Post Season Ramblings Part I
posted May 14, 2006 at 07:19PM
Well so much for winding things up. Still digesting the season so in no particular order:
Reading the newspaper I noticed that not one sports writer had the balls to call for Murray's head. We are poorly served by the weakest cadre of print pundits in the league. Again imagine if San Jose split up the Thornton line...they would be dragging the coach out by his heels and hanging him. The fact that Murray admitted that he did not give sufficient respect to Buffalo is just another reason to give him his walking papers. Any sportsbar fan could tell you that Buffalo was dangerous, and nothing short of bringing our A game was necessary to win.
After Brian Murray the highest priority is to get a goaltender. I know I know...Emery was good, and if everything else was in order we could win with him. The big rub is that when you look at all the remaining teams you soon realize that even if Emery is good, the other team's goaltenders are still better. Getting an establish proven number one is too expensive. The guy to go after is Christobal Huet from Montreal. I don't think this last season was a flash in the pan. He is the real thing, but his lack of a long established track record means he should be available for good, but affordable money. It will be the kind of multi-year deal that at first seems expensive, but as the years roll by will look like a steal. Not only that, but being a Francophone makes good business sense as it will generate French media coverage and be a plus for attracting Francophone fans from Hull (Ok Gatineau).
I will confess that I was one of those that swallowed the rhetoric that our defence corps was one of the finest in the league. Their performance during the playoffs was the biggest disappointment. Chara has proved he is not a difference maker in the playoffs. My lasting image of the second round remains Chara, at the end of Game 1, just standing still while two Sabers zipped by him and got the puck and that tying goal. If he had just taken two strides and gotten in their way, the whole texture of the series could have changed. Chara would be of great value to a team like Florida. Against 70 percent of the teams, in regular season play, Chara would help accumulate those extra points needed to qualify for the post-season. But in the playoffs, whether because of the increased tempo, or his refusal to use his size advantage, Chara is just as often a liability as an asset. He is certainly not worth the salary the market is prepared to give him.
His departure does leave a big hole and we certainly need a top tier defenceman to replace him. To me the best man available would be Jovanoski from Vancouver. He would be perfect for us. He won't come cheap, but the Ottawa GM should at least try to get him, and offer a long multi-year deal with the same amount of money used to sign Redden.
(To Be Continued)