Pundit Reaction to Bondra Trade 
Here are some tidbits from some well known columnists - and no, this is not proof that the sponsorship scandal is blowing over!

From TSN's Bob Mackenzie:

"No one knows for sure if the Ottawa Senators will win the Stanley Cup, but if they don't, it won't be from lack of effort or money. The focus should be on the Senators' players as they strive to get to the Stanley Cup Final, but with the acquisition of Peter Bondra, you can't avoid putting the spotlight - for now anyway - on Senators' owner Eugene Melnyk.

Because without Melnyk, this Bondra deal just doesn't happen. In fact, you can take it a step further...many steps further.

If Rod Bryden were still operating the Sens on a shoestring budget, there is every reason to believe the Senators would have walked away from centre Radek Bonk's arbitration award last summer. If Bryden were still in charge, Wade Redden would not have been re-signed to a new deal. Neither would Bryan Smolinski.


No one is saying Eugene Melnyk is blowing his brains out in Ottawa, because he's not, but the man clearly has a high level of emotional commitment that he is prepared to back up with cash.


So if the fans in Ottawa will pardon us for saying so, the rich just got richer. Wow, what a difference a year makes

From the Ottawa Sun's Chris Stevenson:

"He is also a leader. He is greatly respected by his Slovakian countrymen and played a key leadership role on the 2002 world championship team, the first for the Slovaks. He also scored the goal to help the Slovaks win a bronze in their title defence last spring."

From the Ottawa Sun's Bruce "The Rumour" Garrioch:

"They Senators told (Bondra) if he wanted to take a flight in the morning he could, but he said he was excited and he wanted to get in there (last night)," said Bondra's longtime agent Rich Winter.

"This is a great move for Ottawa and John Muckler. We're talking about a guy who has been one of the NHL's most consistent 30-goal scorers and I believe he's on pace to have another 30-goal season. He's been excellent and he's a good person.

"I know they've got a lot of offence on that team, but this is just adding more firepower to the arsenal. It could be nuclear, I think it's going to be dynamic

The Toronto Sun's Al Strachan:

The latest to move was Bondra, shipped to the Leafs' arch-rivals, the Ottawa Senators, yesterday for Brooks Laich and a second-round draft pick in 2005.

It's safe to say the Leafs could have bettered that price. But they didn't. It's not that the Leafs have a pressing need for forwards. But then again, neither do the Sens.

Still, Ottawa general manager John Muckler knows that even in these defensive days, a timely goal or two can be the difference between winning a playoff round and losing it.

The Senators have one of the league's best power plays. Now, with the addition of Bondra, they have two of them.


Most of the players who have been traded recently could have helped the Leafs' cause, and the excuse that, "when we're healthy we think we're a solid team" simply doesn't wash.

This team will never be healthy. There are too many senior citizens playing a rugged, young man's game.

There's nothing wrong with having a mature team. The longer the playoffs go, the more evident it becomes that you don't win the Stanley Cup with youth.

But there's also a corollary to that statement. When you load up on older players, you have to be aware that they are more susceptible to injuries -- or to the recurrence of long-established ailments. If you're going to stock your roster with as many veterans as the Leafs have, you also have to be deep.

And you don't get that way by watching one useful player after another make his way -- very cheaply -- to the teams that you're liable to be facing in the playoffs

The Toronto Star's Damien Cox:

"If the Sens win, it will be by doing it against the book, or at least against the classic sense of how teams are built. Instead of being strong down the middle, specifically at centre and in net, Ottawa is bulging with talent on the wings and on defence.

To get Bondra, the Sens once again benefited from the smart scouting that provided this team with talent for many years. The centrepiece of the package that went to Washington for Bondra was lanky winger Brooks Laich, a solid first-year pro in Binghamton this season and a member of the 2003 Canadian national junior program.

What's interesting, however, is that Laich was a sixth-round pick in 2001. That means Ottawa was able to convert a sixth-rounder and an upcoming second-rounder into Bondra because the sixth-rounder developed into something.


What acquiring Bondra means is that the fastest team in hockey just got faster and the league's best power play just added a player who can one-time the puck from the faceoff circle or play the point.

The league's highest-scoring team, ladies and gentlemen, just got a little scarier

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