It seems like an annual event now. A player says he doesn't want to leave Buffalo and then he's packing his bags and firing a head-high slap shot on the way out the door.
This year. the honor came early and fell to two-time All-Star defenseman
"I could have signed," he said of the last-days offer he received, an offer he clearly saw as woefully inadequate for a player of his stature. The Sabres were said to have offered a three-year deal at about $17.25 million, but Campbell, who grew up with the Sabres after they made him a sixth-round pick in 1997, had progressed to the point where he was looking for his first long-term deal. The Sabres weren't about to give it up.
"It could have been," he said. "But they did what they had to do and I did what I had to do. For me, I wanted to be here for the long term. I think I made that clear in a lot of ways and it didn't happen. The money was good and stuff, but I can't sign a deal like that. You see what happens in the NHL. A person (
The Sabres have been making the usual post-loss noise about getting more aggressive in their signings and coming to terms with requests for long-term deals, but they have a history of doing otherwise.
So much for the famed Minnesota Nice.
In acquiring eight-times-suspended
Translation: If those guys with
Simon is a complex character, but also the kind of player and person you root for in that you hope he can solve his issues because he is genuinely liked by teammates and has a caring for and commitment to them. But his last two over- the-top actions had him cross-checking
Simon says he's ready to move past all that. Commissioner
Firing a coach down the home stretch is nothing new in the NHL, but firing the bench boss of a perceived Cup contender deserves at least some attention. Clearly there is a problem in Ottawa and it's been going on for a lot longer than one lousy month of losing. But what drove the firing of
The Sens have been struggling since they broke out to a 15-2 start. From that point on, they've drifted on a course seemingly charted by
So Murray got permission from owner
One could argue that the goaltending wasn't strong enough last season when the Sens made it to the Cup final before being taken apart in five games by the Ducks, but that wasn't the whole puzzle. Melnyk fired Muckler in part because he didn't win the Cup and because Muckler didn't always do what the owner wanted (not getting
Still, in promoting Murray, the Sens bypassed their primary problems and sent a message that it wasn't the players who failed, it was management. That makes it extremely easy on the skaters who, according to several sources, griped openly about the play of their goaltenders --
A legitimate scoring threat on the second line has been hard to come by and too few Senators have committed themselves to playing better team defense or doing whatever it takes to win close games. Those shortcomings have been mentioned from time to time, but generally they were lost in the dressing room shouts of, "What about me?"
Paddock did little to stem that selfish mindset, but he is clearly taking the fall for goaltending problems that he and Murray are responsible for, especially Emery's well-documented tardiness issues. Thus, instead of having a team that was focused on getting better on the ice and deeper and stronger via trades, the Sens ended up as directionless but secure in the knowledge that their problems were caused by the people above them.
It;s made for a magnificent mess, one that certainly wasn't solved simply by having Murray step behind the bench. That was clear in the 3-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night. Were it not for Spezza's early power-play goal, the Senators would have suffered a third consecutive shutout.
Muckler had his flaws and he made his mistakes, but he got this team close. Normally, when that happens the well-managed teams keep things together, get the players focused on taking the next and final step, and maybe toss them a little help to give them the confidence that they can do it. Instead, Melnyk moved from the top down, letting his team embrace that most ancient of hockey excuses: "Not my fault."
It's one the Senators appear to have readily embraced.
So let's see, 25 deals involving 45 players. None of the pretenders appear to have moved to a position of security with regard tp a playoff spot and none of the true contenders could be said to have put a stranglehold on their chances of winning the Stanley Cup.
So was trade deadline day in the NHL anything to get excited about?
There was a fair amount of star power shifting through the ranks, but it's hard to imagine that goalie
Usually, the little moves by the best teams make the biggest difference. So it appears that Detroit's
Behind Holland, the next best depth pickup was Anaheim GM
The Sharks made a nice pickup for their power play by acquiring soon-to-be unrestricted free-agent defenseman Brian Campbell. He should boost the anemic power play, but the Sharks still have problems with secondary scoring and their inability to move
Burke's move was similar to the one he made last season at the deadline, acquiring veteran