“It’s just a matter now of crossing some T’s and dotting some I’s,” Cameron told the crowd, according to Mississauga.com. “The one thing I’ve always said is that coaches are no different than players in terms of wanting to get to the National Hockey League.
“I’m really excited and humbled to get the chance to go to the best league in the world. You know, I was fortunate enough to make it as a player and now I’m really excited to be going back as a coach.” ~ Dave Cameron (via Bruce Garrioch, The Ottawa Sun)
And with this unintentionally hilarious announcement, the Dave Cameron era in Mississauga has drawn to a close. The coach who was too late in calling a critical timeout in the gold medal game of the 2011 World Juniors has now jumped the gun and announced his hiring before it was officially announced by the Senators.
As the Ottawa Citizen’s Ken Warren tweeted (@Citizenkwarren) did he think the news wouldn't travel because there's no national mail service?
I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised though. Cameron, of course, was The Euge’s first choice for the Senators’ vacant head coaching position.
Unfortunately for Cameron, the sad part about this process is that fans will overlook his credentials and qualifications, preferring instead allude to his inability to win critical games – the World Juniors gold medal game; the OHL Finals; and the Memorial Cup Final – as justification for why he should not be hired and ignoring the fact that it’s impressive in itself just to coach in these three events – let alone have them all occur within the same year.
Perhaps more importantly, the inclusion of Cameron to Paul MacLean’s coaching staff represents just another instance of Melnyk having a significant hand in some of the hockey ops decision making.
Eventually, the debate of Melnyk being a meddlesome owner made its way to Twitter and former Senators Director of Communications Phil Legault took issue with this perception and published a series of tweets:
- Let's keep hyperbole down and let things settle. Cameron has already proven himself. (Link)
- Go back to 2003: No Melnyk no Sens. "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to". His team, his decision, move along. (Link here)
- And that applies to any owner, as far as I'm concerned. (Link)
Rather than be limited to 140 characters, I’ll respond to each of these tweets here:
- As Yahoo! Sports’ Neate Sager correctly pointed out on Buzzing the Net, Cameron does not have much more to prove at the junior level even though his teams could only almost make the finish line this past season. What is left after coaching the world junior and Memorial Cup runners-up? (Yes, we heard every joke about how losing the big ones makes a coach perfectly qualified for the Ottawa Senators, but we haven't heard an original joke to that effect.)
A similar kind of argument could have been made for Craig Hartsburg a few years ago too but look how that worked itself. Yes, Cameron may proven himself as worthy candidate, but does that justify his hiring?
It will be interesting to hear the organization's response in light of this skepticism. There were lots of capable assistant coaches out there, so why him?
In fairness to Legault, he's right in asserting that the Senators are Melnyk's team and as the owner, he hired Murray and MacLean to make these hockey ops decisions. So yes, it may be Melnyk’s right as the owner to add his two cents to the discussion but at the same time the onus is on him to explain Cameron's hiring over the many others also in consideration.
- “No Melnyk, No Sens” sounds like an inspirational poster that should adorn the bathroom wall in Bert’s Bar. In all seriousness though, I don’t want to be mistaken for some ungrateful schmuck who complains for the sake of it… but... this “he’s the owner, he can do what he wants, live with it” attitude is the kind of arrogant, country club attitude that I have a hard time stomaching.
"It's my party and I'll cry if I want to" may be the ultimate reality but "you'd cry too if it happened to you" may be the response of the fanbase.
Yes, Eugene rescued the Senators organization from bankruptcy but in no way should that give him carte blanche and absolve him from blame when it’s deserved. Fans criticize because they care and they want to see the situation get remedied. Ownership can espouse the virtues of loyalty to players and internal personnel but what of the loyalty to the fans who spend entertainment dollars to watch this organization play and deserve to have best product and coaching staff put forth?
Cameron may have been a qualified candidate but as the Ottawa Citizen’s Wayne Scanlan noted on Twitter, if the owner hadn't made such a public showing during the Memorial Cup of Cameron's candidacy for head coach, the optics wouldn't as bad.
In consequence, we're left with this inherent distrust the process that helps fuel the perception of Melnyk as a meddlesome owner. Even when other Melnyk-inspired actions – the Alexei Kovalev signing (allegedly), accepting a lesser return to send Mike Fisher to his preferred destination and his insistence that Ottawa acquire Gary Roberts at the 2007 NHL trade deadline that ultimately cost then-GM John Muckler his job – are taken into account, how can one not understand and appreciate the fanbase’s concerns?
So, like many others, I ask myself the question - why not allow MacLean the autonomy to assemble his own staff and get the dynamics and personnel that he would be comfortable with?
Paul MacLean is just an incredibly secure and confident person who doesn’t want to just hire his former colleagues and cronies. As we’ve seen through the decision to keep Luke Richardson and Rick Wamsley in tow, MacLean doesn’t exude that ‘it’s my way or the highway’ attitude and instead preferring to be amenable to open dialogue and communication. The latter being one of the basic tenets that he emphasized was important for dealing with his players.
And while I will try to avoid getting too caught up in this conspiracy theory that MacLean will have to look over his shoulder to keep an eye on Cameron, the optics of this hire are absolutely awful. If fans are picking up on the suspicious nature of the hire, you would be naïve to assume that the players won’t pick up on this either. They’ll know that the owner played a huge part in Cameron’s hire and that discredits his reputation before he even steps foot within their room.
Ultimately, it’s cause for concern that players could be put on edge knowing that Melynk potentially has a confidante in the dressing room. And in a worst-case scenario, it could potentially poison the environment. MacLean can say that he wants open discourse between the players and coaching staff but what good is that if Cameron is Eugene’s eyes and ears? You need that circle of trust.
- Could you imagine if Bob Kraft went to Bill Belichick and told him to him to hire one of his guys as an offensive coordinator?
Obviously that’s an extreme example but the premise is simple - what’s the point of hiring your hockey ops guys if you’re not going to give them the full autonomy to do their jobs themselves?
While fans may be concerned that Cameron is a potential successor to MacLean, the only succession we might see in the interim is Cameron filling the shoes of former assistant coach and whipping boy, Greg Carvel.Welcome to the fishbowl that's Ottawa Dave. I hope you enjoy your stay.
This article is bang on. The key point for me is "If fans are picking up on the suspicious nature of the hire, you would be naïve to assume that the players won’t pick up on this either. They’ll know that the owner played a huge part in Cameron’s hire and that discredits his reputation before he even steps foot within their room. "
To me this speaks to DC's integrity. Why would a fully qualified, hard working coach who has paid his dues want to to viewed in this light? If I were him I would be pissed at Euge for running his gums and completely undermining my ability to earn respect of my peers. My response would be to say thanks but no thanks and move on to another opportunity.
DC instead is taking the "freebie" and all that comes with it and that tells me all I need to know about him.
This entire ordeal stinks like a fart in a car.
McLean seems like a 'friendly' upfront amicable person from what you see in his interviews. Cameron seems just like the opposite.
Even if McLean & Murray are both okay with this hire.... the fans in this city will see it as Melnyk's interference. If he would have kept his mouth shut and said nothing... then there would not be such a fuss.
Melnyk's comments put Cameron in a very awkward position. What happens if it doesn't work out...how can they fire him?
Also I believe Muckler was fired due to the mess the franchise was in. Yes they just went to the SCF on the backs of 3 players + Emery. Lots of key players to sign... no cap space.... no prospects to fill the void. He decimated the farm system in trades. He employed TWO... only two full time scouts and some part timers. When Murray (in his first draft still being under Muckler's scouts) asked about a particular player.. the scouts said we don't know.. we did not get out west to see him. Now how in the hell can you run a draft with scouts that have not seen the players eligible to be drafted.... Muckler ruined this franchise.... mine opinion only... agree or disagree if you will.
A few random points:
1. Just because Melnyk makes a hockey decision, it does not inherently make it a bad decision. Cameron does have a lot of success at the junior level, even if he hasn't won it all.
2. Just because Melnyk is the owner of the team, it does not make immune to criticism. With that being said, any criticism should be respectful of the fact that he is the owner of his team and has invested more into the team than anybody else. I certainly don't speak for Legault or was a part of the twitter discussion, but from what I have seen other people say about Melnyk, the criticism usually just take the form of derogatory insults.
3. I have yet to see a picture of Cameron where he doesn't look absolutely evil. This may work well to our advantage as he could be the bad-cop. Everything I have seen of MacLean suggests he is a pretty nice guy who won't be walked all over. This could be a really good combo of new coaches.
until we actually see how this team is coached all we can do is speculate about whether or not hiring cameron was a good idea. i for one believe that the more talent behind the bench the better but only time will tell
Sort of torn on this move really. Part of me whats to hate this signing based on The Euge seems to be meddling again. I say seems because of his comments, not based on fact. For all we know MacLean met with Cameron and was impressed. The other part of me wants to overlook the short comings and let him prove himself. Maybe Cameron is the next Lindy Ruff. While Lindy hasn't taken his team past the conference finals in over 12 years, most would agree he is a pretty decent coach. Time will tell.
You better get the cut and paste function on your computer working well because you're going to be using this post again in the future. You can just replace "Cameron" with "player x" or "coach y" or "bartender z".
Unless Dave Cameron is a scoreboard installation specialist then this hiring is an embarrassment.
Taking the high road on this one fellas.
The Sens now have an assistant coach that COULD be a head coach in the NHL. He doesn't have to face the media. He doesn't have the pressure on him to win games. If he gets along with MacLean then I don't see the big problem. Personally, I always want to work with good people and Dave Cameron seems to have a lot of people in his corner. AND the fact that Cameron is happy to take on an assistant role on a pretty shitty team is a good sign.I said it a few weeks ago that with Melnyk at the helm of this ship the team is headed for rocky shores. This is more of an optics problem than anything else. Legault needs to keep Melnyk's mouth shut, plain and simple.
I'm trying to figure out for what reason I hate this move more, because for all of Dave Cameron's supposed coaching prowess he's won/earned nothing, or because the Euge has clearly forced Murray/Maclean into this hiring?
I've seen multiple times that this is the "next logical step" in Dave Cameron's career, and yet, wouldn't the next logical step be into the next best hockey league on the planet, the AHL? Oh wait, he's already done that, and was an unqualified failure of a head coach in Binghamton.
This penchant he has for getting oh so close to the title, something reminicent of the early '90s buffalo bills, is nothing new to Cameron. He took the offensively loaded Binghamton senators of the '04-'05 season, and flamed out in the 1st round of the AHL playoffs. Add that to 0-3 in title games with genuinely talented teams, and you have a coach with an inability to do his job in high pressure situations.
Add that to the fact, that when I think of Dave Cameron, all I can see in my head is that interview he did at the World Junior Championships where he was curt, standoffish and arrogant. Didn't we just get rid of a Coach that had those percieved attributes?
All that being said, I'm going to have to give this guy a chance, because obviously there's no getting rid of him, but I can see this coming back to bite us in the ass if we ever get deep into the playoffs where this guy is in a position of authority.
@Barnsley_Pal Thanks for adding to the discussion:
1. Great point. Cameron's success in junior is overlooked.
2. I think some of the criticisms stem from those "interesting" interviews that Melnyk does.
3. Agreed. Cameron pictures have never been particularly flattering.
@robotvsunicorn I think most of us are torn. Here's hoping it works out for the best though.
@TrevorKluke It's weird hearing you take an optimistic approach for once.
@TrevorKluke Legault's no longer affiliated with the Senators organization.
@tsnfan I was talking to Tim this afternoon and one of the things that irked us was his quote that detailed how it took him longer than he thought it would to get to the NHL level as a coach. Where's the humility?
@Nichols6thSens I didn't know anything about Legault. Thanks for the correction. The reason I'm taking an optimistic approach on this one is because hockey is won on the ice by the players. Cameron seems more than capable of running a PK or PP. They aren't supposed to win for years anyway. We are so caught up in the minor details because the truth is we don't really have a legit contender. If this team was topping the power rankings to start the season, would we really give a damn who the assistant coach is? Did we all blame Perry Pearn when Martin couldn't get us over the hump?
@TrevorKluke It most definitely was discussed with MacLean prior to being hired that ownership wished that Cameron was interviewed.
@Nichols6thSens Without looking them up, I don't know the assistant coaches of Boston, Vancouver or any other team other than Montreal. I'm not the most up to date and studied with this kind of thing but the Sens could have done a lot worse than Dave Cameron. Does anyone not think that this was discussed with MacLean when he was offered the job? Do you not think that Murray mentioned the possibility before MacLean accepted the offer?
@TrevorKluke People raved over the work that Pearn and Ramsay did.
@Nichols6thSens P.S. They're both east coast boys. So they can talk schooners and cod etc.