Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ottawa Panicking

The Ottawa Senators have fired coach John Paddock. General Manager Bryan Murray will be coaching the team for the rest of the season. Ottawa is currently the second seed in the East Conference if the season were to end now. This is not the kind of team that typically fires a coach. However, they have not played particularly well lately. They started the season 13-1 and had a large lead on the rest of the Eastern Conference. That lead has been lost. They have only won two of their last eight games (two other games were regulation ties giving them a 2-4-2 record in that period). Their last two games have been embarrassing shutout losses to Toronto (5-0= and Boston (4-0). Murray is afraid their good season is getting away. Since there is usually a short term boost to a coach firing, Murray is hoping this will get the Senators back on track.

In many way, this firing is being done to cover up for Bryan Murray's mistakes. He feels he was unable to make a big trade deadline deal. Ottawa did acquire Cory Stillman and Mike Commodore about two weeks before the deadline, but that move did not do anything to change the short term fortunes of the Senators. On deadline day, they acquired Martin Lapointe from Chicago, who will provide some depth at forward but is not expected to be a game breaker. Ottawa did not manage to address their biggest weakness of goaltending, but this is because few goalies were available to be moved on deadline day.

Ottawa's goaltending is a problem. Martin Gerber has not played very well lately. Ray Emery is not having a good season. When Gerber was hot at the beginning of the year, the Senators took their lead on the conference, but since he has slowed down, they have given back their lead. Ottawa does not have the kind of goaltending that typically wins Stanley Cups. They do not have the goaltending of a top team.

John Paddock was hired by Bryan Murray after Murray pushed John Muckler out of the Sens organization. Last summer, after Ottawa made the Stanley Cup finals with Muckler as GM and Murray as coach, Murray convinced ownership to let him take over as GM. Murray promoted the Binghamton Senators (the Ottawa AHL affiliate) head coach John Paddock to coach. Murray must see this move (his first as GM) as a mistake, since he has undone it. I think Ottawa would be better off with Muckler as GM and Murray as coach. It is a shame that successful tandem had to be broken up.

Ottawa remains one of the better teams in the NHL. They stand as good a chance as anyone of making the Stanley Cup finals from the East Conference this year. I don't think this coaching change makes any significant difference to that. I think they would stand a pretty good chance of winning the East Conference with Paddock coaching as well. In order to do that, they will need better goaltending then they have had recently, but that is a possibility. Over short terms, both Gerber and Emery have looked good in the past, however not lately.

Ottawa is in a slump lately. They have lost their lead over the East Conference. They were unable to make a splash at the trade deadline so in order to attempt to change things they have chosen to fire the coach. Coach firings usually lead to a short term lift for most teams, so Ottawa can expect one to happen. In this case, the coach firing was done to cover up for mistakes by the GM.

Here is TSN's story on the firing.

1) We agree with this assessment. We wrote as much yesterday on Mirtle's blog that Paddock didn't seem like such a bad coach when Gerber was looking like Georges Vezina
2) Now that the goaltending mess(created by the new coach-old GM) is causing/worsening the Sens problems suddenly its all Paddocks fault? Its amazing how goaltending can make a coach look brilliant one day and like a dunce the next!
3) We're not saying that Paddock was a great or bad coach, but the underlying problems with the Senators are unchanged despite this move
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?