Kukla's Korner Hockey
According to Ottawa Senators General Manager and head coach Bryan Murray, Ray Emery’s tenure in the Nation’s capital is likely over.
The Senator’s top brass met with the media Friday to wrap up what turned out to be a disappointing season. When the subject of Emery was raised, Murray made his position clear.
“My plan is not to have him back,” Murray told reporters.
Team owner Eugene Melnyk, who was part of the press conference refused to comment on the Emery situation.
Update 5:05pm ET— Updates added to that TSN story link:
Murray also said he was not about to trade Jason Spezza or Dany Heatley, saying the team made a commitment to those players being part of the team’s core group. He acknowledged that both had poor playoffs and were spoken to about it on Thursday, but added, “I’m not going to discard players like these two people.”
From the CP via The Hockey News,
“I don’t take responsibility for the team losing in the playoffs, I’ll tell you that much,” Emery told a throng of media in the Senators dressing room. “I showed up late for practice twice this year and had an opportunity to still go on the ice and they told me to go home. When some other guys are late coming to the rink they’re just fine ...”
Emery has been blamed by many for ruining the chemistry on a team that many had picked to go back to the Stanley Cup final. But he disagrees that he was that much of a distraction.
“I don’t think I was a model citizen but in no way did I not encourage my teammates or take away from what they were trying to do,” said Emery.
Update 3:48pm ET: Go here for video of Emery’s statements from TSN.
from Jim Kelley at Sportsnet,
Murray deserves his share of the blame for what’s happened to the franchise, but he also fits the criteria for director of the rebuild. He knows hockey and he knows talent and where he gets an edge is that he knows Ottawa’s problems from the inside out. Given Melnyk’s other problems, Murray is the guy Melnyk has to charge with fixing the Senators.
Goaltending will be a huge issue. Emery is as good as gone, likely via a buyout. That message was sent from the moment Murray nailed him to the bench in favour of Martin Gerber. Gerber wasn’t awful in the series, but he was never close to being a difference maker and if a team has Stanley Cup aspirations or even aspirations of making the playoffs (which will be both a singular and difficult goal for the Senators next season), that has to improve.
from Roy MacGregor of the Globe and Mail,
“It felt like the walls were closing in on us,” Jason Spezza all but whispered when all was over and done with.
He was speaking not just of the game — his Ottawa Senators’ 3-1 defeat by the Pittsburgh Penguins — and not just of the series, now embarrassingly lost in four consecutive games, but of an entire year clouded in mystery.
For a team that, not so many years back, came within a lighted candle of holding a séance to call upon the spirits of One-eyed Frank McGee for help, it was hardly surprising last night the Senators would be looking for a little magic.
Update 2:00pm ET: From TSN,
Although Emery admits he did not perform up to standards this year, he said he would not be the fall guy for the team.
“Yeah it was a really bad year for me,” said Emery. “The worst year I’ve had - on and off the ice - it just wasn’t enjoyable at all. I learnt a lot of things but that’s about it - not too many positives”
from Allen Panzeri of the Ottawa Citizen
The Ottawa Senators’ 2007/2008 season came to an official, if not also ignominious, end Wednesday night when the Pittsburgh Penguins swept them with a 3-1 win.
The season, however, really ended a long time ago.
You can pick any number of incidents that might have been the catalyst.
But it might have starting going off the rails as long ago as last Sept. 5, when Ray Emery, on his way to a workout at the Bell Sensplex, got into a road rage episode with a senior citizen who had accidentally cut him off
Update 10:18pm ET: More from the Canadian Press...
From the CP,
“I was definitely pleased,” said Penguins superstar centre Sidney Crosby. “I’d watched him play a lot and from what I had heard he was a great person and a great fit for our team. The thing I kept hearing was how complete he was. I don’t think that’s something he gets a lot of recognition for. But you know you’re going to get a chance to play with an offensively gifted guy that’s really responsible defensively.
“That was a great deadline gift, so to speak, for our team and for me personally to be able to play with. I was very excited for that.”
So instead of joining the Senators for a second tour of duty, Hossa has been busy trying to knock them out of the playoffs.
from Elliotte Friedman of the CBC at his blog From the Pressbox,
What Melnyk needs now is front-office stability. To fire the GM and the coach one year after reaching the Stanley Cup Final, well, that’s not intelligent. Good teams don’t do that. No one has a better idea of how to fix this Gong Show than Murray, and he deserves the opportunity. Let’s not forget that he was the architect of the current Stanley Cup champion and the bench boss of the reigning – but soon to be dethroned – Eastern Finalist.
Also, it would be a mistake to bring in someone new, since it would take that person time to evaluate the organization before making decisions. Critical decisions – such as dealing Jason Spezza before his no-trade kicks in – must be made before July 1. Any genius can tell you Ray Emery has to go, but only specific insight can figure out what’s really wrong in that rotten room. This is not something that can be considered into next season.
from The Good, The Bad and The Duthie,
If (so tempting just to say “when”) the Senators are eliminated in the next few days, the window will not completely close on their chances win a Stanley Cup in the next three years. Find a goalie, make a major shake-up trade or two, find a steal in the draft (any more Milan Lucic’s out there?) and this team could challenge again.
But the Senators need a fresh set of eyes in the front office to make that happen. A season this apocalyptic mandates major change.
Bryan Murray knew that when he fired John Paddock. He realized something drastic had to be done.
With one more loss, something even more drastic will have to be done. And Murray probably knows that, too.
from the National Post,
A shirtless man in a red cape and metal helmet made one of his final, grating appearances on the big screens above centre ice midway through the third period on Monday night. He was dressed to look like the face of the Ottawa Senators, and he exhorted the crowd to make noise: “Sens Army, our backs are against the wall - we must defend, defend, defend.”
But the man, like the team, failed.
Update 10:25pm ET: More on the game, the “half-naked gladiator” in the pre-game, and Daniel Alfredsson’s return in Tuesday’s Globe & Mail.
Watch the video of the pre-game…
Fan590 in Toronto reporting Bryan Murray stated this morning that Jason Spezza will play tonight and a small chance Daniel Alfredsson may play too.
added 11:31am, from TSN,
The Ottawa Senators received a boost prior to Game 3 of their series with the Pittsburgh Penguins as Jason Spezza will be in the lineup tonight as the series shifts to the Nation’s capital.
The Senators leading scorer in the regular season did not practice with the team on Sunday but took the morning skate Monday and declared himself ready to go.
Ottawa may also be getting a bit of a surprise boost as general manager and head coach Bryan Murray isn’t ruling out a return of Daniel Alfredsson to the lineup.
“I’m not shutting the door on it,” Murray told reporters.
Update 12:20pm ET— From Bruce Garrioch at the Ottawa Sun:
Jason Spezza is ready to roll, but the biggest surprise is captain Daniel Alfredsson will likely return tonight as well.
Senators GM/coach Bryan Murray hinted today that Alfredsson could be in the lineup tonight for Game 3 against the Pittsburgh Penguins after confirming that the injured forward had also skated on Sunday.
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