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Canadian Blockbuster Move Written by Senators - November 30th, -0001
Ottawa, Ontario

The Ottawa Senators made a major step towards becoming an elite team in the CMHL. Although the team preached, they would go with youngsters after the first round exit in the playoffs to the Philadelphia Flyers. With the pre-season behind the club, Larouche was left wondering with the other club executives what needed to be done to address the weakness on the club. Larouche and Murray sat down together and were able to reach an agreement. They made the decision that they needed to acquire a legitimate superstar who could step in to the Capital city and provide not only scoring but also some much needed leadership.

On September 30th, the Senators owner made a phone call to another club that was struggling to find it's identity. It was from there that Larouche knew he had the perfert partnership to get a deal completed. Although the deal took several hours, they were able to complete one of the biggest deal the CMHL as ever seen. The Vancouver Canucks were keen on one player, but the Sens were unwilling to part with him at first. But when the Canucks gm countered with another superstar to the mix Larouche could no longer hold on to that player. "We really did not want to move Anze Kopitar, we just felt that he was going to be the corner stone of our club. However the team never could gel with all the young players on the club and it was unfair to put all that pressure on just one player. He struggled to get his game going and we felt we had to make a move. Sometimes you have to give something to receive what you want." Larouche stated after the huge blockbuster deal. Heading to Vancouver are youngster Anze Kopitar (54 pts in 48 games), Joni Pitkanen (80 games with a +36 and 38 pts), Michal Handzus (66 pts in 79 games), Jonathan Cheechoo (82 games 28-48 for 76 pts) and Ottawa's second round pick in 2009. Making their way to Ottawa are Vincent Lecavalier, Rick Nash, Thomas Pock, Braydon Coburn and Vancouver's sixth round pick in 2009

This huge deal allowed the Senators to land superstar center Vincent Lecavalier who put up in a non playoff year 87 points. 44 goals and 43 helpers in playing all 82 games. According to sources Vincent did everything for the Canucks excepted to lead then to a playoff birth. He also added 230 hits along with 242 shots and a +20. So looking at this move we see why the team was willing to acquire this all around superstar who is still in his prime at 27 years old.

Rick Nash who was a must if Kopitar was involved will ease the lost of the young 20 year old kid. Nash is only 23 and looks to be a monster who can one day lead the league in scoring. Nash who lineup on the left of Lecavalier had a career year. Rick missed one game and put up 32 goals to along with 57 assists. Like Vincent, Nash peppered over 200 shots on goal and made life tough on opposite goaltenders. At such a young age, Rick and Vincent could lead the Senators to many more years of playoff hockey and possibly one day hoist a cup together.

The Sens also added two good young defenseman in Thomas Pock and Braydon Coburn. Pock added 38 points through 79 games and looked at ease on playing in the CMHL. At the age of 25 he still as some maturing to do but could be a big piece of the puzzle on defense. According to Larouche Coburn was the biggest condition of the deal. If the mammoth defenseman was not part of the deal then Pitkanen would not of headed to Vancouver. He did only manage to appear in 7 games last season but with some IHL grooming with the Cup winners, Coburn figures to have a prominent role on the club in the near future.

With some side notes the Senators made two more deals to shore up the team on that evening. They moved youngster defenseman Chris Campoli for veteran journeyman Brad Lukowich from the Calgary Flames. The final move was made with the San Jose Sharks when Larouche sent Alex Tanguay, Steven Reinprecht and young centerman Joe Pavelski for returning centerman Jason Arnott and defensive specialist Jeff Halpern. Murray stated they made that move because they no longer had room for Alex who never fit in upon his arrival in the off-season. Pavelski was lost in the shuffle with Kyle Wellwood playing so well in pre-season. Reinprecht wanted out after loosing his spot on the third line.

In a press release tonight, which was not broadcasted, Dave Tippett took the time to announce that Vincent Lecavalier would be named the team Captain while Jason Arnott and Brad Lukowich would wear the A's on their respective shirts. Dave, Vince, and both assistant captains were unavailable for comments since the team had an team dinner and staying at the hotel overnight.

Well from this reporter it's still too early to make any predictions on how the club will react with the new additions since they have only praticed together twice since the deal. However this team now could have the proper tools and leadership to get into the playoff and making some noice. For the Ottawa Sun I'm Phil McCracken.

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