Saturday, February 7, 2009

Alfie a Forgotten Man Among His Peers


A quick series of notes for your Saturday:

ESPN came out with their annual player survey where the players are asked questions like "Who is the best leader in the NHL?".

On that particular question, the name of Daniel Alfredsson was noticeably absent. In fact 20 players were given multiple votes and Alfredsson was not one of them. If there was any doubt about how low the Senators stock has dropped among their peers, this clinches it.

However, Zdeno Chara was among those named by his peers and this is a nice segue way into a very important story written by the Ottawa Citizen's Doug Fischer about how the "big one got away".

Along with James Duthie's article on how the players really felt about Craig Hartsburg, Fischer's article on the decision to keep Wade Redden over Chara is the must read of the week.

"Well, of course, if we had kept him we would have made different trades and signings and built the team differently than we did," Murray said in an interview this week.

"A player like Z (pronounced Zee) gives you a presence that is irreplaceable. He has toughness, size and great mobility. He is a fitness fanatic. He can play 30 or 35 minutes a game. He plays the power play and kills penalties. He can shoot a ton. He can fight when he needs to.

"Where can you find a player like that? You can't. He's one of a kind. His leaving was pivotal."

Former Senators head coach John Paddock, one of Murray's assistants during Chara's last season in Ottawa, takes it a step farther.

"It's a tragedy he was allowed to go," Paddock says bluntly. "In 25 years as a coach, I have never seen a player who was as dominant as Z. He is absolutely unique."

***

Nick Foligno had some interesting comments on Cory Clouston's coaching style in a Chris Stevenson article today:

"Cory brings a different outlook on the game and maybe that's what we needed in this locker room was just a different approach," said F Nick Foligno. "We were so used to being aggressive from the years past, it's hard just to sit back. Now Cory's got us going full steam ahead. It's creating a lot of chances for us. The way we're playing right now is aggressive and I think every guy on the team loves that."



***

Here's a prediction I may live to regret. It says here that Ottawa gets Clouston his first win tonight against a Buffalo Sabre team coming off an important game against the Habs. The Sabres might be too distracted chasing around Jarkko Ruutu to notice that Ottawa is playing much better as of late.

But they have to watch out for Tim Connolly. This guy has 9 goals in his last 9 games, 18 points in 18 games and is about as skilled as they come. He is an awesome player to watch when he's healthy.

Connolly is due to be an unrestricted free agent this summer and might be had for cheap due to his history of concussion and injury. Could he be a candidate to fill that second line centre role for Ottawa next season? Stranger things have happened.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I read the article, and came away thinking that you cannot win in the NHL without Zdeno Chara. You absolutely need Chara in order to win a hockey game in the NHL.

It's pretty ironic that one guy who has lost his job, Paddock, and another who is about to, Murray, are quoted as saying that Z is dominant and irreplaceable. I can't help but wonder if they are making excuses for their own failures.

Twenty-seven other teams in the NHL are ahead of the Sens in the standings. Twenty-six of them are winning games without Chara. Boston is at the top, but they have a great goaltending, great forwards, great coaching, and Z.

I heard Jason York talk about the article on Team 1200 yesterday. He said it belongs in the garbage. His take was that it basically said "blame the old GM for the team's failure". His contention was that it was time for Ottawa to move on and forget about that deal.

Given the fact that the article appeared on the front page on the paper, not the front page of the Sports section, but the actual front page of the paper, suggests that some people at the Citizen don't want to move on. I guess they want to keep this dialog going so fans don't move on either, for some reason ...

I think the proper term is propoganda.

Anonymous said...

Yes. especially, since Yorkie also stated on the team1200, that the big Z wanted to be captain, and the highest paid player on the team. Those two items were not up for discussion, and consequently he left as expected to become the highest paid player on Boston, and what, "oh the Captain" of the B's.

Yorkie should know, since he played with him in Boston.

It was "see ya later Z, and don't let the door hit your a$$ on the way out."

let's move on poeple.

Anonymous said...

Yes, and Yorkie also stated that he never asked him about it 'point blank', so he's basically trying link points A to Z with a straight line based on his own conjecture. And that's why I don't buy Yorkie's 'version' of events.

Anonymous said...

Letting chara go was a monumental mistake. Everybody who follows the sens knows this. It is not even debatable whether or not he is one of the top 3 in the league. Redden is not even a top pairing defenceman anymore. Any team in the league would be winning more games with big z.

Anonymous said...

Is there anybody out there who actually thinks Alfie has been one of the top twenty leaders in the league this year? Chara rules, I'd trade phillip and volchenkov for him.

Anonymous said...

Chara is a great player. Any team that has him will be better. That being said, losing him is not an acceptable excuse for our on ice performance. We had success before Chara arrived. We had our greatest success after Chara left. Let's be smart enough to understand that we can win without him.

Andrew said...

Has Alfie ever been one of the top 20 leaders in the league? Maybe, but top 10? Never. I dont doubt that he is a great influence on the other players and a model teammate but Alfie and 'Great leader' have never really belonged in the same sentence.