Are Senators asleep?

TIM BAINES -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:15 AM ET

In a world of new hockey economics, where fiscal sanity is supposed to reign, there should be no reason to panic when the Adam Footes and Derian Hatchers of the world hit the jackpot.

There should be no reason for the Senators to fret when Pavol Demitra finds a new zip code or when the tightwad Chicago Blackhawks crack their piggybank open to sign Ottawa boy Adrian Aucoin.

And why would the Senators really care that Shawn McEachern is back in Boston?

Does it really matter that Gary Roberts and Joe Nieuwendyk have jumped the good ship Leaf and landed in Florida, of all places, for former Ottawa bench boss Jacques Martin?

No, there's no reason for concern.

Not when, on a day when free-agent signings came one after another, the Senators had a major signing of their own: Denis Hamel. With all due respect to Denis Hamel, Denis freaking who?

It isn't fair to rip the Senators, not in just the second day of free agency. Not when they have so much in-house business to take care of. Guys like Martin Havlat, Marian Hossa, Jason Spezza, Anton Volchenkov, Ray Emery and Mike Fisher have to be taken care of -- rewarded handsomely.

Sure, the Senators have to be careful. We understand that.

NEED TRUE GRIT

But here's something disturbing. We talk about adding some sandpaper up front, a bit more grit. Maybe that's why we figured that Todd White was no longer a good enough player in our system.

We admitted that we were interested in players like Bobby Holik. Darren McCarty. And Martin Lapointe.

Bad news, Senators. Snooze, you lose.

Holik, without a doubt, was the most overpaid player in the NHL last year. New York paid him off, about $9 million, to go away. It didn't take long for him to latch on with somebody else. The Atlanta Thrashers gambled $12.75 million that some of Holik's grit will rub off on young pups Ilya Kovalchuk and Dany Heatley.

Strike one off the Senators list.

Uh, make that strike two. McCarty, who would have provided a solid work ethic, along with a fist or two when needed, was snapped up by the Calgary Flames yesterday. Surely, he got a couple of million bucks. Nah, $1.6 million -- for two years. That's $800,000 a season. You mean to tell me that the Senators couldn't pay that?

Maybe the Senators still like Lapointe. Some reports last night said he'd already signed with Ottawa -- four years at $2.1 million a season. But Lapointe's agent Gilles Lupien said 14 teams were still in the running to sign the winger.

Again, panic is likely premature. The Senators are wiser than this scribe. But it must seem bizarre, at least a little odd, to Senators fans that on a day that other NHL teams were beginning to build, we were adding Denis Hamel. Not a banner day in a drive for a Stanley Cup.


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