This week, Sens fans saw one coach fired, a new one promoted and rumours surface about the possibility of a new arena. Here are five thoughts from a very busy week for the Ottawa Senators.
1) Paul MacLean
In somewhat of a shocking move, the Ottawa Senators fired coach Paul MacLean on Monday. It's no secret that the team has been struggling as of late, and MacLean's decisions have been called into question on a number of occasions. But of all the coaches to be fired first this season, it's safe to say that MacLean was not on the top of anyone's list.
After winning the Jack Adams award just two seasons ago, and bringing a very unlikely team to the playoffs two out of three seasons, Paul MacLean certainly didn't seem like a likely candidate for a pink slip. However rumours of a disconnect between him and certain players, combined with the harsh coaching style that surfaced during his time here, may very well be behind the switch.
Here at Silver Seven, we shared our thoughts on MacLean's firing and what it means for the future of the team. You can also find articles from Sheer Craziness, Mrs. O and Amelia, all covering the most recent coaching shift.
2) Dave Cameron
MacLean is out, and Cameron is in. It didn't take long for Bryan Murray to assign a new head coach. Just hours after news broke of MacLean being let go, Murray announced that assistant coach Dave Camerson would step in as the Senators' tenth head coach in modern franchise history.
Personally, I don't mind this decision. While many felt that Luke Richardson should have been called up to receive this promotion, I think Richardson is doing a pretty good job down in Binghamton. Why mess with a good thing right now? Richardson will most likely find himself as a head coach in the NHL one day anyway.
Cameron, while rumoured to have issues connecting with players in the past, has had a lot of success (or near success) with previous teams. He brought two different teams to three different championships in 2011. Regardless of the results, there is something to be said for a coach who can bring his team to the finals that many times.
The players know him, and he knows them. Instead of bringing in someone from outside the organization, who would have to learn a whole new system in a matter of days, the Sens stayed internal. This cuts down on the grace period for the new coach, and maintains a level of familiarity for the players, reducing the risk that comes with a mid-season coaching change.
3) Coaching Graveyard
It wasn't so long ago that the Ottawa Senators were labelled a goalie graveyard. Many goalies came, saw and didn't conquer much as they finished their careers, or the "best" years of them, here in Ottawa. Well, times have changed. We may not be known as the goalie graveyard anymore, but some say we are shifting our focus to coaches.
Since 2007, the Sens have gone through five coaching changes, the most of any team in their division (Montreal and Florida were the closest at four).
Clearly, the coach turnover rate is somewhat high in Ottawa. Is management too quick to change coaches? Are we becoming a coaching graveyard?
4) Mika Zibanejad
I've made my thoughts on Zibanejad's lackluster play very clear this season. However, he seems to have turned a corner (knock on wood). He was the team's best player in the comeback win over Vancouver, with four points on the night. Not to mention, he has recorded seven points in the last four games.
Maybe it was a slow start, maybe something else sparked his turnaround. Whatever it was, it sure is nice to see him put up some numbers. As I've said all season long, this is a very important time in Zibanejad's career. The team needs to determine if he is turning into the player they projected him to be, or if they need to move him. In his most recent games, it looks like he is showing signs of life.
5) A New Arena?
No, not a new name, we've already done that. The Ottawa Senators indicated that they were "actively considering" making a proposal to move their home arena to LeBreton Flats, a much more central location in Ottawa.
Obviously, this is just a thought right now, and would be years in the making before we saw a downtown NHL arena in Ottawa. But this news is very welcome for many Ottawa residents (basically, anyone who doesn't live in Kanata).
The Sens currently play at the Canadian Tire Centre, which is located in the far west-end of the city. The struggles of getting to the arena from downtown (or east of downtown), along with the lack of restaurants in walking distance, have been well documented. A downtown arena would make it easier for residents of almost all areas of Ottawa to attend games, and probably increase the number of tourists and walk-ups who purchase Ottawa Senators tickets. Although I am a west-ender, I would fully support this move if it ever came to fruition. What are your thoughts?