Saturday, November 29, 2008

Saturday Notes


Now that Alex Picard is out of the lineup with a jammed wrist, call-up Brian Lee has a chance to show that he belongs in the Senators organization and to make management think twice about including him in a package for an established NHL power-play quarterback.

There is no doubt that the Senators have been disappointed in Lee this year after a poor training camp and an even worse stretch of games in the regular season that saw him get booted back to Bingo to get his game - and head - in shape.

After looking solid during his late season call-up last year, Lee seemed afraid of the puck and afraid of taking a hit in the new campaign and did nothing to stop the criticisms that Ottawa blew their 2005 draft where they chose Lee over the likes of Anze Kopitar, Marc Staal, the late Luc Bourdon, Ryan Parent and even Steve Downie.

Bryan Murray has since revamped his scouting staff after taking over from John Muckler and Brian Lee doesn't seem to fit the Murray mould. Not helping Lee is the fact that he only has 1 goal and 5 assists in 16 games with Bingo since being demoted. That's simply average and that's not going to get Lee a permanent spot in Ottawa.

I think that the team is already looking to the arrival of Erik Karlsson rather than waiting for Lee to suddenly transform into a saviour on the blueline. Lee is a player that the Senators might regret trading but he has some value right now.

It's up to Murray to decide if he wants to cash in on Lee now for some immediate help or be patient and play the waiting game.

I'm not saying it's a make or break game for Lee, but if he doesn't play well, he might not get a chance to do so in a Senators uniform again.

***

Also called up was Zack Smith, who has exceeded expectations and might be the most NHL-ready Senators prospect in Bingo if you listen to management. He leads the B-Sens with 9 goals and is 6th amongst AHL rookies in points. But the word is that Smith will only play if Shean Donovan is out with one of those ridiculous undisclosed upper-body injuries. If teams are allowed to get away without telling anyone what the injuries are, why do they even have to disclose if it's an upper or lower body injury?

Why can't they call an ankle sprain a concussion? If they are allowed to half-lie to the media and thus the fans, you might as well let them go all the way.

It's a joke.

***

I'm not sure if Luke Richardson is planning to shave off his team-bonding moustache now that he's been forced into retirement but is there anything more symbolic (and genuinely sad) than the idea of Richardson standing in front of a mirror shaving it off and knowing that he's crossed over to the other side?

He's had a great career and it would be especially nice if the Senators organization honoured him with a video presentation similar to what they did for Wade Redden at their next home game.

I know he was only with Ottawa for a year and bit but he's a homegrown player and it would be a classy move by the Senators.

To be honest, I'm getting the chills just thinking about it. But then again, I'm the guy who cried like a little boy when the Rangers retired Mark Messier's number. And when they brought him back from Vancouver. And when he started crying at Gretzky's Ranger retirement. Basically every time he has to try and get through a press conference.

Did I ever tell you that Mess is my favourite player of all-time?

***

Richardson was involved in a nasty confrontation while with the Leafs when Minnesota North Star Dino Ciccarelli was criminally charged after hitting Luke over the head with his stick in 1988.

One of my favourite quotes of all-time came from Dino describing his brief two hour stint in jail after being found guilty.

"The first thing I saw was a big fat cop eating a jelly donut. Then I stood around signing autographs for the other poor guys in there."

Check out a series I ran last year of Classic NHL Quotes over the years right here.

***

Sergei Samsonov scored the overtime winner for Carolina against Philadelphia last night but it was only his second goal of the season.

It's been a long time since Samsonov and Joe Thornton came into the league together with Boston after being taken only 7 picks apart in the 1997 draft. After Samsonov won the Calder trophy as best rookie while Thornton struggled to a 3 goal, 7 point performance, some were saying that Samsonov would turn out to be the real superstar.

Boston cashed in on Samsonov's potential at just the right time. As part of the package from Edmonton, they got the Oilers 2nd round choice who they used to pick Milan Lucic.

That might be one of the reasons (along with the Dustin Penner mistake) that Kevin Lowe was pushed out of hockey operations into the President' s role earlier this year.

***

Speaking of the Flyers, their throwback 3rd jersey's are the nicest in the league next to the Oilers and the Islanders vintage sweaters.




I really love the vintage all-white nameplates too.



2 comments:

senatecommittee.blogspot.com said...

Yeah Lee did seem afraid, hopefully his stint i the AHL has renewed his confidence. Also senatecommittee.blogspot.com will have a live stream of the game

Anonymous said...

I'm not a big Brian Lee fan, but I do think that they should hang on to him. He is a very affordable, puck moving d-man with potential. He strikes me as a guy who needs to be nurtured with patience in order to develop. I don't think he's the type of player who will grow with "tough love".

The normal template in hockey is that if a player isn't cutting it, they get sent to the minors. When they get better, they get called up. That system works for the most part.

If the team wants to get the most out of Lee, I believe that the right template is the Alex Picard and Jesse Winchester template. There is a case to be made, that both of these guys should be in the minors. The organization has clearly made a decision to let them work on their games with the big club. They have been given every opportunity to succeed, especially Winchester (got to play with Alfie and Fish).

I believe that Lee has more natural talent than Jesse or Alex. What he needs is a coach or player on the Big club to mentor him. Kinda like Chara did with Mez. I think that is how you get the most out of a player and personality like Lee. I would not give up on him.