How to build a winner…

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the Ottawa Senators built their hockey team better then any other team, and there are a few reasons why.The Senators were able to build a terriffic team, never focusing on salary dumping, rebuilding, or loading up. They see needs, and they adress them.

The Senators realize that you can’t look at what is better for now, or what is better for later, they look at what is better.

Like the Alexei Yashin deal, they needed to dump him, and they realized, making the salary dump and adding the big no name defenseman , and the high draft pick was better then having Yashin. In turn, the big no name defenseman turned into Norris Candidate Zdeno Chara, and the high draft pick became future Hart candidate Jason Spezza.

And then there were moves like Heatley for Hossa and deVries. You know, I was not a fan of it at first, I think hockey wise, it didn’t change them much.

But look at the deal in a different light, both are top ten scorers, both can skate, shoot, and have a slight physical edge, but Heatley cost 1.8 million dollars cheaper, and the Trashers had to take on the big salary of mediocre defenseman Greg deVries, they save money for the same result. A terriffic move.

And the addition of Domonik Hasek was an example of two good qualities for Muckler. Taking risks, Hasek was an aging goaltender with a history of injury problems, and was steadily on the decline. While some would say they had to sign him, because Lalime was trash, and there were no free agent goaltenders, but he knew damn well that the season was going to be cancelled, and that there would be goaltenders like Curtis Joseph, Chris Osgood, and more available the next season. And no disrespect to Curtis Joseph, I believe he’s still among the best in the league, he’s a great playoff performer, he hasn’t won, and you need proven winners.

Another quality it showed, is when to bring in your guys. Varada, Ray, and Hasek, all former Sabres, Muckler’s old team, and because he’s a GM that’s seen alot, he knows certain players, and the good qualities they bring to the game. Rob Ray and Vaclav Varada bring a good physical edge. Something the Sens needed. Of course Rob Ray is retired now, he was still a good acquisition.

We’ve seen teams like Toronto, who continually look at the now, and Pittsburgh who continually look at the future, continue to fail, when the Sens continue to succeed and get better because they look at the big picture, and they adress their needs. I remember in the Eklund chat an infuriated Sens fan said that they wouldn’t win the cup and they’d lose in the first round if they played the Leafs, I just laughed and thought you know Leaf fans would be thrilled to add a Tyler Arnason, because he adresses the teams needs, and they were well on their way to winning any ways.

But it’s a good quality in the fans, never thinking they’re enough.

Will other teams learn, and work to build teams like this? Well John Ferguson kept his team entirely the same and added a top prospect, has he been paying attention to rival GM John Muckler???

-L


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