After weeks of silence from both Eugene Melnyk and GM Bryan Murray, two embarrassing losses forced them to talk to the press, and predictably, their words went a long ways towards calming an angry and confused fan base.
You've all read what Melnyk said, "staying the course" yadda yadda yadda, "we have a plan" etc.
That was all fine and dandy but what had to be concerning was the tone that the Senators had basically thrown in the towel on the season by not making a change behind the bench or in the GM position.
It makes sense in one way because it's harder to find proper candidates mid-season and now is not really the time commit to a new coach or GM long term. I get that. But what I don't get is the notion that losing is inevitable and acceptable for the duration of the season.
It may get the team a lottery pick but what kind of damage will be done to the organization once it becomes okay with losing games?
And going for a total rebuild does not mean they will be successful at it. There are just as many teams that could never get out of "rebuild mode" once they started as there are teams that became elite through the process.
Bu there is plenty of time to debate these points. The Senators are headed for at least a slight rebuild anyways. The toothpaste is already out of the tube.
One of the more confusing points of this whole saga was Roy MacGregor's article in the Globe and Mail about how there was a plan to keep Murray in a senior advisor role once a new GM was hired during the off-season. If a new GM was a foregone conclusion, why isn't he being hired now to direct the rebuild during its most crucial time - the lead-up to the trade deadline?
The most obvious answer is the guy Melnyk wants is unavailable at the moment. The less obvious answer is that MacGregor got it wrong and that there has been no decision made about the future of Bryan Murray.
We may have gotten a hint after today's practice when Bryan Murray met with the media and said a few revealing things.
One, and most importantly, is that he wanted to remain GM and that he believed a "one year rebuild" was possible. He seemed very aggravated with Mr. MacGregor and "wished Roy was here", presumably so he could give him an explicit answer directly. Judging by Murray's tone, this is a guy who wants to fight for his job and doesn't sound like he is on the verge of retirement just yet. In fact, at times he was downright hostile.
Secondly, Murray said the players will either "perform for the coach or sit on the sidelines".
That's a veteran GM talking there and it is absolutely the right thing to say.
If you're not going to fire your coach (and I've gone on record saying he should have), then you have to stand behind him, and do it firmly.
Leaving a coach twisting in the wind is no good for either the coach or the players. Even if it's the wrong decision, there's no sense waffling about it.
It's a bizarre situation, but Murray is at least saying all the right things for the moment.