If there is a market bubble, SELL!!!

A Different Kind Of Hockey Bubble

A Different Kind Of Hockey Bubble

Jeremy Milks at Black Aces suggests that Ottawa not trade Filip Kuba or Sergei Gonchar, as they are both playing well and would be needed during any playoff run.  I agree, but only to a point.

Both players are having vastly improved years. You could say that the surprise year the Ottawa Senators are having are in part due to their improved play and leadership amongst the youngsters.  Then again, that makes them far more valuable.  Ottawa Senators players, playing well, are worth more than rejects from Columbus,  Anaheim, or Montreal, precisely because the Senators are over-achieving.

Given that, if I were Bryan Murray,  I’d sit back and wait to see if market inflation takes affect.  If the bottom-feeders over-price the market then imagine the price that players from a surprise team might.  A bubble economy might happen this February, especially given the jumble salad that is the standings, and the mixed expectations of fans.

Then again, it might not.  If it doesn’t, the choice is easy.  Roll with what you have.

But what if other teams come knocking willing to pay prices right out of the 1997 Florida condo market? What price would be right to pluck which player?  And which player should the team be willing to part with?

Some tough questions, sure, but not THAT tough.

So let’s sort by player, age, likely team, and price.

Daniel Alfredsson:  39.  Vancouver Canucks.  A 1st round pick in 2013, a conditional 2nd round pick in 2014, plus a salary dump.

Why would the Canucks want this?

  • Alfredsson is playing like a much younger man.  I mean, just watch him.
  • He’ll be the much-needed responsible adult in the Vancouver dressing room. That’s why.
  • The Canucks need a natural right-winger adult enough to let the Sedin boys take the credit.
  • Detroit has all the rest of the adults in the Western Conference and they’re not selling.
  • Whatever Brian Burke is drinking regarding draft picks is still in the Executive Suite bar.
Why would the Sens do this?
  • If they win The Cup that 2nd round pick becomes a 1st rounder just as the Canucks face-plant.
  • Alfie gets a chance at a cup, guilt-free, as a cup results in better spoils for Ottawa.

Why shouldn’t this happen?

  • The Vancouver Canucks are even more annoying than the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Why won’t this happen?

  • Eugene Melnyk views  salary dumps the same way he views securities commissions.
  • The CBC would veto this with all their might and fury as it might give Don Cherry an aneurism on-air
  • Vancouver real estate values can only go so far.
  • Bryan Murray can’t bear to make Baby Jesus cry.

Sergei Gonchar:  37.  Philadelphia Flyers.  2nd Round Pick in 2012.  Conditional 2nd round pick in 2013.   Conditional 2nd round pick 2014.

  • Why would the Flyers want this?
  • Nothing replaces Chris Pronger. But a top-of-form Sergei Gonchar would slide nicely next to Andrej Meszaros and make for a goal-chilling D.  Just the kind of team to take on Vancouver.

Why would the Sens want this?

  • If the Flyers win the cup, it’s three 2nd round picks. Otherwise it’s two.
  • As we have seen with other picks once you get past the first six it’s not by weight it’s by volume.

Why shouldn’t this happen?

  • Imagine Vancouver’s conditional pick fighting against Philadelphia’s conditional pick.

Why won’t this happen?

  • Bryan tries to undo the Andrej Meszaros error and overshoots. Might be worth trying.

Filip Kuba: 35:  See above, but only 1 2nd round pick.  

Milan Michalek:  27:  Minnesota Wild. Prospect Johan Gustaffson. 1st round pick in 2013. 2nd round pick 2014.  

Why would The Wild want this?

  • They have a fantastic goals-against. However, their goals for is slightly better than Columbus.
  • They need to win a playoff round this year. Now.  Now now now.
  • Did I mention goals?

Why would the Senators want this?

  • Because one élite Swedish goaltending prospect in never enough.
  • Because the other option for 1st round picks involves one of OUR Swedes.
  • Goaltending. Goaltending. Goaltending.

Why shouldn’t it happen?

  • Anything that helps Dany Heatley score goals sucks.

Why won’t it happen?

  • The Senators might want MM for the long run.

Any other suggestions?

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Posted by on January 4, 2012 in Senators


The Eugrus

Enter The Eugrus.


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Posted by on December 19, 2011 in Senators


The Palrus Is In Charge

It’s clear from the team’s treatment of Filatov that The Paulrus in in charge, and he has clear ideas of what he likes and doesn’t like. Clearly, he didn’t like Rundblad, who wanted to go back to Sweden instead of playing in the AHL and learning the ropes. Compare this with Erik Karlsson, who volunteered to go down there and got the shit kicked out of him by AHL oafs when they could catch him, which wasn’t often. He did his time. Jacob Silfverberg elected to go back to the SEL instead of playing in the AHL. He made a promise, so there’s that, but unless he shows intent to fully buy into The Paulrus’s system next year expect him to be dealt as well, probably at the draft.

Paul Maclean knows Kyle Turris more than we do. It’s clear that he suggested Turris to The Bryan from the get-go. Turris might get some favoritism here due to the cost of the trade and Paul Maclean’s intent, but I sense he knows more than you and I know, so let’s see what happens.

In any event, Ottawa’s most likely out of the draft lottery, and once you get past the top 5 there is a thicket of D.

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Posted by on December 18, 2011 in Senators


Bruce Firestone’s Original Vision: Coming Real Soon Now?

I posted a precursor of the following at Bruce’s blog.

Original-Six arenas such as Maple Leaf Gardens, the Montreal Forum and Boston Garden had an operating lifetime of 70-80 years. Early expansion arenas such as The Igloo, Winnipeg Arena, and Le Colisee had an operating lifetime of 50 years. The operating lifetime of two of the three arenas ending with the NHL teams leaving, and with The Igloo nearly facing the same fate. Pacific Coliseum and The Cap had operating lifetimes in the range of 25-35 years. Northlands Coliseum was built in 1974 and is now obsolete. Calgary’s SaddleDome is getting pretty long in the tooth.

All this to say the following: Scotiabank Place is now middle-aged at 15. Bruce’s what-if is not just a coulda-woulda-shoulda. Given the snail’s pace of change in Ottawa, the time to start considering its replacement is now, not 15 years from now. It’s also best to do so without involving the NCC.

While John Martin may have a pipe dream up an orifice regarding developing a football stadium on city-owned land at Bayview Yards, given the freight-train of money and political power behind the Lansdowne development (which, after football fails again, means The Glebe wins again: sorry folks) it does point to an interesting scenario brought up by Bruce Firestone. Bayview has everything needed for an urban hockey arena, including a new light rail system opening in 2017 that will move up to 25000 people per direction per hour,  and has a footprint larger than Madison Square Garden (in fact, larger than MSG + Penn Station combined!).

Bayview Yards with a 22000 seat arena.

A larger Scotiabank Place superimposed on Bayview Yards. It fits!

A bonus is that the core parcel of land is owned by the City of Ottawa, not by the NCC, with privately owned land, the ugly City Centre, nearby.

Let’s approximately halve that for comfortable ingress or egress, not rush hour crush. It still means that an entire arena population of 22,500 (assuming a larger arena, as that would be part of the point) can be assembled or discharged using public transit in about 45 minutes, which is faster than what happens today at Scotiabank Place, primarily using cars. It also means that such a location becomes a much better venue for other bookings, especially urban-sensitive bookings such as conventions and trade shows, making such an arena potentially viable even without an NHL team.

Scotiabank place likely has 15 years left in it. By then team will need a new arena to suit new needs (transportation, demographics, etc.). Winnipeg, a city with a metropolitan population half the size of Ottawa (and that’s not even including the migrants who come to see the Habs and Leafs), built a stadium in an urban area largely with private money, in an arena that doesn’t need the Jets, and the Jets didn’t need an arena to be built at public cost (cough Quebec cough Edmonton) because the arena was already viable before the Jets. The team is more viable because of this (viable even with a 15,100 seat arena), and the ownership is viable even if the Jets falter (see success of MTS Centre independent of the Jets).

If the Senators are to stay in Ottawa for the long term, it will be because the viability of the team will be independent of the arena it plays in, and vice versa, the resulting symbiosis being two equally healthy organizations that stand well on their own and stand even better together. This is what works, from marriages on up.

As it stands now, the Senators need Scotiabank Place and Scotiabank Place needs the Senators. That is codependent. It is not healthy for the team or for the city it plays in.

Time for The Huge Euge to step up and start thinking longer term.

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Posted by on November 28, 2011 in Senators


28th and dropping fast! Why a 29th place finish is now likely for the Ottawa Senators.

New Jersey is now tied with Ottawa for 27th place, with more wins. Under tiebreaker rules that places Ottawa in 28th place if the season ended today.   Given that New Jersey is playing very good hockey and has received 16 points out of a possible 20 in it’s last ten games Ottawa fans should wave goodbye as the Devils climb up the ladder.  If they keep the pace up they may reach 90 points this season, and bizarrely might actually qualify for the last playoff spot in a weak Eastern Conference.

Given their season averages, Ottawa and the Islanders are headed for a tie with 65 points.  However, if you look at the last ten games, it tells a different story.   The New York Islanders are if nothing consistent losers, their 4-6-0 pace matches their season average exactly,  given that 65 points seems exactly where they are headed.

The Ottawa Senators have managed a measly four points in their last ten games.  If they continue their current pace,  they will end up with a mere 54 points.   Only Edmonton has a worse record in the last ten games.  While their season average would give them 60 points,  their recent performance would give them a pathetic 47 points and the worst record in the league.

So let’s split the difference for all four teams,  take their season-wide projection and the projection given their last ten games, and split down the middle.

New Jersey:   (65 + 89) /2 =   77

Islanders:       (65 + 65) /2 =  65

Ottawa:            (65 + 54) /2  = 60*

Edmonton:     (60 + 47) /2 = 54*

*rounded up.

Unless Edmonton goes on a tear, 29th place looks increasingly likely. Given draft lottery odds, this means that the Ottawa Senators at 29th will have a 100% chance of picking first, second or third, with  a 40% chance of picking third, a 42% chance of picking second, and a 18% chance of  picking first overall.

So, let’s look at those draft picks once again.  It looks like Edmonton is hungry for a young D, so it looks like Adam Larsson will be their pick if they don’t lose their lottery position. The most Ottawa can drop is one.

Ht/Wt:6.02/200 lbs
Team: Skelleftea AIK (Swe)
Gabriel Landeskog
Team: Kitchener (OHL)

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Ht/Wt:6.00/170 lbs
Team: Red Deer (WHL)

Sean Couturier
Ht/Wt:6.04/195 lbs
Team: Drummondville (QMJHL)

Given the Senators lack of, well, everything regarding scoring,  even dropping one spot and losing out on Gabriel Landeskog isn’t bad.

If that happens, and Edmonton stays first,  would Ottawa be willing to trade one of it’s defensive prospects to Edmonton to guarantee a move up the ladder?  And which one? Given that the other teams that could claim second pick in the lottery are all likely to pick a forward, wouldn’t this be  prudent for both teams as Ottawa would guarantee it’s choice and Edmonton would get more defensive depth?

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Posted by on February 7, 2011 in NHL, Scouting, Senators


Jeffery Simpson Speaks Sens Sooth

Jeffery Simpson speaks sooth on 580 CFRA.  He’s harsh but fair.  This is so Ottawa.  In Toronto, you have guys like Rob Ford being emotional.  In Ottawa, hockey fans are wonks.

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Posted by on January 27, 2011 in Senators


29th Place is looking more likely after all.

Doing some simple crunching, at their current pace the Senators are set for 65 points this season, with the Oilers, Islanders and Devils lying between 63 and 68.  As anyone who remembers NASDAQ in 2000 knows streaks can go both ways.

It looks like Jersey is playing for respect now,  so they might well play their remaining 35 games at above .500, leaving them with 70 points or more, but still a lottery pick. Respect with benefits.

Edmonton won last night, and is trying to win as a young team (Taylor Hall was sporadically brilliant with some sporadic mistakes, but man did he balls-out TRY) and even if they play .400 hockey they’ll end up with 66 points.

The Islanders, on the other hand, are gliding miserably along and at their current pace will likely end up with no more than 63 points, give or take one or two.

This leaves the Senators a point or two away from the first or third pick,  depending on how things shake out.

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Posted by on January 26, 2011 in Senators


It’s Coming To Get You, Bryan


It's coming to get you, Bryan.

Yes, it's a bus tire.



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Posted by on January 25, 2011 in Senators


The Simpsonsian Takes on Baghdad Bryan

An influential member of the non-sports media has gotten off the Bryan Murray bus and is now trying to run him over with it.   Jeff Simpson is about as Ottawa Establishment as you can get without being an ex-wife of Michael Potter or Mike Cowpland,  so this is serious.
According to Wayne Scanlan (@HockeyScanner)  Globe columnist Jeff Simpson, a#Sens superfan, has written to club prez Cyril Leeder, demanding a change in mgt.

“It is delusional for him (B. Murray) to say, as was reported yesterday, that this team is a player or two short of making the playoffs.   ..if the club does not have a new GM in place by May 1, I will not be renewing my tickets. Nor will I attend any game thereafter.”


Update:  The letter itself!


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Posted by on January 25, 2011 in Senators


Baghdad Bryan

Eugene, we have a problem.

I’m not sure if Bryan gets any TV reception up at his cottage (Rogers doesn’t work at all up there) but methinks he’s out of sync with what’s going down.

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Posted by on January 24, 2011 in Senators