Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Senator questions??????

The Senator's training camp is now in full swing. There isn’t a day that goes by that someone doesn’t ask me about what I think of this year’s team. It is no different from any other year. Everyone asks the people they meet the same questions. They want to debate the changes, they want to hope, they want to dream, they want to worry, they want to keep caring. That is one of the most wonderful things about living in a Canadian NHL city. There are very few people you meet who do not care about hockey and who don’t care about this team.

I have to say I have a very good feeling about the forwards on this team. Lots of skill, lots of size, lots of speed. Proven scorers and proven checkers. Ottawa like every other team in the NHL except Detroit would love to have another affordable, veteran scorer who is proven and playoff tested. No small task in finding that without blowing the budget.

I also don’t have any great issues with goaltending and I believe that puts me in the minority after having daily discussions with friends in the stands and hockey fans at the supermarket. I think Gerber will be what he has always been. A very good, steady veteran goaltender. Not an all-star but a solid hard working pro. Alex Auld is the wild card. The book on him everywhere he has been is that he is great until he realizes he is the number #1 guy and then the pressure gets to him. A little older, a little more experience and maybe now he is ready to take the heat if he ever gets a real shot at the #1 job in Ottawa.

My questions are on defence. I think this new group will be bigger, tougher and harder to play against but I still wonder about their ability to move the puck. You can say what you want about Wade Redden and Andrej Mezaros but they were both better puck movers than anyone left on this Ottawa roster from last years team. If you look over his career Filip Kuba should help a great deal in that regard and Brian Lee showed some promise in that area as well but I an still interested to see how it works overall. Bryan Murray has made no secret about his on-going search for an affordable, veteran puck moving defenceman but again, get in line with just about every other team in the league. Anaheim seems to be the only team that doesn’t need more. They simply can’t sign forward Teemu Selanne until they free up cap space by moving Mathieu Schneider. You have to think Bryan Murray would love to get him, but it would have to be at half price and the problem for Murray is there will be several teams in line ahead of him.

We will know more as training camp continues and the exhibition games begin, but right now looking at it on paper, the Senators look to be a team that will still score more than their fair share and likely be a lot nastier in their own end, but might have some problems developing a lot of their offence off the rush without a solid first-pass defenceman unless Kuba is that guy. We will have a good idea about that in short order with the pre-season close at hand.

See you at the rink.


Anonymous said...

I can't wait for the new Senator season to begin! I am a relatively new hockey fan that is trying to become a knowledgeable hockey fan. What brought me into the game was the incredible skill and finesse of the Ottawa squad - almost like a ballet. Now I'm hooked for life. Thanks for the analysis Dean!

Anonymous said...

Sens were a tired group last season. Long run to the finals and then Paddock wanted them to work really hard during the summer so they could beat this dreaded Stanley Cup hang-over.
Well, they beat it all right! Until they hit the wall in December and that shouldn't really be a surprise if you have knowledge of athletes.
(Michael Phelps will compete next time in 2009.) Sens couldn't take it but neither could Anaheim, Carolina, Edmonton etc.
This is physical issue pure and simple.
Having said that (stolen from Bob McKenzie playbook) this is new season and boys are well rested. I'm not sure if I'm opitimistic about Stanley Cup of getting to final but I'm sure that this team will compete and look fresh.
I'm pretty excited about third line of Ruutu-Fisher-Neil. Ton of booing on the road and much more ruuing at home. Can't wait when these Three Stoogies get going;)

Anonymous said...

I agree with the first comment about the Senators being absolutely beautiful to watch - like an art form. Daniel Alfreddson floats and moves around on the ice like a friggin' angel. Man, just thinking about him get's me pumped up for the new season! I can't wait for this years "show on ice" to begin in Ottawa! GO SENS GO!

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding me? Ottawa Senator games are like a "ballet"?!? Daniel Alfreddson floats around the ice like a "friggin' angel"?!? And these are supposed to be compliments? I just don't understand Senator fans. I've always been embarrassed to call myself a Senator fan because people think we all all like this. This year was the first year I've finally been confident to show my red and black colors - proudly! Then I read crap like this. C'mon guys, get a clue about hockey.

Anonymous said...

I have a question for you Dean: Can the Senators win the Stanley's Cup this year?

I think they can based only on the shear athletism of one man: Daniel Alfreddson. Also, what is it like being next to this raw, untamed thoroughbred in the dressing room on those lucky occasions you get to perform intimate one-on-one interviews? You have the best job in the world! Go SENS Go!

PaV said...

Umm guys? this is a hockey blog, not a soft porn post.

"you get to perform intimate one-on-one interviews" .. really? Like really?

Dean, great blog and keep it up. I have a lot of questions about this years team, but will still cheer them on loud and proud.


Anonymous said...

Dean, I'm not sure Gerber can do the job this year. He has proven himself unable to do so in years past. However, if he can look at the glass half full, pull up his bootstraps and synergize with his teammates he just may be able to circle the wagons, pick some of that low hanging fruit and have 10 wins under his belt before the cattle calls home.

Thanks for years of great game calls Dean! You are the best!

Anonymous said...


I'm talking hockey here. I have no idea what you are talking about. Dean gets access to the players that regular fans like you and me don't have. I'm just wondering what it's like to interview a franchise player like Alfreddson. It must be fabulous!