SportsSens’ Dorion under righteous heat

Sens’ Dorion under righteous heat

Sens’ Dorion under righteous heat

Photo courtesy NHLI via Getty Images


A little trivia to get the ball rolling.

Can you name the Ottawa Senators head coach with the best regular season winning percentage in the last 12 years?

(Major hint: it isn’t Marc Crawford . . . at least, not yet).

I would have guessed Paul MacLean or Bryan Murray.

Not quite.

The honour belongs to long forgotten bench boss Dave Cameron who fashioned a .625 success rate while coaching in 137 games.

Where are we going here?

I guess the point is that Ottawa has mowed through a large amount of coaches in the last dozen seasons.

Further to that and to underline what was written in this space last week – what has steadily worn down this franchise since the mid 2000s isn’t selectively coaching, it’s more in the upper floors of the team’s management.

And further to that point, doesn’t it seem like general manager Pierre Dorion has caught a bit of what ails the Senators’ owner?

Strange is the only way to describe the comments and actions taken by Dorion in this past week of chaos where the latest coaching casualty was claimed.

As discussed at length on Sportsnet’s Tim and Sid show this past week (link to the clip is here), Dorion trotted out some double-speak on the timing of the firing. In essence, a few days before the claim was that Boucher would retain his post until the end of the season. A day or two after that announcement, Boucher was canned.

Why fire your coach with 18 games remaining in a completely lost season? Guess there weren’t enough tires in the fire this past week?

But the truly baffling statement came out on trade deadline day when Dorion – after trading the heart and pulse of the team in Mark Stone – called the day: “One of the proudest days I’ve had as GM in the NHL.”

I get you’re excited to land hot prospect Erik Brannstrom but that comes across as a slap in the face to Stone.

Puzzling.

And it just keeps getting better.

In a tense and mystifying interview on TSN 1200, Dorion outright claimed there was NO disconnect between a generally accepting Senator fan base and the franchise.

Clearly Dorion doesn’t listen to the radio or pick up the newspaper in this town . . . or even check ticket sales.

The gap between besieged Senator fans and their team is a chasm. Or as Doni Brennan put it in the Sun: “. . . he’s also in complete denial, or completely in the dark, over the mood of the fan base. He has no idea of the anger that, in many cases, has turned into apathy.”

Do the Senators own some quality young talent and have also set themselves up quite well for the next three drafts? Sure. But there are no guarantees draft picks or prospects or potential free agent signings are going to turn this farce around.

As with pretty well any business, the tide flows in and out from the top.

And after this week’s shenanigans, can you really put stock in the top?

Larry Brooks: The noted NY Post columnist had this take on the Dorion-Stone situation – “So this fellow Pierre Dorion, general manager of the Senators, said following the deadline before which he traded Matt Duchene and Mark Stone: ‘It doesn’t mean our highest-scoring players were our high-character players.’ Now, I suppose it is possible the GM was not talking directly about those two players, but Stone (28-34-62) and Duchene (27-31-58) were the team’s two leading scorers before they were dealt. I suppose it could be a coincidence. But if not, and if the two forwards were not ‘high-character’ players, then why on earth did Ottawa attempt to sign them both to huge, long-term deals in the range of at least $80 million apiece before being rejected?”

News, notes and notions: Was there ever a better ambassador for the game of hockey than Jarome Iginla? He did it all right – on the ice and off the ice. They say hockey players are the best type of people in the realm of professional sport, and Iginla is a prime example. Saturday’s sweater retirement in Calgary where Iggy played for 17 seasons was TV worth watching . . . We’ll be keeping a close eye on the Toronto Maple Leafs when the playoffs ride in in less than 20 games. GM Kyle Dubas didn’t add any muscle at the trade deadline. Don Cherry had a good point Saturday night on Adam McQuaid, he would have been a perfect fit for the Leafs . . . Someone tweeted out a good point on all the hate levelled at John Tavares in New York Thursday night. I’m sure a lot of these Islander fans are Yankee followers as well. It’s not like the Bronx Bombers don’t go out and rob the free agent cupboard every off-season. Look in the mirror folks.

Senators week ahead:

Tuesday, March 5: Ottawa at NY Islanders (7 p.m.)

Thursday, March 7: NY Islanders at Ottawa (7:30 p.m.)

Saturday, March 9: Ottawa at Boston (7 p.m.)

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