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.
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.
- 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).
- 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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
This is the way Cory would have wanted it left...
Many of you probably played sports growing up with an array of coaches. It is no secret that some coaches have a special way of inspiring players to perform to their true potential. Often that potential is beyond what even the players believe about themselves. The coaches that can do this have so many different gears. They know when to push, when to laugh and when to yell, rarely if at all. Clouston doesn't come across as a guy that connects with his players. The moment I lost all faith in the guy was when he told Karlsson that he was chosen to represent Ottawa at the All Star game. There was no rapport. It was like Papa Clouston was telling a whining child that he could get a toy after months of begging. I'm happy the coach killer gave him the axe. If Bylsma was voted the coach that most players want to play for then there is only one guy available that I see working out for the best in Ottawa. Kirk Muller is the man for the job.
"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)."
I laughed a little too hard aloud at this part.
Good piece, Tim. Hope Clouston can get a job elsewhere in the NHL next year, even if it's only as an assistant coach. Carvel can go rot in Edmonton for all I care.
RE: Cox, as someone who has the misfortune of working with a handful of diehard Leafs fans, I can tell you he's equally as ignorant about every other team in the league, Leafs included. He's the Don Brennan of the Toronto Star.
@Lewy I spent years in the GTA Lewy and somehow I managed to avoid him. Brilliant in hindsight I guess. Was never much for The Star or Toronto media in general. I think Cory would make a great assistant somewhere his work ethic and preparation skills can be best utilized. He could be really serviceable handing videotape and the like. With news of Pete Deboer getting his walking papers today it makes you wonder if Murray will look to hook up with the guy who blew him off years ago and try and rekindle some of that magic?
@Tim6thSens Interesting idea, but not one I'd particularly care for. Deboer's proven he can mismanage players with the best of them -- I'd rather have Dave Cameron, and believe me when I say that would be one of the worst hires this team would have ever made, Hartsburg included.
I've also noticed a lot of "what a horrible way/time to be fired!" cries, however, it makes perfect sense and timing to do it. 1) Clouston himself said to the media he wants to know as soon as possible 2) The old adage of if you're going to fire someone/release bad news do it Friday/Friday evening -- The story will be buried behind most of the news with regards to the playoff races ending yesterday/today. 3) Everyone, including CC, knew he was only being retained to the end of the season/contract to save both face and money for The Euge
@robotvsunicorn Yeah for sure, it's very rare for us as sports fans to be privy to that kind of information and I'm sure most people envisioned it happening in a heart pulling moment in a boardroom with smiles and handshakes. Welcome to the real world, Ottawa.
Another great blog. I agree it's sad to see anyone lose their job especially when now they have to hear every media person in the city talk about what a hardass he was and he was to stubborn to change.. Hopefully, for Clouston's sake he can finds another job and hopefully learn from his mistakes and try to lighten up just a bit so it's not just hockey 24/7. Clouston would of benefitted from having a better Asst Coach, I agree there's really not much you can say about Lauer he was just sorta there. It would have been better for Clouston to choose an asstiant who really was a players guy someone to play good cop to Clouston forever bad cop. Sounds like Richardson did that for awhile.
As for your stories about the boots, it could back up what many people have said about his tunnel vision. Then again, many of men have zoned a women (ok, I'm assuming it was a woman looking at the boots) when she talks about shoes. LOL.
@Joycee For sure, in hindsight you kinda have to wonder why he didn't surround himself with some more hardened veteran coaches with some seasoning beyond the professional minor leagues and amateur ranks. One thing we keep seeing is this reference to him having difficulty handling professional players (as robotvsunicorn points out above) and I've heard rumblings that Luke Richardson was kinda the players guy on that staff. Makes you wonder if they would have been better off with someone with some experience managing and handling professionals. Lauer and Richardson were the only two to ever play in NHL as well, Carvel was drafted and had a standout collegiate career but never did anything in the show.
HNIC Hot Stove brought up a few interesting points. While it was speculated by fans Clouston was part of the reason Heatley wanted out, Pierre LeBrun mentioned it as being the factor. Pierre also confirmed Murray spoke with Clouston before the start of the season about not being so hard on certain players.
@robotvsunicorn Just when I thought I had gone a month straight without hearing reference to the "diminished role" you and LeBrun gotta come back with that...
I actually look at it that it only reiterates how lazy Heatley really is. While you can tell Spezza has really changed his attitude/work ethic this past season, you have to imagine some of this has to do with a coach who will make you work to your potential. While the old school tough as nails coach really doesn't seem to work in this day and age, you can't argue it works on certain players.