February 27, 2012
Sens should have dumped Kuba
By DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency
BOSTON - As someone who spent D-Day missing connecting flights and media availabilities, there are a couple of things I can only assume.
First and foremost, I can only assume Bryan Murray did not get an offer for Filip Kuba. Like a middle-round pick, maybe. Or a good batch of sticks. Yup, I can only assume Murray couldnít convince anyone to part with anything worthwhile for Kuba, because I believe if he coulda, he woulda.
Iím also can only assume Murray couldnít smooth talk another GM into making him even a mediocre offer for Sergei Gonchar, not that for even a moment I believed he could.
See, I donít think Gonchar is having the ďgreatĒ season others are claiming. Iíll only buy that heís better than he was last season, when he was brutal. I donít believe heís very good in his own end, and I know he has only two goals this season ó none in almost four months.
Iím aware of the 30 assists and see that he moves the puck all right. I know Gonchar is not horrible, but I want a lot more from a guy I still have to pay $5.5 million next season, when heís 38. All things considered, I think Matt Gilroy is just as good as Gonchar.
That said, Iím not sure I would have traded a 24-year-old Brian Lee for Gilroy. Not just because the Senators were 12-0-1 in their past 13 games (and 20-11-4 this season) with Lee in the lineup. I thought Lee was playing fine. I was even told so.
ďBrian has played real well for us,Ē coach Paul MacLean said after Sundayís victory over the Islanders. ďHe has made adjustments in his game and has learned some of the game. When he plays, he plays real well.Ē
At the same time, I was not shocked to see him moved. Murray never drafted him. He was coach when John Muckler did ó with the very pick Murray and the rest of the hockey world believed would be used to take Marc Staal. Murray did well to get something decent for a guy he never wanted in the first place.
Like with Gonchar, I think Kubaís importance has been blown out of proportion. Like with Gonchar, I think his play this season looks decent when held up to his play last season, the same way average gets confused with hot when compared to ugly.
Iíve seen Kuba make some smart, subtle plays in his own zone. Iíve also seen him show far too many flashes of the Kuba from a season ago.
I believe in the chemistry thing, but Iím skeptical about what Kuba and Gonchar bring to the table. Iím not in the room all the time, but I just donít see those two as real leaders ó nowhere close to the same way as a guy like Chris Phillips is, for instance.
And I really have a hard time accepting the talk that Erik Karlssonís exceptional play has anything to do with Kuba. I think Karlsson would have 65 points right now and would be considered the frontrunner for the Norris Trophy if he was paired with Phillips all season.
I also think the Senators would be just fine going into the final six weeks and the playoffs with Karlsson-Phillips, Gonchar-Jared Cowen, Gilroy (or Lee) and Matt Carkner as their pairings, with Mark Borowiecki around as the seventh guy. The only thing Iíd be worried about is the depth on the blue line, but Murray really didnít address that the way, say, Peter Chiarelli did in Boston, anyway.
Thereís no way Murray is going to re-sign Kuba. Not unless he can get him back for about half of the $3.7 mil the guy makes now, and even then I seriously doubt he wouldnít put the money toward a young prospect instead.
I believe Murray didnít really believe his own sales pitch on Kuba last week, and I believe he would have rather retrieved a little something for the guy before he walks. Thatís why I can only assume nobody offered a pail of pucks for the Senatorsí gentle giant on D-Day.
FIGHT NIGHT IN BEANTOWN?
So Joe Corvo is vowing to drop the gloves with Kyle Turris, if the Senators centre will oblige him, when the teams meet up at TD Garden Tuesday night. Why say it? Why not just do it? The league is not going to let ďUh OhĒ get away with such premeditated babble if the fight goes down. Anyway, it still seems unlikely, as Corvo has been credited with just one scrap in his eight-season career. Still think there will be a brawl or three after the physical nature of last Saturdayís Ottawa-Boston showdown, especially if Bís enforcer Shawn Thornton returns from the flu. MacLean would be wise to get both Carkner and Zenon Konopka back in the lineup for this one.