I can't say the time has come to deal Nash yet. I was hoping for playoff's this year but as a realist I knew our chances weren't good. We still have some peices in our puzzle that seem to rarely contribute, like Modin. We hear time & again how we have one of the biggest most formidible teams in the NHL. Big fat hairy arsed deal! I see a very consistent problem, we rarely have a presence in the high or low slot. I watch our opponents & often there are multiple members of their team parked near our net but yet their points seem to be able to hold pucks in. We say we hold other teams to low percentage shots from the outside, well newsflash they keep us on the outside better than we do them! I've seen 2 & sometimes 3-4 men battling for the puck along the boards leaving critical areas of the ice unmanned often resulting in breakaways against! I want to see Hitch succeed but we will never win playing chinese fire drill hockey. We look disorganized more often than not. Peca's a great penalty killer but one dimensional players are a luxury we can't afford. Reckless hockey isn't the same as careless hockey with penalties coming one after another. When we can't score on a 5 on 3 we have a bigger problem than a center...step back from the edge...there will be a next year even if we tank this one. The definition of sanity is doing the same thing over & over expecting different results...that sounds allot like our team IMO

Hitch Rules said...

First off, JAL is right - these are large media markets (and established franchises, if not large, but most of these are both), so it's finally feasible to quickly recover.

As for trading Nash, no problem, from my end. Dude sulks when he's not scoring - the team then seems to mirror the sentiment, thereafter. As for the PR hit, like, you couldn't sink lower (they've lost almost 5k/game in avg attendance), thus, they'll get over it, in time, so long as they get a quality player or two, in return.

But, I'd try to get more than one quality player, in return, if you could.

I'd also, above all other things, get rid of the (Hitch term, here) guys who don't "compete". Let's face it - is anyone convinced that this locker room does not have a country club atmosphere? Have any of you seen Modin, MM, Chimmer, Klesla, Nash...I could go on - show ANY anger or emotion after a loss? 8 years, and I haven't (yet seen it, once). So, how many team meetings does Hitch have to have to "fire 'em up"? This one's on the players.

I could care less if the talent is a bit less, but, bring the right kind of attitude and intensity, and you'll see them in the playoffs...

chunx said...

great rant as well... its really fun to read other fans disgruntled ravings... i get tired of listening to my own in my head lol

on NASH...

i cant blame him for where we are now... he really needs more consistant help who doesnt fall apart around him leaving him to drag the franchise on his back out there... i love his style and i just think hes left out to die ALOT by either his team mates or his coach or his gm... and he knows everyone is watching HIM...

as far as trading him... wow... the deal would really have to blow me away to be able to swallow that... and i really dont see that happening... i say hes our guy... hes our captain ... we keep the guy and continue to build around him...

as far as staal... im all for it... but as i posted before i would rather have JORDIN STAAL... AND... a real top center... just think then we could rid ourselves of PECA , and MANNY who couldnt spit in the ocean if they were on the beach...

then we ( I KNOW I KNOW... ) WAIT... and be patient with brassard and filatov and jake... then add in the offseason a true center and maybe a scoring winger and or top prospect/draft pick...

we WILL be better...

change for me should come in our assistant coaching staff... our numbers should indicate that... LAST powerplay ( BY FAR )... not a great PK ( by far )... and do we even have a goalie coach...? and we should go out and get a team shrink ( like METALLICA did ) ...

front office types... maybe a little tweak here n there but not core guys...

what we need is quality play from quality players...

what we dont need is more AHL guys on our roster...

how many points does boll have this year...?

yea i know hes a sandpaper guy... great... i love him too but cmon... besides taking punches this year ,... what has he done ?

we need scorers...

and someone PLEASE SHOW PAZZY HOW TO STOP A PUCK

JAL said...

LOL -- got so caught up in my rant, I forgot the essential question of trading Nash.

Nobody is every untouchable, but trading Nash in the near future would, I think, send a very bad message from the organization. We have just named him Captain, and he is learning that role. Captain is taken very seriously in the NHL. We have axed two of our 3 prior captains (Odelein and Richardson), not without reason, and were dissed by our 3rd (Foote).

Nash has and will be the face of the franchise, but he is growing too. He has far more assists this year than in years past, and is learning to play with skilled players. Yes, he can get sulky, but he can also take over a game. We need that for the foreseeable future.

Of course, give me a top 6 center, a power play quarterback defenseman and a young winger for Nash, we can talk. ;-)

Pazzy needs to spend some time in Syracuse, get back to coming outside the blue paint, and stay on his feet longer. He is flopping at the first fake, and can't get up and over. Don't know if that is the ankle, but his technique is awful, which hurts confidence, which makes a goalie pretty useless.

Peca, Malhotra, Boll, Novotny all need to go to the happy hunting grounds elsewhere. Murray needs more seasoning, as does Dorsett. Umberger has the tools, so do Chimera, Huselius, Nash, Brassard, Voracek. Modin can be a contributor for a bit, but this is probably his swan song year.

On defense, Hejda has to get his act together, but should be fine. Klesla and Backman are trade bait, as is Tollefson when he returns.

Bring in 2 new people now, add Filatov, and maybe even Mayorov down the line. We need skill players in the lineup, as we have plenty of grinders and sandpapery people. Part of Huselius' problem is that he puts the puck on other people's sticks and they whiff. He has also had his cold streaks, but there is lots of skill there.

Gazing into my crystal ball, I see Howson doing a deal before the sun sets on Sunday. If it is not a barnburner, expect another deal this week.

--JAL
A Shot From The Point

LTL said...

JAL,

To rebute your points.

1. Non hockey traditions or not the bottom line is those teams went from good to bad to good again in our span of 7 years. Its not b/c they have a hockey tradition -- its b/c they invested their resources smartly, made good trades and develop decisions.

Minnesota started with a clean slate just like the Jackets and have had far more success. Many of those teams have changed GMs/coaches/systems in that span as well and found success.

Columbus no longer gets any passes from me....markets the Jackets size have found success...teams with lower average draft picks have found success... teams with one head coach or whom have changed head coaches have found success.

We are talking about tying a NHL record for longest steak without a playoff birth here.

Its time to stop letting these guys off the hook.

Its time we as Columbus fans/media start holding this franchise to a much higher standard.

How would the media or fans reacting in other markets throughout the NHL if they were 14th in the West? I don't think many would be saying "if only"..."they are only"..."just be patient"... they would be holding everyone accountable.

IMO we are essentially starting from scratch again w/ Hitch/Howson but they don't have the luxury of time that MacLean had but that's the pro sports pressure cooker.

2. Bad drafts/trades/coaching decisions are a direct result of leadership at the top.

I agree though, as I stated in my post, that changes coaches/GMs at this point would certainly be counter-productive and would not move us any closer to winning... the Jackets need capable and stabile resources directing this ship which I think we have in Hitch/Howson.

3. That is two shutouts since Brass went down. Instead of inspired play I've seen a team essentially throwing in the towel. You can throw Murray/Chimera/Klesla/Torres/Tollefsen in that mix but we are talking about a rookie who was leading this team in assists, +/-, and was tied for 2nd in points/goals. The offense was in trouble before but its on life support now and nobody has stepped up their games to fill that void.

Can they turn it around?...its possible but history says no they won't.

Again I'm done giving them the benefit of the doubt. Good teams find ways to overcome key injuries.

As the Dispatch said this morning this team, which I agree is the most skilled we've had, is 4 points off last year's 6th placed pace.

How is that possible?

I heard arguments that this team is still gelling...coming together...etc, etc. Quite frankly I'll believe it when I see the results.

4. Sorry JAL... I hear that about not being anywhere near out of the playoffs hunt but its a broken record I've heard for 7 years. Again, I want this team to be in playoff mix... not continuously chasing it. They've chased for 7 years.

As I've stated on this blog many times I like to be positive but also realistic.

At this point I just can't see this team being anymore than what they are... and that's a team that hovers around .500 and will finish anywhere from 12th to 14th.

There are just to many holes and we aren't going to the playoffs with a 30th ranked PP....

I just can't see your optimism in thinkin this team is going to suddenly go on some multi-game winning streaks which is what it will take to get a foot hold on a playoff spot in this tough Western Conference.

5. They have played very hard this year... heck, the played hard last year until the deadline hit. Again though you need results and they are not getting those key goals, especially from the PP that they need to get over the hump.

My complacency comment comes from how the veterans on this team are reacting. I see no emotion from the guys who have been here the longes. Guys like Nash, Leclaire, Klesla, Malhotra... Heck the strongest comments from that ass kicking by LA was from a 20 year old rookie goaltender -- a guy who is not used to losing.

Nobody will ever come out and admit it, but the makeup of this franchise to me seems complacent and accepting of being a bottom tier team.

6. As far as Nash. As I've said I love the guy but at this point I'm considering every alternative. I've outlined why I consider moving him in my post so I won't rehash.

Bottom line though is the Jackets can't afford to lose this year but they are... how many more years can this market sustain it? How many more years can we go on not addressing the major holes in this lineup -- we can't afford to wait any longer to develop players to fill them. That should have happened by now.

Every option must be on the table.

I enjoy reading your optimism and you make strong points but I just don't see enough to think the Jackets can break this tailspin (3-6-1 in last 10) to make a run -- especially when 6 of the next 7 are on the road.

Of course I will never jump ship and for the love of all things frozen with steel blades skating on them I hope they prove me wrong --- but my expectations for this season have been drastically reduced and as a fan that royalls sucks.

I knew this would be a good topic so thanks for the responses everyone. We are all passionate and just want to see the franchise succeed -- hopefully the men who get paid the big bucks can figure this thing out sooner than later.

-LTL

JAL said...

LTL -- Thanks for the points -- and I understand frustration. However, acting out of frustration just results in more frustration, whether in personal life, business or being a sports fan.

Major media markets do make a difference, as there are additional revenue streams for clubs, and it is easier to attract players via free agency.

Your primary comparison team, Minnesota, has the same coach they have had since Day 1 -- Jacques Lemaire. He installed the defensive system that has served them so well. The other comparable team, Nashville, also has the same coach and the same system.

Talking about what should have happened in the past is pointless. Are we getting better as a Hockey Club? Yes. We can't judge this team by the McLean teams. This team has its struggles, but for vastly different reasons than the prior teams.

We have more talent, but still need a few pieces. We have more depth, but still not enough. That does not happen overnight. We took a big step in the offseason, will yet show some real spark again this season, and can expect more big gains next off-season.

I get a chuckle out of this "hold them accountable" deal. Does anybody really think that Hitchcock, Howson and the rest are slacking off? C'mon, be serious. Talk to Cubs and Red Sox fans about suffering. This is the same line of thinking that has people calling for Tressel's head, when most cities would erect a bronze statute of the guy.

Howson's job is to manage the talent. Year 1 he was hamstrung by the Fedorov and Foote contracts. Year 2 he made some real moves, and we replaced half the team. Some have panned out. Others will need to move on.

Hitchcock's job is to make the most out of the talent he has been given. I think he is doing that. However, as we get more skill players, the shortcomings of others become more obvious. Those will be the ones going by the wayside.

Nobody is saying that the Jackets need to be "given a pass". But you need to be realistic as well. We still have gaps that are going to take until next year and beyond to fill. Can this team contend for the playoffs? Absolutely. It gets tougher, though, when you have injuries at the same time and a star goaltender who suddenly goes south.

We are on the right track. I just hope people will be patient enough to experience the transformation.

Hitch Rules said...

LTL: AAAA-MENNN, brother! You have nailed the biggest issue on this team. Guys like you and I (the fellow hockey freaks who go to ALL of the games) see the lack of emotion and passion, more oft than not.

Thank goodness the fans started that "Wake Up Jackets!" chant the other night. If they're not gonna care, why shouldn't we call these prima donnas out? I really think there is an element who is only content with collecting a paycheck.

Someone, please tell me the last time you saw MM or Chimmer - 2 guys who are big and athletic - nail someone? Say what you want about the Dispatch's coverage, but they were spot on when they said that either of those two's next open ice hit will be their FIRST.

Or, seeing as we were told that Commodore was supposed to be this bad arse (in pre-season, there was a compilation of his hits from other organIzations, has blasted someone, to date? Heck, when Tyutin was getting slashed at Dallas, wasn't Commodore out there, at that time? Where was he?

Finally, back to my point: After a loss, heck, after a soft goal, please TELL me if you EVER saw a slammed stick, a look of passion or anger on the bench (afterwards), heck, even a bench argument between players and/or a coach. Heck, THAT I'd like to see, once - I'd take the loss, just so that they actually CARED.

Chimera25 said...

What about this, would you be willing to part with Derek Brassard for say a Jason Spezza?

Spezza helps us immediately, could be the Center that Rick Nash needs, he is under contract through the 2012-2013 season. He is still young and very unhappy in Ottawa. He helps us make the playoffs in 2008-2009 season.

It is tough to part with young talent but we may have to, we couldn't get Brad Richards last year because Dallas wanted Steve Mason or no deal. Hence, no deal.

We have an estimated $6.95 million in cap space so a top flight player is a possibility. It is just a matter of what you want to give up.

Can you believe we are paying $3.4 million to Backman. Sure would love to move him in a trade.