The writing was on the wall in Ottawa the moment Eugene Melnyk threw his coach under the bus for a goaltending decision in game one of the season. Yes, it was a disappointing year for the Senators, but did anyone really expect them to compete? Andrew Hammond stood on his head down the stretch last year and they got into the playoffs. But it was a mirage, and rather than actually improve the roster, management believed they would be good enough to do it again. Surprise, surprise, they weren’t. Dave Cameron is taking the fall, and that’s often the way it goes in these situations.
The Sens are a budget team (as Melnyk likes to remind everyone any chance he gets), so you have to wonder what kinds of big changes are coming personal wise. You know, because the players are the ones who actually play the games. And, if both Cameron and Paul MacLean couldn’t get it done with this group, maybe it’s not the coaches fault. No offense to Kyle Turris, but he would probably be a number three centerman on a lot of teams in this league. But thanks to nearly no depth at such a crucial position, Turris was forced to play top-line minutes. And he was hurt most of the year.
The other true centers on the team? J.G Pageau, Zack Smith and Mika Zibanejad. Good luck with that. (Although Smith had an outstanding year, so credit to him). They brought in Dion Phaneuf’s albatross of a contract to help shore up the defence, but that didn’t really help. The Sens do have some really good young players, and maybe the disconnect between Cameron and star Mike Hoffman was part of the reason for the firing. If they don’t bring back Hoffman, they’re nuts. [Ottawa Sun]. In any case, there needs to be an improvement with the players. And that’s on management’s shoulders. [CBC], [Ottawa Citizen]
In other news…
Already an underdog after limping into the postseason, the Wild will have to forge on without Zach Parise. [The Hockey News]
Don Maloney did the best he could with the most unstable franchise in the league. [Todays Slapshot]
Loui Eriksson talks about not being dealt at the trade deadline. [Big Bad Blog]
What will the Maple Leafs do with Nazem Kadri? [Leafs Hub]
Pavel Datsyuk says he hasn’t made a final decision about where he’s playing next season. (He probably has, but is waiting for the playoffs to finish). [Fox Sports]
Good news for the Stars, Tyler Seguin is back on the ice. [Sportsday]
Mike Sullivan discusses the keys to the Pens turnaround. [CBS Local]
Keith Yandle speaks. [The Players Tribune]
And finally, Oscar Klefbom is ready to put a difficult season behind him. [Edmonton Journal]