How many shows on this radio station have we killed with the questions, “Chara or Redden?” and “Should Hasek stay or go?” Chime in now! 750-1200! Calls! Calls! Calls!
Well, so much for that. Mercifully, that topic matter is retired. The answers are:
Zdeno Chara signed with Boston for 7.5 million dollars a year, which is more money that he’s worth. I know, I know. You’re worth whatever you can get. Blah blah blah. Getting the money and being good value for the money are two different things. As imposing and impressive as Chara was in the regular season, he wasn’t good in the playoffs this year. His puck handling and hitting attempts were, at times, atrocious.
Perhaps the hand that he bruised on Eric Cairns’ skull was still bothering him. The Sens denied that notion after the series, inadvertently foreshadowing Chara’s exit. If I were planning to re-sign Chara, I’d say nothing and allow the glass-half-full-crowd to make excuses for his performance against Buffalo.
Maybe the lumbering Chara had difficulty adjusting to the new pace of the game, combined with the added speed and intensity that playoffs always bring. Either way, when the playoffs were through, there wasn’t one Sens’ fan saying, “Man. We should double that guy’s salary.”
Last year the spent 7.5 million on Chara and Wade Redden. Both would each get that amount this year on the open market. Frankly, I wouldn’t spend that much on either player. Both are worth it, based on regular season performance. But, at playoff time, they simply haven’t been that hard to play against.
Redden’s re-signing is reasonable. A lot of smart hockey minds outside of Ottawa love him. They say he does a lot of the little things extremely well. Unfortunately, laying an overtime shoulder on Jason Pominville or Jeff Friesen isn’t one of them. I kid. I kid.
You do need a great puck mover on your blue line and Redden is that. The Sens now have loads of skill guys. Loads of regular season human highlight reels. And, with Martin Gerber’s addition, an excellent, potentially great and comparatively durable goalie. Hasek was great but his age and groin were too big a weakness.
Now they need to add more hardcore guys. They need two more defencemen and two more forwards who are at least solid in the regular season but more importantly, MUCH more importantly, hard as hell to play against in the post season. That can easily be accomplished now through free agency and the trading of Martin Havlat.