Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Lord Have Mercy

The time has come to put Cory Clouston out of his misery.

Just on humanitarian grounds alone.

When things get this bad, as they did tonight against Boston, after losing 6 games in a row, and after already being told that Clouston was "day to day" in his job, the best thing to do right now is end it.

A mercy pull.

It may not be politically correct to fire Clouston because everyone and their dog knows that the players should take the blame here, but like the New Jersey Devils finally came to realize with their doomed coach John MacLean, there's only so much misery a team can take in one season before making a change just for the sake of change.

Clouston jumped the shark back on January 1st when his charges showed no pulse in losing to the rival Maple Leafs 5-1 in their own building. That Clouston survived to coach another game was an escape worthy of an Indiana Jones movie, but now it's no longer amusing.

Clouston's removal won't help this team score goals with Jason Spezza out of the lineup, but it may just burst the bubble and allow the dark cloud around this team to empty itself of rain and move on.

The more this season ticks away, the stronger the losing culture grabs ahold of this team. If Bryan Murray is serious about starting a youth movement and keeping some younger players from Bingo in the lineup, then it would be best to try and change the atmosphere in the locker room with a bold move.

Here's a humble suggestion: Murray should stay where he is and spend all his attention on his GM duties leading up to the trade deadline in order to help this team for next year. Let Greg Carvel coach the squad for the rest of the season.

He's been in the shadows in Ottawa since Bryan Murray took him from Anaheim in 2004. He's been loyal throughout his tenure and has watched as coach after coach has taken the fall. It would be a nice reward for Carvel and it may alleviate the tension in that room. The rest of the season would then be a tryout for next year and Carvel would get some head coaching experience under his belt before moving on to another organization once the Senators surely bring in an entirely new coaching staff over the summer.

Clearly, something has to break here, and the lesser of two evils may be the compromise solution.

Give Carvel the reins and try and get a winning attitude back in that dressing room before a full-blown malaise sets in that could cause even more problems down the road.


Anonymous said...

Things feel very much like 1995-96 when we had Davey Allison coaching, and everything felt hopeless. Allison was fired mid-season.

Then Jacques Martin came in, things stabilized, and we made the playoffs the next season.

The difference now is that our team has much better players now, than back then.

There's a major malaise with this team. Clouston didn't create it, but he also can't solve it. The malaise starts in the management ranks.

But, I'm with you in that something has to be done. Either Melnyk should fire Murray, or Murray should shake up the coaching situation. Although, I don't think a coaching change will change anything.

On an optimistic note, just as Jacques Martin stabilized a sinking ship in 1996, and made the playoffs in 1997, I think the 2011 Sens will also make the 2012 playoffs if they have the right management in place.

This team has too many good pieces to be this bad. In my books, trading away the likes of Fisher and Phillips, is just gift wrapping proven contributors to other teams in the league. On top of that, how about building something special in Ottawa, rather than treating the players like a piece of meat.

Both those guys are more than just loyal. They were drafted and developed by the team, and they still have many years left. They know what it was like when it was good. We can't lose that.

Sens said...

The chance to build something special existed from the late 90s to 2007, it never happeneed.

Phillips is useless without a REAL shut-down guy beside him like Chara or Volchenkov. The team as a whole is too complacent and comfortable, knowing they can get a coach's head at well. The coaches have all been yes-men, hired on the cheap and hired because they won't question The Great Murray. This team was never going to respond to a bunch of coaches that had never been past the second round, when they had been to the finals.

The whole org needs a makeover. Get the loser, buck-passing Murrays out of here (Hint Bryan & Tim: I don't give a **** if the farm was bare, I'm in Ottawa, not Bingahmpton.) and get a GM that will hold himself accountable for everything he does, from the smallest signing to the biggest trade.

Set the bar high and stress to the players the party is over, the country club is done, winning is the only option. Anyone unhappy with this can leave.

Anonymous said...

Also, not a fan of giving Carvel a job (or Tim Murray the GM job) just because they're "nice", "good soldiers" or anything like that.

I'd rather just finish the season with Clouston and Murray, clear the whole lot at the end of the year and go from there.

Something does indeed have to break, and I'm hoping it's the long-term, underachieving core finally being broken out of its comfort bubble and paying the price for years of underachievement.

Anonymous said...

I think that's not a bad idea: Carvel for the remainder of the season (and it will indeed stop in April, the post-season is not an option this year). Then sweep everyone in management out in the off season, after Murray has once again drafted wisely.

As an aside, I've found that the topic of trading Jason Spezza is an excellent indicator as to whether or not the suggestor has any hockey knowledge whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

Problem is you can't wait until the end of the year - you needto clear this up right away, espec if a new GW is involved.

My prediction here is that Murray is done at the end of the year and why the hell would he want to take on the coaching job now under this scenario?

I say fire Murray now and get someone new in ASAP so they can prepare for the trade deadline, draft, and July 1 signings.

Anonymous said...

Carvel not the answer. Let Clouston finish it out,if he wants to. I always thought from the start they needed strong asst coaches with a rookie coach. Not at all impressed with Lauer. However,Murray both of them need to go. Yes, they've drafted well but there's more to being a general manager then drafted well. Maybe they should become scouts.

why can a canadian team find a half decent coch, said...

Dave Cameron would be an excellent fit

Sens said...


This team needs to move AWAY from the no-NHL experience guys.
The room is full of guys that have been allowed to run wild, dictating their own minutes, linemates and so on.

I was shocked, absolutely shocked when I compared the average shift length of our guys with say, Atlanta or some other team we'd played recently. You had Alfredsson at 1:02 but their team had shifts of :45 or :40. That's one of the biggest problems on this team, long shifts lead to errors and mistakes and goals against. Get on, get your cycle, get off. Next line gets on, repeat. This was never, ever a problem under Martin but it is now.

Again, cannot overstate this. If the team is keeping any amount of its finalist core, it NEEDS a Cup winning coach, that will put his foot down and say: "Listen champ, your way hasn't worked. My way HAS worked (show ring). Sit down and do what you're told or GTFO, because I'm here to make YOU a winner, and YOU haven't done that in your career."

Get someone that will tear a strip off these guys and make them understand they haven't done a damned thing in this league until they have a ring on their fingers.

The self-entitled can leave, I'll take 20 18 year old kids that play hungry and play for jobs.