Thursday, December 2, 2010

Changes On The Way...Clouston In Danger For First Time

It's open season now.

After losing their 7th game out of the last 9, and this time to Dany Heatley and the San Jose Sharks, it finally feels like the roof is caving in on the Senators season.

It's not hyperbole. No one's job is safe anymore.

And we're talking the GM, the coach, and of course, most, if not all of the players.

It seems almost unthinkable due to recent history, but the Senators may, just may, be starting to look at the coaching staff once again as an area to make a change.

It's still a longshot at best, and a last resort, but Cory Clouston and his staff don't seem to have any answers and a housecleaning is not completely out of the question if things continue to fall apart.

You can point to the complete lack of offense this season despite having some very high-end skilled players. You can point to Clouston's strange stubbornness lately about his lines, trying to force combos that just don't work and not making changes during the games when it's obvious that the team has stalled. Or you can simply point to the body language of the players who may be in such a dismal mental state that willingly or not, they aren't buying into the current system.

But of course, Bryan Murray is going to make a move amongst the players before firing yet another coach. Brian Lee cleared waivers the other day and now David Hale is back on the wire, which makes it look like Murray had some moves in mind even before the shutout loss to the Sharks.

If Murray is simply trying to save cap space, it doesn't explain why he put Lee on waivers and then didn't send him down to Bingo when he cleared. Lee is still counting against the cap as we speak.

So what is Murray up to here? Is this a precursor to some kind of trade?

Murray can't stand still after all these losses. He's got to do something before the heat from the owner begins to blow in his direction.

The Senators are still only a handful of games under .500 and are by no means out of the playoff picture. But the atmosphere around the team now is so gloomy and forlorn that some kind of change is desperately in order.

The interesting thing is that the Senators went out and played extremely hard for most of this game until ex-Ottawa 67 Logan Couture ripped their hearts out in the third period. Even Pascal Leclaire was strong and certainly not to blame for the loss.

It's very telling when a team is throwing everything they can onto the ice and nothing seems to happen for them. This is not just a matter of players holding their sticks too tight.

They can't score, the losses are piling up and someone has to be held accountable for that now.

Whether it's the players, the coach or the GM, someone is going to moved.

Who that is, I get a feeling we'll find out very soon.


A lot of well-deserved booing for Heatley in Kanata tonight, but the best stunt was when a group of fans marched to the glass and threw a bunch of old Heatley Sens jerseys on the ice. Novel approach. For the most part, the Sens fans were loud and they needed their moment to let Heatley know how they felt. Now that the night is over, people should really move on. Some of the things that have been said recently have been a little over the line, which makes you think that some people are taking their hockey way too seriously. Like scary seriously. Which brings us to......

.....Leave it to the Ottawa Sun to go completely over the top with their vitriol and sensationalistic s**t-slinging. Just read any hockey article from Thursday's edition. Vicious.  But we shouldn’t be surprised because that’s the way they cover politics and everything else they deem newsworthy. If you’re not with them in their myopic right-wing views, then you’re the enemy, and there’s nothing that is off-limits in their attempts to shock and awe their readers, including bringing up Dan Snyder in Tuesday's paper. I’m sure the Snyder family is really overjoyed that their son’s name is being exploited so someone can score cheap points over something as unimportant as a hockey game. Revolting...….

......Not too long ago I got an email asking me to help promote something called the “Heatley Hate-Fest”.  A hate fest?  Seriously?  Someone spent time out of their lives to organize this? Could not delete that email fast enough. But after reading about the fest, and the fact they went out and got a whole block of tickets, I realized it was all in good fun and fairly harmless. Not sure I would have went with that name though........ Interesting to hear TSN's Pierre McGuire ripping coach Cory Clouston for not keeping Sergei Gonchar on the right point on the power-play all year, something that the local media have pointed out but have not really layed out in such blunt terms. Bizarre decisions like that must be hurting Clouston's reputation around the league, if the constant losing hasn't already.......

.....When we got word late this summer that Pascal Leclaire was changing his goalie pads for this season, it seemed like a safe assumption that Leclaire would accept the common wisdom that white pads make you look bigger in the net. But Leclaire merely switched his black and red striped ones for black and red unstriped ones. Sure they look cool, especially to shooters who can see the net behind him more clearly..... If the Nordiques were to somehow come back to the NHL in the next 3-4 years, either through relocation or expansion, would it not seem fitting that Patrick Roy would be their first head coach and Vincent Lecavalier their veteran captain? Roy’s already coaching in Quebec City with the Remparts and Lecavalier now seems like the forgotten man in Tampa with Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis getting the headlines. And even though Tampa GM Steve Yzerman has told everyone that Lecavalier is going nowhere, you'd have to think he'd jump at the chance to get out from under that contract before it expires in 2020 (!!)….

......Talking to a pal about Brian Lee and he suggested the kid should try and catch on in Russia for a while, and it’s not a half-bad idea. The Russian League would play into all his strengths. There’s no hitting and plenty of skating. Lee could really rebuild his career over there and then try to come back to the NHL with a little more life experience under his belt. If he can survive it, he’ll be a better player……A pretty good Christmas schedule for guys on the Sens with a family. They have the 20-22 off to do some Xmas shopping, a quick flight into Nashville on the 22nd to play on the following night and then they’re home for a week straight with only two games on the sked. Although that leaves plenty of time to strap on the feed bag and they may be waddling onto the ice in Columbus on New Years Eve. But Erik Karlsson could use the pounds anyways…


Anonymous said...

Sure does seem like we are at a point of inflection.

When you watch the guys on the ice, they don't look right. Uninspired comes to mind. Maybe even defeated.

I guess change could happen for the sake of change. But, what good is a change, if you aren't changing the right parts.

If Clouston is axed, then you have to think that Murray is going behind the bench. I can't believe that Melnyk would take on another coaching contract on Murray's watch. But who knows, maybe he would.

If we trade, we are trading from a position of weakness. We will get hosed. Murray gets hosed when he trades from a position of strength. If he trades now, we are looking at a real major league hose job.

First off, let's go get Gregory Campbell from the Bruins. We'll start getting some calls going are way. Just kidding.

Just by looking at the standings, we have the second worst goal differential in the league at -27. NJ is the worst at -28.

We have one of the worst offenses in the league. Unless we grab a top 3 forward from another team, that has zero chance of changing until our current top guys kick into high gear.

To me, the guys are not playing to their potential. To me, a trade does not address that problem. It just delays the inevitable.

Murray has to go. A new direction, a new voice, a new person is needed at the top. It would have the effect of cleaning the slate. The guys would feel refreshed.

I think that it would get us through the season. Then, the search would have to begin for a permanent solution.

By the way, I think Calgary should fire their GM also. They have the same problems as us. You can tell the players are fed up.

I'm with you on the Sun stuff and the Lecavalier stuff. I think Tampa will try and unload his contract. They are doing it the right way though. They are polishing the apple.

I see him ending up in NYR or Toronto, with Brad Richards. That's my guess.

Anonymous said...


You're greatly underestimating this team's patience and loyalty.

I would be completely shocked if any changes were made before the playoffs or after the playoffs.

This is Ottawa...changes only happen when players themselves force them (Emery, Yashin, Heatley, Corvo) or we get squished by the Leafs in the post-season.

Enjoy the games, knowing the Senators motto is "Status Quo."

Anonymous said...

I gotta agree, Murray, I don't think they will take him out, but it might make everyone re-think what's going on. Maybe time for his brother Tim?

Anonymous said...

Lee to Russia is not a bad idea for the Sens either.

If he goes to Russia, we retain his rights. If he develops, he's just another prospect in the system.

It's much better than waiving him and getting nothing for him, or trading him to a team that gives us another problem in return.

But, if you follow Murray's pattern, as in how he handled our first rounders from 2003 and 2004, Eaves and Mez were dumped for much older players.

Lee (2005) and Foligno (2006) will be dumped for a guy like Adrian Aucoin (local guy, old, character, close to retirement). We can then brag that we are the oldest team in the league.