TSN vs. the Senators

The Ottawa Senators organization has a new number one rival, it seems. Though, geographically speaking, it was just a walk down the street.

There's a strange situation going on over at TSN, and right they're butting heads with the people at ScotiaBank Place.

I mentioned it in my recap of last night's Sens win over the Sabres, but Pierre Maguire, once Ottawa's loudest cheerleader, has since become their most vocal critic. Maguire has a daily segment on the local morning sports talk radio show on The Team 1200. It's an insanely popular segment on the highest rated sports radio morning show in the country. Meaning, when he talks, people hear it.

Maguire started the season picking the Sens as a favorite to win the Cup. In less than two months, he's done a complete 180. Every day he now refers to the team's lack of speed and talks about how much they miss Zdeno Chara (at the start of the season he said John Muckler made the right choice with Wade Redden over Chara).

It seems as if Maguire doesn't simply think they've been playing bad. He thinks they're an average team. This has drawn the ire of some, and it was showcased nationally last night. For the whole game he mused about the superiority of the Sabres. Buffalo was faster, tougher, wanted it more, etc. When Ottawa managed to pull out a gutsy win, there was much egg on his face. This morning on Ottawa radio, he said all the right things and the hosts did their best tapdancing performance, skirting the issue without confronting Maguire.

But it doesn't end with Maguire.

A few weeks back there was a report on RDS, rooted at TSN, that Ray Emery's arm injury was more serious than the team was letting on. That he might miss 8 weeks. Ooops. Not true.

This afternoon, Eugene Melnyk held a conference call to give everyone a vote of confidence. Murray, Muckler, Mlakar. All them. The first question of the call was from TSN's Darren Dreger and he didn't waste anytime with softballs.

Listening in, you could literally feel the tension when Dreger asked the questions about how Melnyk can tolerate losing. He managed to basically editorialize with every question he asked, making it clear HE thought pink slips need to be issued. Melnyk seemed thrown but handled them relatively well, issuing the token responses that I imagine his P.R. man had written up before hand.

Oh, and the story about a top level Melnyk aide, his supposed second-in-command flying on red eye to Buffalo last night for the game? The story about how this was the precursor to heads rolling? All nonsense. It's since been revealed that the trip was planned all along. Who exactly turned this into a big deal? Oh, right.

With the Battle Of Ontario fizzling out somewhat, it's nice to know the Sens still have some enemies in Hogtown.