Kukla's Korner Hockey
from The Maven,
This is the time of year when Lou Lamoriello completes his head-coach search. With the Entry Draft coming up, it would not surprise if Double L announces his new bench leader any day now….
I’m guessing it’ll be Brian Sutter, who has experience, savvy and toughness. I was tempted to call this coaching scenario “The Meadowlands Melodrama” until I realized that Lou just moved his offices from East Rutherford to Newark.
more hockey talk, including the Bruins, the Senators and the Predators situation…
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
If, in the end, it comes down to a choice between the 73-year-old Muckler and the 64-year-old Murray, it isn’t hard to imagine why Melnyk would opt for the latter.
It doesn’t reflect negatively on Muckler’s ability to steer the Senators’ ship through the new restrictive salary-cap waters either. It just means Ottawa didn’t get the job done in the Stanley Cup and now faces a series of interesting personnel questions in the weeks and months ahead.
Melnyk may still be a relative neophyte as a hockey owner, but he surely understands this business is no different than the pharmaceutical industry on one important level: If you want to get to the top, everybody needs to be on the same page philosophically.
And if they’re not, then some hard decisions need to be made in order to remedy the situation.
According to the Toronto Sun, the Ottawa Senators have fired general manager John Muckler.
Muckler wouldn’t discuss the issue with the paper, directing all inquiries to Senators owner Eugene Melnyk.
“I haven’t been told anything,” Muckler told the Sun when asked about potential changes.
The paper notes that Melnyk’s spokesman, Ken Villazor, would not deny the report, saying “the owner has released a statement that he was reviewing all management with the club.”
continued... and nothing on the Toronto Sun’s website yet…
added 6:57am, from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun via the Toronto Sun,
The Senators could announce that general manager John Muckler has been fired by as early as today.
While Muckler wouldn’t comment yesterday, referring all questions about his future to team owner Eugene Melnyk, two senior NHL executives told Sun Media they believe Melnyk gave Muckler his walking papers on Friday.
added 10:25am, from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
“No decision on John’s (future) has yet to be decided .... by any of the parties,” said Mlakar. “And, decisions on multiple fronts, WON’T (his emphasis) be decided until the end of the weekend.”
Mlakar’s e-mail went on to confirm that roles are changing: “The organization continues, and intends to continue, to work through exciting new plans and objectives for all senior management. This is not unusual.”
That means Muckler will likely get moved into another role with the club and coach Bryan Murray could be installed as the GM as early as tomorrow.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
If the Senators can dump Gerber, they can sign goalie Ray Emery to a long-term contract.
While it’s not going to be easy for the Senators to make the trade, there are indications the Phoenix Coyotes and St. Louis Blues would be interested in Gerber, signed as an unrestricted free agent last summer. The Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lighting also need goaltending.
Gerber, who returned to Switzerland yesterday, wouldn’t mind being dealt.
from the Ottawa Citizen,
On the flip side, Emery’s success and Gerber’s struggles put the Senators into a major pickle in how to deal with both goaltenders this summer.
Is it reasonable to expect Emery to come back as the established number one netminder, perhaps playing for considerably less money than the guy who is sitting on the bench? Gerber has two years and $7.4 million remaining on his contract.
Stay tuned. General manager John Muckler will certainly try to trade Gerber to a team in need of goaltending, a team which believes Gerber’s slow start was simply a blip on his resume. That said, it’s an awfully expensive gamble for another club to take.
more on the Sens including Emery played with an injured wrist…
fro Chris Stevenson of the Ottawa Sun,
After seeing his Senators come up just short in their bid for a first Stanley Cup, the Senators owner told Sun Media yesterday he will likely boost the club’s payroll to the salary cap—whatever it turns out to be—to take another run at bringing the Cup home.
“My sense is the cap will go up. Everyone knows my commitment to continuing to build a championship team in Ottawa, so in that context, spending to the cap is always a necessary consideration,” wrote Melnyk in an e-mail to the Sun yesterday.
“Having a long playoff run, like we did this year, always helps financially,” wrote Melnyk. “The team will do well this year, but the final numbers are not in yet.”
The Senators already have commitments on the books for next year to the tune of $40.5 million.
from the Ottawa Citizen,
Something disappeared between the clinching game in the Eastern Conference final and the start of the final round, and no one could find it despite persistent probing by coach Bryan Murray.
Whether Murray will be around to help answer that question is a question. He’s now without a contract, and owner Eugene Melnyk could well be looking for a scapegoat to carry the can. He can’t be happy, not only with his team’s loss in only five games in the final, but also with the way it lost.
Maybe Murray will decide he doesn’t want to be around for another shot. He has to be bitter to see such a promising season unravel in five games.
Yet, there will be more than enough blame to go around. Few will have to worry about not getting a proper share.
from Jim Kelley of Sportsnet,
Go back to the opening night loss in Anaheim, the night the Ducks served notice that they would play the games on their terms: hard, fast and physical.
The Senators, as it turned out, had no answer for that.
That Game 1 win was only a one-goal decision, 3-2, Ducks, but it served notice to anyone watching that these Ducks wanted it more. They outworked the Senators for everything they got, every goal, every chance, and every shift. They brought their winner’s game that night and they brought it to a higher level every night after that. It was a level of desire and intensity that the Senators could never quite match.
from Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun,
Jason Spezza’s magic touch defied him at the worst possible time.
In the biggest playoff series of them all. In the most crucial game. In the delicate moments.
“Obviously, I wish I could have done more and been a better player than I was,” Spezza said after Ottawa’s 6-2 dream-ending loss to the Anaheim at the Honda Center last night. “I just couldn’t get it going in the finals.”
from The Maven,
The Senators skated down the left alley, the right alley and center ice. Wherever they skated, they got beaten, first physically and then mentally.
So, here’s a congratulatory QUACK-QUACK for the new champs. From Nieder to Nieder; Carlyle to Burke; they deserve everything they got.
As for those imposters from North of the border, well, they can still go around telling people that they invented hockey.
But I’m beginning to think that that’s as much a myth as the Ottawa Senators as champions!
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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