Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sens coaching update

As we all know, the Sens are looking for a new head coach. If reports in the major papers are correct, there should be no shortage of candidates, with as many as 10 head coaching vacancies expected as well as the possibility for old-timers such as Pat Quinn and Pat Burns coming back, the Sens list of suitors won't be short.

The frontrunner on my list might very well be Joel Quenneville, recently relieved of his duties with the Colorado Avalanche. In fact, it may have been less the choice of Colorado GM Francois Giguere to let Quenneville go than the decision of Quenneville to pursue other opportunities. Included on this list will certainly be the Toronto Maple Leafs, Q's favourite team growing up, his hometown, and a team he played in two seasons with. But there is a lot of uncertainty with that franchise, and it won't be easy for whatever coach goes in there; Ottawa might be a nice alternative, with our stable of offensive stars likely clamouring for another kick at the Stanley Cup.

Aside from Quenneville, a few former Leafs coaches are probably on the Sens (not-so) short list, including the aforementioned Burns and Quinn as well as the recently-fired Paul Maurice. Quinn seems like the kind of coach GM Bryan Murray might get along with, but he might not fit well with the Sens' offensive stars. He was also a hated man in this city, and I don't know how fans feel about taking on our former arch-nemesis. Maurice, similarly, isn't tops in the books for the Sens organizations, and he might have killed any opportunity for this team when he referred to the Sens a bunch of purse-swingers. Burns, on the other hand, is well-respected, seems to be doing well in the World Championships right now, and was coach for the Leafs before they really started a rivalry with the Sens. He seems like a pretty good option for the time being.

Then there's John Tortorella who, fairly or not, may be in the hunt for a new coaching job if what some Tampa Bay Lightning pundits are predicting comes true and Tampa fires him. I'm not sure I like the prospect of this guy behind the bench, because he sure doesn't fit in with Ottawa's (the city) relaxed culture, and I doubt players like Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza will appreciate his attitude. He might just be what this team needs, though, and he's not afraid to send some players a wake up call. Similar in attitude to Tortorella is Bob Hartley, formerly of the Atlanta Thrashers, who's from the area and has a bit of a mean streak. He'd have no problem sending some signals to Sens players, but there are rumblings that Heatley isn't Hartley's biggest fan. Apparently Murray is looking for a coach to hold the Sens' top guns accountable, according to the Ottawa Sun, so maybe one of these two are just what the doctor ordered.

There's also the option of bringing in a new guy to the NHL, and word on the street has OHL coach Peter DeBoer and AHL coach Randy Cunneyworth the next in line for NHL gigs. Although I don't know much about their styles, Cunneyworth was the Sens captain for a few years in the late 90s, and he played for the Ottawa 67s. So, Murray, there's your Ottawa connection.

Or maybe the Sens are planning on sticking with what they've got. According to the Sun, Sens owner Eugene Melnyk asked Murray to consider the dual role of Head Coach/GM for next season. Although it's unclear whether or not Murray's interested, it's an intriguing prospect. It can't be easy, though, and I think it would be better to allow Murray to do one job very well instead of two jobs with mediocrity.
Blog Widget by LinkWithin