Kukla's Korner


Small Notes As Senators Feel Small

Injury updates, but first. . .

From the Ottawa Sun, Murray pulls Foligno aside after Saturday’s demoralizing 0-4 loss to the Bruins,

“[Foligno] has to get some points,” Murray said. “As I said to him, I’ve think I’ve tried to go to bat for him with the coaches. To make sure he gets the opportunity, ice-time wise and with linemates. I just want him to take advantage of that. That’s all.”
“I think you start to press. The other night, a couple of pucks bounced off his stick that normally wouldn’t, and I think it’s (him) trying to do a little more for the team. He’s a real competitive kid and he’s going to be good. It’s just a matter of we need him to step up a little more.”

Foligno’s not the only Senators forward having problems finding mesh. Peter Regin, Chris Neil and Winchester are also goal-less, while top centre Jason Spezza only has one in six games. On the back end, power-play quarterback Sergei Gonchar has yet to notch his first as a Senator.
“They do have to start contributing offensively,” said coach Cory Clouston. “They’ve got to start shooting the puck and getting into paint, and contributing in that area.”

Every team deals with them, other teams have more of them, but the Senators still can’t seem to get away from the effects of injuries.

While Foligno, Regin, and others have been expected to step up in the absence of Spezza, Michalek, Kuba, and Leclaire, it has simply proven to be beyond them. On a team as starkly offence-dry as Ottawa, losing those skaters has a noticeable impact on the offence, just as losing those not named Spezza has a noticeable impact in Ottawa’s own end.

Facing pressure to defend better as scoring dries up, and to attack more as the defensive side of their game takes a hit, which way do you lean, which way can you lean? While it is likely that Murray may well have only told Foligno to make the most of his opportunities, one is left wondering if the subject of trade rumours popped up, given that Foligno has come up as a name more palatable than Lee’s at times. Hopefully, no such discussions did or will take place, Ottawa’s future unable to handle more mortgaging.

From the Ottawa Citizen, on the roster injuries,

Leclaire, on his way back from a groin injury, could serve as Elliott’s backup on Tuesday against the Maple Leafs and could be in net on Thursday against the Islanders.

That would allow the Senators to get Robin Lehner’s $856,452 NHL salary off the books and get the Swedish rookie back to Binghamton of the American Hockey League, where he can start playing games.

Defenceman Filip Kuba (broken leg) could also return either Thursday or Saturday.

Michalek’s status is uncertain. He’s likely out through next weekend.

It wouldn’t be too surprising to see the team ease up a bit, knowing that it is Leclaire, even on the bench, rather than working hard to keep Lehner from any embarassment as they might subject him to. Far more interesting to see, however, will be what Clouston and Ottawa’s defence can do as Kuba finds his way back into the mix, and possibly proves just how key his veteran dependable play can be.

Filed in: | SENShobo | Permalink


Da lil Guy's avatar

I’m not terribly familiar with how hockey teams are run, but it seems to me that a GM should not be ‘advocating’ on behalf of certain players with the coaching staff. Or, for that matter, pulling them aside after games to discuss their performance. This is likely doubly the case when the GM in question is a former coach of the team (and one of the most experienced coaches in league history, to boot).

I don’t see how it can’t undermine the coaches. I also have to wonder how some players feel knowing that management is actively pushing on behalf of some at the expense of others. It also continues an alarming trend of discussions between the GM and players being directly reported to the media. It is one thing for this to happen behind closed doors, but it’s become brazen.

For this to be happening on a team with such a well documented history of coaching and locker room problems - a history which coincides completely with Murray’s tenure as GM - is even more alarming.

This is a ‘contract year’ for Murray and when things like this come out, I have to wonder about whether I want to add my voice to those who believe the Murray era should come to an end. Judging from the boobirds evident during Murray’s on ice appearance for Gonchar’s 1000th game, I have to think I’m not alone.

While I don’t think I’m at the point where I would want Murray fired mid-season, I think I’m starting to come over to the idea that the end of his current contract should mark a more radical regime change than the one the team may currently be contemplating, which would include parting ways with Tim Murray as ‘heir apparent’ to the GM’s chair.

Posted by Da lil Guy from Guelph, Ontario on 11/01/10 at 02:12 PM ET

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About SENShobo

Native of Northern California.  Hockey fan since 1998... sort of... there's a hiatus in there that I still can't explain.

I want to know about anything and everything related to the sport and the spectacle.  I watch, I react, I write it down.

My interest in the Sharks was initially a matter of geographic convenience and regional loyalty because that seemed to be how it worked.  I had no prior interest (at all-- AT ALL) in professional sports of any kind.  When I met hockey, it might have set off a chain reaction of general sports fandom.  It hasn't, I don't think it will.  At all.

Since then, that interest developed into full blown (mostly sort of usually almost completely) exclusive loyalty to the Sharks.

I started blogging a couple years ago on wordpress. I still occasionally put things there that I don't think fit here because they are not about the Sharks. Wherever my words wander, here on Kuklas Korner, they will (usually) hang on to a teal thread.

I can be found in cyberspace on Twitter @petshark47, or emailed at talkingstick@petshark.net