Weekend Wars

Life in the nation’s capital is pretty good right now. The hockey teams — the Olympiques, 67′s and the Senators — are all in the playoffs, the weather has been fantastic, golf courses are open, and the Ottawa Sun’s Digital Faceoff has pertinent information that goes beyond Tim Baines’ VHS tape collection.

Here’s a look at the bevy of information that flowed out of the Blackberries of Bruce Garrioch, Tim Baines and Don Brennan. Once I’ve bulleted the important stuff, I’ll post my thoughts on each respective comment below:

  • GARRIOCH: I’m not convinced Anton wants to leave Ottawa. I always keep thinking he’ll stay here when push comes to shove. They offered him a five-year deal. I’m sure he wants to see how this team does in the playoffs.
  • GARRIOCH: He (Cheechoo) has worked hard down there, but it’s not going to do him any good. He might catch on with an NHL team somewhere else next year once he gets bought out at the end of the season.
  • BAINES: I love Kovie saying his “slump” was a media creation. I’d say if you’re paid to score goals and you don’t score any goals for a dozen games or so, you’re in a slump. I guess the guy sees things a bit differently. Can’t slag him for that.
  • GARRIOCH: Hard to beat Major League for baseball movies.
  • BRENNAN: Bobby Butler (he looked great against the ’Canes, I thought).

Getting into the semantics of Bruce’s Volchenkov contract, I have to assume that Volchenkov is sitting on a 5-year deal. It’s a bit of a good news/bad news situation for Senators fans. On one hand, it seems as though he has an offer that he’s actually entertaining from the Senators. On the other hand, if Ottawa fizzles out in the first round against a tough playoff matchup like New Jersey or Pittsburgh, Volchenkov may test the market.

Hearing that Jonathan Cheechoo will likely get bought out is interesting from the standpoint that with a year left on his deal, Ottawa could simply leave him in Binghamton next season for the purposes of not having a buyout affect the team’s cap situation. Provided that Ottawa buys out Cheechoo, here’s how the situation would unfold:

  • Since Cheechoo is older than 26 years of age, any buyout would have to be for 2/3rds of the remaining value on his contract.
  • Even though his contract has an average cap hit of $3.0M, a buyout would have to be 2/3rds of the remaining $3.5M value that he is owed for next season.
  • His buyout would be $2.33M spread out evenly over twice the remaining years on his contract.
  • Consequently, his cap hit on a contract would be $1.166M for the next two seasons.

Considering that the actual real dollar savings of buying out Cheechoo would only be just over one million dollars, is it worth losing one million cap dollars for each of the next two seasons? I’m not convinced. I knew at the time that the Euge’s 9 million sold BioVail shares would come in handy at some point.

Way too many people are getting caught up in this Kovalev slump circlejerk. As Tim alluded to in this week’s podcast, Kovalev’s being brutally honest when he says he’s not in a slump and it’s true. Although his production isn’t there, it’s not like his work ethic hasn’t changed one iota during this stretch of games. It hasn’t. He still resembles the player who always looks like he has much more to offer.

When I think of Kovalev, I’m reminded of Dany Heatley in the sense that the difference between a good Kovalev game and a bad Kovalev game is 1-2 goals. When either of Heatley or Kovalev aren’t putting up points, their impact upon a game is small.

Complaining about the inconsistency of production from 36-year old at this stage of the season is asanine. He has arrived and played in Ottawa as advertised. As a secondary scorer who should put up 50+ plus points per season, accept it and move on. Management took a gamble hoping that this would be a guy who could catch fire in a bottle. Considering that the UFA market alternatives either didn’t want to come here or required to be overcompensated by term and money (Havlat, Cammalleri, Gionta), a short term deal on a guy who can at times catch lightning in a bottle and carry a team offensively was worth the risk. In retrospect, imagine that the team never signed him. Could you try and envision how utterly depressing the season could have been with either of Ryan Shannon or Jonathan Cheechoo flanking Mike Fisher on the second line for the bulk of the season.

The panel needs some modern baseball movies to round out the list. If you’re a fan of baseball movies, be sure to rent Sugar and 61.

As mentioned on the latest podcast, ’round these parts, Bobby Butler will henceforth be known as The Marlboro Man. (Ed. note: He was born in Marlboro, Massachusetts.)

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