There are a variety of blogs etc this morning that are coming out with purported "sources" claiming that Bob Hartley has indeed been chosen to be the next head coach of the Ottawa Senators pending the paperwork.
As of yet, no established media outlet has reported anything about this (if you don't count The Bleacher Report out of California). At this stage, it is still just a rumour and perhaps completely false.
What we do know is that Hartley has been interviewed by GM Bryan Murray and is seen as one of the favourites. We might as well get to know him a little.
The last coach to bring his team to four consecutive conference finals (Colorado - 1999 - 2002)
Winningest coach in Colorado/Quebec franchise history with 193 wins.
Won Stanley Cup with Colorado in 2001, an AHL championship with the Hershey Bears in 1997, and a Memorial Cup with the Laval Titans in 1993.
Guided Atlanta to its first playoff appearance in 2007.
Most coaching wins in Atlanta franchise history (not too hard).
That's a damn good resume for a former windshield factory worker from Hawkesbury.
There has been some lowlights in his career, mostly during his time in Atlanta. It is thought that Atlanta GM Don Waddell made the disastrous trade of Braydon Cobourn to Philadelphia because Hartley refused to play the young defenseman.
Let's not forget about Hartley's relationship with Senators star winger Dany Heatley. After the accident that claimed the life of Dan Snyder, Hartley and his wife were a common sight at the bedside of a recovering Heatley. You can be sure that Heatley was asked of his opinions concerning Hartley and they were probably positive.
Craig Custance over at Thrashers Blog had this to say about Hartley on May 14:
"...I’d say he joins Ron Wilson as the best candidate on the market right now. Whether you liked Bob or not, his success with the Thrashers and Colorado is undeniable and it certainly doesn’t hurt his cause that the Thrashers went in the tank this season after he left. I think he’d be a great fit in Ottawa but I want him in the Southeast so I can deal with him eight times a year. I can’t be the only one who misses quotes like “no more Romper Room.”
- Thrashers Blog
One thing that Hartley is known for is his love of tough teams. The Senators had their share of run-ins with Hartley's Thrashers and there always seemed to be a bit of a rivalry between ex-coach Jacques Martin and Hartley, probably dating back to their junior coaching days.
Chris Stevenson of the Ottawa Sun interviewed Hartley earlier this year and the coach seemed very excited about the prospect of coming to Ottawa.
"You look at the pieces, they have unbelievable good, young players. (Jason) Spezza and Dany are still young players. I think they have an unbelievable leader in (Daniel) Alfredsson. They have a pretty solid blue line. Young (Nick) Foligno showed in the playoffs he's a real one. (Mike) Fisher, (Chris) Neil ... I love Neil. I asked Don Waddell for Neil in that trade for Dany Heatley. They have some guys who can play a good role for the Senators when it comes to grinding.
Have to love a guy who appreciates Chris Neil. No one else in this city does. Maybe Brian McGrattan will even get a chance to play.
Gasp! A tough Ottawa team! Even an aggressive one. Unheard of.
Don't get too excited just yet. Tomorrow we'll probably have a different rumour to replace this one. Bring on the summer.