Late last night, while I was on Twitter keeping up with some updates on the Toronto Maple Leafs and their game with the San Jose Sharks, I happened to notice that Hockey Night in Canada’s Elliotte Friedman was Tweeting regularly so I posed him a question: What are the odds that teams would allow their Asst GMs take a vacant GM elsewhere mid-season? Nil?
He responded by saying, “Give me some specifics“.
So I rephrased the question.
“What are the odds that the Avalanche or Preds would let Billington/Fenton pursue the GM job here in the event that Murray goes?”
“Unlikely during season,” he said.
It’s sort of a worst case scenario for those fans who question whether it’s wise for a lame duck GM like Bryan Murray to have the capacity to shape the team’s future as the NHL trade deadline approaches. As someone who has coached many of the players on this team, can Murray be entrusted to make the tough decisions necessary to improve this team? Or will the biases that he has developed as the coach of this team inhibit him from making some deals?
It underlines the importance of the next GM hire and the lack of faith that I have in Eugene Melnyk to make an informed hockey decision regarding the next GM hire is frightening. More so if you’re a believer that The Euge is a meddlesome owner who doesn’t give his GMs the autonomy to make informed hockey decisions (ie. failure to acquire Gary Roberts and the Kovalev signing.)
Media Chiming in On Situation
At last night’s game was Los Angeles Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi. It has already been speculated that he was there to look exclusively at Mike Fisher however, TSN’s Darren Dreger revealed via Twitter (@DarrenDreger) that I don’t see the Sens moving Alfie. Spezza may be a tough sell (contract). Karlsson and Fisher are not avail.
You have to wonder though, if Fisher is reportedly off of the table, who was Lombardi there to watch?
Dreger wasn’t done.
San Jose looked slow last night. D really struggled. Sharks are in the market. Wonder if Phillips as a rental would be considered? NTC.
Over at ESPN, Pierre Lebrun and Scott Burnside engaged in a Daily Debate (akin their own version of the Digital Faceoff). Burnside had this to say:
To me, things can’t start to move forward until the management/coaching structure is clarified. If you don’t think Clouston is the man (does anyone think he is?), fire him and move on. If Murray isn’t the guy, then move quickly in the offseason to find a replacement. The failed efforts to find a coach that fits the team Murray has assembled suggests the Sens will have a new GM and coach next season.
I’d like to see Bob Hartley get a shot with this team. He was in the mix when Craig Hartsburg was hired to begin the 2008-09 season and his name came up again when Clouston was promoted from the minors. Either way, the road ahead looks long and bumpy for the once-mighty Sens.
Interestingly, Hartley once coached the Colorado Avalanche’s Assistant GM Craig Billington.
Last night’s Loss and the Consequences
Following last night’s 6-0 loss to the Bruins, the latest Sportsclubstats.com numbers give the Ottawa Senators have a 99.9% chance of missing the playoffs and a 78% likelihood that they will finish with the third or fourth worst record in the NHL.
In the aftermath, Jim O’Brien and Mike Brodeur were re-assigned to Binghamton while Corey Locke and Robin Lehner were recalled to take their respective places. At practice this morning, Locke skated on a line with Nick Foligno and Ryan Shannon and in a rare departure from his tradition of naming his starting goaltenders on game days, Cory Clouston has named Lehner as the starter for tomorrow’s game against the Islanders.
It will mark Lehner’s first career NHL start and to add some more intrigue to the game, TSN will be broadcasting the game. As Twitter follower @DHSpeedwagon noted, maybe McGuire will read his cover letter during an intermission.