The Ottawa Senators announced Tuesday that they have relieved head coach Dave Cameron of his coaching duties. Assistant coaches Andre Tourigny and Rick Wamsley have also been let go, while assistant coach Jason Smith has been “relieved of his coaching duties and has been offered another position within the organization.”
It’s a big move that comes in tandem with former Assistant General Manager Pierre Dorion taking the reins as General Manager.
The Senators are in a weird situation and really need to find a coach that’s a good fit in this next hiring. They’ve gone quickly through their last five coaches and it’s meant year after year of failure, despite the strange postseason appearance last season on the back of an incredible stretch run by then third-string goaltender Andrew Hammond.
Cameron’s tenure last 137 games. He replaced Paul MacLean who coached 238 games. Cory Clouston was on the bench prior to that and coached just 198 games. Craig Hartsburg had the helm before him, coaching just 48 games. And the last coach before you get to outgoing GM Bryan Murray serving as coach was John Paddock, who lasted 64 games as bench boss.
MacLean’s run wasn’t overly brief, but you have to go back to 2004 and Jacques Martin before you find a coach that lasted a full three seasons in the organization. All of the coaches listed above were during Murray’s tenure as GM.
While Cameron’s run in Ottawa wasn’t successful, and there were certainly failures on the bench, at some point owner Eugene Melnyk and Murray, who is now a senior advisor to Dorion, may need to take a long look in the mirror to try and find a solution that goes beyond another new coach.
"Definitely look at someone who will make a commitment to have our players play defence," said Dorion. #Sens
— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) April 12, 2016
“At the end of the day this was my call and I felt it was the right thing to do,” said Dorion, showing that as new GM this will be his team. “This is not a great day. This is not a fun day. We’re dealing human beings here.”
The sense from Dorion is that he intends to hire a coach with experience. He also noted that the new head coach will hire his own staff, so no assistants will be named prior to the hiring of a new head coach. The plan is to have that new coach in place by the time the draft rolls around in June.
"Mr. Melnyk has assured me that we have the resources to hire the best coach available." – #Sens GM Pierre Dorion
— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) April 12, 2016
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.