Monday, November 13, 2006

Time to Clean House in Ottawa?

After another tough loss, the pressure is going to be on the Sens to make a move. This move will either be on the ice (in the form of a trade) or off the ice (firing one or both of Muckler and Murray).

Personally I think it's time to make a change in the front office and behind the bench.

Last season the Sens were 52-21-9 but they struggled down the stretch, winning just 4 of their last 13 before losing in the 2nd round to Buffalo.

This year the expectations were high once again and they have won just 6 of 17. Unlike Philadelphia this team has the skill to turn things around but it needs to happen very soon.

Ottawa's powerplay was the worst in the league at 9.8% going into tonight.
They've now given up a league-worst SEVEN short-handed goals

That suggests to me that the coaching should be much better - a team with Heatley, Spezza and Alfredsson should have a top powerplay, not the worst in all of hockey.

The Sens received absolutely nothing for Zdeno Chara. They knew that it would be unlikely that they would be able to keep both him and Redden but refused to acknowledge that fact and make a trade last year. Instead they went into the playoffs with an unproven Ray Emery, were outskated by a division rival and were knocked out on a short-handed goal.

When the team needed a boost at the deadline last year, the solution was to trade Bochenski for Tyler Arnason (4 pts in 19 games, benched in the playoffs) and to add Mike Morrison (who isn't even good enough to be the backup in Phoenix).

The Sens traded Martin Havlat who is a top young player with a ton of potential (and the guy who was leading the league in points this year before his injury) along with Brian Smolinski (their 6th leading scorer last year), who put up close to 50 points for them in back-to-back years to Chicago. All they got in return was Tom Preissing, Josh Hennessy, Michal Barinka and a 2nd rounder. Some good young prospects but a package that is not going to help the team any time soon.

They gave Martin Gerber (the guy who lost his job in the playoffs last year) $11.1 million over 3 years. So far he has been nothing short of awful.

They gave Joe Corvo (a defenceman with a hard shot but average at best defensively) $10.5 million over 4 years.

The new NHL is all about asset management and salary cap management. To me these moves suggest that the front office should be doing better.

I've mentioned before that I thought Pat Quinn would be the perfect fit for this team if Murray is fired. I believe that Mike Keenan has worked with him before so he could be a good choice for the GM job.

As for the on-ice product, the goaltending will need to be fixed. Hopefully for their sake Emery will not be out too long and they can give Gerber some time off to rediscover his form. If neither of them workout then Curtis Joseph could probably be had closer to the deadline. And if the price for Conroy is too high I would look at another ex-Leaf who played under Quinn, Joe Nieuwendyk.

No comments: