Sens need to Get Smart

SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:14 AM ET

BRUCE GARRIOCH: It shouldn't be, but it probably will be. Time for the players to take some of the blame. They are the ones not performing. It's ridiculous the way some of these guys are underachieving, but if they come back winless in 13, there will be changes. My personal feeling is it's time to stop giving some of these guys a chance to come around and just move them.

DON BRENNAN: Who ya trading, Bruce?

GARRIOCH: I think you can guess. The issue is: Who is going to want them?

BRENNAN: Well, there you go then.

TIM BAINES: The coach is always the first to go. The owner insists this is a Top 4 team. And he may continue to believe that until it's mathematically impossible. Something's gotta give. It doesn't seem like Bryan Murray's dealing from a position of power. Too many of the players are overpaid and, thus, have little value on the trade market. If he's trading, it's going to be a blockbuster.

CHRIS STEVENSON: Shouldn't make your many readers guess, Bruce. They're interested in your opinion. Hartsburg's the third coach here in less than a year. Is changing the coach again going to be the answer? I guess, more importantly, the question is does owner Eugene Melnyk let Bryan Murray fire the coach again? I think that's a tough sell.

BAINES: I know it's not exactly related to the Senators' ineptitude, but Mitch The Axe was wondering aloud the other day: "Which role was Bernie Kopell better at ... Doc (Dr. Adam Bricker) on The Love Boat or Siegfried on Get Smart." I used to skip my morning classes at WLU to watch The Love Boat, but I loved Get Smart too. I've gotta go with Siegfried ... 'Shtocker, zis is Kaos ...' "

GARRIOCH: You can't keep changing the guy behind the bench. If they do that it means the players are running the show. That would be three coaches in less than two years. Who knows? Maybe they are just coach killers.

BAINES: And if they're coach killers, you've gotta make a pretty significant personnel change. That means one of your big players has got to go, which one?

GARRIOCH: Hard to make a deal of that significance these times, Tim. Jason Spezza can be dealt. We know that. The issue is who is going to want to take on the $49 million left on his contract? The cap is going to go down in two years.

STEVENSON: Well, Spezza is really the only one you can move, Tim, if you're looking to move a core guy. Everybody else has got the no-movement deal, don't they?

GARRIOCH: Fisher has a no-move. Heatley has a no-move. Alfredsson has a no-move. Phillips has a no-move. Neil is UFA at the end of the year, but you need his toughness. That leaves Vermette and Schubert as targets. As a GM told me: "They don't have a lot of value right now."

STEVENSON: That's a pretty sharp GM you're talking to, Bruce.

BRENNAN: So you think they should deal Spezza? I don't. They do and they'll spend the next five years looking for a first-line centre who can score 100 points. I don't think you win without one.

GARRIOCH: I don't think they can deal Spezza. No one will take the contract. If you deal Spezza you are risking a Joe Thornton-type deal and, Don, you know how that turned out.

STEVENSON: Yeah, the Bruins are in first place in the Eastern Conference.

BRENNAN: In spite of the Thornton trade, Chris. And you know that. Not a good move by the Bs. So Bruce, who do they trade?

GARRIOCH: Hands are tied.

STEVENSON: You guys say the Bruins are in first despite the Thornton deal, but maybe not having him around allowed them the room to get Chara and opened a space for Savard. I think they've had a bit to do with the B's turnaround.

GARRIOCH: Okay. Go with it. The best thing it did was get Mike O'Connell fired. The Bruins wouldn't have been looking for Peter Chiarelli if O'Connell hadn't made that lame-brain move.

BAINES: However you slice it, the Thornton trade was a horrible move by the Bruins. One of the worst trades in the past 10 years. They happened to have players who could replace him. Who will replace Spezza in the middle if they deal him?

GARRIOCH: Exactly my point. Who will replace Spezza? Guys have bad years.

BAINES: You guys are too serious about this thing. Hey, it's only hockey. Pop culture is where it's at. Siegfried or Doc?

GARRIOCH: Pop what? You wanted to go for a Coke?


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