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The newsletter aims to be a place where we'll riff on current happenings in the world of the Ottawa Senators, dig into the team's past, bandy about some trivia, and maybe share some fun videos and/or music. Let me know what you think of the format in the comments below!
The Cat is Not Coming Back:
At this point, we are so far into the Alex DeBrincat trade saga that it's tough to tell up from down. What we can say with certainty is the following: DeBrincat won't sign a long-term deal with Ottawa at a price that the team finds palatable at this point in time. Aside from that key fact, every other detail is seemingly in dispute; ask the two sides and you might get two totally different answers. In recent days, Bruce Garrioch, who has a well-earned reputation as an insider who will get the team's version of events out there, has been insisting in rather unflattering language that DeBrincat's contract demands are impeding a potential trade. Well, hold on a second says the DeBrincat camp (through Ian Mendes):
After a headline in Postmedia stated, “Alex DeBrincat’s contract demands holding up trade from Ottawa Senators,” Jackson called the report “entirely false and without merit” in a text message to The Athletic.
Jackson wanted to clarify the circumstances around his client, which he believes have been mischaracterized in recent media reports.
“As far as I have been advised, there has been no agreement of any kind on an actual trade involving Alex and I would require that before entering into an actual negotiation,” wrote Jackson. “We are waiting patiently for that to happen.”
And when it comes to the notion that DeBrincat and his agent are acting as a barrier to the sniper’s trade out of Ottawa, Jackson was very pointed in his assessment of the situation.
“Agents and players don’t make trades … that’s the GM’s job,” wrote Jackson.
PHEW. That is premium, grade A BEEF. So while I can't exactly say I'm happy that the team is openly in conflict with one of their top players, it's definitely brought some excitement to an off-season that has otherwise lacked in pizzazz (apologies to Joonas Korpisalo and the raft of AHL players signed on the weekend).
All of that aside, the question of who, ultimately, is "at fault" for the current impasse misses the point: DeBrincat doesn't have a no-trade clause, and so while it's a given that a team would pony up more for the winger if they knew they could sign him to an extension, he cannot block a trade. As a reminder, the Ottawa Senators, almost exactly a year ago, traded for DeBrincat when he was only under contract for one more year and was just two seasons from unrestricted free agency. If the offers Dorion has been receiving thus far aren't to his liking then that's too bad, but it's no more DeBrincat's "fault" than it is Dorion's.
This isn't to say that Dorion erred in trading for DeBrincat in the first place, or that he's necessarily totally mishandled this situation either: I would still do last year's trade ten times out of ten, and it's certainly still possible for the Sens' GM to maneuver his way to a deal that helps the team. Depth up front remains a massive, unaddressed issue, and you don't have to squint too hard to imagine a world where swapping DeBrincat for two positive contributors could help bring balance to a lineup that badly needs it.
I understand why DeBrincat is reticent to sign a deal that doesn't blow him away when he's less than a year from unrestricted free agency. And I also understand why Dorion feels he might need to trade the winger if he's not going to get a long-term commitment, else he risk losing him for nothing after next season. It would, however, make me feel better if this whole thing could get resolved without all of the sniping in the media from both sides.
Remembering a Guy: Petr Schastlivy
Astute readers will recall that I've previously shared my love of "Remembering a Guy". One of the best parts of being a sports fan, in my humble opinion, is retaining memories of all sorts of ultimately meaningless and banal trivia. Would I be better served allocating my finite brain power elsewhere? Maybe! But I wouldn't be running this site or writing this newsletter if I didn't remember guys like Petr Schastlivy. Remembering Guys is going to be one of the newsletter's regular features because I think it's fun and I invite you to enjoy it with me.
Here is Schastlivy setting up Radek Bonk beautifully on the backdoor for a tap-in goal against the hated Toronto Maple Leafs:
I would also like to draw attention to Marian Hossa's play on this sequence. Bryan McCabe, never a stalwart defender, just has no hope defending the blue line; he's absolute mincemeat and that "poke-check" attempt got a couple of chuckles out of me. Lest we forget: Hossa was an absolute terror.
Anyways, this was supposed to be about Schastlivy: I remember thinking that he might fit in well on the Sens' top two lines precisely because of the kind of pass he makes in the above video but it just never quite worked out for the guy. His NHL career ended up being only 129 games long, 107 of which were with the Sens over the course of five seasons. Schastlivy is the definition of A Guy, and I look forward to remembering more like him as we go.
Cool Sens Goal:
In addition to Remebering Guys, one of my favourite Sens-related things to do is watch Cool Sens Goals on loop. Entries in this feature will not necessarily be meaningful goals, but they will definitely be cool. Though Ales Hemsky's time in the nation's capital was ultimately brief and ended without a play-off appearance, this goal he scored against the Tampa Bay Lightning was still cool as hell.
We'll close off this edition of the newsletter with a jam from one of my current favourite bands, Screaming Females. I'd like to think of myself as someone with a diverse taste in music, and I thought it might be fun to share some music with our readers. I invite you to share some music you've been into lately in the comments and I'll be sure to check it out.
Screaming Females are a three-piece outfit from New Jersey that, quite simply, rock. If you like hot riffs, catchy hooks, and driving basslines, then I think you're gonna dig this track: