A quick clarification

I was getting a lot of traffic yesterday because someone posted a link to this blog on the Supportive Hawks fans In Turmoil message board (acronym speaks for itself) saying the following;

Chris McMurtry, who runs Hockey Country and follows the Senators, is especially critical of Havlat and happy to see him go.

Of course, the next three pages are spent saying how I'm bitter and have sour grapes. So be it.

If I gave the impression I'm happy to see Martin Havlat go, then I didn't get across what I wanted. I'm not happy about the trade. Anytime you lose a 30 goal scorer who's 25 years old and still not in the prime of his career, who also happens to be among the most exciting players in the league, it's difficult to be happy.

However, I'm also not all that sad about it either.

This is a trade anyone who's been paying even the slightest bit of attention saw coming. It's an unfortunate side effect of that lovely CBA we lost a year of hockey to get. The same one advertised as benefitting small market teams like us, glossing over the whole "if you draft well and develop consistently, you won't be able to keep them" thing. Whoops.

Martin Havlat would have left in a year. This much is certain. The contract it would've taken to keep him here for longer is one I don't think any sane Sens fan could rationalize paying.

So knowing that, trading Havlat was the only option, I believe, because to lose him for nothing would have far worse. I've seen some say "well, keep him for a year and then make a run at the Cup!"

That's great if they win, which they haven't been able to do with all the stacked teams in the past, but if they come up short, then what? Running a team on a "Cup or bust" attitude in this new era is akin to playing Russian roulette.

You have to look to the future, and in this scenario, holding onto Havlat for one more year knowing you'll lose him didn't make sense.

Question the return they got if you wish (and I'm not disagreeing with those of you who think we didn't get as much as we should've), but, all things considered, if you think trading him was the wrong move, then I can't agree.

As far my criticisms of Havlat as a player, perhaps, in retrospect, I laid it on a little thick. Make no mistake, he can be a great player, and if one were to make a list of the most talented players in the league, he's surely chart towards the top. However, being talented and being effective, especially when it matters most, are often two entirely different things.

I've also seen some, when defending Havlat against his detractors, point out how exciting he is. There's no disputing that. He's often the most electrifying player on the ice and a collection of his greatest goals rivals anyone's in terms of excitement. But we've had six years of it. Exciting is great, but winning is better.

Chicago, as a franchise, is in a little bit of a different position. They need to give their fanbase, who've been kicked in the balls so often, a reason to care again. Havlat is that reason. He'll put asses in the seats.

I can't speak for every single Ottawa Senators fan, but I believe I'm on point when I say most of us want to win. We want a Cup. I'll sacrifice a little excitement if we can get that, and it's not like without Havlat, we're suddenly the Minnesota Wild. The Senators still have an explosive team full of entertaining and creative players.

I said it yesterday, and I'll say it again: changes needed to be made. Going with the same crop was not going to do it for me. Deciding who to move out was made easier by Havlat's posturing. Are they, on paper, a better team? Probably not. But being the best team on paper hasn't gotten us anything before.

Changes, even if they were solely for the sake of them, were necessary.

The Sens will move forward without Havlat, and I'm sure he will as well. He's finally got the contract he wanted and he'll now he able to be THE guy on a team, which, due to Ottawa's depth, was never an option here.

I'll be anxious to see how he handles it.