Thursday, March 4, 2010

Is It The End Of The Line For Leclaire?

If anything, the loss to the Carolina Hurricanes has cured me of my season-long faith in Pascal Leclaire.

One game is never enough to judge a player's overall performance, but there are certain games where character is revealed, and it's now become obvious that Leclaire is a long shot to ever recover in time for the playoffs.

Simply put, Leclaire just had to have a big game in Carolina. Everything was on the line for him. Clouston was giving him his shot and it just felt like it was his time to take the reins back. Instead, Leclaire only showed that he is not mentally tough enough right now to face any adversity.

Of course, the Senators defenseman were terrible for the second night in a row, in particular Matt Carkner, Anton Volchenkov and Chris Phillips. But early in the game, Leclaire needed to make a save to keep his team from getting eaten alive and he couldn't get the job done.

No one has been a bigger supporter of Leclaire than Black Aces, but it's become clear he doesn't have the toughness to overcome whatever is plaguing his game right now.

Time to go with Brian Elliott down the stretch.

The Senators just don't have a choice anymore.



Is it just me or has Matt Carkner not been the same since getting KO'd by Colton Orr a week before the Olympic break? He still seems groggy out there and has been even worse than Brian Lee in the past two games (I never thought I would utter those words). But here's betting he gets it under control soon enough. He just needs to dust someone in a scrap and get on with his season.....

And what's happened to Volchenkov? This unnecessary contract dispute seems to have thrown off the Russian's concentration as he skates around in no mans land out there on the ice. Both sides in the dispute should just cave a little and get the damn thing done. I can see Murray fighting some players over dollars, but Volchenkov? This guy has done nothing but leave his body on the ice every single game he plays and he should be a Senator for life. This is not the guy to get cheap with and risk losing. Hell, let two or three forwards go if it means keeping this warrior in Ottawa. Just get it done.....

Any chance Murray can find a taker for Filip Kuba this summer and use the savings to sign Andy Sutton? That would still leave room for a rookie like Patrick Wiercioch to crack the roster, but it may be too much of the same if Jared Cowen is ready to play. Can you imagine having Carkner, Sutton, Volchenkov, Phillips and Cowen in your top six? Not likely to happen, but it would be fun to watch....

Folks should lay off Matt Cullen. He'll prove to be a great pickup. Either their shifts overlapped or it looked like Coach Clouston played Cullen with Alfredsson late in the game and they seemed to work good together, for whatever that's worth. The idea is intriguing because both are smooth as silk and have great hockey sense. Maybe it's worth a shot against the Leafs on Saturday. Stay tuned.....

It's a nice story seeing Carolina stringing together a bunch of wins, but it's easy to play that way when you have nothing to lose. Every year it seems that a bottom feeder goes on a wild run in the last quarter of the season but falls short every time. Even Ottawa started to turn things around last season when all hope had already been lost. But that may have had more to do with Clouston and his coaching skills than anything else. Still, you have to hand it to the Canes. These guys go on wild streaks from year to year. Who knows? Next year they could win the Stanley Cup. They seem to alternate long playoff runs with colossal failures.


Anonymous said...

Maybe Carkner will find a spark Saturday night. Should be Carkner vs. Orr, round four. The last fight felt like that Grats vs. Domi classic, but with the reverse effect. Hopefully Carks can even up the score.

Phillips and Volch signed their current contracts just before the 2007 playoffs started. They went on to have strong performances, and the team reached the Finals.

I can't see how the uncertainty around contract talks will be good for either side heading into the playoffs. You're right, I hope they get something done.

If the player wanted to test UFA, then it would be different. But, you get the sense that Volch wants to stay.

I always thought that dealing Kuba in the summer would provide the space necessary to keep Volch. With the young guys coming up, do we really need Kuba? I don't see how there's room for Sutton, as Phillips can sign an extension as of July 1. His contract is up at the end of next year. Give him $4M early, rather than $5M late.

In fact, call both Phillips and Volch into the office and tell them they are both loved, they're both important, and they're both getting $4M over four years.

That five D that you want will have a tough time creating offence. No puck movers.

I never liked the fact that we dealt Vermette. I thought that Leclaire's cap hit was too high, given the options that were available. That being said, I like the guy, and I hope he finds his game. He has game, it's just not his year.

Anonymous said...

Hard to tell on leclaire. The team can ill afford to lose from now till the end. Elliot is a known quantity.

Anonymous said...

Leclaire has not worked out, end of story. I am not surprised that Murray didnt move him at the deadline, but I am dissapointed. Maybe there were no takers? Oh well, I guess its insurance at this point as we head into the playoffs.

Cohen is not going to make our team next year, and he may never make it the way he played at the WJHC. He is not the answer.

Anonymous said...

anon @ 11:52am

I don't think Cohen wants to make the team. He's busy running the CFL.

GelatinousMutantCoconut said...

I figured it was too soon to post these ideas, but since you mentioned trading Kuba:

Draft Day 2010:

Phoenix Gets:

Chris Kelly
Filip Kuba
Ottawa's 2010 First Round Pick

Ottawa Gets:

Negotiating rights to Z. Michalek
Calgary's first round draft pick (assuming Flames miss the play-offs)

Ottawa moves up in the draft, probably to the 10-15 range, and dumps almost 6 million in salary, pretty much of all (and more) to Volchenkov and Michalek.

Phoenix still has two first round picks, but also gets two veterans at key positions.

To NY Rangers:
Chris Campoli
Brian Lee

To Ottawa:
Wade Redden
NYR first round pick (again, assuming they miss the play-offs)

Another 10-15 draft pick for Ottawa. All it costs is two cheap young defensemen who don't fit well in Ottawa. I bet most of you panicked when you saw Wade Redden's name, but all Ottawa has to do is demote him to Binghampton for the next 4 years. A lot of money to ride the buses, but Wade can finish his career in this organisation (albeit in the AHL) and taking his salary is key in obtaining the Rangers pick.

With those picks the Sens select Nino Niederreiter and John McFarland.


Volchenkov 4.000
Michalek 3.000
Foligno 1.500
Regin 1.500
Sutton 1.500
Winchester 0.600



That brings us to about a total cap hit of 55.7