Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Excuses For Failure

Down Goes Brown asks why each of the teams which failed to get past the first round of playoffs:
Toronto Maple Leafs - Sorry, couldn't hear your question. The acoustics are bad in this giant vault full of sweet, sweet money.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Montreal trying to out-comedy the Leafs

PPP looks at the centennial celebrations in Montreal:
We've debated endlessly how losing Sundin as a UFA for nothing has been bad for the organization, imagine if the Habs lost Koivu, Kovalev and Tanguay in one year for nothing? You'd think that Montreal would open up their piggy bank to ensure that doesn't happen but therein lies the rub. Montreal will have to either overpay or at least pay "fair market value" to retain its UFAs. The best part is, a lot of those guys are All Stars thanks to Montreal ballot stuffing, which should drive up their value. Success!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Saturday, April 18, 2009

NO to Landsdown Live

...and while I'm at it NO to soccer in Kanata, too.

The bottom line on both proposals is that they depend, either explicitly or implicitly, on public money. And right now the public is out of money. Wen we are having trouble keeping the streets cleared of snow, when we are closing libraries, when we are pissing away money bribing people to do something that they are going to do anyways, there's no money for sporting ventures.

Or at least there shouldn't be.

The thing is: Ottawa isn't a sports town. The media wants it to be, but it isn't.

Recent history features several professional teams as solidly dead corpses -- multiple ownership groups for the Ottawa Rough Riders, several more for the Ottawa Renegades, plus the Lynx who left town before they could be forced to close, which was what happened to the Rapids.

The only reason why hockey is currently popular is because of the team's recent run. The last year and a half aside, the team has been a winning team, going all the way to the cup finals in 2007. If this downturn is a prolonged one, Ottawa will abandon the Senators as they have abandoned other sports teams. The ridiculous state of affairs for fan access to the arena in Kanata is only going to compound things.

Ottawa is a bandwagon town. They love a winner. However they are not interested in supporting a bad (or, lets face it, an indifferent) team. They'll hop on the bandwagon if it is going, but as soon as it isn't, they are gone, along with their bums in the seats.

So it would be an incredibly stupid move to put public money into any scheme which revolves around a sporting franchise, no matter where in the city its base of operations is. The Landsdown Live group should be told hey that was a nifty idea, sorry we can't make it work, have a nice day. And then we put the whole issue back on the back-burner.

Honestly, if sporting franchises were such sure-fire guaranteed winners, you could bet your last dollar that business organizations would be falling over each other to offer to finance the whole thing privately. The fact that they are not is proof-positive that they are not sure-fire winners.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

NHL Playoffs Predictor

Contest at This is my entry:

Tune in again in June for the laughing and the pointing.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Metaphore for 08-09

I've been thinking about it, and I think the metaphor for me for this past season was the fact that the most entertaining hockey I watched involved the Montreal Canadians.

Oh, and I should mention that the Canadians were playing the Flyers and the Capitals at the time.

Both times I got treated to high-energy, high-skill, flowing hockey featuring two teams that wanted the win.

And the thing is I never got that feeling watching the Ottawa team.

This is why I have serious doubts about next year. This is, fundamentally, the same group of players who quit on Paddock and Hartsburg. Last night suggested that are not above quitting on their new golden boy Clouston. The effort shown was conspicuous mostly by its absence.

Clouston came in and did turn things around, and showed what a sustained effort could net you -- the team improved from being worse than the entire Western conference to being slightly better than the Toronto Maple Leafs. But can one really expect that the team could hold together that kind of effort and discipline through an entire season? Every season will have its ups and downs, and Clouston's tenure so far has been mostly up.

In the end, though, the proof will be in the results this time next year.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Well that's over

The Senators ended this season the way they've ended each of the previous eleven seasons: with a loss. The only difference is that instead of getting kicked out of the playoffs, this year it is a meaningless game played against the equally mediocre Maple Leafs.

On the one hand, it is funny for Toronto. Yes, there will be another round of gee you guys really suck for the summer. But on the other hand, this win puts a final nail in the already very dead chance of them getting that mythical first pick this year.

On the other hand, I watched the first period of the game, and then I turned it off. The lack of defensive coverage in the Ottawa zone was just painful to watch. Even Don Cherry's eye-searing jacket was a relief after having watched the Senators skate around in their own end.

So what this does to Cory Clouston's chances for next year, I don't know. One might suggest that this game shows that the team is perfectly willing to stop performing for him. On the other hand, when was the last time the team won a "game seven"?

Oh wait, those are both the same hands.

Never mind then.

The one bright spot this evening was The Gerberator getting the win against his old club. I liked Martin Gerber, and even though his game couldn't stand up to the lack of defense played by the Senators, I think he deserves this one.

I think that this summer is going to be an exercise in both pain and tedium, as GMs discover that the Incredible Shrinking Salary Cap will either prevent them from doing anything, or force them into painful deals to take "problems" along with their "assets". Murray, having locked up most of his salary problems with no-trade clauses, has hand-tied himself more than perhaps is necessary.

It will be interesting to see who, if anybody in the league, can dig their way out of this situation.

Monday, April 6, 2009

In Defence Of Brian Murray

SensArmy defends Brian Murray's last two years.

While his opening argument is rather specious -- if not Murray, then who? -- he does provide a detailed analysis of Murray's major moves over the last two years and comes to the conclusion that Murray isn't the scapegoat we've all been looking for.

On the one hand, it is a good idea to have a replacement in mind before you fire an under-performing employee. However the mere lack of a suitable replacement should not prevent us from taking a hard look at that employee's record. And the record that counts is the one on the ice, no matter how hard you look at individual trades.

And that record, this year, definitely comes up short.

I do buy that two years isn't enough to really judge Murray's performance, though. He does deserve more time.

But not much more. We need to see improvement next year, to get some indication that the Murray Era will be a positive one for the team.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Mr. Kettle, I Have A Message For You From Mr. Pot

PPP at Pension Plan Puppets about picking a playoff team to cheer for now that the Leafs are mathematically eliminated:
I'll never cheer for another Canadian team in the playoffs because at some point in time their team has broken the Leafs' hearts or their fans have been jerks.
(emphasis mine.)

Fans? Acting jerky? Man, anyone who's been to a Senators-Leafs game knows jerky fans -- most of whom are not there if the visiting team is not Toronto. Now you can understand their excitement, as many of them have made the trip down to Ottawa for the privilege of seeing a real hockey team play -- but their behavior is, frankly, awful.

...not unlike the caliber of hockey that the Leafs usually bring with them...

(And now I feel incredibly petty having ragged on the throw-away joke for an otherwise excellently written article.)