First of all, I have to address the latest Wade Redden issue. On Friday, those pesky reporters whom I have such great distaste for these days, broke the news that the veteran Senators defenceman had once again refused to waive his no-trade clause in a deal that GM Bryan Murray was reportedly cooking up with San Jose. Of course, Sens fans in Ottawa were in an uproar - the Redden haters calling him selfish and stupid ("Can't you see they don't want you, dude? Beat it!!"); the Redden fans saying he made a smart move ("Why would he want to leave a Cup contender for San Jose? He's just living up to his contract!!")
I tended to agree with the Redden camp that not only felt he had made a smart decision, but also that the organization was not exactly treating him very fairly by trying to shove him out of town against his will. Wade Redden has played his entire career as an Ottawa Senator, and he has done a lot of good over those years, both on the ice and off. He has been a big part of the community, and the fact that he was over-paid on his last contract isn't exactly his fault. He may be on his way out after this season, but for now, he just wants to win a Stanley Cup with the only NHL club he has ever known, and I wish that management would show him enough respect to allow him to fulfill his contract and hopefully do just that.
Now, after hearing the news initially, and listening to anti-Wade fans ranting on the Team 1200, I was literally boiling with anger. I was thinking that Bryan Murray had better not want to meet up with me anytime soon, because he should fear the wrath of the Redden fan who really, really wanted to give him a piece of her mind. After the fact, Mr. Murray went public stating that his conversation with Wade was more about his current play within the team, and that if he wasn't happy, there was interest in him from other teams if he was willing to discuss it, which he was not. No particular trades or teams were mentioned, and he was disappointed the story had been blown so far out of proportion, and that it wasn't fair to Redden to have to deal with this media firestorm. Fair enough. I'll back off Bryan for awhile. I hope now that Wade can just peacefully play out the rest of the season, win the Cup, be such an important part of said win that the team decides to re-sign him after all, and then all my dreams would come true!
So with "Reddengate" finally put to rest, the Sens moved on to their Hockey Day In Canada date with the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night. All I can say is: Welcome back, Alfie!! With out Big 3 reunited, they accumulated 15 points between them in a 6-1 romp over the Habs. Olé, olé, olé indeed!! Now that was a fun game to watch. But even more important to me than the fact that Alfie, Heatley & Spezza were on fire was that Ray Emery looked solid in nets. He looked like the Emery of last year. God, I hope he's back for real.
Now yesterday, the big news out of the Sens camp was the 4-player trade that saw Joe Corvo & Patrick Eaves heading to Carolina in exchange for Cory Stillman and Mike Commodore. Pretty much everyone is calling it a good trade for the Sens, so I guess I'm happy with it, although I'm always a little sad to see my players go. In this case, especially Patty Eaves, who is young, spunky, and has tremendous promise, despite the fact that he has spent much of this season on the injured list. I wasn't quite as attached to Corvo, and I sort of enjoyed the nickname "Uh Oh Joe" that the Ottawa Sun put on him for his risky defensive play, but I will always remember him scoring the goal in double-OT last season in the playoffs vs. Buffalo that gave us a 2-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference finals. Both guys will be missed to a certain degree, but Stillman is the Top-6 forward Murray was looking for to fill the void in secondary scoring, and Commodore is the rugged defensive defenceman that the Sens were also desperate for. He'll suit up tonight alongside Redden, and I'm hoping that the two will click and all will be right in my world again. GO SENS GO!!
The other NHL news that grabbed my attention, and that of many others, was the near-deadly accident in Sunday night's game between Florida and Buffalo. Panthers' forward Richard Zednick was hit by teammate Olli Jokkinen's skate blade, resulting in a sliced artery in his neck. Footage from the incident was so graphic that TSN chose not to show it all, but the overhead shot of the ice surface covered in blood was enough to give everyone a pretty good idea how terrifying it was. Zednik, likely in shock, actually held his own wound and skated to the bench, which they are now saying likely saved his life. Had he dropped to the ice and waited for medical attention, he might not have been helped as quickly. The game was stopped for 15 minutes while they waited for the ice to be cleaned, and officials debated on whether or not to call the game. When word came that Zednik was stabilized and on his way to the hospital, they decided to finish out the final 8 minutes of the game. However, the cameras caught players on the bench looking very shaky and upset, so one has to think that they weren't really thinking about hockey for those 8 minutes. It truly is an incident like that that makes me realize there are way more important things in the world than hockey.
Thankfully, Zednik's emergency surgery was successful, and he is now recovering at the Buffalo hospital he was rushed to. Thoughts and prayers remain with him that everything continues to go well for him.