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Howdy from Ottawa. No more bus strike (old news, I know) and a new coach. No new players though or should I say yet.

Glad to be back blogging here. Lots has gone on in Sens country and to be frank there really was no need for me to beat a dead horse with countless blogs during another dark period for the franchise. Enough rival fans are laughing at us, we don't need to be self-inflicting wounds.

The above said, I still feel the need to briefly put in my two cents. Bryan Murray should have been canned, though I correctly stated over a month ago that Hartsburg wouldn't be here for the '09-'10 season. As for our GM, my one source within the club (hell it's better than 98% of any other Sens bloggers out there) tells me Murray and Melnyk are very tight and to not be surprised if Murray remains GM into next season. WTF? I really can't see that happening with all the hate being put upon Bryan of late, however Melnyk is stubborn as we know.

Our replacement coach won't be the coach starting '09-'10. I believe that provision will be asked for by Melnyk to Murray who needs to hire an NHL-calibur coach. College coaches don't work in the NBA ever and rarely in the NFL. As for the NHL, just look at Hartsburg's 48 game head coach run to see why you need an established coach. Again my source told me that Murray is very protective of his position and would shy away from say a Pat Quinn hire in fear of losing his job. So therefore it's HE before TEAM leaving the ball in Eugene's court to get this club back on track. Weren't we the 'model' NHL franchise?

As for the team, we still suck but I guarentee we won't finish in the bottom 5, so I don't even want to hear Tavares and Ottawa Senators in the same sentence. Not going to happen Sens fans, sorry.

Congrats to Ryan Shannon who was called up for tonight's Boston game. I liken Shannon to that of Brandon Boechenski (I will refrain from pot-shotting Murray). Hopefully Shannon gets a fair shake, but he has to produce as Peter Regin was sent back down after 1 goal and 3 shots in six games. Clearly it was a weird call-up to begin with as Regin had shown very little in 'Bingo, but if its for an evaluation then the Sens know what to do with the Denmark-native.

Brian Elliot continues to impress and will be back next season for sure. Vermette and Fisher continue to struggle, but any suggestion that they will be dealt is madness as they're respective stocks couldn't be lower. Chris Kelly has really slowed of late and is on pace for one of his worst seasons. He is back in the dog house. Filp Kuba has slowed as well, but is in my opinion the best rental out there on the blueline (JayBo wouldn't be a rental). I usually am against Murray's asking prices but with Kuba he can ask for the moon 'cause Kuba is worth a ton.

I don't know what to make of the Chris Neil deadline talk. I hear the club is trying to sign him, but he will want a natural raise from his current $1.1 million. But can he really ask for more than say Ruutu's $1.3? If he isn't, then I say keep him in Ottawa. But if he wants more then move him out at the deadline. If you're looking for a darkhorse move by our team at the deadline I am looking at Alex Auld. He is cheap and reliable. He is under contract next year too. I think the Sens could get a 3rd rounder for him, which is good value. Also this would open it up to give Jeff Glass his final (yet undeserved given his play in 'Bingo) look with the Sens.

Finally on the deadline, I have to believe Donovan and McAmmond will be moved. Dean is a UFA next year and while cheap there is no reason to have Shean next year in Ottawa. Also if I was a GM i'd take a flyer on Schubert, but too this point not one GM has interest as Murray has been peddling him all year. And I would love to see Jason Smith and his $2.6 million dollar contract shipped out, as he cannot be on this team next season in my humble opinion. And to be honest I see a market for a guy like that (back in Edmonton?) but we can't expect much in return.

All for now, and I predict a win tonight for our boys against Boston. Just a feeling...HAHA. Ok for real, I say Ottawa wins 3-2. We can't lose every game can we?

Colin Jeffrey - [email]colin_jeffrey@hotmail.com[/email]

www.mvn.com/senatorsrow
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