Rambling Part III - Havlat - A Dramatic Change of Opinion
posted May 16, 2006 at 12:14AM
I played a lot of hockey in smoke filled dingy arenas. In the stands would be men, not fathers watching their sons play, but miners with nothing much else to do but drink, smoke and watch us cream each other. You always had the sense that they were sizing you up, watching to see what you were made of. They were hicks, of course, but they were tough hicks. They would be keenly observant of the line, the path, a player took to get to a loose puck along the boards. All I can say is that if Havlat was playing hockey in those arenas, the way he played that last game against Buffalo, those men would have declared him as a chicken, a coward, as yellow as the bleeding sun.
Never have I been so disgusted with a player on the Ottawa Senators. Because I was watching Havlat, and he never failed to take a curved line to the puck. Not only that but he would slow down, inevitably "timing" things so that he always got there after the opposing defenceman cleared the puck, and then he would give some symbolic shove. Coward, coward coward. He played as if he was made of brittle china. Nothing could have be more emblematic of why our talent never seems to shine in the playoffs. It really made me wonder if this was the reason Havlat would perform his disappearing act in past playoff series? Is Havlat one of those finesse players that can beat up on weak teams but crumbles when the competitive intensity hits a certain level?
So I am definitely a convert to the idea that Havlat could be dealt, something that I would have considered sacrilidge not long ago.
Indeed, if a trade is done, it should be done soon as his stock is very high in most people's minds. That is when you sell a stock, when everyone else loves it, but you know that there is something seriously wrong. Do not wait until trade deadline ... then you will never get a fair return. Trade him before the next season starts so the other team knows they can enjoy him for at least one whole year.
And of course that means Muckler or whoever the GM is, has to get something really good for him. No more of this crap where we give up three players to get one. Havlat is a guaranteed 35-40 goal scorer in the regular season. He is one of the most beautiful players in the league to watch. He puts bums in the seats. When he is hot, he can give a team the "illusion" that they are unbeatable. There are no shortage of teams that would love to have him...ergo it should be easy to make them not just ante up but overpay. Unless we get a good trade then we should keep him, try to resign him. He is young and maybe the right coach can instill the proper back-bone needed for playoff hockey.
Trade Possibilities? Look at Calgary...they are starving for offense ... they could be persuaded to see Havlat as a perfect fit (as long as Sutter just looks at the stats and not the game tape). We get their best defenceman or two(they have a ton) people who can hit, as well as a draft pick and a depth grit forward.
Anyways that is just one trade idea ...but we do not get just "prospects" for Havlat. At the minimum we should get an established 30 goal scorer, who has proven physicality to his game and a draft pick. Edmonton would not give up a Ryan Smith...but somebody like him on another team is just what this team really needs for play-off hockey. (And please no 40 year old retreads like Roberts) more like two Roberts "type" players, who are still under 30 years old.
I would like to think we could get at least one of Huet and/or Jovanoski in a bidding war...if not, then Havlat becomes the coin to fill those slots.
To win a Cup requires talent, and it requires guts. Havlat has tons of talent, but that alone is not enough, indeed it just sets people up with false expectations.