Thursday, December 11, 2014

Senators shift direction removing head coach Paul MacLean and turning things over to assistant Dave Cameron

Those that were running through the lists of those that could soon be looking for work, probably hadn't circled the Ottawa Senators on their toto sheet, while the Sens had struggled in recent weeks, the idea that the coach who won the Jack Adams trophy less than two years ago, would be in danger of short term unemployment, most likely wasn't being considered.

So, developments out of Ottawa on Monday certainly caught the NHL world by surprise, as GM Bryan Murray called a press conference to announce the departure of MacLean and the promotion of assistant coach Dave Cameron to the top job.

Something had gone wrong in the nation's capital, the Senators always it seems are on the cusp of something special, only to have it all trail off, the 2014-15 season giving some early signs that those familiar traits were ready to arrive again.

Still, one wonders at what point a team might decide that the immediate fix of a coaching change may not solve the deeper issues. The malaise that seemed to grip the Senators highlighted that they had stopped listening to their coach, yet accountability for that lack of response it would seem won't be demanded just yet.

Dave Cameron takes over the under performing squad, Bryan Murray perhaps believing that a coach who has spent his time with young players in the minor leagues will have greater empathy with the players, coaxing a more successful effort night in and night out.

Some might say that they saw this day coming a few years back, when the then assistant coach, someone highly prized by owner Eugene Melnyk first arrived behind the Senators bench.

That perhaps may not be a fair observation, Cameron has built a record of his own through the years, considered a teacher, his lesson plan will be on that is closely watched through the rest of this season. Yet it will be the tag that follows Cameron through the short term, the subject we imagine of many a phone call late into the night to the Ottawa phone in shows.

On the ice, recurring issues and patterns will need to be addressed, internal issues in the dressing room may also require an exile or two before the Senators can turn a corner that seems further down the ice today than it did a few weeks ago.

Paul MacLean will coach again, most are in agreement with that, good coaches rarely are out of work for long.  And no doubt, other coaches on thin ice in other markets may soon start hearing rumbles that Maclean may be heading their town's way.

For Ottawa, the problem for the Senators of late is that they are quickly becoming a bit of a coaching graveyard, with a list of former coaches that were put in place behind the bench of a team many consider an up and coming force and yet none could take them very far into spring time hockey.

Up and coming has now morphed into rebuilding, player decisions and a team atmosphere that pears to have provided for a shorter timeline between the two than fans in Ottawa probably had expected.

That's not all related to coaching issues, that's a little higher up the corporate ladder, particularly in Ottawa, where a fairly high profile owner will now be in the spotlight.

Accountability for the situation in Ottawa should probably be shared from the dressing room to the owner's box, there's more than enough need to take some responsibility for everyone.

Paul MacLean leaves with no regrets
Paul MacLean’s dismissal was a matter of liveability
Senators fire head coach Paul MacLean; Ave Cameron takes over
Former Sens Coach knows he needed to win games
MacLean showcases solid humour in farewell presser
From saviour to scapegoat
Coaching change can spark team
'Old Paul' never came back
Onus now on Senators to prove MacLean was the problem
Sens GM says MacLean lost the room, 'didn't believe in the group' anymore
The coach conundrum: Murray can't find one in his own image
In unforgiving NHL, MacLean goes from coach of the year to canned in a year
Senators players ready to turn the page on a system that wasn't working

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