Former Sens coach Paul MacLean was fired a little over a year ago, and Dave Cameron has been at the helm ever since then. His record as the Senators coach sits at 49-26-13, which is a 103 point pace over the course of an 82-game season. Of course it is hard to overlook the success of the team in the second half of last year, and the coach had at least something to do with it.
However, now that we are in a different season, things have changed. Cameron has made some puzzling moves like scratching Shane Prince and Chris Wideman in favour of David Dziurzynski, Mark Borowiecki, and Jared Cowen, but it is not as if Ottawa's record is bad so far. They sit at 17-11-5, which is good for 3rd in the Atlantic Division and first in the wild card. Many people are saying that he doesn't deserve criticism because Ottawa is in a playoff spot, which is fair enough.
But i find Cameron perplexing, because of how different his team looks this year compared to last. I think last year he got lucky because he was able to put an ideal lineup since guys like Chris Neil, Zack Smith, and Chris Phillips were injured. But he was the one who finally gave Mark Stone and Mike Hoffman more ice time, something that MacLean did not want to do. Furthermore, Ottawa's possession numbers went back up to over 50% for the second half of the year.
While they had some extreme luck, the team certainly did improve once MacLean was gone. This season though, things seem a bit different. Cameron has reverted to some MacLean-isms where Zack Smith is getting first line minutes, and Mark Borowiecki is a forward all of a sudden. Furthermore, the teams possession numbers have been dreadful this year, ranking 29th in the league at 46.1%. It's odd to see this team look like a legitimate team on the rise, and then fall back to giving up the second most shots in the league a few months later.
Now while their possession numbers have not been good, it is hard to argue against Cameron's overall results. A 103 point pace is nothing to scoff at, considering Ottawa hasn't reached 100 points since 2006-07. In some ways, Cameron has been an improvement over MacLean.
Still though, does that mean he is the man for the job? It's hard to say. The Senators probably think he is, and they would point to his record so far as evidence. But the fans might think differently, and I want to hear your take on it.
I have my own opinion on him, but I truly do wonder: do you think Dave Cameron is the right coach for the Senators that can lead them into contention? Is he the right coach, not the right guy, or just alright for now?