Oh, It Happened and Carvel Leaves the Building

The inevitable has happened and I take full advantage by getting in the last of my Carvel power play and Clouston suit digs before they’re as dated and ineffective as well…

But let me start by saying in all seriousness I’ll miss the Little General and would have liked to have seen what he could have done under different circumstances and have to admit I have always been very impressed by his obvious commitment and unabashed dedication to his profession and craft and wish him well and a quick return to the NHL. I always thought he approached every game with the same intensity and avid attention to detail that were required to coach at this level (note: thought). I really believed when he first started here that we may have finally found a fit and although as time rolled along it became all too apparent the team and Cory were moving in different directions.

As a strange aside, I had great impression of Cory right from the get go. When he was first hired as the coach I saw him out shopping with an individual who was looking at a pair of boots in a storefront. From where I was seated I watched as this individual eyed these boots to no end and was clearly vocalizing their impressions of the footwear to Cory. Cory stood there staring off into the distance seemingly paying little attention to the discussion at hand. I wanted to go wish him good luck but I never did. He was in the zone. It occurs to me years later that the only thing going through his mind was hockey (or maybe something about KISS, either way it’s awesome). It’s never cool to see someone lose their job (little bit easier to stomach if they make six figures I guess) and wanted to make sure this wasn’t taken out of context but I’m not an employment counsellor so with the formalities out of the way, lets get cuttin’.

According to Bruce Garrioch Coach Clouston, Assistant Coaches Greg Carvel and Brad Lauer were relieved of their duties this evening upon arrival at the Esso Avitat at the Ottawa airport. Well, let’s just say its no ones hope to be fired in the presence of a vending machine. However it is fitting to use such a mediocre venue for some mediocre coaches. Similar to the way a trashy chick deserves to be dumped in a McDonald’s parking lot (or the Drive-Thru lineup if she met your parents once but left a bad impression) and not the Wellington Gastropub. I guess this could also be seen as another indication the team will have some sort of an internal budget this season. No word yet on whether or not bus tickets were exchanged.

We’ve all been waiting for this for a while, this should come as no surprise to anyone who’s picked up a paper, watched a Senators game or heard Euge speak in cryptic tongue over the past week. The only real shocker here has to be that no Sens rumo(u)r blogger took advantage of this seemingly sure-fire dismissal and ran with it as fact. This was easy street cred and you cats missed out. Shame on you folks for not being more opportunistic with such an easy scoop. This one ranks up there with stating the Sens will make a selection at the 2011 draft and the Senators will have new faces on the 2011-12 team. Sure there will be debate about whether or not Clouston should bare the blame for this catastrophic season. Not only did Bryan Murray fire his coach but also did his best to fire many of the players as well. It’s yet to be seen if Murray should have been the one to go instead. I personally will take a cue from the Euge and punt that debate until we have a larger sample to evaluate his ability to rebuild this team as I have few complaints (Anderson term, Phillips term) with his work since the fire sale nor do I have any complaints with the team’s play since the fire sale.

So in short, Clouston got canned because he couldn’t can anyone else. That’s life and it always rolls downhill.

Longtime nemesis of the 6th Sens, Greg Carvel has been that smell in the carpet you’ve been trying to locate for months only to have it evade many a steam cleaning, vacuuming and calls of “Hey tell me if you can tell where this smell is coming from?” only to be eventually found and snuffed out with little fanfare. Having been with the Senators since August 30, 2004 he’s endured more coaching changes than Cory Clouston has suits and has shown that much like in the real working world, you really can fly under the radar for a long time in Ottawa before your job is put in jeopardy. He will forever be remembered as a power play arsonist, the luckiest man in the Senators organization for half a decade and as a great source of podcast related amusement. He will be gone, but his whiteboard will remain.

What can you say about Brad Lauer? Well start by checking him out shredding Paul Coffee in 1988 (which by my guess is also the last year Cory Clouston bought a suit). Let it be known he played 30 games for Ottawa in 1993-94 (2G, 5A, -15) and wore number 16 which has to be one of the most underrated numbers in Senators history (Laurie Boschman, Dave McLIwain, Sergei Zholtok, Steve Martins, Petr Schastlivy, Mike Sillinger, Jody Hull, Brian McGratton and currently Bobby Butler). Well, that’s about all I can say about Brad Lauer. Hope he lands on his feet.

Zach Smith v. Nathan Horton
Being trumpeted as a candidate for fight of the year it was certainly a dandy and nice to see Zach go out on a high note after a mixed season which brought forgettable stats but praise for his Mike Fisheresque intangibles. It was refreshing to see two guys shed the mittens who can actually skate and play more than five minutes a game. Also interesting is this is only Horton’s 13th career regular season fight in 500 games over seven seasons. More interesting is that it’s Horton’s seventh fight this year. I guess we can only assume black eyes on Miami Beach aren’t as well received as they are on Landsdowne Street and has nothing to do with playing differently in a new market under a closer microscope. Oh and the Sens lost 3-1. Nice for the fans to get a coveted Saturday game for what feels like the first time in months before the season ends, even if it was in the middle of the afternoon.

Damien Cox
I’m not overly familiar with Damien Cox, I suppose it’s another perk of not being a Leafs fan, but I have heard he has a bit of a reputation for being slightly controversial. One of his recent blog entries with the Toronto Star was brought to my attention earlier today and I was shocked at a few things.

  1. Those piercing blue eyes and incredibly large forehead that throws everything I ever learned about the proportions of the human head in art class right out the window (usually the eyes are at the middle of the head, in this instance the eyes are Buenos Aires and the forehead is Brazil).
  2. Damien Cox has clearly not watched a Senators game in approximately 3 years and has not read an article from one of our many news agencies in approximately the same time period.

In this blog Cox identifies three problems which the Senators need to solve (not listed is a way to get Senators broadcasts into his home). Check out these gems…

“First, he has to find a head coach he can live with. Since leaving the Ottawa head coaching postion in 2007, he has hired John Paddock, Craig Hartsburg and Cory Clouston, and quickly found all three wanting. It’s expected Clouston will be fired shortly.

Second, he’s got to find a way to move centre Jason Spezza, whose time has run out in Ottawa.  Murray tried to do this last summer and couldn’t. With four more years left at a cap hit of $7 million per, moving Spezza is no easy task.

Third, resolve the future of Daniel Alfredsson. Alfredsson will be 39 in December and managed only 54 games this season. His productivity has dropped off, but he’s still the team captain. Problem is, with two more years at $4.875 million, it will be tough to move Alfredsson even if Ottawa wants to try and get something for him.”

Now that you’re back from nominating Cox for a Pulitzer lets have a look at these revelations.

Re: Coaching.
Finding a coach that you’re able to live with isn’t always the cure. Surely after following Ron Wilson’s travelling lobotomy show around for a few years you’d know that staying power doesn’t equate success. Yes Cory got axed on the tarmac yesterday and I highly doubt Bryan Murray is interested in bringing in another coach with the shelf life of Damien Cox’s shock value. Thanks for the tip Damien, let us know when you are able to divulge the freezing point of water. The public eagerly awaits.

Re: Spezza.
Yes Jason Spezza has a big contract and some nice term remaining. Not only would it be hard to move that contract it’s also not in the plans the last time we checked. Sure it could be lip service but Jason Spezza is much different from the boy you last saw in 2008. He has been electric since coming back from injury and able to bask in the limelight with Alfie on the shelf and Dany looking at bright things in the Sunshine state. He’s doing it all with success, penalty kills, faceoffs, not giggling, improving the play of those around him and eating serious minutes on an offensively challenged team. Hell, he just got the nod for Team Canada at the World Championships. To me this says one thing, you do not know Ottawa Senators hockey. Why you would chime in on such a matter is beyond me. You sound like the guy at the dinner party who knows everybody’s job and industry better than they do. Then when you leave everyone’s wives call you an ass and the husbands nod in agreement.

Re: Alfie.
I don’t get this. Can someone help me out? Seriously. Graeme, I told you I’d have a look at this piece but I really don’t get this part. What does he mean? He says he’s important, old and will be tough to move him. Aren’t those different things? Why is everything in Toronto always about money, arguments and hidden messages? Doesn’t Cox know we’re not going to spend to the cap this year or presumably next either? Our owner worships the ground he walks on even going as far as calling him an “animal” recently. Our GM said he’s not going anywhere and even if he does, it’s only on LTIR or the front office. Seriously, no more Cox links readers.

Parting Thoughts

This is the way Cory would have wanted it left…