Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Rookies and Veterans In The Melting Pot

All the buzz in town is about Bryan Murray’s comments that some veterans better step up their game in training camp or else risk losing their jobs to rookies.

It’s a typical and usually successful GM move to try and light a fire under some players but that type of thing always backfires in a market like Ottawa where certain influential radio hosts and columnists take it as a green light to go on a negative feeding frenzy, and the latest guy pegged to be “run out of town” is Chris Kelly.

To hear the Over The Edgers, you’d think the Senators were in the midst of a horrible December slump and that Chris Kelly was missing practices and getting into road rage incidents with attention seeking senior citizens with personalized license plates.

Except it’s training camp.

What are we talking about? Training camp? “Practice? We talkin’ about practice?”

It seems that no matter what Kelly does this year, he is going to get thrown under the bus for daring to have a contract over 2 million dollars and not score 50 goals.

Presumably, Jesse Winchester can do what Kelly does at a fraction of the price, but that doesn’t take into account how popular Kelly is among his teammates and the excellent contributions he can bring to the team once the games start to mean something. Kelly is a proven veteran and deserves some respect. He was part of the most successful team in the history of the franchise who brought Stanley Cup final action back to the capital.

To rip a guy for having an underwhelming training camp is fine but don’t infer that he has lost his value because of that. We are supposed to judge players on their contributions during real games and not get obsessed with who showed up to an optional skate or who was the first guy off the ice at practice, like the Ottawa media seems to be stuck on.

But the Senators are at a point where they have way too many forwards and three players knocking on the door. Those players are, of course, defenseman Erik Karlsson, Matt Carkner and forward Peter Regin.

All 3 deserve a spot on the Senators roster, ahead of the likes of Brian Lee, Christoph Schubert, Zack Smith and Alex Picard and not just because of their training camp performance. They deserve to be there because they all supply a certain need on the team.

Karlsson is obvious. If he doesn’t make the squad, something is truly rotten in Denmark.

Regin has been coming on for two years now and is a complete player who seems to fit well as a centre on the Mike Fisher line, giving the Senators 3 skilled centres who can all score points.

If there is any justice and common sense in the world, Carkner will be the 6th defenseman. That would give a perfect balance to the top six – 3 defensive defenseman and 3 offensive defenseman.

I’m a believer in Brian Lee but the Senators need Carkner more than Lee right now because Karlsson, Chris Campoli and Filip Kuba already fill the offensive role.

Add in the fact that Chris Phillips and Anton Volchenkov, as big and tough as they are, will never be accused of having a mean streak. Carkner has a doozy and Ottawa hasn’t seen that since Zdeno Chara left town.

The solution?

Send Lee to the minors because you can (due to his two-way contract). He will have a chance to play in the future and it won’t hurt him. The AHL is a hell of a league.

Waive (or if you can, trade) Christoph Schubert. He needs a fresh start with a team that will allow him to be a defenseman.

Picard? That’s a tough one. He is too good to try and sneak through waivers. Injuries will come and the team will be glad to have someone like Picard in the stable. Yet, with the team fully healthy, what does he provide that Campoli, Kuba and Karlsson can’t? Not much.

But if you deal both Picard and Schubert, you deplete your depth.

Do you keep two extra defenseman? In a cap world, that doesn’t make sense.

Sadly, this probably means that Carkner will be sent to the AHL.

While Winchester is out with an injury to start the season, that allows Murray to at least delay a decision on where Shean Donovan and Kelly fit. Nobody wants to see Donovan go anywhere but the only way to avoid that is to move someone else out.

Rumblings and strange chatter that Chris Neil and Jarkko Ruutu are in danger can only be described as mystifying. Neil was unfairly lumped in with those veterans who were having mediocre camps by some but he has gone out and done his job perfectly on the ice – defending teammates and being a presence along the boards.

Ruutu is being paid next to nothing and there are very few players in the league as good as he is in the pest role. Taking away physical, heart and soul players is not the solution in Ottawa. If anything, the Senators could use more sandpaper, not less.


Have to point out an interesting article penned by the blog Blood Red Army who points out the evolving negativity of the mainstream media towards the only franchise in town. Some very good points:

"Honestly, what is it with the sports media in Ottawa? We are exactly nine days into training camp and I am already sick to death of the negativity being spewed towards the Ottawa Senator players.

Last night during the Team 1200’s pre-game show, Ottawa Sun journalist Bruce Garrioch and ex-NHL'er Mike Eastwood completely ripped Jonathan Cheechoo apart. This is a player who landed in Ottawa one week ago, and has yet to play a single meaningful game here. We all know he’s coming off a very disappointing season and has been on a downward slide since the 2005/06 season, but does that really give people the green light to drag his name through the mud? According to these guys, he’s been just awful and is totally out of shape. The fact that we were told he spent all summer working out and getting ready for the season was supposedly a total lie. And apparently he misses every single shot on net during practice, too.

Why?! What is the point in that? Give the guy a chance to get into the swing of things. At the very least, don’t write him off before the season even starts!"

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Peter Regin Trumps Zack Smith In Battle Of Rookies

Going into training camp, there were two young rookies who were going to get every opportunity to make the Ottawa Senators. Erik Karlsson was the smallish but highly skilled 19 year old and Zack Smith was the gritty and tenacious 21 year old who was ready to take the next step after a short apprenticeship in the AHL.

Why am I talking in the past sense? Because, maybe, just maybe, the decisions on these two players have already been made.

Karlsson is now a lock to make the NHL right away. He has probably surpassed expectations and is already the most skilled blueliner the Senators have under contract. There is no doubt that he has already bumped Chris Campoli from his spot with Filip Kuba on the number one power play. He can skate effortlessly, make sick tape to tape passes at nearly every opportunity and has a heavy shot from the point. And so far, his size has proven to be a minor issue in his own zone. He's too crafty to be caught in a vulnerable position on the boards.

On the other hand, Smith has had a relatively quiet camp - not bad, but not great. The Senators clearly covet his toughness but the faster and more skilled Peter Regin is just too good not to keep at this point. It's crystal clear that Regin is NHL calibre now and could end up being one of those surprises that helps teams get over the top. Remember when David Krejci came out of nowhere in Boston last year? A line of Mike Fisher, Nick Foligno and Regin looked particularly dangerous against Montreal on Saturday night and may be kept together, giving the Senators 3 lines that can score.

Regin is a complete player and, unfortunately for Smith, his time is now. Still young and on a two-way contract, it looks like Smith could use another year in the AHL to get more assertive.

So where is that toughness going to come from if not from Zack Smith? If there's one thing the Senators haven't lacked this pre-season, it's toughness. Heart and soul Senator Chris Neil destroyed Nick Tarnasky of Florida while Matt Carkner and Jeremy Yablonski have gotten into multiple scraps - and won every single one of them.

With Yablonski only likely to see spot duty this season in the NHL (and even that is a longshot), the logical candidate is Carkner.

As discussed on the Team 1200 pre-game show, Carkner looks like he may have played his way into Christoph Schubert's job as a "swing man" (Schubert is likely to be put on waivers before the season starts). Carkner is exactly the type of player the Senators need now and have always needed. A tough as nails defenseman who plays the game simple and mean.

He can play forward if needed to but Carkner may get a spot on the blueline as it is now. The pairings could work like this:

Phillips -Volchenkov
Campoli - Carkner

Spare: Alex Picard

Or if Picard, who has had a good training camp so far, gets that last top 6 position, Carkner can be one of those guys who plays every other night and fill a valuable role on the team, either at forward or defense.

Just listen to his last name.


You can't help but be reminded of Terry Carkner, Matt's older cousin who played for a long time in the league with teams like the Flyers and the Red Wings while racking up over 100 PIM's nearly every season.

As they say, it takes different ingredients to "bake a cake" and guys like Chris Neil, Jarkko Ruutu, Shean Donovan and Matt Carkner compliment skilled players like Alex Kovalev and Jason Spezza.

Ottawa has never been mean enough, except maybe just after the lockout when they had Zdeno Chara, Brian McGrattan and Vaclav Varada along with Neil and Ray Emery. Only Neil remains from that ornery group but the Senators have a chance now to compete in a tough Eastern Conference that boasts the Chris Pronger led Flyers and the Brian Burke assembled Maple Leafs.

So even if Peter Regin makes the team at the expense of Zack Smith, the Senators have a good character guy in Matt Carkner to keep the opposition honest.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sore Thumbs

I am a grown man who has disturbingly become addicted to a video game. And that game is EA Sports NHL10. Blogging? Forget it. Human contact? What's that?

Has anyone ever tried the Be A Pro Mode, where you take a shift and then sit on the bench like a real player? Probably the funnest thing I have ever done outside of accidentally kicking Henry Rollins while being hoisted aloft at a Rollins Band show in Ottawa in the early 90's.

Black Aces will return once I get just a few more games in....

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Heatley Traded...And The Lessons Learned

The inevitable has arrived and Dany Heatley has been granted his wish by being sent to the San Jose Sharks today (along with a 5th round pick) for wingers Milan Michalek, Jonathan Cheechoo and a 2nd round pick.

In short, a fantastic trade for Ottawa GM Bryan Murray, even if he was forced in the end to accept Cheechoo, a player he did not want in the deal by most accounts.

The real centrepiece for Ottawa is certainly Michalek, a player I mentioned as being a must in any trade involving San Jose (though Ottawa did not get Logan Couture as I had hoped they would).

The breakdown on Michalek is very good: The 24 year old is signed for the next 5 seasons at a very reasonable cap hit of 4.33 million. Considering his once heralded status as an elite prospect (he was picked 6th overall in 2003) and his obvious skills and power-forward size, getting Michalek is a very good return for the petulant and unhappy superstar that Heatley had become in Ottawa.

Michalek has yet to hit 30 goals in the NHL and his career high so far has been a modest 66 points in his breakout year of 2007. Yet the consensus is that Michalek will one day be a 30-35 goal scorer. He is also very fast for a player of his size and by most accounts has a great attitude and a desire to excel. The Sportsnet scouting report calls him a "low maintenance" player who is "polished at both ends of the ice".

Certainly more was expected of Michalek in San Jose but, as often happens, young players can sometimes be slower to develop and may not get optimal ice-time on squads stacked with veteran star players. The situation in San Jose over Michalek's career has certainly been like that, with Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau leading the way and a young gun in Devin Setoguchi nipping at his heels. In a way, Michalek was a bit of a "tweener" and might find himself a better fit on the Senators, who have always needed a power forward since their inception into the league.

The options for Michalek, a natural left-winger, are endless. He would look equally at home with Jason Spezza (Michalek spent some time with Thornton on the wing two seasons ago) or as a complimentary big-body on a line with Mike Fisher. One nice stat is Michalek's 6 game-winning goals last year, matching his power-play total.

After some serious knee injuries early on in his career, Michalek has been fairly healthy and durable recently, playing no fewer than 77 games the past four seasons.

Jonathan Cheechoo on the other hand, is coming in as a once dynamic goal scorer (56 goals in the year after the lockout) but has seen his totals and role on the Sharks plummet ever since. Since his breakout season, Cheechoo's goal totals have dropped consecutively in 3 straight seasons - 37 to 23 to a lowly 12.

The former Rocket Richard winner lost his spot on a line with Thornton and was a minus 3 with the President's Trophy winners last year. His skating and defensive acumen have always been criticised but his skills are too good to totally write off just yet.

It's obvious that Murray, after having a face-to-face meeting with the disgruntled Heatley yesterday, decided to accept a player he didn't want in order to get Heatley out of the organization. Murray told the Ottawa Sun "I did spend some time with him yesterday. When I looked him in the eye I knew I had to trade him"

Heatley didn't want to be here anymore and the weekend was turning into a complete circus with reporters in a complete frenzy over the situation. What once looked like an unpalatable player in Cheechoo just a week ago now seemed like the only solution to the entire mess. Even if Cheechoo turns out to be a bust, the Senators are only stuck with him for the next two seasons at a cap hit of 3 million. It's a risk, but a mid-priced one worth taking.

On the money side, the trade is essentially a wash. Heatley's 7.5 cap hit goes out, Michalek's and Cheechoo's cap hit of 7.33 million comes in. The Senators save some pocket change and get rid of an albatross that was becoming heavier by the day.

But now what?

For Ottawa, the staggering number of NHL ready forwards they already have increases by one.

The following are locks to play barring a trade:

1. Alfredsson
2. Spezza
3. Kovalev
4. Michalek
5. Cheechoo
6. Fisher
7. Kelly
8. Neil
9. Ruutu
10. Foligno
11. Winchester
12. Shannon

The following will essentially be fighting for the healthy scratch position:

13. Donovan
14. Smith
15. Regin
16. Schubert
17. Zubov
18. Bass

So what and who is going to give?

One solution could be to trade Chris Kelly and let Jesse Winchester assume his role on the club. Winchester is tougher than Kelly and is quickly getting better although Kelly is well liked in the room and is a great penalty-killer. Murray wasn't happy having to give Kelly over 2 million a season and that price tag will make him equally harder to move.

Another factor is that prospects Zack Smith and Peter Regin are both probably ready to make the NHL. Organizations don't like to let their prospects stagnate in the minors and generally try to move out dead wood to make room on their roster for cheap young players. Both Smith and Regin (and possibly Cody Bass) fit that bill but who is the dead wood?

Shean Donovan is certainly not dead wood and plays a great veteran role on the team as a tireless worker and a speedy fourth liner. He deserves better than to be sitting or put on the waiver wire. Getting rid of Jarkko Ruutu is not going to happen because he plays a singular and important role on the team as an agitator and a physical presence, something the Sens need more of, hence their enthusiasm for Smith.

Can Murray turn around and deal Cheechoo to another team desperate for offense? It's possible but not likely anytime before teams submit their final cap-payrolls to the league at the start of October. Barring a fantastic training camp, Cheechoo is unlikely to land that coveted spot on Spezza's wing. Kovalev, Michalek, Alfredsson and Foligno will all give him stiff competition.

Cheechoo may get some good time on the Senators second power-play unit, a spot that Heatley was very unhappy to be in. He might also be a good fit with Fisher on a third or second line.

As for Heatley's departure, no one is going to shed a tear, let alone myself. Yet, I don't feel the wrath for Heatley was warranted to the degree that it got to. It's a common occurrence for NHL players to complain about ice-time and ask for trades. Just ask Senator defenseman Chris Campoli who did both in Long Island just last year. Yet no one is calling into question his values.

Regardless, it is best for both sides that this situation has now been resolved and perhaps the Senators community, both fans and media, can put down their pitchforks and start supporting the team in a more positive manner.

The notion that the Heatley situation was affecting ticket sales, an opinion not rejected by new team president Cyril Leeder, is probably true but not in the way you think.

For the longest time, the fans and media have been quick to jump on a very negative bandwagon and make pariahs out of certain players for reasons that are shaky at best. In turn, the Senators organization has not taken actions to defend their own players and thus, the product that they are trying to sell to the public is devalued. The players are the product and need to be promoted and protected, just like any other asset.

People barely recognize the charitable work these "millionaire" athletes do for the community and are instead judged by their lifestyles and any innuendo that can be attached to them.

Certain radio programs on the Team 1200 spend countless amounts of capital personally attacking these same players, eroding the very product that the station paid handsomely for to broadcast the games and attract sponsors. Yet the Senators sit on their hands and let the rot set in. Maybe the Senators do complain or even threaten to opt out of their agreement with the station, but it doesn't seem to be working if that is the case.

If Leeder can do anything better than his predecessor Roy Mlakar, he can get out in front of negative stories and try to better protect the product he is trying to sell to ticket buyers. If he is complaining about no one buying tickets, maybe it's because they have a negative view of what you are selling to them, regardless of how the team is doing on the ice.

By and large, NHL players are great guys and the Senators need to do a way better job of telling people about this and using their considerable influence to impart that to their media partners.

People will gladly pay money to watch entertaining hockey played by respectable members of the community. They won't pay money to watch "spoiled athletes" who only care about money and "party" their careers away. It doesn't matter that this type of athlete barely exists in the NHL, let alone in Ottawa. If the public perceives them this way, they won't support the team.

After all these brutal, painful lessons - Daigle, Yashin, Emery, Redden, Heatley - perhaps now the Senators and their fans can get on with what is really important - winning hockey games and keeping the organization healthy and vibrant in the capital of Canada.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

First Salvo In Battle Of Ontario - Rookie Edition

It wasn't a heated playoff game in April between the two provincial rivals - in fact you couldn't get more removed than a rookie game - but it must have been satisfying all the same for Senators fans to see their temporary squad roll over the outclassed Leafs 7-1 in Kitchener tonight.

And while many of the big names performed really well - goalie Robin Lehner being the best example - some other lesser known players finished off the tournament with an exclamation point.

As I noted after the first rookie game against Pittsburgh, Erik Condra really caught my eye, but tonight he grabbed everyone's attention with his inspired, gritty play and his "Gordie Howe Plus" hat-trick - 2 goals, 1 assist and a fight. It's hard to say if Condra will be able to put up a lot of points at the pro level but he will definitely be a leader and an agitator. Because of his age and enthusiasm, Condra should be a really good AHL player this season for Bingo, perhaps filling a role vacated by Zack Smith, should he make the big squad.

Another player who had a great game was camp try-out Brandon Svendsen, who last played for the Idaho Steelheads of the ECHL after finishing a four year run at Bowling Green University where he was an assistant captain. Svendsen (who was born in Minnesota, not Sweden) can really skate and drove to the net all night despite being one of the smaller players in camp. He may get some consideration for Bingo and comes with a reputation as a good penalty-killer from his time in college.

Mike Hoffman really impressed again and makes you wonder how he slipped to the Senators in the 5th round, especially after scoring 52 goals last year in the Quebec league. His determined drive to the net during a play in the 2nd period forced the Leafs to take a penalty and the Senators exploded for 5 goals soon after that. If Senators fans are still upset that Antoine Vermette was traded, don't worry. Hoffman will be his replacement in 2 or 3 years. If you really want to wish for the moon, Hoffman could even end up a player like Simon Gagne or Mike Cammalleri. That's pushing it, but it's not out of the question. He'd have to get a lot stronger but his skills and skating are not in question.

I didn't talk about Kyle Wharton after the Pittsburgh game, but that might be because he's hard to notice. And that's a good thing. He seems really solid in a Chris Phillips kind of way and he even got tossed when he delivered a crushing elbow to John Kurtz. On the play, Wharton had just gotten rid of the puck in his own zone when Kurtz came steamrolling in from the point long after the puck was gone - at least 2 steamboats. Wharton pushed back but his elbow caught Kurtz right on the button and the Leaf went down with his face hitting the ice flush and bouncing off in a sickening fashion. Kurtz skated off on his own but the cameras showed him trying to turn into the wrong room before a trainer pushed him in the right direction. He was in Disneyland for a while there.

Other Senators who had good games were Shea Guthrie (an Almonte, Ontario native and former Islander draft pick who is here on a try-out), Erik Karlsson (no surprise), Craig Schira and, of course, goalie Robin Lehner.

He was even better tonight against the Leafs than he was against the Penguins last Monday. In two games he's let in one goal and made excellent stops all the way. He is inevitably going to end up in the Soo in the OHL this year, and be a bright spot on a bad team. But he should be in the main training camp where he'll get a chance to turn some more heads.

With Jared Cowan, Lehner and Hoffman, the 2009 draft may go down in history as one of the Senators best. And that's not including 2nd round pick Jakob Silfverberg who is also highly touted but still in Europe.

On the Leafs side, you have to appreciate the game 7th overall pick Nazem Kadri played tonight. He seemed like the only Leaf who was embarrassed and started throwing his body around even though he's not known as a physical player. If anything, Kadri woke the Senators back up after a sluggish start to the 3rd period, but it's easy to see why the Senators coveted the London Knight at the draft - and why Brian Burke made sure to get him before Ottawa got the chance.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

New 67's Sweaters

Every team in the CHL is switching over to the Reebok Edge uniform style and the 67's have a couple of new designs they'll wear this year. Hate to say it but the 67's sweaters put the Senators cartoonish duds to shame.

Just swap out the 67's logo with the Senators original 2-D logo (or the current "O" shoulder patch) and you'd have a winner. That black 67's sweater is one of the nicest in hockey, let alone the juniors.

You can check out every new CHL sweater here.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sens Rookies and Old Hasek Stories...

A couple of quick notes on the Ottawa Senators 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the annual rookie tournament which was shown on Rogers locally tonight:

- Right off the start, rookie goalie and 2009 draft pick, Robin Lehner (46th overall) looked really good and made some highlight reel saves throughout the game. It's probably no surprise to some as Lehner was the number one ranked European goalie going into the draft and his father is a renowned goalie coach who instructed Ranger superstar Henrik Lundqvist early on in his career.

It was strange, but Lehner looked dominant and about as close to an NHL goalie that a rookie from Sweden could look like in these circumstances. You really noticed his quick legs as he made multiple stops by shooting out his pads in that butterfly style and his rebound control was almost perfect.

It's only one game in a rookie tournament, but Lehner couldn't have gotten off to a better start in an Ottawa uniform. He's going to stay in North America this season and play for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL.

- Erik Karlsson was the other star of the night and was silky smooth as expected, scoring a nice goal from the point on a laser beam shot. He's a great skater and looked calm and cool at all times.

-Others who impressed were Mike Hoffman, a speedy forward who scored 52 goals in the Q last year. Bryan Murray snagged him with his fifth pick (130th overall) and that may end up being a steal if Hoffman develops as hoped. A lot of you might wonder how a guy who scored over 50 goals in Major Junior could drop to the 5th round but the wide-open QMJHL is notorious for players putting up wild offensive numbers but then falling back once they face professional competition. Hoffman is a little small (175 pounds on draft day) but he has wheels and hands that should take him far.

Peter Regin looked great in the 1st period and then kind of disappeared until the late going of the 3rd. He looks like an NHL player to me, more so than Zack Smith who didn't really do much except get into a nasty scrap at the end of the game. He looks a little like a Cody Bass clone but I'd have to see him in more games to really get a take on his game. Bryan Murray and the organization are really high on him so that says a lot for his chances. He wore the captains "C" on the ice tonight.

Geoff Kinrade and Craig Schira looked solid on defence and Erik Condra really stood out for me out front tonight. His name was mentioned every time he was on the ice and he seemed "pesky" for lack of a better term. The product of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish hockey program, Condra will surely make the Bingo Senators this year and hopefully make an impression there. I really like his game and hope he makes some noise this year.

- Not much in the negative vein except that Jim O'Brien continues to underwhelm. I'm just not sure what O'Brien really does well and he was invisible most of the night. He did have a great year with Seattle in the WHL last year and will get a chance to play more games with Bingo this season. But it's hard to believe that O'Brien was a 1st round pick (29th overall) back in 2007. Maybe I'm wrong about O'Brien and he ends up being a good checking forward in the NHL someday. We'll wait and see.

The entertaining game ended with a series of scraps, one of which left try-out prospect Brett Parnham dazed and confused at centre ice. He had to be helped off the ice by teammates after getting cranked pretty good by a Penguin player whose name I now forget. Parnham ended up with 50 goals for Oshawa last season and played 7 games for Rochester in the AHL. He could end up as an over-ager with the Generals again this season.

For those who are interested, Rogers is showing the Senators first real exhibition game next Tuesday against the Florida Panthers. It will be interesting to see who survives rookie camp to make the main camp which starts this weekend.


Just flipping through some old Hockey News yearbooks and came across this hilarious piece about Dominik Hasek from the 98-99 edition. Hasek was then just coming off two consecutive MVP trophies, four Vezina's in five years and an Olympic gold medal in Nagano. He was also about to lead the very ordinary Buffalo Sabres to the Stanley Cup final, only to lose on a controversial goal by Brett Hull of the Dallas Stars. In other words, Hasek was by far the best player in the NHL at that point. Yet....

"Sure he's quirky. A few years ago, during one team huddle at center ice, someone noticed Hasek down on all fours in the corner of the rink. His gloves were off. "So it was like 'What the hell is this guy doing?' " remembered Rob Ray. They yelled to him. "Dom, what are you doing?" " I'm playing chess," came the reply. Apparently, he was melting out squares of the chessboard with the body heat of his fingertip. Hasek denies the story. "They thought I'm playing chess, " he said, "but I was playing with the snow on the ice because it was a boring practice."

I love Hasek, man, I love him...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Bring Back The Red, White and Black

I've went on and on about how the Senators uniforms are only "okay" and I won't bore you with more meaningless whining on the subject (I don't hate the current uniforms, but they are completely disposable and already dated looking). But my brother pointed out this vintage sweater to me on EBay and it makes me nostalgic for the classic threads the Senators used to wear.

I mean, just look at this amazing sweater. I have no idea why the organization ever discontinued it. It's perfect, yet sadly forgotten.

They have an intimdation factor too. Wasn't it celebrity Leaf fan Mike Myers who said that part of the reason he hated the Senators was that their black uniforms made them look like the Empire out of Star Wars?

And the classic logo. Proud and traditional, and not with a put-on menace and cartoon like feel which the current logo certainly has in spades.

My dream scenario? They go back to this black sweater (and it's white counterpart) with the original logo, and they use the current red one as a 3rd jersey.

Everyone wins, right?

Or am I on my own here? Maybe some of you think the old sweaters are ugly. But then I'd have to question your taste...