The Ottawa Senators announced today that they’ve fired head coach Guy Boucher. Associate coach Marc Crawford will step in immediately as the team’s interim head coach. Boucher’s contract was already scheduled to end at the end of this season.
News Release: Marc Crawford named interim head coach of rebuilding Ottawa Senators: https://t.co/mzV6MvCK4M— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) March 1, 2019
Hired in 2017 to replace Dave Cameron, Boucher was brought in to coach a more defensive style for the Senators. In his nearly three seasons with the team, he finishes his time in Ottawa with a record of 94-108-26.
Most notably, Boucher was behind the bench when the Sens made the Eastern Conference Finals in 2017, although with a 30th place finish in 2017-18 and the Sens currently sitting dead last in the NHL, the Senators have decided to relieve him of his duties. Boucher has also become infamous for his stubbornness to play younger players, which may have played a big factor in today’s decision. The call comes in the midst of a six game losing streak, losing 4-2 last night to the Edmonton Oilers.
Marc Crawford will serve immediately as Boucher’s interim replacement. He has over 1,000 games of head coaching experience, dating back to the 1994 Québec Nordiques, in which season he also won the Jacks Adams award. Crawford was brought in as associate coach during the same off-season as Boucher, after the Sens had previously gutted their coaching staff. In fact, it was under Boucher’s recommendation that Crawford was hired, as the two were both coaching in Switzerland the previous year.
The announcement comes as a surprise from the Sens, as Boucher seemed to have full backing from general manager Pierre Dorion. In his interview with TSN1200 on Monday, he stated that a decision wouldn’t be made until the end of the season.
Pierre Dorion on Monday: “Guy is our coach. I don’t think anyone will disagree with me on this one that I’ve probably made his job pretty difficult the last few weeks, and we’re going to support him.”— Kyle Bukauskas (@SNkylebukauskas) March 1, 2019
The sentiment was repeated as recently as yesterday in a one-on-one with Postmedia’s Bruce Garrioch where Dorion said, “Guy’s job hasn’t been easy in the last few weeks with everything going on and I think he’s handled it well. We’re going to evaluate them at the end of the year.”
Something obviously changed within the past day however, with the following reasoning for the firing being reported by Bob McKenzie:
OTT rationale for firing Boucher was two fold. One, the decision to make a coaching change at end of season had already been made (Boucher’s contract expiring). Two, OTT didn’t like the dynamic/tendencies team was showing in remaining weeks.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) March 1, 2019
The Sens will likely undergo another coaching search this off-season, unless they decide to move forward with Crawford, who is now the team’s eighth head coach in the last twelve years.
Chris Kelly will join the coaching staff.
Marc Crawford says the Sens will be adding Chris Kelly to the bench staff.— Ian Mendes (@ian_mendes) March 1, 2019
He’s not sure exactly what his role will look like at this point.