Monday, February 02, 2009

The coach killers

The Ottawa Senators today did what many anticipated was set to happen, firing head coach Craig Hartsburg 48 games into his three year contract with the NHL"s most befuddling club.

It seems like only a few months ago that the Sens were suggesting that all that was needed was Hartsburg's confident hand on the wheel and all would be well again in Sensland... perhaps they underestimated the malaise that seems to have infected the entire organization.

Hartsburg who has watched what is supposed to be a Stanley Cup contending club morph into the stumbling, fumbling crew, had issues a call to the teams pride on Sunday night, after the Sens were showed up by Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.

Whatever message he delivered probably didn't resonate and now won't even be contemplated as Brian Murray removed the coach from his position, promoting the head coach of the Sens AHL club.

Cory Clouston, who has been coach of the minor league Sens in Binghampton since last year was previously a junior A coach in the WHL, he takes over a Senator team that has lost more than just confidence, but any concept it seems of how to play the game or how to be accountable for their lack of success.

The Sens have been on a horrendous slide since we last saw the Sens standing to the side watching the Anaheim Ducks carry the Stanley Cup around. Besides their continual testing of the depths of the eastern conference, they have proven to be the kind of team which can kill a coach's career.

Four coaches have placed themselves behind that Senators bench since the days of Jacques Martin and the expectations of contesting for that Stanley Cup, a arevolving door of frustration, with none seeming to find the key ingredients to return Ottawa to the upper echelons of the NHL.

A poll created by the Globe and Mail provides an intersting review of just who might be to blame for the Sens monumental fall from grace, a word of caution if you are Bryan Murray, don't click here...

With 34 games remaining on the schedule, the prospects of a Senator team in the playoffs seems to be slimmer and slimmer, the next 34 will be evaluation days for this collection, with a trading deadline soon to arrive, one would suspect that the team Mr. Clouston has inherited today, won't be the same one he finishes the season with, perhaps a courtesy that Mr. Hartsburg should have been provided with.

But then again, as they say if you can't fire the team, then you have to fire the coach.

Hartsburg proved once again how accurate that saying is in the NHL. He leaves behind in Ottawa a record of 17-24-7 and perhaps an ulcer for the Mr. Clouston to inherit.

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