Time to Open Up Kindergarten on Ottawa’s Blue Line

David Rundblad plays in his first World Championship for Sweden.(HockeyCanada.ca)

For every hockey team there comes that point where they have to decide whether the team it has can accomplish what it was intended to do (win), or if it is time to bite the bullet and begin a real youth movement. That is a question the Senators will confront as training camp opens in a few weeks.

After the team’s worst finish since the bad old days of the mid ’90s, and with many veterans already moved at last year’s trade deadline, the decision to give the kids a chance has been made. Now, though, comes the question of whether Bryan Murray and the Sens front office will make the remaining moves necessary to allow the teams new young players to take their place on the team.

A key part of this is the question of who will fill the top six spots on the blueline. Let’s presume a young number 1 team of Erik Karlsson and his defensive partner from last year, Brian Lee. Tony Mendes at Senshot points out this was a speed and speed pairing which worked well last year and deserves to be cultivated from the get go this season. It also allows veteran defenders Chris Phillips and Matt Carkner to anchor the 2 and 3 pairs.

Sergei Gonchar will fit into the offensive 2 slot, if he’s there. This is where a move makes sense. Gonchar’s skills, and salary, simply make no sense for a team in a rebuilding phase like the Senators. On the other hand, he might be a good fit for a team that figures to contend this season. While he had an awful year, he is likely to rebound, meaning 40 points or better, with 12 or more goals minimum. Looking at him as an asset to be converted rather than a salary to be dumped, he should at least warrant a decent draft pick in return.

If Gonchar is gone, then David Rundblad could be Phillips new partner. Rundblad is a highly anticipated prospect who showed his abilities last year in the Swedish Elite League. He is ready for a chance at the NHL level, and with Phillips covering his back, he could excel at the NHL level as a rookie. He should be good for 25 to 30 points if he plays a full season with commensurate powerplay time.

Matt Carkner

That leaves the third pairing. With Carkner as the defensive anchor, not to mention a tough customer when things get rough, his partner will have some freedom to jump into the play. While right now that partner could be Filip Kuba, like Gonchar he is an asset to be moved for useful pieces down the road. This would allow Jared Cowan, Ottawa’s 2009 first-rounder to slide into a regular spot in the line-up beside Carkner. With Cowan’s offensive game needing time to develop at this level, he will be in a good position to get regular minutes without too much pressure. This is a better use of those minutes than giving them to a veteran with a big salary.

That leaves the number seven slot on defence. That can then go to Tim Conboy, signed this off season as an unrestricted free agent from the Sabres organization. He brings size, physicality, and versatility, as he can also play the wing. While other options would be Patrick Weircioch or Eric Gryba, both of these are young players who need to play major minutes in Binghamton. The limited minutes of a number seven d-man won’t do them any good.

With Ottawa’s trials, the time to get young is now.

  • http://GMHockey.com SpezDispenser

    First off, I can’t recall Lee and Karlsson ever being paired. Lee was the anchor that helped stabilize Phillips’ game (along with Anderson). Secondly, Tim Conboy has a better shot at piloting the next shuttle mission as he has being on the Sens roster.

    Conboy was signed for Binghamton first and foremost, he’s not under any illusion at all abound making the Sens, rest assured on that one, but even if he was to make the team, where in the heck would he be put? 7th D-man as you suggested? No way, that’s reserved for Matt Carkner.

    What the Sens will do is:

    Phillips – Lee
    Kuba – Karlsson
    CowEn – Gonchar
    Carkner (as 7th)

    And the first call up will not be Conboy, not will he be the second call-up or third. Rundblad (or Cowen) depending on who makes the team out of camp will be the first call up, followed by highly touted local boy Boroweicki, followed by Wiercioch, followed by Gryba, THEN Conboy (maybe).

    Even if the Sens dispatch themselves of Kuba, I doubt Rundblad would get the call – as discussed to death on hockey forums like HF and GMHockey, he doesn’t play the left side 5 on 5. Do you want to put a rookie on his off side on D? Didn’t think so.

    I think it’s nice to see blogs about the Sens out there, don’t get me wrong, but there’s a lot of information in this one that isn’t accurate. I would heavily suggest going to HF or a similar sight and really immersing yourself in the Sens before taking on the task of writing about them, because there are literally hundreds of ‘super’ fans who know precisely what they’re talking about – and many of them will take you to task for small mistakes.


    • Who are you?

      In regards to the comment titled “Spezdispenser”.

      Who do you think you are? I can’t believe you have the balls to call out this column, but you yourself, don’t recall Lee and Karlsson playing together. Check your ego pal. They played together 7.44% of the time, at even-strength. You must have missed Karlsson getting 3 of his 45 points while being partnered with Lee and 1 of those coming while shorthanded against Tampa on March 19th, 2011.

      Tim Conboy begs to differ. He will work hard in Bingo and will get his shot in Ottawa at some point due to injuries to the big club. But I bet you thought Pascal Leclaire was Ottawa’s saviour too?

      What the Sens will do is…? I didn’t know Bryan Murray and/or Paul MacLean responded to this column.

      You say, hockey forums is the place Jason Phieffer should go to research? Get a life Dude. I didn’t know anonymous fans knew sooooooo much. Try watching the games.

      While I may not agree with the column, your post is just as bad.

      • http://GMHockey.com SpezDispenser

        Not sure why my last comment got deleted….

        I’m someone who follows the Sens as closely as anyone else. If Phieffer needs to get info, then he needs to get info, it’s not the end of the world. He goes to HF, he asks people who know what they’re talking about and he gets it right.

        Conboy won’t be seeing much NHL time, that’s reserved for prospects right now – and we have a ton in Bingo (again, Boroweicki, Gryba and Wiercioch come to mind).

        Who am I? I’m someone who knows exactly what they’re talking about – and 7.44% of the time slipped my mind obviously, which is why I said “as far as I can recall”, but you feel the need to attack.

        This article needs work – and fans like you need to get off the high horse and contribute something worthwhile IMO to help guys like Phieffer get it right.


        • Bruce Hollingdrake

          Hello Fellas – I delete comments when I see unnecessary personal attacks, childish name calling or crap that doesn’t add anything to the debate.

          Negative comments are fine as long as not overly personal or childish.

        • ….free speech anyone?

          Ok…my comments got deleted twice here I think some people are way overly sensitive and shouldn’t allow comments if they can’t handle them. Come on, a little free speech never hurt anyone.

          That being said, i will go back to my trusted website to chat with fans that can handle a little argument here and there and that can actually chat freely and openly about their love of hockey.


        • And your back-tracking begins

          First, you say, Conboy has a better shot at piloting the next space mission than being on the Sens roster, and now, you admit he could. I didn’t know that you knew the order of callups from Bingo. I apologize. Fact is, if Conboy is playing great in Bingo and they need his attributes up in Ottawa for a replacement, Conboy gets the call. There is no order.

          Then, you admit that you missed the 7.44% of the time that Lee and Karlsson were on the ice together.

          As far as Phieffer getting it right…look in the mirror. Or is your glass house reflective enough?

        • KingAlf

          Re:”And your back-tracking begins”

          you need to stop posting while you still have a shred of dignity. every single poster around you knows more than you – just give up – its embarrassing

      • huh?

        lmao 7.44%? Seriously? That’s your argument for them having been a pairing? Like I said in my initial response, Karlsson saw playing time with literally everyone on the roster. The fact that he only spent 7.44% of his time with Lee should be a pretty damn good indication that they were never a pairing. Right off the bat, you can knock off 4-5% of that as just coincidental (i.e. one was on the ice, while the other one came on). That leaves 2.5% of their time being paired together, which could just as easily be explained by another D-man (Carkner, anyone?) being in the box.

        That was a sad attempt at using facts to prove your point. rofl.

        • http://GMHockey.com SpezDispenser

          Very sad attempt, yeah.

      • Andrew K.

        Oh my goodness, there is so much wrong with your argument, it’s as though you fabricated it on the spot, which you probably did.

        To begin with 7.44% doesn’t mean anything, unless you define the parametres. It has to be 7.44% of something. Is it of the game, of the amount of time Karlsson was on the ice, or Lee on the ice, or just one of them on the ice strictly speaking of Even Strength.

        Secondly, this is also wrong. If you look at just that one March 19th game, Karlsson was paired with Kuba, Lee was paired with Phillips, and Gonchar paired with Hale. This also happened to be Gonchar’s last game of the season, as he left early in the 2nd, and did not return, hence the line shuffling.

        Despite this fact, Karlsson and Lee only played 111 seconds together that entire game, mostly caused by overlapping shifts. In a regular game that doesn’t go to OT (this one went to OT), that’s roughly only 3% of the game.

        Lastly, talking about that one specific goal, Lee had started the shift with Kuba. After 45 sec, Kuba managed to make a line change, but Lee was not, and Karlsson came onto the ice. 18 seconds later, the Sens scored. They were not partnered, they were on the ice at the same time.

  • Whaaaaaaat?

    Ummm, on what planet were Lee/Karlsson a pair? It was Phillips/Lee down the stretch when Lee got back into the lineup where they both played pretty well.

    Carkner, while a piece The Sens need is hardly a defensive anchor. At best he’s a number 5 or 6 D man that fills a role… that’s it.

    Cowen is on the team. The left side of the blueline has an open spot right now, that’s Cowen. It’s not even an opinion, it’s basically a fact at this point.

    Do a little research first.

    • On what planet?

      In response to the poster who titled their subject “Whaaaaaaat?”

      The planet that paired Karlsson and Lee is called Earth, and it happend 7.44% of the time at even strength. Karlsson got 2 points paired with Lee in that time. I won’t get into their PP or shorthanded time together. The truth will make you cry.

      Basically a fact. Makes sense.

      Do your own research before trying to bring someone down to your level.

      • Whaaaaaaat?

        7.99% of the time…? That’s not a pair, that’s two D men that get stuck on the ice at the same time because of shift changes.

        As for their PP time together, it’s close to 0. Lee doesn’t work the PP.

        I honestly can’t believe you responded with something that is a good stastic to prove exactly what I was saying. 7.99% of the time…? Really? Even then I would love to see where you got that from, haha.

        Watching every single Sens game in it’s entirety is enough reasearch, more than I can say about the hack that wrote this article.

        As for yourself, try and make yourself sound a little more educated. Also, the fact even if that was true what you said, the statistic would be different for both players as they both get very different amounts of ice time, what in your world is 7.99% of his ice time for Karlsson would be much higher for Lee. So again, might want to do a little research you simp.

        • http://GMHockey.com SpezDispenser

          100% agree. At this point I think that dude is the author of the blog himself, no one would have responded like that just passing through. I don’t buy it at all.

          82 games + pre-season is my research, as is yours I’m sure. Enough said.

          • Bruce Hollingdrake

            The author always uses his real name (James) and has a very distinct way of writing, wasn’t him. Anyways, thanks for coming by and spending time on this.

        • Oh my?

          Where do you get 7.99% from? Not only is your writing horrendous, you can’t read either.

          “Lee doesn’t work the PP”, check again.

          Talking in absolutes while picking someone else’s writing apart is going to get you nowhere with me. Fact is, Lee had PP time last year. So he does play the PP. That is a correct absolute.

          And if you don’t know where to find out that Karlsson played 7.44%, that’s right, 7.44% of his shifts with Lee at even strength, then well, I guess you don’t know everything.

        • huh?

          Pretty cute how “Oh my” has conveniently ignored the posts that demolish this 7.44% business… How do you respond to the fact that 7.44% is next to nothing when you subtract time on a broken change and time covering for fighting majors? You can pretty much assume that they never played together as a pairing and yet you still maintain your argument that spez and whaat are ill-informed.

          Please explain.

  • huh?

    I have trouble keeping track of my arguments? You can’t even keep it straight that I was talking about another blog being torn to shreds in its infancy. Senshot is the worst Sens blog on the net. Your factual errors are on par, but your delivery is far less subject. I didn’t keep coming back for a discussion with him, so your inference that I believe you should stop writing on the subject is mistaken and overly emotional.

    As far as my spelling and punctuation etc.: This is a comment section on a hockey website!! I’m not writing an essay. I’m using bullet points FFS. Yes that semi-colon was improperly used. When I first began using them, I would do so in adjoining a dependent and independent (as I did there). Sometimes when I’m paying less attention to form, I fall into the same pattern.

    And I think you understood the heart of my statement on theory and conjecture. I find it funny, though, that you make your own mistake in saying that I try to create a nonsensical dichotomy lol. Why the hell you would I try to create that?

    If you want to talk about observation: I’ve watched pretty much every Sens game since the lockout; I’ve read pretty much every piece of official and unofficial news, rumour, and speculation; I’ve been to multiple development rookie camps and watched every available preseason game; I’ve had face-to-face discussions with our scouting staff and management; I’ve seen multiple streams of SEL games, along with OHL, WHL, and QMJHL games (primarily ones with our prospects in them), etc. etc.

    So when it comes to discussions on this team, I’m as much of an authority as an anonymous nobody gets.

    What you should note is the lack of any other comment whatsoever, other than mine. The fact that there is no outright criticism beyond mine is meaningless. I assure you, no one of any authority takes what you posted seriously. There is so much factual error, it would be impossible to take it seriously.

    And lmao: You have no deft use of facts. It’s almost sad that you still don’t see how flawed your initial post was. Your responses are hardly any better.

    Anyways, back to the limited amount of hockey related discussion in your response: I can assure you that MANY people would be extremely unhappy with a return of Hagman and Stajan. No one wants Stajan at that inflated cap hit, not even Calgary. And what do you propose Calgary should do about their centre ice position if they get rid of Stajan? That was such a nonsense proposal, it’s sad. And Hagman is terrible. Taking a forward spot away from one of our own young players, in a rebuilding year, for an aging borderline top-9 forward sounds like a terrible idea. That type of return is one of the most compelling reasons to hold on to Gonchar and let him build his value up. (Also, using forecasting from those sources to predict his output? For shame!)

    And did you really just compare Sergei Gonchar to Vlad freakin’ Malakhov? wtf is wrong with you?

    btw, did you ever consider that I had a different construct for my sentence that would have used “emotional” before changing the sentence structure to use “emotions”, and simply forgot to adjust? weird, eh?

  • http://www.thewobblypuck.ca James Phieffer

    -I realize what you said, but by your reasoning I might as well give up now, since this blog “was torn to shreds in it’s infancy” by a mind such as yours.

    -I have a long history of writing about matters factual, and if you can’t cite it, you can’t use it (essay writing 101)

    -You need to read more closely. Taking back a Rolston or such is part and parcel of such a trade – the payoff for the Sens is they also would get picks, prospects, or both. Example (fictional): Calgary wants to deepen their bluline, and like Gonchar, but haven’t got the cap space. Since Ottawa does, this facilitates a trade. Calgary sends the underperforming Matt Stajan (3.5/year) and spare part Niklas Hagman (3/year) to Ottawa for Gonchar (5.5/yr). Now, with the two players coming to Ottawa being reasonably useful, that would likely be the end, with everyone happy. Calgary deepens blueline, Sens deepen forwards.

    But if the pieces coming back aren’t valuable enough, (think Jon Cheechoo, without Heatley holding a gun to Murray’s head) then the salary dumping party sends something extra in return for the Sens taking that salary off their hands. New Jersey did that after the lockout when they sent Vladimir Malakhov to the Sharks, along with a first round pick – for nothing. The pick was payment for taking on Malakhov’s salary and cap hit, which the Sharks could handle.

    As to Gonchar’s value, the Forecaster predicts a 30 point season, and the hockey news says 40 – not exactly numbers worthy of 5.5/yr. It’s not that he’s a detriment to the team – definitely not. But is he as useful to a team which will be out of contention by Christmas as he would be to a contender, with whatever comes back adding to the future of the Sens.

    -Yes, you do sound like a dick for saying that. I have followed them, living 3 hours away in Belleville – but I didn’t write about them. My primary focus in Ottawa was Parliament Hill, as a political analyst. Hockey was a passion, and the team I followed most closely was the Edmonton Oilers. The Sens were number two. But consider this – you use the English language every day, but consider these errors you made:

    “Malkin has been quoted, along with Michel Therrien and Ray Shero, in stating that Malkin’s transition to the NHL was helped immensely by Gonchar” – an awful sentence, grammatically speaking. Remove the part separated by the commas, and you have “Malkin has been quoted in stating that Malkin’s transition to the NHL was helped immensely by Gonchar”. “Quoted in stating that”? You’re repeating yourself. Ever thought of taking up English as a second language?

    “The simple fact is that without Gonchar we’d be well below the cap floor and the only reason we would trade him is to open up a spot on the back-end, not fill a different spot.” < -- Run on sentence. Punctuation marks are our friends.

    "My opinions are largely based on observation, research, and analysis; not theory and conjecture." <-- What's your knowledge of the use of a semicolon? A comma is what is called for here.

    See, a strong knowledge of a given subject doesn't preclude minor errors of spelling and such. Or does this mean you are as unsuited to using the lingua franca of our times as I apparently am to writing about one hockey team?

    -As to the number of defencemen under contract, congratulations on your math (8-1=7). As for the rest, I've already dealt with it before, as have you. It seems you have difficulty just keeping track of your arguments, and you criticize me for mis-spelling Cowen...

    -It is true - Carkner is generally the defensive half of any tandem. This is why, based on the fact Cowen has some offensive potential, I'd like to see him paired with a veteran, shut-down type defender who can cover him if he jumps into the play.

    -"My opinions are largely based on observation, research, and analysis; not theory and conjecture." Well, let's take a look at what that means (all def'ns from wikipedia.org):

    ->observation is obvious;

    ->Research can be defined as the search for knowledge, or as any systematic investigation, to establish novel facts, solve new or existing problems, prove new ideas, or develop new theories, usually using a scientific method;

    ->Analysis is the process of breaking a complex topic or substance into smaller parts to gain a better understanding of it;

    ->…In modern science the term “theory”, or “scientific theory” is generally understood to refer to a proposed explanation of empirical phenomena, made in a way consistent with scientific method;

    ->A conjecture is a proposition that is unproven but is thought to be true and has not been disproven.

    So, you watch the game, read about it, and break down what you watch and read to try to understand what’s happening. I take what I observe and research (I watch the games and read as well), and as a product of my own analysis, work to create theories (such as how one might best combine defencemen into tandems), and the result is conjecture, until the theory is either proven or disprove.

    In other words, your statement that “My opinions are largely based on observation, research, and analysis; not theory and conjecture” is the essence of logical silliness – you are trying to create a nonsensical dichotomy.

    -“Maybe the hockey writers need an actual Sens fan to write about the team. I’m not volunteering, but you need to follow them closely enough to deal with well-informed fans like myself if you wish for this site and your posts to be taken seriously. You’d do well to look into some of the more prominent hockey talk forums (HFBoards comes to mind) and familiarize yourself more with your subject.”

    Well, since you prefer to critique as opposed to create… Actually, it seems that my posts are taken seriously by persons with more credibility than yourself – note the lack of any criticsm of this article by anyone other than yourself. Now maybe you are the sane man in a mad world, but I doubt it. As to forums, all of these are not created equal. All too often they are filled with the ravings of various lack-wits who’ve been blessed with an internet connection and too much free time (a description which is, of course, disturbingly close to that of a sports journalist…).

    I have focussed on familiarizing myself through more reliable sources, such as Bob McKenzie, Darren Dreger, Damien Cox, Bob McCown, and the numerous Ottawa hockey journalists at the Citizen, Sun, Team 1200, etc. If there is someone else I should make sure to read, please tell me.

    And aside from wondering what the expletive-deleted an “emotional” is, and taking issue with your lack of appreciation for my deft use of facts, I appreciate your good wishes.

  • huh?

    btw, you should not take a comparison to Damien Cox as a compliment. He is one of the most bias, abrasive, ignorant writers in the business.

  • huh?

    – I said the blog was torn to shreds in its infancy; not that particular blog post.

    – Malkin has been quoted, along with Michel Therrien and Ray Shero, in stating that Malkin’s transition to the NHL was helped immensely by Gonchar. If we have our own Russian whom has had trouble adjusting (albeit largely due to the ineptitude of the CBJ org.), why would we trade a player that could help him?
    (I’m not going to look for a link. It’s well known..)

    – What’s the point in trading one roster spot for another? If the other team wants us to take back a Rolston-esque contract and take a spot away from a forward, we would hang onto Gonchar. The simple fact is that without Gonchar we’d be well below the cap floor and the only reason we would trade him is to open up a spot on the back-end, not fill a different spot.

    There’s also no logic to trade him now. His value is at quite literally the lowest it has ever been in his entire career. It would be very poor asset management to trade him before giving him a chance to prove that last season was an anomaly—ESPECIALLY with the new coaching staff and inherent new systems that accompany that staff.

    – I feel like a dick just saying this but you can’t possibly follow the Sens enough to write about them if you have to look up the spelling of Cowen two years after he was drafted.

    – We already have 8 NHL calibre D (with Rundblad and Cowen) and if we trade a big contract to make it 7, we’ll either be at the cap floor (Kuba) or below it (Gonchar).

    – The Oilers don’t have Alfie, Phillips, Gonchar, Spezza, Neil, Kuba, Carkner, and now Konopka to mentor the young guys and stabalize the dressing room.

    – Carkner has historically been paired with smaller, speedier, defensively suspect players; he’s had his time with Campoli, Picard, Hale, Karlsson, Lee, Smith, Benoit. When he’s been paired with other defensively-oriented D-men—Phillips, Sutton, Kuba—he has not looked good and the pairing was exposed on the wide sides by the much faster forwards.
    My opinions are largely based on observation, research, and analysis; not theory and conjecture.

    Maybe the hockey writers need an actual Sens fan to write about the team. I’m not volunteering, but you need to follow them closely enough to deal with well-informed fans like myself if you wish for this site and your posts to be taken seriously. You’d do well to look into some of the more prominent hockey talk forums (HFBoards comes to mind) and familiarize yourself more with your subject.

    Perhaps the comment that your article was poorly thought out was lacking in precision, but I maintain that it was poorly researched. Nonetheless, my post was abrasive and your deft response (deft in terms of emotionals, not facts) was impressive. Good luck in your endeavour.

  • http://www.thewobblypuck.ca James Phieffer

    -Okay. Just checked the Tony Mendes column you said “was ripped to shreds by multiple people in its infancy and it hasn’t improved”. One comment, which mentioned they’re both right hand shots, which wouldn’t work. One comment is “ripped to shreds”? If you are referring to comments on earlier posts there, am I to assume that my writing is likewise forever tainted in your eyes?

    -I went looking for the “well documented” evidence of Gonchar’s role in Malkin’s development. While there seems to be evidence Gonchar had a positive influence in the dressing room, I failed to find this evidence to which you refer. Could he help? Sure. Is he indispensable? No. Will his value go up? Depends on the season he’s having?

    -on the cap floor issue, any team looking to add Gonchar or Kuba (or any other big ticket player), meaning a legitimate contender, will almost surely be close enough to the cap to need the Sens to take back salary for salary – meaning a trade will amount to Sens player for similar salaried player plus (the plus being the net benefit to the Sens, be that a pick (or picks), prospect(s), or some combination thereof.

    -My bad on the mis-spelled Cowen. Interestingly, I found (and used) the incorrect spelling after checking a couple of other websites. Mea culpa.

    -I am not suggesting signing Conboy, as he is currently signed to a contract with the organization (see capgeek.com) – that pays $600,000 if he’s with the big club. As a general rule, the seventh d-man is not the spot for young players, as they don’t get enough ice time, and it can impair their development. Could a youngster fill that spot? Sure – but would it be in the best interests of the player or club?
    On the other hand, Conboy is a veteran pro, and would be a handy guy to slot in at the end of the bench – or in the press box, as needs be. Jason Strudwick played the same role with the Oilers the last few years, and played a big role in the dressing room for a young team going through the expected growing pains.

    -as to your opinions on who should play with who, in light of the dearth of evidence presented to support said opinion, it remains simply that – an opinion, and one which you are entitled to. If, when November comes around, you are proven correct, please feel free to point that out right here, and I will acknowledge it. And if/when I am right…

    -Finally, I appreciate your belief in my “pure intentions”, but I also appreciate being compared to Damien Cox. Thanks on both counts! (I know – you didn’t mean the comparison to Cox as a compliment)

    I am new to the world of sports writing, but I have plenty of writing experience in general (mostly political, along with fiction). Am I new to the Sens as a writer? Yes. But my following of “the best game you can name” dates back to the ’70s. And, as a philosopher by training, schooled in logic, etc, I do take exception, and suggest you are completely and totally out to lunch vis the allegation that this article was “poorly thought out”.

    Perhaps there ought to be more thought on your part as well… 😉

  • huh?

    zomg *facepalm*

    Wow. Do you watch the Sens? How long have you been writing about them? That was just a really, really terrible piece of journalism.

    There’s so much wrong in this article, it’s actually pathetic. I’m not trying to be unnecessarily harsh… It’s simply a fact.

    I’m just going to hit you with bullet points:

    – How exactly do you propose getting to the cap floor without Gonchar and Kuba’s contracts?

    Rhetorical question. I know you didn’t consider that.

    – Lee played primarily with Phillips down the stretch. Karlsson saw time with pretty much everyone on the roster. From Hale to Kuba to Lee to Phillips to Gonchar to Carkner to Smith to Benoit. He literally played with everyone.

    – Tony at Senshot is frequently wrong about all varieties of topics. That blog was ripped to shreds by multiple people in its infancy and it hasn’t improved.

    – A Gonchar and Phillips pairing was an unmitigated disaster last season. You call Lee and Karlsson speed and speed? Well, Gonchar and Phillips is slow and slow… and old and old… There’s a reason why that experiment ended so quickly and was never tried again and believe me, it wasn’t to give a veteran presence to more than one pairing.

    – Trading Gonchar would be moronic now. It’s well documented that Malkin’s overly succesful transition to NA was influenced significantly by the mentoring of Gonchar. Why trade him before he has a chance to work with our new Russian wonderkind?

    – Also, he’ll be worth much more at the deadline, especially with a 40-50 point pace.

    – ! It’s COWEN ! ! ! ……………………

    – CowEn was a 1st pairing D-man in Bingo’s run to the Calder Cup. He would have been a top-4 D by mid-season in Ottawa. By 10 games into the season, he’ll be getting top-4 minutes.

    – Pairing Cowen with Carkner would be asinine. Carkner will likely play with Kuba while Rundblad seasons in the A for the first month and Kuba builds his value back up.

    – Tim Conboy?? Seriously??? We have 10 NHL calibre D-men (including Wiercioch and Boro) and you want us to go sign Tim Conboy?

    I think the only things it’s time for is for The Hockey Writers to learn how to do a little research.

    (I’m not the type to post things like this, so you shouldn’t brush it off as another HFBoards style attack or internet know-it-all. This was one of the worst researched and poorly thought out articles I’ve ever seen. That includes the trash that comes out of Damien Cox and Don Brennan. The lone redeeming quality in this is that I’m certain your intentions are far more pure than theirs.)