The Senators announced the dismissal of most of their coaching staff this morning. Dave Cameron, Andre Tourigny and Rick Wamsley have all been let go, while Jason Smith has been relieved of his coaching duties and offered another position within the organization. This leaves Chris Schwarz (Conditioning coach) and Tim Pattyson (Video coach) of the existing coaching staff.
The dismissal of Cameron doesn't come as any surprise, as it's been largely telegraphed for awhile now. Given the defensive and special teams woes, Tourigny and Smith are no surprise either. The dismissal of Rick Wamsley is a little more surprising as the goaltending has been among the least of the Sens woes, and he has been credited with improving the play of a number of goalies that have gone through the Ottawa system during his time with the team.
Cameron finishes his time as the Sens head coach with an overall regular season record of 70-50-17.
The hunt for the team's 11th head coach begins now. Claude Julien is the name that has been leading the speculation, but as of the moment he is still employed by the Bruins (though that may change before too long), and he would come at a much higher price than Dave Cameron did if he does become available. Some other bigger names (Boudreau, Hitchcock) could become available depending on how the playoffs go as well.
When he spoke with the media this afternoon, Pierre Dorion shed some light on a few things:
- They will be going after whoever they feel is the best coach available, and that Eugene Melnyk has promised the resources necessary to do that
- NHL experience will be considered important, but not necessarily an absolute necessity
- They do not have a list of candidates yet, nor have any candidates reached out to the team
- The evaluations of the coaching staff had been ongoing for the past month (or so)
- The decision to let Rick Wamsley go was largely to clean the slate, and allow the new head coach to be able to bring in his own assistants across the board, and the new coach will have the autonomy to do so
- Jason Smith was not offered any specific position, though Dorion did mention that previously Smith had been in player development
- There will be roster changes, but today is not the day to go in to that
- Better defence was mentioned several times as a priority