Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Rumour Mill: Front office shuffle

After the Journal de Montréal wrote a speculative story about Sens owner Eugene Melnyk replacing GM Bryan Murray with Hockey Canada President Bob Nicholson and axing coach Craig Hartsburg in favour of Pat Quinn, everyone in the mainstream media seems to have picked up on it despite the fact that it was, at the outset, speculation. It's been picked up in the blogosphere, too, but that's too be expected.

Melnyk responded today, and his response doesn't really put anything to rest:
"Contrary to what is being reported today by the media, I have made no decisions with respect to any personnel changes within the Senators organization," Melnyk said in a statement released by the team. "Winning remains our No. 1 priority, and there is a collective focus by our management, our coaching staff and our players to deliver this to our fans."
He's not even declared his commitment to Murray and Hartsburg in the statement. Not that it means much, but all he said is that he hasn't made any decisions. That doesn't necessarily mean reports are premature, or fabricated.

Although I'm not going to say I'm against changes, I'm not sure how positive either of these changes would be. Nicholson doesn't seem like GM material, although other reports have Steve Yzerman stepping in as GM, which is a mite more intriguing. As for Quinn as coach, it won't solve the problem for this season, so hiring a 66-year-old coach to embark upon a rebuilding project might not be the best idea. Especially since he may have another option in Pittsburgh, which would likely include more immediate success.

Whatever happens is going to happen. I do think a big change is in the cards, and it won't likely be a minor player-trade, of the Antoine Vermette or Christoph Schubert variety. Or at least it won't only be that.
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