Posts Tagged ‘Ottawa Senators’

Dany Heatley’s Decline Reminds Us We’re All Human

July 4th, 2011

Michael Russo from the Star Tribune wrote a terrific article earlier concerning Dany Heatley, his trade to the Minnesota Wild, and his time with the San Jose Sharks.

As fans it’s easy to get caught up in liking/disliking athletes. Dany Heatley’s “heal turn” in the summer of 2009 represents that better than virtually any other example I can think of.  His departure from Ottawa was well documented here, and by pretty much every other blog and sports outlet in North America.

As Russo points out, Heatley’s time in San Jose will largely be viewed as failure. The Sharks didn’t win any Stanley Cups and twice lost in the Western Conference finals (both times fairly convincingly too). Heatley’s playoff numbers aren’t amazing either. In fact, the former 50-goal scorer managed just 22 points in 32 games over his two post-seasons with the Sharks. Frankly, those stats are somewhat flattering too. Only five of Heatley’s 22 points were goals.

Disappointing stats? Absolutely, but it’s not that simple. While it’s clear the new NHL – the way the game is played, the younger and faster players, and the new rules – don’t bode well for Heatley and his style, he’s still an elite goal scorer at this level. Consecutive injury plagued seasons have certainly played a significant role in Heatley’s decline. From torn groins to broken hands, Heatley has probably seen more trainers and medical rooms in the last two years than most nurses.

» Read more: Dany Heatley’s Decline Reminds Us We’re All Human

Web Savvy Hockey Fans Aren’t Always A Good Thing

March 23rd, 2011

As far as sports fans go, the NHL’s are regarded as some of the most web savvy on the planet. It’s probably one of the biggest reasons why the NHL has gained popularity in the US in recent years.

It’s not like the NHL and its teams don’t know this or take advantage of it either. These days virtually every team has an official Twitter account. NHL.com is cutting edge. The New Jersey Devils invite fans to a social media-charged box during home games. The NHL’s COO John Collins set out to make the best online sports portal in NHL Center Ice and pretty much succeeded. The list goes on and on.

Collins and the NHL have quickly racked up 1.4 Million fans on Facebook too. That’s more than double what Major League Baseball has, despite the fact that hockey is nowhere near as popular as baseball in North America and beyond.

That’s all well and good. The NHL has loyal online fans and has worked some great initiatives to further engage them. All this feel good online love can’t possibly turn to bad… can it?

» Read more: Web Savvy Hockey Fans Aren’t Always A Good Thing

My terrible ode to the Great One

January 28th, 2011

Everyone on this planet knew it was Wayne Gretzky’s 50th birthday on Wednesday. If you didn’t you probably live under a rock. Or in America. You know, because all Americans don’t care about hockey. OK I’m kidding. Most Americans. (I’m just screwing around).

Wayne Gretzky of the Edmonton OilersAnyways, many were busy compiling lists or remembering the greatest Gretzky moments.
Not me though
. But since you asked, one of my biggest Gretzky memories, aside from seeing him get into a fight and ejected from a Kings-Senators game in the 90′s at the Civic Center (I’m totally dating myself…), was seeing team Canada eliminated by the Czech’s at the 1998 Olympics in a shootout that didn’t feature 99 (but did feature Ray Bourque – Really??). It still blows me away that the world’s greatest hockey player didn’t shoot for Canada.

Where was I? Ahh yes. Gretzky’s birthday. Instead of doing lists and memories and all that stuff that I would have made crappy, I wrote an ode to Gretzky’s talent. Well, sort of. You know… in my “what the hell is Burgundy talking about” kind of way. Not to sound all sissy and lame, but I touch on what it must feel like to be Gretzky in comparison to mere mortals like you and I. To have that kind of skill at anything would be amazing… it’s really not that corny. You should just check it out and I should stop talking.

Read “Feeling Like Gretzky” over on The Score’s Houses of The Hockey.

Stay classy, Wayne Gretzky. Again, happy belated birthday.

Oh, Eugene…

January 23rd, 2011

I’ve never seen or heard an owner of an NHL team talk as much about doing something as Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk. And despite this, nothing ever seems to happen.

The amount of crap this guy spews out is truly amazing. I understand the differences between being a fan and an owner — even though Melnyk might not — and I understand Melnyk needs to remain positive to cool a tepid fan base. But here’s the thing: no one is holding a gun forcing Melnyk to mention the “S-word.” (the Stanley Cup).

The following is a direct quote from Melnyk in a recent interview with the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch from Sunday:

“We’re going to do what it takes to bring the Stanley Cup to Ottawa, whether it takes one, three or five years. It will happen. You have my commitment.”
- Eugene Melnyk, Ottawa Senators owner and All-Star quote machine

I can’t even make this stuff up. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is not an NHL owner. This is a fan with nice suits and good perks. I can’t think of another NHL owner who talks this much about doing something without any follow up actions. Eugene, your team is currently 27th in the league. Even the Leafs, the ‘bud’ of every draft joke, sit higher than the Senators. Now probably isn’t a good time to make Stanley Cup commitments.

Imagine next year’s 24/7 HBO special featured the Senators. The entire series could be dedicated to Melnyk’s “future plans.”

In this glorious interview, Melnyk goes on to say “At this time, it makes no sense to make managerial or coaching changes. We’ll let the season play itself out and look forward to building for the future.” Ummm… what?

I would argue this is a critical time for the Senators organization. This is the time for a the club to define what kind of rebuild they are going for – a massive one or a small one. I don’t think I’m alone when I say a massive overhaul is required. Even Melnyk should agree the issue with the Senators isn’t coaching. It’s the players. Four different coaches over the last four or five years should tell anyone that. I like what SensChirp said the other day: this is as close to tanking as a pro sports team can get.

Yes, this is a bit of a rant. I’ve never liked Melnyk’s bold statements. In fact I’m still “buckled up.” I’m all for owner’s believing in their teams, but Melnyk has clearly taken things to a new level. It’s one thing when your team is a legitimate Stanley Cup contender, or at least a playoff bound team. It’s quite another when you are sitting at the bottom of the league. You don’t see the Islanders or Devils talking about Lord Stanley. Melnyk needs to quit the Daniel Alfredsson School of Guarantees as quickly as possible. It’s getting embarrassing for fans.

Ahhh, it’s official. It’s rock bottom for the Senators. Maybe we all just need to chill out and grab a Huge Euge. Or maybe we, fans, need to see evidence of direction. Or both. Either way…

Stay classy, Eugene Melnyk. Less is more.

Canada/Russia Prediction & Trade Implications

January 5th, 2011

Just a quick post today with the huge World Junior Hockey Championship game less than 30 minutes away. This should be a great game as the Russians have really come together as a team throughout this tournament, improving in each game they’ve played. Meanwhile the Canadians seem to be firing on all cylinders at the moment and have a solid physical element that no team has been able to match yet in this two week tournament. This sets us up nicely for a great game.

Prediction: Canada wins 4-2 in a tight but electrifying game with tons of highlights, hits and slick moves. What’s your prediction?

*    *    *    *

Let’s talk about trades for a second.

Sometimes they can have a negative effect on an organization, in addition to on-ice performances. Senators fans know the latter well, but sometimes trades shouldn’t be made to build team credibility. Sometimes it’s better to not trade a veteran, even if he’s a pending UFA. I believe such is the case with long time Senators defenseman Chris Phillips.

* GASP *

“What? What the hell is wrong with you, Burgundy!!?!”

Ahh yes, the inevitable disagreement. I’m sure it will happen with many of you in a matter of moments. But before you cast me off as a complete wanker, check out my latest column on Houses of the Hockey to know why I think the Sens shouldn’t trade “Big Rig.”

Click here to read “Organizational Credibility” on The Score.

Stay classy, World Junior Hockey Championships.

Hatin’ on Cory Clouston… really?!

December 5th, 2010

It’s finally happened – The Ottawa Senators are crappy again. Sort of. But they had a great run for well over 10 years, and all the winning has finally caught up to them.

Chris Kelly of the Ottawa Senators.

People act like they are surprised, but they shouldn’t be. This happens to all franchises in any sport. Most organizations don’t win as much or for as long as the Senators did and fans have gotten a little too accustomed to it. There are 29 other NHL teams that want to win too. Some of them are now in their “window” of opportunity.

In Ottawa’s case, we’re starting to see some lean years again. Roster holes a popping up a bit more and games are getting harder and harder to win. With that comes pessimistic attitudes and questions directed towards players, management and of course, coaches.

Enter: Cory Clouston. And people calling for his head. Really? Really. Unfortunately. Here’s a guy that’s done nothing but win since he arrived to the big show. And some still want him fired, despite the roster he’s been given. How about the GM? Some of Bryan Murray’s decisions have been controversial and certainly impacted Clouston’s ability to win. My two cents: Don’t hire a coach who has one style and sign players who play another.

The point of this rant? I wrote an article earlier this afternoon for The Score about Cory Clouston. I feel like he’s the last thing that needs changing in Ottawa. Basically I’m defending his honour with cool swords and mighty words.

Click here to read it.

Feel free to comment if you agree/disagree. It would be awesome to get some healthy Senators-based discussion going on “Houses of The Hockey.” Sometimes it’s all Leaf discussions and that kind of makes me want to throw up.

Please help me avoid throwing up, friends. As always…

Stay classy, Cory Clouston.

Linkshare day (Oct 31)

October 31st, 2010

Holy crap! It’s been awhile since I’ve done a “Linkshare” day, but with zero NHL games today, there’s probably never been a better time for one. Here’s some great reading to tide you over until hockey action resumes tomorrow. Before getting to the great stuff, here’s some recent stuff I’ve done for The Score’s Houses of The Hockey:

Keeping Up With The Kids
I think today’s veteran players who are in their mid-to-late 20s are screwed by the new wave of young talent coming into the NHL. In two or three years, I don’t think the “older” players will be able to keep up with the kids of today/tomorrow.

A Bold Rookie of The Year Prediction
There are so many impressive rookies this NHL season, but I really believe Jeff Skinner of the Carolina Hurricanes will be the Rookie of The Year. Agree?

The Start of an NHL Social Media Policy
This is actually serious. A long time friend of mine climbed the referee ladder from local minor hockey all the way to the AHL. Recently, the NHL told referee’s they’re “legally no longer allowed to use Facebook.” For the first time (and last time), I’m breaking actual news.

Moving forward, I’m going to post The Score links on Stayclassy the day they go live. This way it will be easier to follow. With that stuff (read: crap) out of the way, here’s some great articles from around the hockey blogosphere recently:

The Unstable Life of A (AHL) Player – Puck Daddy/Bourne’s Blog
Justin Bourne has quickly made his way to the top of my “must read” list. The writing is good, but it’s his insight that keeps me coming back for more. This article is a about life as a “fringe” ECHL/AHL player getting called up and sent down. It shows how life takes a backseat when being called up to play four minutes of a hockey game. Interesting stuff.

Retooling On The Fly – The Bryan Murray Era – The6thSens.com
This is a really long, but really good article about Bryan Murray’s impact with the Ottawa Senators. The article suggests the Senators are close to bottoming out and I completely agree with it. It’s a long read, but well worth it. Check it out. Also, for what it’s worth, the 6th Sens dudes are good people. Now you really have to read their post.

List of Players To Watch In The WHL – NHL.com
Neat article from NHL.com about how it’s been 15 years (almost) since the last 1st overall pick came from the WHL. The article mentions a number of high caliber WHLers who are considered high prospects. Quick check: Without looking, do you know who that last 1st overall WHLer was?

Other NHL Superstars Who Wound Up In The Doghouse – DownGoesBrown.com
Ahhh, more hilarity from DGB. The title says it all.  Check it out.

Burke Knows How to Create Headlines – TrueHockey.com
Andy Stickland is quickly becoming another favourite writer of mine. Here’s an interesting post about Brian Burke’s GM/media tactics, and why they differ in Toronto versus Anaheim.

Skinner hoping to be returned to juniors to avoid being stuck in Raleigh all year – IntentToBlow.com
Just after I prognosticate Jeff Skinner to be this year’s Rookie of The Year, IntentToBlow publish an article that suggests the very opposite. Clearly, I need to challenge them to a fight in order to properly respond to their actions.

How To Be An NHL Defenceman – BlogeSalming.com
If you don’t know, Bloge specializes in video hockey humour. In addition to this, many of his video’s include wicked raps with hockey laughs stuffed into two or three minute sequences. This video is one of his best to date.

Do me a favour, friends. Read/Watch these articles. They are well written and deserve your attention. And best of all, they weren’t written by me so you know they are good! Have a happy Halloween. I’ll be back later this week!

Stay classy, hockey fans.

How to tell if your favourite team is struggling

October 26th, 2010

So maybe your favourite hockey team is having a hard time so far this season. It’s important not to jump to conclusions or overreact too early in the young 2010-11 season. That’s why I’ve posted this article today and not last week.

But the thing is, unless you are a Senators fan, it’s not always easy to tell if your team is struggling. In fact, it is possible not to know or recognize the signs. To help confused fans, here are several ways to tell if your favourite hockey team is struggling:

  • After selling out 409 consecutive hockey games, the arena’s promotions team comes up with a 3D effect to make fans feel like players are “popping out from benches and grabbing them.”
    Note: this promotion comes with a free seat upgrade to front row too.
  • The General Manager is quoted stating the Head Coach’s job is safe, but was later heard muttering “If only I could find a way to get the Coach’s sweet corner office view.”
  • Clarke MacArthur jerseys enjoy a 200% sales spike in October, but 205% of those jerseys would later be returned in November.
  • The arena marketing department has a new intermission game called “Find an offensive play in Jacques Martin’s hockey system and win $1 Million, plus a coaching job with the Canadiens.”
  • The back-up goalie continues to struggle forcing teams like the Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins to overplay number one goalies Robin Lehner and Brent Johnson, respectively.
  • Referee’s won’t call goaltender inference penalties on opposing teams because Scott Clemmensen is not an NHL goalie and therefore not eligible. (Courtesy of @warwalker on Twitter)
  • The new team motto resembles something like “The uglier twin is the captain, but the better looking one is scoring more.”
  • The General Manager was finally able to find more than 15 skaters actually willing to play for the New Jersey Devils, but the Coach still hasn’t figured out how to convince the team’s best player to dress every night.
  • The General Manager claims he’s recently received two solid trade offers, despite only having five more wins than he had in June – a time when he couldn’t give away his top player.
  • Ticket sales continue to drop despite filming live Grey’s Anatomy scenes on the ice with paramedics and fainting goalie plot lines.

Stay classy, struggling NHL teams.

Leaving notes for players at training camp

September 24th, 2010

From time to time, coaches and management will leave players notes. It’s a more personal touch than sending emails or texts… or tweets depending on which goalie you recently signed. Sometimes notes are placed on doors and walls, and other times more private messages are left in individual locker stalls.

I’ve noticed a bit of a trend in this year’s preseason: teams are leaving notes in common areas for everyone to see. And sometimes they aren’t pretty! Earlier this morning, I was able to obtain several notes that were left on team fridges! Scroll down to see them.

Here is a note left to several veteran Ottawa Senators like Ryan Shannon, Filip Kuba and Daniel Alfredsson:

A funny note for Ryan Shannon, Filip Kuba, Daniel Alfredsson and other Ottawa Senators on Stayclassy.net

Below is a note directed at a few of the Toronto Maple Leaf hopefuls including Nazem Kadri, Jesse Blacker and Tomas Kaberle:

A funny note for Nazem Kadri, Jesse Blacker, Tomas Kaberle and other Toronto Maple Leafs on Stayclassy.net

Of course there would be a message for Kyle Wellwood when the word fridge is in discussion!

A funny note for Kyle Wellwood on Stayclassy.net

Finally, the Edmonton Oilers also left notes for a few of their young stars like Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi:

A funny note for Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi and other Edmonton Oilers on Stayclassy.net

Stay classy, NHL training camp notes.

Stayclassy.net scores?

September 20th, 2010

I have some pretty cool news to share. Perhaps I should insert a disclaimer saying “Well, I think it’s cool.”

Some of you might already know and some might not (I mentioned this on Twitter and Facebook a few days ago). As of last week, I’m an official contributor or writer or guy who types stuff on The Score’s newly relaunched hockey blog, “Houses of The Hockey.” Bookmark it now. I’ll wait. While I wait, I’m contractually obligated to tell you how amazing this site will be.

Now that you’ve bookmarked the site or added it to your RSS reader or whatever you cool kids do these days, let’s continue.

Essentially, I’ll be writing anywhere from one to two articles per week on “HOTH,” once the NHL season officially gets underway. And if I actually want to impress the super awesome and incredibly good looking people at The Score, I might aim for three articles per week (Ha – Yeah right!). Here’s the thing: all the content you’ll see and read on HOTH will be completely new and independent from anything here on Stayclassy.net.

Actually, that’s not 100% true. I fully intend on recycling bad jokes across both sites.

Something else I should clarify: Stayclassy.net isn’t going anywhere. In fact, I should take this time to reaffirm that nothing will stop Stayclassy. Not a lack of hockey stories, potential NHL lockouts or even Stephane Auger!

Actually, that’s not 100% true either. Laziness will definitely kill Stayclassy.

For people twisted (read: nice) enough to read my “work,” this actually means you’ll be getting more Stayclassy than ever before.

On second thought, that’s probably not a good thing.

My articles on HOTH will be slightly more serious and sort of “insightful,” whereas my Stayclassy content will continue to be ridiculous, immature and borderline embarrassing. And to prove this, here are links to articles I’ve already written for HOTH:

Season Preview: Los Angeles Kings
Season Preview: Ottawa Senators (and at least 30% nicer than my ViewFromMySeats-Sens write up from a few weeks ago!)

Yeah… season previews aren’t the most exciting thing ever, but I made up for that with cool pictures and lyrics to your favourite rock songs. Once we (the HOTH team and I) get through the team previews (I have two more: the Lightning on Sept 23rd and the Leafs on the 27th), the “carte blanche” topics can come out.

Major mistake by The Score. Giving me carte blanche on content direction might be the worst decision they’ll ever make.

I’ve been fortunate to enjoy several cool opportunities as a result of doing Stayclassy.net. I owe a huge thanks to everyone who’s read, commented, tweeted, liked and helped Stayclassy.net along the way.

Stay classy, Houses of The Hockey and The Score.