Five for Smiting on the Ottawa Senators’ upcoming draft

For whatever reason, we haven’t been too wise to the Northeast division teams beyond Boston and Buffalo. The general rule is that Canadian teams have legions of fantastic bloggers and the Ottawa Senators hold true to that rule.

Along with being one of the best Senators blogs out there, Five for Smiting also features one of the truly great names in the blogosphere. Senators Lost Cojones‘ work is a bit new to us, but if this post is any indication, Five for Smiting will be receiving heavy Google Reader rotation from now on.

If you have been foolish like us, make up for lost time and pour over Five for Smiting. You won’t regret it.

1. Currently at #9, which prospects do you expect to be in the running for Ottawa? Is there anyone, in particular, you’d prefer?

I’m expecting either Dmitry Kulikov or Ekman-Larsson to be the guy, all in the name of finally snagging that wily and elusive…SING IT WITH ME! TESTIFY!…”puck moving defenceman” all the cool kids are talking about. As you might imagine, after drafting 5′ 10″ Erik Karlsson last year and watching opposing forecheckers pound the living shite out of Filip Kuba for six months, adding yet another No Hit Euro Wunderkind to the backend fills my heart with nothing but sunshine, lollipops, and an irresistible desire to punch myself in the face.

My preference, he over whom I lust (in strictly man-crush fashion Beloved my dear…not that there’s anything wrong with that) is Jared Cowen. 6′ 5″, 218lbs of man meat, just waiting to fill out, and fill in Crosby, Malkin or any other forward brave or stupid enough to go in deep for a puck. If we snag Cowen, I may finally be able take down the shrine to Zdeno Chara in my garage (but I’m keeping the John Muckler Voodoo doll).

Of course, I don’t expect him to be available by the time the nine pick comes around (nor should Brayden Schenn, who I’d love to pick up as a Plan B, if only to piss off Toronto), recent surgery and fears of potentially wonky knees notwithstanding. If only there were some way for Ottawa to somehow move up in the draft, say into the number 5 or 6 spot! Oh, it is but to dream! But however could such a momentous thing come about? How, pray tell, HOW??

2. Obviously there are a ton of rumors swirling around Heatley. How likely is it that he gets moved during the draft? Where do you stand on the issue?

Oh, right … that’s how!

Dany Heatley, whose many likenesses once adorned the walls of my Man Room, means about as much to me now as did the maggot ridden pile of dog feces I scrapped from the bottom of my shoe this morning. A disgusting inconvenience, best disposed of quickly.

Dany has three choices, as far as I can tell. He either a) shoves his “I’ll only play for these guys” list straight up his ass and accepts any trade The Bryan can make, b) fires his agent(s) before holding the mother of all “mea culpa” press conferences in which he announces that he would love to remain an Ottawa Senator for life, terribly sorry, it was all a misunderstanding, I was drunk, etc…OR c) rots for the next six years under suspension, pissing away the prime of his career, all because a coach asked him to back check once in a while. I’m cool with any of those scenarios. Especially “c”.

That said, option “a” is much more likely. And unlike most, I think there’s a better than a fair-to-middling chance it happens before the draft, $4M bonus payment or no. Think about it. If you’re one of the teams sitting ahead of Ottawa in the draft, with the cap room to take on Heater (Hello Los Angeles!), would you hold on to a 5 pick if you can get a back-to-back 50 goal scorer for that pick, a roster player *cough*Kopitar*cough* and a handful of unproven prospects? Or do you wait until after the 1st of July, when The Bryan’s asking price goes up to “I will rape and pillage your farm system because I have to justify the bonus payment”? Phoenix isn’t that deep.

3. Looking back, talk about some of your favorite Ottawa Senators drafting memories. What are some of the team’s best moves? Biggest steals?

Nothing will ever top the absolute sodomizing of Mike Milbury in 2001, of course. For those with a short term and/or repressed memory, that was Alexei Yashin for Zdeno Chara, Bill Muckalt and the 2 overall that would become Jason Spezza. The laughter in the streets of Ottawa following that trade is second only in volume to the Rangers signing Wade Redden for 6.5 million per last year. And if John Muckler hadn’t completely screwed it up and kept Zee instead of Wade we’d have at least one, if not two, Stanley Cup banners hanging from the rafters at ScotiaBank Place today. But that’s neither here nor there…or so I tell myself as I soak my pillow in bitter tears…

Biggest steals? That one’s easy. The Captain, Daniel Alfredsson. 6th round, 133rd overall. He is living testament to the days when the Sens had a scouting staff as good as, if not better than the Red Wings at finding future stars toiling in blighted, God forsaken hell holes like Gdansk, or Siberia or Winnipeg.

That’s no longer the case, of course. Just one more thing we can thank Mucks for as he cut the scouting department to the bone while trading away such obviously failed prospects as Pavol Demitra, Brooks Laich, Tim Gleason, Brian Pothier, and Martin Havlat (Sens draft picks all) for the Oleg Saprykins and Tom Preissings of the world. Yeah…good times.

4. On the other hand, Ottawa’s had some low lights too *cough* obviously Daigle *cough*. Talk about some of the darkest/biggest “what if” moments in the Senators’ drafting history.

Hey, hey, HEY! I defy you to find any first overall draft pick that looks better in a nurse’s uniform!

Okay fine, let’s get this out of the way. That ’93 draft included Chris “nobody remembers who went second” Pronger and Paul Karyia. I can deal with that. No, really. Time will heal most wounds.

Then, there was Radek Bonk over Ryan Smyth and Mattias Ohlund in 1994. And let’s not forget ’92 where we not only took Yashin over Darius Kasparaitis, Sergei Gonchar, Cory Stillman and Jason Smith, but also immortalized the phrase “Ottawa apologizes” after GM Rick Dudley tried to draft not one, but two ineligible players ( though still better than the CFL’s Ottawa Rough Riders who drafted two dead guys…with the same pick).

And of course, most recently, was 2005, where we took Brian Lee ahead of Anzi Kopitar and Marc Staal. The jury is still out on that one (or so a certain blogger tells himself as he rocks himself to sleep at night), but unless Brian puts on about 50 pounds and discovers his inner Scott Stevens between now and training camp, his inexorable slide to the “bust side” of the ledger will continue.

But the one that hurts the most, the single largest “what if” elephant in the Ottawa Senators war room, came in 2002. Ottawa’s first round pick that year was Jakub Klepis, a kid who never played a single game for us, was traded to Buffalo for Vaclav Vrada (Thanks Mucks!) and who spent last year in the KHL, trying desperately to resurrect his career after a drunk driving conviction. The guy who went nine picks later? Cam Ward. Make that pick, and everything changes. Somewhere Martin Prusek, Patrick Lalime, Dominik Hasek, Ray Emery, Martin Gerber, Jeff Glass, Alex Auld and Brian Elliott are laughing their asses off.

Soapbox time:

Feel free to take the floor here. Talk about anything Ottawa/NHL related you’d like.

Oh wow, there are so many things…Crosby and the Cup (quick answer: You got one. Good for you. Now shut the hell up), the atrocious playoff officiating, especially in the Final (Hey look everybody! It’s 1994!) and of course, I could fill pages with Heatley directed bile and derision.

But let’s go with a rather shameful admission on my part. I have been absolutely fascinated with Bettman vs. Balsillie III, more than I should probably admit. It’s like watching a cage match between a garden gnome and the kid who kept getting stuffed into his high school locker.

And the story lines! It’s enough to make a blogger desperate for off-season content weep for joy.

First, there’s the bald-faced and breathtaking hypocrisy of the Commissioner, who assures us that he has ever been the staunch defender of struggling markets like Nashville and Phoenix a decade after signing off on Quebec City to Denver and Winnipeg to…er…Phoenix (neither moves precipitated by “market” problems, I should add). Forget all of the ancillary crap surrounding this mess like whether Moyes had the right to declare bankruptcy in the first place, Balsillie being an idiot for refusing to follow the process, or even the sycophantic trained seals around the Board of Governor’s table golf clapping their way to irrelevance. If you want to know why Gary Bettman is the most hated NHL Commissioner since Lester Patrick north of the border, you need look no further than that.

Which brings me to those well meaning yet misguided souls wandering the desert who managed to turn this into an “Us against Canada” issue, as if we Canucks were using the Make It Seven campaign as some sort of weird War of 1812 on ice (in which we’d STILL totally kick their colonial asses, by the way. I hear Sale and Pelletier are killer with the bayonets). Here’s a news flash for you, Yotes fans. This was never about you. Hell, before this, we didn’t even know you existed. You were but myths and legends, like the Loch Ness Monster, fairies, leprechauns and eskimos.

And don’t make the mistake of thinking the NHL gives a rat’s ass about you either, all of Gary’s pretty words aside. The desert dogs, and by extension, you the fans, were used as much to keep Jimmy Balls out and to set a precedent than to placate the 600 or so tender hearts in the Greater Glendale Area. If Kansas City, and not Hamilton were on the other end of that phone, the moving vans would have headed east a month ago.

But you won! You get to keep your team, and congratulations for that. Now suck it up and prove to everybody that you deserve it.

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