Monday, March 3, 2008

It’s All About Ray

The Ray Emery backlash is in full swing in the nation’s capital and across the league as ex-Senators coach John Paddock let it be known that he views his handling of Emery as the main reason he no longer has his job.

Even before Paddock broke his silence, it was somewhat predictable that this would happen. That’s just the way it goes in the NHL. When a coach gets fired, the blame is immediately placed elsewhere and it always falls on the players. Suddenly, the same people who have been ripping the coach all season long start feeling guilty about it and all his shortcomings are forgotten. In fact, in a lot of cases, the fired coach assumes martyr status and this is becoming the case where John Paddock is concerned.

Paddock had a lot to say about Emery, and most of it was justified. He clearly explained how Emery felt that the number one job should have been his when he returned from injury. Paddock agreed with this sentiment but pointed out Emery’s poor work habits as the reason for straying from the “unwritten code” that no one loses their position due to injury. Instead of being professional about it, Emery chose to sulk and let his unhappiness be known through sloppy practices. This is nothing more than a case of immaturity and Emery will have to face the consequences of that throughout his career. In the NHL, no one seems to forget bad behavior and Emery will have a hard time overcoming this reputation.

But it should be remembered that Paddock’s failure to handle the Emery situation was not the only reason he was fired, as Paddock would like us to believe.

The facts are clear:

Paddock burnt out his top line early in the season by playing them too many minutes which led to the complete absence of a fourth line. This robbed players like Dean McAmmond, Shean Donovan and Christoph Schubert of any sort of defined role on this team. This also led to the "fraying of the team concept" which are words Paddock used himself when talking about Emery. It’s no coincidence that these very players have been much better under the coaching of Bryan Murray.

Paddock also failed to ignite any emotion out of his team which led to embarrassing no-shows against teams like the Philadelphia Flyers even though the Senators were in the position to exact revenge against Steve Downie.

If this was all the fault of an immature Ray Emery, then this team is much more fragile than anyone knows.

Despite the hoopla about Emery and his easy status as scapegoat, the burden for Paddock’s failure rests on his own shoulders.

That should not be forgotten in this recent Paddock lovefest.


Sherry said...

I kind of have a different read on it. I don't think Paddock is trying to suggest at all that Ray Emery was the reason he was fired. I think he was trying to say that he should have handled the situation better-- nowhere does it say that it cost him his job. He probably went at length about it because lots of people were asking him about it. I applaud him for being willing to admit he made a mistake with him.

But I do agree with you and you can't argue with the facts that there were very legitimate reasons why he had to be let go. I just wonder which one it was: did the players quit on him because he wasn't the right coach, or was he not the right coach because the players quit on him (if you get my meaning)? If what I've been reading is true, a lot of players walked all over Paddock because of the fact he was way too passive, and it wasn't just Emery.

Jeremy Milks said...

All good points Sherry. I actually think that only some players quit on him and another faction really supported him, but losing half a room will suck the energy out of any team.

The only thing I know for sure is that I'm looking forward to writing about other topics. It already feels like this town has been through the playoffs and it's only March.

Senators Lost Cojones said...

Now the question becomes whether Murray can fix the room before the playoffs. After all, the cancer remains.

And apropos of nothing, I've heard from several people (who don't know each other) that Reds and Emery have become rather chummy and quite the Men-About-Town. All things *cough* considered, an explanation for Redden's brutal play this year? Just throwin' it out there.

The only thing I know for sure is that I'm looking forward to writing about other topics.

Amen to that brother.