Tuesday Late Night Grab Bag

Earlier this afternoon, the Senators’ official Twitter account (@NHL_Sens) sent the Interwebs abuzz by publishing the audio from Cory Clouston’s media scrum. Although the coach’s answers covered a number of topics, it was the ones pertaining to the health of Daniel Alfredsson that created quite the stir.

According to Clouston, Alfie’s weeks away and there’s been absolutely no progress in his recovery.

“It’s the type of injury where one day it feels a certain way and another day it feels another way. We’re not going to put him in a situation where it could make any further damage because that’s what it has done all season. He’s been getting progressively worse, the more he tried to fight through it so we’re not going to put him in that situation.”

 

When asked whether the injury was related to the sports hernia problem that plagued him last season, Clouston responded by saying, “Yes and no. There is some form of injury that is going to nag him forever and that does have some lingering effects, sure.

 

Having watched Alfie repeatedly break down over the course of the latter stages of the past few seasons, it’s pretty easy to ascertain that his problems started manifesting the winter of 2008. Interestingly, if you ask some what they remember most about the 2007-08 season, some will recall Ottawa’s torrid start to the 2007-08 season and the premature comparisons to the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens. Or some may fondly recall the production of Ottawa’s top line and how Alfie was the NHL’s leading point getter by the All-Star break.

Me?

That 2007-08 season will remembered by John Paddock’s desperate attempt for self-preservation. Although he didn’t fashion wrist bands and batting gloves, he was hockey’s equivalent to Dusty Baker – a baseball manager renowned for ignoring pitch counts and for being a contributing factor in Mark Prior and Kerry Wood’s arm problems. When that 2007-08 season was spiraling down the drain, Paddock’s reliance upon the Pizza Line to carry the Senators – giving them upwards of 26 to 27 minutes of ice-time per game – was irresponsible and may have helped lead to this accumulation of Alfie injuries since 2008:

  • Hip pointer injury (winter 2008)
  • Shoulder injury stemming from Mark Bell hit (April, 2008)
  • After the 2008 quarterfinal playoff series against the Pens, Alfie admits to playing with a ruptured MCL ligament in his knee.
  • Has bone chips removed from his knee (October 2008)
  • Plays the rest of the 2009-10 season with a sports hernia injury that bothered him since February.

Now here’s Alfie’s career numbers courtesy of Hockey-Reference.com:

Season Age Team Lg GP G A PTS GC +/- PIM EV PP SH GW S S% TOI ATOI
1995-96 23 Ottawa Senators NHL 82 26 35 61 24 -18 28 16 8 2 3 212 12.3
1996-97 24 Ottawa Senators NHL 76 24 47 71 26 5 30 12 11 1 1 247 9.7
1997-98 25 Ottawa Senators NHL 55 17 28 45 17 7 18 10 7 0 7 149 11.4
1998-99 26 Ottawa Senators NHL 58 11 22 33 12 8 14 8 3 0 5 163 6.7 1007 17:22
1999-00 27 Ottawa Senators NHL 57 21 38 59 22 11 28 15 4 2 0 164 12.8 1069 18:45
2000-01 28 Ottawa Senators NHL 68 24 46 70 26 11 30 14 10 0 3 206 11.7 1277 18:47
2001-02 29 Ottawa Senators NHL 78 37 34 71 30 3 45 27 9 1 4 243 15.2 1584 20:19
2002-03 30 Ottawa Senators NHL 78 27 51 78 28 15 42 18 9 0 6 240 11.3 1524 19:32
2003-04 31 Ottawa Senators NHL 77 32 48 80 31 12 24 23 9 0 5 230 13.9 1494 19:24
2005-06 33 Ottawa Senators NHL 77 43 60 103 40 29 50 22 16 5 8 249 17.3 1670 21:41
2006-07 34 Ottawa Senators NHL 77 29 58 87 31 42 42 20 7 2 7 240 12.1 1661 21:35
2007-08 35 Ottawa Senators NHL 70 40 49 89 35 15 34 24 9 7 5 217 18.4 1560 22:17
2008-09 36 Ottawa Senators NHL 79 24 50 74 27 7 24 15 8 1 3 204 11.8 1649 20:53
2009-10 37 Ottawa Senators NHL 70 20 51 71 24 8 22 15 4 1 5 168 11.9 1377 19:40
2010-11 38 Ottawa Senators NHL 54 14 17 31 13 -19 18 7 7 0 1 96 14.6 1041 19:17

Given the circumstances and nature of his injury, the expectation that Alfie may be shut down for the rest of the season is a reasonable one and it leads one to wonder whether or not it’s the kind of nagging injury that will make him consider retirement. Talking with some friends, a few expressed concern that as a player aged 35 or older who signed a multi-year contract, his average salary will still count against cap during every year of the contract, even if the player retires before the contract is up. I reassured them that Alfie could do something similar to Ian Laperriere in Philadelphia – he could simply stay on LTIR and postpone his retirement so that his cap hit doesn’t count against the cap. (See, even when he’s banged up, Alfie can still contribute and help out. Mind you, with Ottawa’s cap situation and the organization’s expressed intent to abstain from some marquee free agent signings, it’s not like they will need the room.)

Other News and Notes:

RDS’ Renaud Lavoie tweeted (@renhockey) Still no talks between Sens and Chris Phillips for a new contract and Phillips is still waiting on what the Sens will do with him. Nice. This mirrors what I was saying on the latest podcast. Hopefully this turns out a little better than Heatley’s refusal to waive his movement clause for Edmonton.

In the Ottawa Sun, Bruce Garrioch reported that Chris Neil had a limited no-movement clause. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

In that same article, Garrioch mentions the relationship between John Tortorella and Filip Kuba as a viable reason for the New York Rangers’ level of interest in acquiring Kuba. Hear me out… Granted, I’ll admit, in light of how he’s played this season, Kuba deserves to be moved. However, with the way that the team looks to be shaped next season, I can’t foresee any scenario that has Ottawa in the playoffs next season. With his back surgery last summer and the broken leg that he suffered in training camp, he hasn’t really been afforded the opportunity to get in shape. Considering those circumstances and the low expectations for the team, wouldn’t it be more prudent to afford Kuba the opportunity to get healthy and hopefully fetch something of value at next year’s trade deadline?

Scott MacArthur tweeted this morning the Sens will take the best player available in the draft. They will not draft position-specific. That is to say, if Sens rank D Adam Larsson highest and he’s available, they’ll take him. It’s an interesting development and one that I really like. Considering what the market for young defencemen has fetched some organizations in the last few days – James Neal and Chris Stewart – I wouldn’t be adverse to see the organization dealing from a position of strength.

In a blog post for the Denver Post (that was brought to my attention by James Gordon), Adrian Dater discusses Craig Anderson’s reluctance to accept the Avalanche’s offer of a two-year extension worth $7.5 million and carrying an annual cap hit of $3.75 million. Whether or not Anderson still wants to test the free agent market is of no consequence. It’s still a no-lose situation for the Senators. With the way that Elliott was playing down the stretch, he was a candidate to be non-tendered and Ottawa essentially gets exclusive negotiation rights with Anderson until July 1st.

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