It’s been a long time since we’ve done an analog media scrum, so let’s just get to it…
Nichols: In a 9-minute press conference this afternoon, the Senators announced that Bryan Murray has accepted a 3-year extension to remain with the team in his GM capacity. I’m going to get all agecist on you and say that Murray will be 71 years of age by the time that his contract expires. Smart move?
Tim: Smart move? I’m not sure. Based on the Euge’s remarks the other night on CBC we could guess he’d be a believer in fine wine getting better with age. My question though is, WTF? Really? I mean, this is happening right? For 3 more years?
Nichols: I think part of the problem is that we’re rational. We understand that playing well for the last month of the season doesn’t necessarily translate into future success. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been fun watching the kids play but things will be different with increased expectations.
Tim: Are we allowed to call ourselves Sens fans and rationale in the same breath? Things will be different next year for these kids, everyone knows the piss and vinegar you enter a new job with fades after a while and next thing you know you’re marrying country singers to keep the spice in your life. I really think this is like one of those ‘I have a drug addiction so put me and my family on TV” shows where the junkie realizes they have hit rock bottom and know they’re the only ones who can dig themselves out of the hole.
Nichols: Well obviously Melnyk believes that Murray is the guy to get them out of the hole. I’ll admit that Murray’s draft record seems strong and that he has improved the organization’s depth. He’s also made some counter-intuitive moves that have left me scratching my head. I feel like I trust him as a seller, but when the team starts to turn the corner and it puts him in a position to buy, I don’t know if I trust his track record on deals. Am I being too hard on the guy? After watching Melnyk handle himself with the media over the past few days, I’m starting to empathize with Murray. Who could work efficiently having to deal with that?
Tim: Reminds me a little of George Castanza dealing with Steinbrenner. Or at least that’s how I like to imagine the Sens front office operating. Its really hard to decipher whats going on with all the timelines and bold statements being made about future draft picks being NHL ready and a shorter rebuild than imagined. I just worry there will be internal pressure to measure up to these statements made to the fan base and we’ve already heard Murray reference bringing in a FA forward this summer. We know Ottawa like to support a winner, how desperate will they be to expedite this process and at what cost to the big picture? I guess we can sort of dismiss some of the finer points Roy MacGregor alluded to with the details of this Bond villian-esque “Plan” and there will be no advisory role and more importantly, no Pierre McGuire.
Nichols: Did you just drop a pop culture reference?
Tim: Seinfeld? That’s a social behavior case study.
Nichols: Maybe the best part about this Murray extension is that we’re finally at a point in which there’s no one else to blame but Murray moving forward.
Tim: You’re right, for too long we’ve had the privilege of debating Muckler’s influence on the team and I think we are now at the point where we can say that this is all Bryan Murray from here on in. His draft picks and acquisitions are slowly fluttering into the Sens lineup and into Bingo and we’ll be able to get a true read, beyond his sexy first round picks, on his amateur drafting abilities we so love to heap praise upon. Even more importantly, what does this mean for Coach Cory? In watching the Melnyk presser today, at 1:22 he actually says “Get a new coach in”. I thought we were all reading between the lines but he just went right out and said it!
Nichols: Yeah, he let that slip. And he also keeps mentioning the possibility of making a trade to move up in the draft. With the way that Melnyk guards his secrets, I think we may have found out who leaked the Dany Heatley trade request. In getting back to Clouston, you can add another coach to the list of ones employed by Bryan Murray. What is your over/under line on coaches will through before his three year extension is done?
Tim: A couple of Huge Euge’s seems to be the key to the vault as we witnessed a few times this season (oh no another Seinfeld reference! Can you tell I haven’t watched TV in a decade?). I give the Senators coaching carousel an over/under of 1.5. One for sure with Dave Cameron waltzing in and a .5 for the blood alcohol content necessary to keep him around for 3 years.
Nichols: Has there been another GM who has been entrusted to rebuild a team after years of cutting-and-pasting brought them to the bottom? Off of the top of my head, I can’t think of any.
Tim: I think that’s a problem unique to collegiate and CHL programs which require perpetual rebuilds, although I guess that’s probably what convinced Melnyk that Cameron would be ideal for the job. He sees the work of Cameron in a vacuum and forgets it’s part of graduating players and introducing new ones on a regular basis that all coaches in those leagues experience. Hell, even the Hartsburgs and the Cloustons of the world catch lightning once or twice. At least he admitted in the press conference today he realizes the host of the Memorial Cup gets automatic entry to the tournament. Kinda thought Cameron had the wool over his eyes for a bit, but would you blame him for trying?
Nichols: Maybe there’s a lesson to be learned there. Often, it has to do with a perpetual cycle of talent. If you keep the same guys around, complacency and human nature set in and guys become too comfortable.
Tim: I guess even with a trivial hockey event, there can be a moral to the story. It lends its hand to what we’ve talked about for years now with the cap restrictions it’s so important to have immediate home grown replacements for overpriced assets. Same way human beings keep having babies so we’ll always have someone to wipe our ass when we’re 70. Without the kids, who would wipe our ass? Speaking of sticking it to others, with Melnyk’s remarks about the Fisher trade to Nashville do you think he’s sticking his nose in Murray’s business where it doesn’t belong? He claims he’s further removed from hockey operations than most people think. Is that his way of telling us he watches the games from another country?
Nichols: This wouldn’t be the first time that we’ve heard of Melnyk dabbling in the hockey ops side of things. For awhile now, the public sentiment has been that Melnyk pressured Murray to sign Kovalev. I think what we have in Melnyk is an absentee owner who watches the bulk of the games from a bar in Barbados. Do I wish we had a Mike Ilitch clone as an owner and some heartless and calculated bastard for a GM? Absolutely, but then again we wouldn’t have nearly as much to talk about. If Melnyk is as meddlesome of an owner as some people believe, it may be a long time before this situation is remedied. But hey, at least Murray’s extension means that we’ll have another three years of Greg Carvel special teams play to talk about.
Tim: And most importantly, at least we still have a team in Ottawa. And if that’s the cost of doing business with Euge, I’m in all day – day and night.
Check out this epic GIF of Senators prospect Louie Caporusso returning the favour and flipping the bird to a UND fan during the Frozen Four Semi-Finals.
Prospect Porn Update
Today it was confirmed that Senators prospect Andre Petersson has signed a 3-year entry-level contract with the Ottawa Senators and Pat Cannone’s contract was officially acknowledged as well. Cannone will report directly to the Binghamton Senators.