February 18, 2011
Is Sens GM Murray a genius?
By DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency
The latest Senators trade was a shocker. Like, whoever would have thought there would be someone to take Brian Elliott off Bryan Murray’s hands?
For doing so, we figured, maybe Murray deserves consideration as NHL executive of the year.
Elliott used to be inconsistent. He sure corrected that problem in 2010-11, especially the last couple of months, when he was consistently bad. Wasn’t entirely his fault, though. He’s not ready to be a No. 1 goalie. He had to be, here.
Still, you would have thought Elliott’s last game as a Senator would have scared off any team even remotely interested in acquiring him. Particularly his explanation for being deked into the front row of seats by Michael Grabner on a goal after the Islanders forward misplayed a breakaway. It was scored almost three minutes after the Zamboni driver had finished re-surfacing.
Elliott blamed the new ice, saying it made him slide more than usual. Imagine having to deal with slippery ice? Maybe it’s stickier in Colorado.
GOOD BUY KELLY
Any thought that Eugene Melynk’s “plan” is to have a quick turnaround back to respectability was proven otherwise with the trading of Chris Kelly, the exact type of player Ottawa would be looking to add if it was going to be challenging for a playoff spot any time soon.
At $2.1 million, Kelly is a good buy, not a good-bye.
Kelly made his Bruins debut Friday, and the Senators showed a very nice video of his Ottawa highlights during the first TV timeout, after which Kelly stood up and waved to the applauding fans.
Kelly, who has had his visa problems cleared up, was able to fly back to Boston with his new team after the game. He said he and his family will continue to make their off-season home in Ottawa.
He also explained why he picked No. 23 to wear, as his old No. 22 belongs to Shawn Thornton. “They gave me an option,” he said. “And 23 is one up from 22.”
We always did like the simple way Kelly broke things down for us. Also like that he understood reporters deadlines, and how some of us wouldn’t have time to get to him after the game.
Need a quote Chris, he was told Friday morning. What was it like to play against your old Senators teammates? “I don’t know,” he said. “It was surreal. Surreal.”
STARTS AND STOPS
The Senators outshot (11-5) and outplayed the Bruins in the first period, leading one to think that maybe now that they’ve rid themselves of the deadwood, they can get back to a serious run at a playoff spot.
Winning each of their remaining 23 games gives them a shot ... The second ovation of the scoreless opening period was given to new goalie Craig Anderson, who took Pascal Leclaire’s spot in the backup goalie’s seat as soon as he was able to arrive in Ottawa, get to the rink and suit up in his new gear. That is, with about three minutes left in the period ... As the scoreboard cam zoomed in on a grinning Anderson, they saw him shaking hands (introducing himself) to his new playmates. They also saw that the Senators have finally landed themselves a goalie who opts for the bald look.
THINGS I THINK I THINK
It’s one thing to dump salaries, but reporters showed up at the Scotiabank Place pressbox Friday night to find the wireless wasn’t working and the one toilet was out of order. Really, Eugene? ... Jesse Winchester ate dinner with Jarkko Ruutu every night the Senators were on the road, and played hallway soccer with him before every home game. He went on a fishing trip last summer with Chris Kelly. He was buddies with Brian Elliott. “It’s hard to say goodbye to friends,” he said. “You wish them the best.” Winchester is now one of the veterans on the team, and it’s up to him to step into the new role with some assertiveness. “We have a chance to become better individually,” he said ... Good ticket to get would be for the March 8 game at the Bell Centre for the next chapter of Bruins-Habs hostilities. Last time, you’ll remember, the fights included one between Tim Thomas and Carey Price. Do you anticipate another scrap this season, Tim? “I anticipated that I was never going to get in a fight,” Thomas said Friday morning. “The circumstances that lead to it happen so rarely. It was really weird. I’m from Flint, Mich. I was in a lot of fights, hardly at all on the ice. Boxed some, too. Even when you’re boxing a friend, I could never really start fighting until I was hit with one that made me mad. “
Asked his opinion on why Ottawa is considered a “goalie graveyard.” GM Bryan Murray blamed it on the media.
“Because you guys make it that way,” he said.
“You over-analyze every goal that’s scored.”
Murray then indicated he was only half-serious, if even that, with the finger-pointing.
“Maybe we haven’t gone out and got the right goalie,” he said.
“We haven’t had the high-end guy here who doesn’t care about anything other than playing well, and he just plays well. We haven’t allowed that to happen because we probably haven’t put a guy in position to do that.”
With 187 penalty minutes and 18 scraps in the AHL this season, Francis Lessard was asked Friday morning if he could “guarantee” a fight against the Bruins.
“I’m going to try and put some trouble out there,” he said.
“You never know. We’ll see how that goes.
“I pick my fight when I have to fight, give energy to the team. I know my role.”
Lessard’s reputation earned him the only penalty of the first period, a very questionable high stick call as he was headed toward the bench.