Sens Set For the Future
Well, there's not much debate anymore about who the Ottawa Senators are banking on to take them to the promised land.
That's on top of the six-year, $45 million that's been committed to linemate Dany Heatley, and the smaller, multi-year pacts given last year to defencemen Chris Phillips and Anton Volchenkov.
Geez, and for that amount, you can barely afford buy Bryan McCabe, Tomas Kaberle and Pavel Kubina. Think about it.
What's amazing is that the Sens and owner Eugene Melnyk have committed those dollars to Heatley and now to Spezza without really being certain they can be the players who will deliver the Cup.
Neither performed particularly well in the one-sided loss to Anaheim in last spring's Stanley Cup final, but that was their first visit to that stage. Only the passage of time will tell if the Sens have bet on the right athletes.
But a lot of points and a lot of goals have landed these contracts for these players, and a franchise that a decade ago was a laughingstock is now viewed as both successful and a model organization.
The poor Leafs, huh? Their provincial cousins are soaring, across the lake in Buffalo the Sabres are a resourceful, smart and exciting team and down the 401 in Detroit the Red Wings are perennially a 100-point squad and Stanley Cup contender.
Those are tough neighborhood standards to meet.