The Ottawa Sun: Desperately seeking integrity

I'm going to take a page out of the 6th Sens playbook and take a look at this Ottawa Sun article ("Spezza needs to go: Fans"), paragraph by paragraph. Because this isn't news. This isn't a story. Asking a few people you see in a bar what they think of the Jason Spezza situation isn't enough to formulate and then postulate a conclusion that Senators fans want Spezza traded. All it is is a ridiculous exaggeration of fact, and an attempt to continue to build on a controversy that your paper itself created, almost single-handedly.

So here goes...

Trade him.

Great lede. Set the tone for the story right away.

That’s the verdict from many Senators fans when asked whether to keep star centre Jason Spezza after news broke he is open to a trade out of Ottawa.

Many? No. You interviewed seven people for the story, only six of whom were Senators fans. Misrepresentation of fact.

"He can go play for the Leafs, then we’ll kick his ass," said one fan, Ben Denis.

Yeah, that would be great. Trade Spezza to Toronto (for what would be less than market value, because Toronto has no assets) so he can set up Phil Kessel, who's already been lighting the Senators up since he went to hogtown. You, Mr. Denis, are obviously a tremendous strategist.

(Read more... )

He wasn’t the only suggesting such a move.

Leafs fan Robert Thompson, who was visiting Ottawa on business Monday, welcomed the idea of having Spezza play for the blue and white. "I think Jason Spezza is a great hockey player," he said. "I’d love to have him show up in Toronto. He needs a move, he needs to shake it up."

Okay, so a Leafs fan wants Spezza. Maybe we should take that as a sign that he's not a lost cause as the haters say he is. Why did you even include this? Word-count minimum you had to hit?

News of Spezza’s willingness to move comes after two lacklustre seasons that saw his offensive output drop significantly. Due at least in part to missing 20 games with a knee injury, this season marked his lowest points total since his 2003-04 sophomore year.

"Willingness to move" is kind of a moot point for a player without a no-trade clause; Spezza's doesn't come into effect for two weeks. And yes, his points have dropped, but his points-per-game are actually better than last season.

Fans also gave him a rough ride during the playoffs when the Sens were overpowered and outplayed by Sidney Crosby and the defending cup champs.

This paragraph is referring entirely to one play where a determined Crosby--who happens to be the best player in the league--ragged the puck while Spezza contained him about as well as any other centre in the league could have--and I'm not just saying that as a homer, certain analysts were also saying it.

But he wasn’t getting any sympathy from Brian Hall, another fan who was disappointed in his play this year.

"This guy’s been treated well, he didn’t perform in the playoffs when he should have," he said.

Didn't perform in the playoffs? Seven points in six games isn't good enough for you? He played his best hockey in the playoffs. But yeah, he's been treated really well. With fans like you, who needs enemies?

"Is it the city? Is it the team? Or has his ego been bruised?" Hall mused. "If it’s his ego that’s been bruised, I’m sorry. We go to work every day and we get our egos bruised all the time. For the amount of money he makes, seriously. They’re paying him a lot of money to do his job. He’s gotta do it."

I don't think a guy with a laugh like Spezza has very thin skin. He couldn't possibly.

"Trade him," said Julie Deshaies over a drink at Woody’s on Elgin St. "It would be nice to have new blood in Ottawa."

Yeah, because we haven't seen enough change year-over-year in the Senators organization. It's not like we've turned over more than half of our roster in two seasons, or anything.

"If he says he’s open to a trade it means he’s not happy," said her friend, Danielle Guay.

Not sure what this quote adds to the story, aside from nothing.

Peter Atonitti and David Lauer brushed emotions aside, offering more practical reasons for shipping Spezza out.

"I’d get rid of him just to dump his salary," Lauer said, adding he’d prefer to get a few good draft picks in a trade. "But the question is who’d be willing to pick it up. In today’s NHL you need cap room."

Dump his salary for what? Do you propose we play a season $7M under the cap? Cap room isn't useful unless you fill it with star players. Money itself won't win games; you have to spend that money.

Atonitti is a little more ambitious.

"Like any other business, hockey is about winning cups. If you can’t win cups, well then you need to make changes."

I'll tell you who needs to make changes: The Ottawa Sun. Because this is just absurd.

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