Has Mike Comrie suddenly become the "Dead Man Walking" of the Ottawa Senators?
Quietly, Comrie has begun to disappear into the lineup, playing marginal minutes on the third line and being fairly invisible on the power play.
Comrie hasn't had a point since March 22 against the Rangers (He got one tonight). That was 8 games ago.
Before that Ranger game, Comrie had gone 5 matches without a point. So that math is now 2 points in his last 13 games. In total he has 7 points in 19 games as a Senator.
Not only is Comrie not making a case for himself to stay near his current 4 million salary, he's making himself an also-ran in the unofficial "Comrie or Neil" sweepstakes.
Bryan Murray may only have the money to sign one of Comrie or Chris Neil and right now, it's a no-brainer. Neil is the guy.
Just take a look at tonight's physical match in Montreal. Neil was noticeable all night long in a game that was as close as the Senators will get to a playoff atmosphere. Comrie was tiptoeing through the tulips.
It's clear that Ryan Shannon has outplayed Comrie and has gained the trust of Cory Clouston. That's why Comrie is treading water on the third line.
Comrie is an excellent player at times and he still has a lot to offer a team like Ottawa, but right now it doesn't look like his head is into it. I'm not saying he's pouting at the minutes he's getting, but he's also not proving Clouston wrong by playing his way back up the charts.
I'd expect Murray to look elsewhere to park Eugene Melnyk's money next season. The feeling is likely mutual.
Larry Brooks of the NY Post makes a great point about the overblown hullabaloo surrounding Sean Avery's comical Slapshot act with Bruins goalie Tim Thomas:
"Excuse me, but Milan Lucic sticks out his leg and injures a defenseless Nik Antropov by going knee-on-knee midway through the second period on Saturday, and it's Sean Avery who should be suspended for kind of stupidly using his stick to tap Tim Thomas on the back of his helmet during a TV timeout?
The absence of context is the crux of the issue here, just as always. Headhunters such as Chris Pronger and Gary Roberts, who historically injure opponents, are routinely deified, notably by the sanctimonious brigade north of the border, but Avery, who has never hurt anyone but himself, must be banned for the good of the sport? "
To be honest, it's getting a little tiresome listening to the morality brigade trying to kick Avery out of the NHL for even the mildest of incidents.
What Avery did to Thomas was hilarious and solidly in the long NHL tradition of the pest.
The self-righteousness of the punditry when it comes to Avery is getting stale. They complain the game doesn't have enough personalities yet they hammer down every nail that dares to rise up from the grain.
One minute they love Alex Ovechkin and his wild celebrations, the next they want him humiliated for celebrating too hard.
And Brooks is right. The hockey media establishment in Canada thinks they own the game and deem themselves the ultimate arbiters of taste and behaviour. They haven't seen an outrageous personality like Avery before and they don't like it (yet they forget the likes of Eddie Shack and Tiger Williams were almost equal the morons of a guy like Avery. Williams once did the same thing except it was to Scotty Bowman's head when he was on the bench watching the play down the ice. True story. Look it up.).
They try to pin the blame on Avery for the Dallas Star's lost season but in reality, it was not having a healthy Sergei Zubov and Marty Turco playing the worst hockey of his career that led to their downfall.
They've been rid of Avery for a long time now but they completely faded down the stretch on their own.
So save the morality lessons and let the kid goon it up. It's fun to watch.