Monday, December 28, 2009

Murray Snookers Alfie..... Sens Keep Winning Against All Odds


I'm not sure why Bryan Murray felt he needed to make a statement regarding Daniel Alfredsson playing in the Olympics.

By doing so, he seemed to imply that the captain could be hurting his own team by suiting up for Team Sweden.

But so is every other player taking part in the Olympics. Injuries will certainly occur in the tournament, just like what happened to the Senators with Dominik Hasek in 2006.

So why is Murray singling out Alfredsson when he already knows that the captain would not risk going into the tournament already injured?

Alfredsson has earned the respect of his teammates and coaches throughout his career and it should be taken for granted that he will do what's right in this situation.

By going to the media, Murray is making it look like he doesn't trust the captain to do what's in the best interests of the Ottawa Senators. It's a pointless exercise and all it does is create a perception problem and add unnecessary pressure on Alfredsson. All Murray had to do was have a private chat with the captain that would have resolved the situation in two minutes.

Instead he went straight to the media and put the spotlight on Alfie.

And for what?

Murray can sometimes be commended for his honesty, but he all too often opens the cupboard door to the media and they can't help but feast.

What if Alfredsson fully heals his shoulder and then goes into the Olympics and injures his knee?

A freak injury that could happen to any player will now be analysed in the context of Murray's recent statement and the captain will be made to look selfish for wanting to play for his own country, something that every player should have the right to do and not be questioned about.

It's bad enough the captain gets booed in his own building. He doesn't need to get the gears from his own GM.

I just don't see why Murray had to say a damn thing at all.

***

Ottawa 4 Montreal 2

Freaking huge win by Ottawa in a loud and rowdy building in Kanata tonight. The guts and gumption that these Senators are showing is unrivaled in recent team history and coach Cory Clouston has his club playing their hearts out almost every night despite having a plethora of injury excuses ready for them.

Coming back from a 2-0 deficit with a large vocal majority of the fans cheering on the Canadiens is the stuff that playoff teams are made of.

Pascal Leclaire struggled off the bat but then shut the door and made some incredible saves to keep the Senators on life support until they got going late in the 1st on Peter Regin's goal.

There was almost a major let-down in this game when it appeared that Mike Fisher scored the go-ahead goal with Chris Neil parked in the crease. Unfortunately for Ottawa, referee Kerry Fraser made a brutal call, claiming that Neil made contact with Montreal goalie Jaroslav Halak (which he didn't) but then changed his interpretation to Neil being "too deep in the crease". It seems they make this stuff up as they go but the Senators managed to keep their cool (despite their recent valid gripes about officiating) and Neil actually got the goal back a few minutes later by going right back to the crease to bang in a floating puck past Halak. Even that goal went to review but the Senators were not going to be denied on this one.

Had that second goal been called back, bedlam would have broken out on the Senators bench and in the 50/50 stands.

Alexei Kovalev continued his resurgence as of late and was the best player on the ice tonight even though it didn't translate into any points. It finally looks as though Kovalev is finding his form after a very tough first half of the season.

Black Aces Senators 3 Stars

1. Alex Kovalev
2. Chris Neil
3. Pascal Leclaire

Honourable mentions: Ryan Shannon, Peter Regin and Chris Campoli (it seems as though his recent benching and stint as a forward has sharpened Campoli's determination and he has been much better of late).

NOTES

It's tough for Senators fans to complain about the vocal Montreal fans sounding like a majority and turning a home game into a road game at Scotiabank Place. If Sens fans aren't buying the tickets, there's tens of thousands of Habs and Leafs fans who are willing to pony up for them......

Canucks forward Mikael Samuelsson wasn't happy with being left off the Swedish Olympic team:


"I pretty much have one comment and maybe I'll regret it," Samuelsson told the Vancouver Sun. "But they can go [expletive] themselves. That's what I really think."

Wow..........

It seemed inevitable that the Caps would trade their captain Chris Clark. The core of that team is centred on some highly skilled guys and Clark was simply not on the ice enough to be that go-to guy that the captain needs to be. In effect, this trade finally allows this to be Alex Ovechkin's team, whether he gets the "C" or not.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

To be fair, I think Murray was asked about Alfie's injury and his going to Vanvouver for Team Sweden, he didn't hold a press conference to 'out' his captain.

Anonymous said...

Love the Samuelsson quote. Love it.

Sometimes I wonder if Kovalev is just one of those guys that needs to be the #1 guy, in order to be effective. Don Cherry used to always say that Dougie Gilmour needed to be the #1 guy in order to get the most out of him. I wonder if Kovy is the same.

It may be that he'll perform very well with Alfie and Spezza out because he feels like the top dog now. Just a thought.

The problem is that they will be back at some point. Maybe that just means that Kovy is a good player, but the role that he needs is not available on this team. Or maybe he just had a good game and I'm reading too much into it.

The Murray comment reflects an attitude from a bygone era. It's small-minded. It's simpleton.

The international tournaments have become far more prominent over the last twenty years. World Juniors, World Championships, World Cup and Olympics. They are the modern reality of a hockey player's career.

You can bet that some GM's are advocating for their players to be selected by their respective countries. It's a best on best tournament. You should want your players there. They learn from the best, and take their games to another level.

Top players want to go to these tournaments nowadays. What message are we sending potential superstar UFA's who may want to sign in Ottawa. Murray is telling them that the Ottawa may not be too enthused about helping them fulfill their personal goals.

We're in a different era. Time to get 'with it' and embrace it.

Peter said...

Who's to say that Murray didn't have a tete-a-tete with Alfredsson before making his comments to the media? How do you know that "he went straight to the media"? You don't, and to be honest, I have a pretty strong feeling that Murray and Alfredsson speak to one another fairly regularly.

His comments were a little unusual, but it's true, too: The Senators pay Alfredsson's bills, and he's got a bunch more years on his contract with this team. As much as you'd love to play for your country at the Olympics, sometimes you've got to make a tough decision because it's your job.

Anonymous said...

Peter,

The Sens pay Alfie, but every other NHL team pays its players as well. You don't hear them spewing this nonsense.

Zetterberg has a shoulder separation that will keep him out a couple of weeks, and you don't hear Detroit expressing any concerns.

Listen to how excited Mike Babcock sounds when he talks about coaching the Olympic team. Lemaire, Ruff and Hitchcock all talk about what an honour it is to be involved.

You never hear Yzerman or Gretzky talk anything negative about going to the Olympics.

Here's the truth. Anybody who's privileged enough to get involved with such an event, would not deny another that opportunity.

Murray either doesn't understand the value of such an experience, or he is so bitter at never being asked to be part of the experience, that he wants to deny others that opportunity as well.