Remember last year when Paul MacLean couldn’t seem to put a lineup together that made sense? A sigh of relief was collectively taken by Ottawa Senators fans when MacLean lost his job as head coach just over a year ago on Dec. 8, 2014. Post-Christmas of last season, the story of the Senators success wrote itself, and Dave Cameron seemed to be the author the team needed.
Now, the tables have turned. Cameron has taken lots of backlash for the way he has handled the Senators lineup so far in this 2015-2016 season.
The Problem With Cameron
From the reluctance to include Chris Wideman in the teams struggling defensive lineup earlier this season, to juggling Mike Hoffman around, Cameron is taking lots of heat.
The controversy ensued between Hoffman and Cameron when the Senators leading goal scorer was taken off the first line several times during the team’s eastern conference road trip. Through the resistance met from that decision, Cameron unswervingly stood behind it while taking a shot at some of the comments he received.
“I don’t know when and I hope it’s not real soon, but this job will be available again… Apply,” – Dave Cameron (Ottawa Citizen)
Cameron’s most recent daring idea to dress defenceman Mark Borowiecki as a forward in place of the young Shane Prince hasn’t helped the situation. Going into Saturday night’s game against the Montreal Canadiens, Cameron was going with that lineup change for the 3rd game in a row. Prince, who has quickly become a very well-liked member of the Ottawa Senators, has been aggressively defended by his fans. The ridicule of Cameron’s coaching abilities are subject to continue for every game that he is held out of the lineup.
As the controversy surrounding Cameron’s coaching decisions continue, the comparisons between him and MacLean have reached full swing. With the way the Season has gone for Ottawa, it has seemed that this was inevitable. Searching through the list of issues with both coaches, there seems to be only one major difference. Winning.
Comparing the month of November from the 2014-2015 season to that of this season, the Senators have had a complete turnaround. Just one month before the coaching change, the Senators, led by MacLean, went 5-7-2 in the month of November. This year, the team’s November tallied a 7-2-3 record.
However, as much as some use the winning as evidence for the method to Cameron’s madness, the beginning of December has not been good for Ottawa. This month the team is 3-4 and claimed just one win on their recent road trip.
It certainly seems like an odd coincidence that almost exactly one year ago the Ottawa Senators were in a very similar situation when they promoted Cameron to be the head coach. After an embarrassing 1st period follow by a 3-1 loss to Montreal, similarities will no doubt continue to be top of mind until Cameron plays his team the right way.