Understanding Paul MacLean

SensChirp April 3, 2014 313
Understanding Paul MacLean

Over his last two seasons, Paul MacLean has walked on water around these parts.

A Coach of the Year nomination followed by a Coach of the Year win. Not a bad way to start his career as a Head Coach. Every button he pushed was the right one. But in year three of his tenure here in Ottawa, Paul MacLean can suddenly do nothing right.

Now I’m not going to pretend to know what goes on in the head of Paul MacLean. But after taking some time to reflect, away from the negativity of Twitter and the comment section, I think I understand a lot of what has gone on this season. Keep in mind this explanation is based on a combination of what I’ve seen with my own eyes on a nightly basis and what I’ve heard from contacts close to the team.  I’m not going to say I can justify or even that I agree with all the decisions MacLean has made this season. Just that I understand them.

The first thing you need to know about MacLean is that he can be a tad stubborn. When hired here in Ottawa he came with the reputation of a strong communicator. A coach that could relate to his players and that was always straight forward when it came to what he expected from them on a nightly basis.

Over the last two seasons, that was a strength of this team. Every player knew what they had to do within the system and where they fit in. I don’t know if the guys in the room would say that is the case this season but I certainly have not heard otherwise. When the team is winning, MacLean is a strong communicator. When they’re losing? He’s a stubborn guy who is firmly set in his ways and knows exactly what he wants from each player on a given night.

I honestly believe that MacLean, whether right or wrong, has a tendency to coach his hockey team as a series of individuals. He doesn’t look at the 18 names in front of him and think, “How can I best use these guys to win a hockey game?” The “player usage” critics will read that statement and roll their eyes ferociously. And perhaps with good reason.

I think MacLean looks at the 12 forwards and 6 defenceman he has dressed on a given night and thinks about each guy individually, and his expectations of that player. Chris Neil? Play physical and get to the front of the net. Zack Smith? Defend well and keep things simple offensively. Ales Hemsky? Create offence whenever possible and put the puck on net when the opportunity is there. If in his mind, the individual isn’t doing what they can do on a given night, then they may not play as much.

It’s why so often it seems like there is a message being sent to particular players.  And in dealing with his team as a bunch of individuals, I don’t know if he’s necessarily getting everything he can out of the roster. But like he said after the game against the Islanders, he’s “just coaching the team”. Coaching it the way he believes will get the best results.

I get the sense Paul MacLean is a guy that can tolerate mistakes. But what he doesn’t have time for is players that don’t do what they are asked. This is both on the ice, in practice and away from the rink. It’s why we’ve seen so much of Greening-Smith-Neil this season. Why Jared Cowen was sent over the boards so often. And maybe why a guy like Patrick Wiercioch has had a hard time finding a spot in the lineup.

Under this Head Coach, if you aren’t doing what is expected of you and what MacLean thinks is best, then you are likely going to see that reflected in your playing time. MacLean sees 18 skaters and will always play the guys that are doing what they are told. It’s that simple. Now of course, this only works if expectations are clearly communicated with the players.

His “Best Players Play” motto that has infuriated fans at times doesn’t necessarily mean the “best” hockey players on the team will play the most. It means the guys that are doing what is asked of them, effectively playing within their role, are the guys that are going to see the ice most often. I think it’s an approach that can work well with a young, hard-working team. But when you have high end players like Ottawa does now, it’s becomes a little risky.

Now there are a handful of other factors that have probably contributed to a disappointing season for MacLean. It would come as no surprise to anyone to hear that he may not exactly see eye to eye with his Owner. I can tell you the negotiation around his three year extension was anything but straightforward with some “disagreement” over money. There have also been a couple instances this season where maybe the Owner thought he had some good ideas about how the team should be coached. And that those ideas were communicated with MacLean. That is, not ideal.

Mac’s relationship with his GM seems to be…strained let’s say. In general, Bryan and Paul seem to have the same philosophy on things but haven’t really seen “eye to eye” all year. And that’s a problem. A problem that was highlighted during a recent interview Murray gave on TSN1200 where he didn’t exactly give his Head Coach a ringing endorsement heading into next season.

And the third, issue is with the players. This is where the loss of Alfie has hurt more than people realize. Now I’m not in that locker room (and haven’t been since I accidentally stepped on the logo and Chris Neil yelled at me) so I can’t say definitively one way or another, but there has been a pretty steady stream of “rumours” about guys possibly not taking their jobs as seriously as the Coach would like them too. That and a number of lingering injuries to key players.

Add it all up; his stubborn nature, his specific and strict expectations of each player, his less than ideal relationship with his superiors and a rumoured lack of focus and health from some players and you can start to see what makes MacLean tick. This season, anyway.

I mentioned this on Twitter after tonight’s loss, that there was actually a theory making the rounds that Paul MacLean was actively trying to get fired. My reaction to the theory? Complete bull shit. This is a guy working his first Head Coach job in the NHL, on the heels of a Coach of the Year win. It just doesn’t make sense to limit his career here in Ottawa and possibly anywhere else in the league by going all George Costanza in the middle of the season. He’s coaching the team in a way that he believes will be effective, within the current environment he is being exposed to.  Do I think his approach is an effective one? Certainly not this season but it worked well last year when he won the Jack Adams. And not bad the year before that.

When things go as poorly as they have this season, fans want someone to blame. And Paul MacLean certainly deserves his share.

Bryan Murray probably deserves some as well. He put this roster together as best he could but hasn’t acknowledged the seemingly obvious defensive shortcomings. At least not publicly, anyway. The players certainly deserve their fair share of the blame. While a couple guys have had “great” seasons, there have been far too many players that have taken an obvious step back this season. And of course, Eugene Melnyk should have plenty a finger pointed in his direction. Not only is his internal budget seriously limiting what this team can do on the ice, the environment he has created within this organization, from top to bottom (and not just on the hockey side either)…is toxic.

Blame is normal after a season like this. But to lay it all at the feet of Head Coach Paul MacLean, without carefully thinking about what might be influencing his decisions in-game and throughout the season, is a tad reckless.

Despite the team’s poor performance this season, there’s no need to panic.  There’s a strong (and young) core in place and smart hockey people at all levels.  But Players, Head Coach, General Manager and Owner are all going to need to have a long chat when this season ends and hopefully find a way to get on the same page moving forward. There is too much young talent in this organization and quality players on the roster, to let it all go to waste.

  • I’m just sayin’

    We all knew that DA11 was a GREAT Captain.
    We never guessed how much he’d be missed.

    Some kudos for Gonchar too – he played a very solid 20 minutes almost
    every game last season

    • Joe

      Definitely miss that Gonchar

  • Moudy Mahfouz

    Great article Chirp. I like Maclean as a coach but the his strategy going in to next season has to change. We need best players to play. He shouldnt be stubborn anymore and just role 3 lines hard with 4th line shifts here and there. I think he stays. Little dissapointed with him decisions this year because GSN shouldnt be getting 16 mins a game. btw your conclusion says it all

    • Zelle

      I honestly don’t think they would be if the guys would stop taking so many stupid/lazy penalties. Just my opinion though.

      • Kohlmanator

        I agree, to an extent. We have a terrible reputation with the refs, and it’s becoming far too obvious on the ice. This needs to be addresses, by all parties.

        • Zelle

          Although I agree with you, it’s speculation about the reasoning. I mean most of the penalties they take are in fact penalties, it’s just that the other team seem to get away with the infractions. Given this, they should probably play cleaner. It may be unfair, but you should play the hand you’re dealt. They are losing games by being on the PK all the time anyway.

  • Doc

    Trade SensChirp!!1!

    But in all seriousness, good post. I’m not one to take the negative road and crap on all our players/coaches, it just serves no purposes and contrary to what some believe, does not make for good hockey discussions. It is to be expected though, which makes enduring this type of season even worse. I tend to avoid Twitter or the comments section most of the time for these exact reasons.

    We, as fans, only know a very small amount of what is actually going on behind the scenes. We’re allowed to have opinions, but most of the time they are not founded or just misinformed.

    Cheer up Sens fan (or relax…or both). We have a lot of positives to take from this season, and I’m sure we have some very exciting seasons coming up.

    Fans just need to take a deep breath and let things play out. Should be an exciting off-season, that’s for sure!

    • Moudy Mahfouz

      I agree. Things could be worse and I wont lie I am kinda excited for this off-season. We know it will be an interesting one for this teams future.

      • KJ

        I don’t know if anyone heard Maclean earlier in the season when he was defending Cowen being in the lineup when he was clearly awful. He said he needed support from team and the staff to get his confidence back.
        I sure as hell don’t know what’s wrong and won’t claim I do, as every fan and media person tries to discover what has gone wrong in the post mortem of what was the Sen’s season. But to me (I have watched every single game) a lot of blame needs to placed squarely on the players. They are good, and at times even dazzle us. They just can’t or didn’t execute for 60 minutes. I am certainly not going to blame Mclean for errant passes, or passes that get bobbled on the receiving end, or a player’s choice to pass when he should have shot, or missing the net so darn often, and so on and so on. maybe we can find fault with his “system”? maybe not?
        I believe when he says Best players are going to play, he means Best in the context of the game. The ones that have had several good shifts in a row. We all know he knows who his “best” players are. but what is the definition of “best”. only he knows, and we all try and decide what he means by saying that.
        The owner can be blamed for laying down a budget, and the GM can be blamed for the make up for the team within that budget, but who do we blame for taking bad penalties? The refs? no.
        The players own this season in my opinion for not getting to playoffs. Coach of the year doesn’t become stupid anymore than players forget how to play.
        If certain players ego’s are too big for the coach and his philosophies about how the team should play, then those “certain” players need to get traded.
        You can look at this as a corporate team on a project. Everyone needs to be on the same page.
        The director lays objectives down from on high. The line manager takes his/her direction from the Director, and delegates to staff to make it happen. If anyone on the project is not pulling their weight on the project, they get taken off. Not necessarily fired. who knows why. But, they usually find out in the one on ones, or year end performance review.
        But this is what the player’s exit meetings will shake out, and we’ll see what changes are made after the cup is won.

  • BonksMullet

    This makes me wonder what exactly his expectations are of Jared Cowen and why they’re so low. I think Cowen gets exception to the “expectations” rule and that makes a lot of folks unhappy.

    • Doc

      Might just be to let him play through his hardships, same as with Lehner.

      • BonksMullet

        Although Lehner didn’t get to play when he was hot to start the year, so who knows what the deal is with the goalies.

        • Doc

          True, but Lehner’s struggles later in the year makes me question his readiness for the #1 job.

      • SensChirp

        Yea, i think that’s part of it for sure. From what I’ve heard, they have worked with him a lot this season. Lack of progress has been frustrating for everyone but Coach/Management really do believe he’s going to be a good player.

        So if they think he’s working hard, and doing what they ask him to do (generally, I mean. No way they are asking him to make so many mistakes) then maybe they are willing to give him more opportunity to work through it.

        • Doc

          I’m still not ready to give up on the kid either. He showed flashes of being a really good shutdown guy, but has struggled heavily this season for whatever reasons. It seemed to have worked a bit for Lehner lately.

          Hopefully a full 4 months of training in the off-seasonfor Cowen will do him wonders.

          • The Apostle

            I don’t think Cowen did himself any favours with the hold out.

          • dprouse

            It seems like every time a player holds out, even for a short period of time, the season that follows is sub-par, injury filled, or both. Cowen took a step backwards this year, as did Methot, while Gryba and Weircoch failed to step up as the club had hoped. Joe Corvo also had nothing left in the tank. Cody Ceci has done some nice things and will be a steady NHL defenceman, but he has had to learn on the job here. I still think it would have been better to have had him playing 25 minutes a night in Bingo all year, but OTOH he now has an NHL season under his belt at age 20.

            I just don’t want us to make any panic stricken moves in the off-season. There are a few forwards I would like cleared out to make room for the prospects (Neil, Greening, Condra and Kassian are all on my hit list), and I would be wide open to taking a run at Jaroslav Halak and kissing Anderson goodbye. (With only one year left, Anderson is an ideal buyout candidate.) In general, I like this core and I like this coach – I just think that this year was a classic case of sophomore blues and some bad bounces.

          • The Apostle

            Can’t see Melnyk buying anybody out and I can’t see the reason buyng out Anderson.

  • Pasky

    My issue isn’t that MacLean wants to send a message to his players. He’s made it as an NHL Coach and if it’s from punishing stars time to time by sending out the grinders on a PP then so be it, it’s his right as a coach and it’s worked for him before. The problem becomes that he doesn’t seem to know when it’s appropriate to send a message. At this point in the year when your season is riding on one period and you play your plugs to punish the guys that can get the points this team desperately needs, then he is directly causing us to lose games, and I think that’s where most of the fans problems lie.

    Granted, I didn’t think that the stars played that great of a game last night so I get sending the message, but just give them a bag skate at practice or something so that we still have a chance to win a hockey game.

    Hopefully they address the back end for next season.

  • Jason

    You stepped on the logo?! Asshole!

    • SensChirp

      Is that you Neil? It was an accident!

  • aegiszx

    I’ve said it ALL season, that there’s a serious power struggle happening…

    People want to say this is Jason Spezza’s team now, or this is Karlsson’s team… no guys… this is Eugene Melnyk’s team. Simple. As. That. He pays the bills, he calls the shots. There’s no way around it. And from the looks of it, he’s not giving up this team any time soon, so you can bet your butts that the coming years will be very interesting.

    • do due dew doodoo

      interesting or painful ?

      • aegiszx

        Buffalo went through it up until Pegula bought the team in 10′… Edmonton is going through it now with Kevin Lowe… Isles are going through it with Charles Wang… It’s really nothing new. Ownership of many many professional sports teams tend to hawk around their ‘prized baby’ too often…

        • metalfoot

          Katz I think you mean for Edmonton

  • do due dew doodoo

    Good article SC – Let me quote you

    “I can tell you the negotiation around his three year extension was
    anything but straightforward with some “disagreement” over money. There
    have also been a couple instances this season where maybe the Owner
    thought he had some good ideas about how the team should be coached. And
    that those ideas were communicated with MacLean. That is, not ideal.”

    So – Melnyk now thinks he’s George Steinbrenner redux ?
    I’d actually be fine with that if HE HAD THE MONEY to back it up.

  • FistsofNeil25

    Awesome right up Chirp!

    Stupid friggin’ Eugene Melnyk! Meddling with management and coaching decisions…guy is the worst!

  • http://www.31digital.ca Spencer Callaghan

    “Despite the team’s poor performance this season, there’s no need to panic. There’s a strong (and young) core in place and smart hockey people at all levels.”

    This quote is a bit rosy. First of all, this “strong core” has an worrisome 9 UFAs up in the next 2 years. What kind of environment does a professional hockey player want to play in?

    One where the owner meddles in hockey ops, short-changes the budget, fudges the numbers and says crazy shit in the media?

    One where the coach plays favourites with guys who have little talent, take a ton of penalties, but fill some bizarre “effort quota”?

    One where a GM can let a franchise-defining player slip way because he took him for granted?

    I even question whether our long-term assets, like Karlsson, Zibanejad and Turris will start saying enough is enough here. A toxic environment, as you put it, doesn’t bode well for this team.

    Something has to give, it has to start with ownership, and Sens fans have to start putting the pressure on.

    • SensChirp

      You know me- I needed a positive conclusion after so much negativity. Thanks for knocking me down a peg :)

      • http://www.31digital.ca Spencer Callaghan

        LOL, now you make me feel bad.

        But seriously, I agree the core is strong…now. I just don’t think it’s a slam dunk that it stays strong. That’s the problem with having a toxic environment (your words).

        Ottawa has a lot of things going against it as a franchise, cold weather, not as much social/nightlife possibilities, small Canadian media market (not good for player endorsements), internal budget, the last thing we need is a toxic environment.

        It’s a very worrisome trend, and it all starts with Melnyk.

      • TookieIs100PercentRight

        It’s not about knocking you down Big Chrip, it’s about looking at the team without rose-coloured glasses. We have a captain that’s a second-line centre under Mac and that gets injured more often than not. We have a coach that says that best players play but then ices players that are not the best at scoring, passing, generating scoring chances or maintaining possession. Using Neil as an extra skater over Hemsky and Ryan (who have scoring ability) is crazy. It’s coaching to lose. Then saying “I was coaching” when asked about it, is incredibly flippant. We deserve a better answer than that.
        Bingo is doing great, sure, but we’ve been oversold on a lot of these prospects. We haven’t had a star forward come out of the minors in like…ever.
        I’ll believe the future is rosy when this team signs all its free agents and is in the top 3 in the league in standings. If we’re a perpetual bubble team, not so much.

    • Zelle

      Well one thing about toxic environments, I’m not sure exactly how booing Karlsson would make him want to stay here. I mean I know they paid for the tickets and can do what they want but losing 2-1 isn’t exactly a blow out of booing worthiness. I think fans have a big role to play in making a hockey city a place where players want to go.

      • TookieIs100PercentRight

        Karlsson is a Norris winner and he has to step it up. He can’t be getting turnstiled game after game. He needs to stop scoring chances as well as create them and if he can’t he’ll take boos.

  • Hax

    Great article Chirp – exactly why we all come here.

    Fans should ask themselves: What’s the ultimate goal here? To win a cup right? If MacLean builds an atmosphere where that’s all the players care about – over their own stats and ice time – then any “broken eggs” along the way is fine by me.

    Has he been perfect? No. But I think the overall theory of getting every single player to play his role on and off the ice is a good one. The key things that follow are this:

    1. Does Murray believe the same? Will he move out players that aren’t fitting in and bring in ones that will?

    2. If Murray does believe the same (one would assume so) will Melnyk allow Murray to do what needs to be done? i.e. no more signing Kovalev to distract the fans from losing Heatley or drunk-emailing players to run them out of town.

  • Zelle

    Great article Chirp, it really sums up what I have been trying to express in my thoughts on Maclean. This is a young group of guys and if they are left to their own devices who knows what kind of bad attitudes and habits they will pick up. I also felt that some coaching decisions came from above his head at times. I’m also stubborn, and if I am being forced to do something I don’t want to do, I may go to extremes to prove a point.

  • Conor_smythe

    I loved and fully endorsed the Maclean signing and still do, but there is something to be said about Rookie Coaches.. they don’t have a chip on their shoulder like the guys who have been doing it for years.. Maybe this season is Macleans Chip, which can only mean good things if we keep him around

    I’m not looking for a tortorella-like approach here.. just looking for Maclean to use the dark side of the force a little bit more than he currently does

    A little bit of experience never hurt anybody.. there is a learning curve for coaches too. Maclean seems to have caught on to the “don’t play the same goalie on back to back nights”.. it took him all season to figure it out, but at least he learned from his mistakes

    lets give him the benefit of the doubt, and see what else he has learned

    go sens

    • The Apostle

      ‘Cleans Chip
      Rival website where the coach blogs about his day to day troubles with the senators.

  • Taxman

    You can fire the coach, fire the GM, trade the players, but you can’t fire the owner. That is why this team will continue to e screwed. Worst thing that can happen to a team is an owner who thinks he is coach, GM, scout, and president.

  • WolfInSheepsClothes

    I think people need to realize a couple of things here when it comes to the “wacky ice-time” crap that is pissing everyone off.

    First of all, review here;
    http://www.nhl.com/ice/playerstats.htm?fetchKey=20142OTTSASALL&sort=avgTOIPerGame&viewName=timeOnIce

    Our “best players” (ie: Spezza, Karlsson, Turris, Mac, Ryan) are getting the most ice-time, on average, per game.

    What we need to take in to account as well is: WE ARE THE MOST PENALIZED TEAM IN THE LEAGUE THIS YEAR. Karlsson doesn’t play PK. Spezza doesn’t play PK. Ryan doesn’t play PK. Smith, Greening, and Neil do. Which is why you see inflated ice-time for them.

    If there is ANY coaching issue this year, it’s with the PP and PK. With the offensive punch we have our PP should be way better. Our PK… Perhaps if we weren’t in the box so often it would be a little better. That is on the assistants not MacLean. Assistants, keep in mind, that were “Melnyk’s guys”.

    • xN1Cx

      Very simple and likely realistic answer. I like the way you think wolf, although your clothes look a little scratchy.

    • Don Ciccio

      If Neil kills penalties then, the whole coaching staff should be fired. Also, two of the worst culprits of these penalties are Neil and Smith.
      Chirp I agree and understand that there are many things that we don’t know and see that goes into the reasoning of why some players get sat and why some players play more than others but, what I don’t understand is why that message isn’t the same for everyone. Smith and Neil constantly take the dumbest of penalties at the worst of times but never seem to be affected with their ice time. Yet, someone like Wiercioch has been sitting for much of the season because the coach doesn’t believe that he is hard enough on the boards yet he brings a dimension to this team that we really lack and that’s great puck movement……The message has to be the same for all and that’s where I blame Maclean

      • Zelle

        If players you count on to score are out there killing penalties, which is more exhausting than 5v5 then that means they likely won’t be able to play for as many minutes as they usually could.

    • sprucesens

      while that’s mostly true, for the always being in the box part, but that’s not the times people are saying WTF. its when we put the smith line on in OT, or the last minute of the game to try and tie it. Its not starting a hot goalie, and leaving in goalies after 3 or 4 bad goals, when pulling him after the first 2, might have salvaged a win. And to that point on the PK minutes, guys like turris, MacA, pageau, stone and so on are all capable of killing penalties as well. But, as is my preference, that would be when the 4th line is getting its minutes. 1st PK unit, and then once in a while to grind down the other team. Doing this SHOULD lower their minutes back to 4th line level. But that’s how I would build a team. We all have our own opinions.
      But anyways. I must say I understand Pmac’s logic in playing the hardest working, or playing their role, type of players, but in the end, that doesn’t win you games. Letting your scorers get ice time so they can score does. You can throw a hit every shift quite easily, not as easy to create a scoring chance every shift. He needs to understand that.

  • Dadzsun

    Good article, nice to see some different thoughts as to what the hell is going on in his brain.

    IMO, for a supposedly strong communicator, Paul’s really doing himself no favours in effectively communicating with the press and fans. Yesterday’s scratch of Spezza was a recent example.

    TSN1200 pregame show were totally confused as to why Spezza said he was good to go earlier in the day, and when they spoke to Paul later he said Spezza wasn’t. On the TV broadcast the commentators mentioned how they were in Paul’s office and Spezza came in to say his back was tight. Had this been the case, why didn’t Paul simply give that explanation to the 1200 folks later when they asked?

    Same with swapping goalies at the most illogical of times, perhaps a little more insight to his reasoning would prevent these things from looking worse that they appear.

    I get the feeling that he’s protecting players at the expense of his apparent sense of logic. I understand why coaches want to become a buffer for their players but clearly there has to be some finesse to these situations to prevent these questions from becoming larger than they need to be. Fans and press were amazed why Ryan wasn’t playing more minutes earlier in the year and Paul never mentioned, even off the record to calm local media, of his nagging injury.

    I agree Chirp that Paul is a stubborn man. I also get the feeling that he’s somewhat arrogant in his lightly-condescending press talks. Perhaps these traits were always there but just more visible with his recent coaching award?

  • MethotToMyMadness

    Great read, I have a lot of the same views. As much as I comment on here, I’ve not went down the road of saying anything negative about MacLean up to this point, simply because I know, as a Fan, we really know nothing more than what we read in comment sections.

    • spezzerman

      which is nothing in and of itself. Because we know absolutely nothing. We just have opinions

  • John Q. Spartan

    So, Paul MacLean plays players that “do what is expected of them”. So explain to me why, for example, the same players take dumb penalty, after dumb penalty, and are never disciplined (ie. fastened to the bench) for it? Just look at Gryba last night… cost them the game with an idiotic penalty, but was right back out there lining up for the center ice face-off after the go ahead goal.

    Also, it’s much harder to score than it is to be a checker. It’s unfair to portray a 3rd/4th liner as doing their job, and a scorer as not. One job is simply much more difficult than the other.

    I’m not sure I am buying what your selling. But at least I read it.

    • SensChirp

      Said it in the article but I think he can put up with mistakes. As long as you are working hard and playing within the team “structure”.

      • John Q. Spartan

        Sens have a structure this season?

        • SensChirp

          That is certainly the part my article is missing- what is the team “structure” and what are the expectations of each guy in the room from the Coach.

          • John Q. Spartan

            I am more than slightly concerned that it appears the same mistakes have been made throughout the entire season as a whole. MacLean is always very good at pointing out what the mistakes were in his post-game pressers, but never seems to offer up any solutions. He also makes very little (at least noticeable) in-games adjustments.

            If he is relying on the “just work harder” mantra, that’s rather troubling.

    • Tcharger – Ryan-For-51

      Because he expects them too?!?! I guess…lol

    • Doc

      By your logic, Stone cost us the game by missing the open net.

      *clap clap*

      • John Q. Spartan

        Yes, because taking a penalty and missing the net are equatable… got me there. ha.

        • Doc

          What if he did score? That penalty would have been irrelevant. Saying Gryba cost us the game is just looking for a scapegoat.

          Get it? ha.

          • John Q. Spartan

            Sorry Mrs. Gryba… I didn’t mean it.

          • Doc

            Logic’s not your strong suit I see. :/

          • John Q. Spartan

            By your logic, no one would ever be to blame… for anything.

          • Doc

            Point proven!

            Thanks for playing. ha.

          • John Q. Spartan

            Good one Mrs. Gryba. Tell your son nothing personal.

          • Doc

            Not even sure what that means, but looking at your previous comments I doubt there was much reasoning behind it.

          • John Q. Spartan

            How can I be blamed for my previous comments? Quit looking for a scapegoat…

          • Doc

            And now it seems you can’t read on top of having bad logic.

            Bad day huh! Poor fella. :/

          • John Q. Spartan

            If only Mark Stone would have scored :(

            Then Gryba being a fucking idiot wouldn’t have mattered.

            Then I wouldn’t have pissed off Mrs. Gryba like I gone did.

          • Brutus5247

            You should go @#rk off and relieve some stress. Make sure your mom doesn’t walk in on you. And don’t do it hanging from a belt or something. Talk about a whacko! It’s a f’n game. There are probably 20 reasons we didnt win and you pick one. Nice tunnel vision.

          • Doc

            Nobody’s pissed off here but you kiddo!

            But you probably don’t understand why you are either lol.

          • John Q. Spartan

            MacLean: Eric, I want to talk to you about that penalty you took last night, Ok?

            Gryba: Ok coach no problem

            MacLean: It really put us in a bad spot, ya know? We had just tied up the game and all. You really have to use…

            Gryba: Wait coach. I don’t see how that’s my fault. If Stoner would have just hit the net with that shot, he might have scored, and none of what I did would have mattered!

            MacLean: I think you’re missing the point son…

            Gryba: Not according to my mom.

            MacLean: Ummmm, I see. I think it all makes sense now.

          • Brutus5247

            Grandiose delusions..try a lithium pill or at least get an appointment with your nearest psycho-therepist.

          • Doc

            3 hours and still confused.

            Poor guy. Kinda feel bad now. :(

          • John Q. Spartan

            Hey, don’t blame yourself ma’am. Blame Mark Stone, he missed the net…

          • Doc

            Good! You finally got it!

            You now see how your logic doesn’t make sense. Good on you kiddo! Proud of you.

    • CUP 2014-15

      Right….Gryba cost us the game, however we’re not in a 1-1- tie with an AHL roster laden team playing their second of back to backs with their second string in nets and our season on the line, who lost this game, come on…I will agree it was a dumb penalty, I blame the team for this ridiculous effort against the isle not one player. Also if you were watching last night you would have noticed Karl was not seeing the ice and that left 2 right side defencemen, maybe PM should have just put CC out for the final 7 min.

      • John Q. Spartan

        The point was he just threw Gryba right back out there, fresh from the box… at the very least sit him down and let him know about it.

        God forbid they play a Right D on the left side for a shift… might screw up their rock solid defensive system.

        • runningbear1974

          I think Maclean’s point by sending Gryba back out there, is that he doesn’t believe Gryba deserved the penalty… Therefore he didn’t deserve to be punished…

          • John Q. Spartan

            I guess that is possible, not having the benefit of instant replay and all. He’d be mistaken of course, as it was a fairly blatant penalty.

          • CUP 2014-15

            RB 74 has a point in that slashing/taps are let go all game long and PM felt it may not have been the time to call something that goes on all game. Not saying it’s not a penalty just that it can be called dozens of times every game.

          • Brutus5247

            It was a horizontal slash near the hands and that gets called often. Was a bad time to get called but it could have been any one of 18 guys on the ice. Bad thing it was one of our best penalty killlers.

        • CUP 2014-15

          I think you mean left D on right side but we have seen that all year and it was nothing short of ugly and it is what led to PW being in the press box.

  • BeJamin

    Maclean said in his post game that he had an issue with players who take dumb penalties. Certainly hasn’t been reflected in ice time. If he seriously believes Chris Neil should play 15 minutes when the teams life is on the line then he isn’t a competent coach in terms of putting players into correct roles. This team doesn’t know Smith Greening and Neil if playing should play less than 8 minutes. If he is rewarding them with extra ice for working hard that’s a mistake.

  • Tcharger – Ryan-For-51

    I sorta hear what you are saying…but don’t buy it

    Weircioch as an example, has played above what is to be expected of him at every opportunity(and it appears from reading here most people now tend to agree with this…even though I was torn a new one every time I said he was good…..Short Term memory tends to be all us Sens fans use)

    Lehner….was a great backup, came in won star of the week…was benched…..there is NO logic, no coach in their right mind would do that.

    I am not prepared to run him out of town, but I think his(although this can be said about just about everyone in the organisation at this point) is on a much shorter leash.

    • SensChirp

      I see the goaltending a little different in that I believe MacLean is from the school of thought that you have a “number one” guy and that is pretty difficult to change.

      Wiercioch is certainly an odd case. Because from what we see, he looks like he is doing everything possible to stay in the line up. But maybe he’s being asked to take less chances, and put more emphasis on looking after his own end? See I dunno. That’s the key thing this explanation is missing is that clear understanding of what each player’s role is and what is expected of them.

      • Tcharger – Ryan-For-51

        Why would you want to limit his game…he hasn’t taken dumb chances, or caused a lot of trouble by “taking chances”….in his recent stretch he has basically played a very similar game to Karlsson, just without the 3ish complete defensive breakdowns a game.

        I seriously love Weircioches game and hope he isn’t ran out of town due to lack of playing time and being told to dummy down his game.

      • SensChirp

        And in his case, seniority also seems to be an issue in that he’s not going to take the place of Phillips/Methot/Cowen (LDs) and he struggled on the right side. Gryba playing well and Ceci bursting onto the scene didn’t help either.

      • Hax

        Exactly. We can speculate all we want but none of us KNOW what MacLean is asking of each player. And MacLean clearly isn’t going to tell us since that would amount to throwing said player under the bus.

        If you want to believe that MacLean is full of crap that’s fine. But at face value we’d have to assume that MacLean has his reasons for not playing Wiercioch that much. There are literally hundreds of reasons even if it’s not the obvious case of Wiercioch not doing what he’s asked well enough.

        Again, I’m hoping that any decisions that look odd on the surface or seem to hurt us in the short term are part of a long term goal of getting this team ready to win a cup. It’s still the rebuild and I’m sure there’s a season in the near future that the management group has targeted as our best time to make a run. Next year? The year after? Who knows for sure but it ain’t this year and never was.

        • Doc

          Bang on.

          I don’t get how people can make such defined opinions on aspects they have little to no information on.

          • runningbear1974

            yeah well, need to do something with our time…

          • Doc

            Papier maché!

        • runningbear1974

          Totally agree… Shot term sacrifice for long term success… We are not a professional organization… Everyone started this season playing like shit… Almost everyone… Spezza, Karlsson, Michalek, Greening, Condra, Wiercioch, Phillips, and Methot (can you believe Methot started like shit?)… What happened? Why? These guys didn’t do what it takes… You can’t just win against people more skilled and trying harder than you…
          Anyway… I hope they all feel like they need to prove something next year…
          I think Maclean (coming from a professional organization, detroit), realizes we’re not there, we need to grow up, more mature, smarter decisions, more effort… Just grow up a bit…
          Anyway…
          We’re not going to win until our defensive group become veteran types…

      • sprucesens

        yeah, the problem with telling certain players what to do, and them doing their own thing, isn’t necessarily a problem. Some guys are offensive juggernauts, (ovechkin, karlsson) some guys are 2 way players (toews, turris) and some are defensive (chara, smith?) Yes not great examples, but trying to pick a top player in each position on our team and some of the best in the world to compare to. Anyways, instead of trying to change the player, change the system so that player is most effective. Why not have karlsson lead the rush, and when he jumps up, when it comes back the other way, have him change so say cowen or gryba come on the ice? Same with spezza. Package a few players of similar types onto a line, so they can do full line changes when the play goes 1 way or the other. Obviously still teach defensive play, because you can’t do a full line change on the backcheck unless its dumped in without pressure. But it the idea makes best use of each players skills, while still being responsible at both ends of the ice.
        We don’t need karlsson out on the PK getting hit by pucks, and trying to flip the puck down the ice. We have bigger more suitable players for that role. Why do we need to force him to be good at this too? I know most will say that you need players that can play in every situation, and that’s true, but you need to have some that are set for a specific role too. I think maclean has just tried to force guys out of their respective roles too often. Using the smith line in OT to get them scoring. Using karlsson on the PK, and Phillips on the PP. It just doesn’t make sense, unless he is actively trying to force players to learn roles they haven’t really done their whole career. And the problem with this is, they got drafted/signed because of how they played their whole career, and now asking someone to completely change how they play the game is tough to do, and often times not a good idea.
        So I look at this season as an experience for all the players to see how the other roles are played, so that when they are used properly next year, they have the added experience of being the player they haven’t been before. I really hope this was macleans thinking, because if not, its just bonkers.

  • Tcharger – Ryan-For-51

    Don Brennan ‏@SunDoniB 24m
    Bobby Ryan says he loves Ottawa and could see being a Senator for a long time. #sens

    Now can we please shut up about him wanting out of town?

    Brennan the notorious runner out of towner is saying this.

    • thepez

      I heard a bit of his interview on the radio. Sounds like he is saying all the right things. Now if only we can get rid of Don Brennan…..

      • Tcharger – Ryan-For-51

        Can we tag people in posts in any way….SANDY!!!!!

    • runningbear1974

      Thank you, that just made my day… And, i’m ok with sacrificing this season if we get Bobby Fucking Ryan :)

    • TookieIs100PercentRight

      Saying and doing is two different things. Sign a 7 year deal at equal or less money and I’ll believe it.

      • sprucesens

        equal or less…??? he’s going to get a large raise for sure. Probably close to spezza’s last deal. And that’s perfectly acceptable. I’m sure murray and melnyk were aware of this when the trade was made, so expect that it’s likely to be a deal that is reached. Only thing that should be blocking it, is if ryan wants to play elsewhere, and that certainly doesn’t sound like the case.

  • Moudy Mahfouz

    Great to hear the comments of Bobby today. Just to solidify his mindset that he def would consider signing here long term. Makes me think he also has faith in the core group that we have

    • my2sens

      What’s nice too, is usually this filters down to others as well… hope we can work it out.

  • 4thStringGoalie

    I’d like to think Maclean is looking big picture and trying to get the players to play the game right and with good effort.

    For example. For the Sens to be a contender in a few years a guy like Marc Methot needs to bring it every night and take his game to a higher level. Perhaps the message Maclean has been sending him is looking to make Methot a better player next year or the year after and not so much concern about this year. Maybe he’s trying to avoid the mess Washington has with Ovechkin. Short term pains for long term gains.

    • Zelle

      I knew after his first year of coaching he was the big picture, long term affect kind of guy. The team got to game 7 in the playoffs against the Rangers, but it didn’t really look like he was trying to win the series as much as give the guys some experience. He kept switching players in and out of the lineup every game. At first I was frustrated but then realized he was probably just doing it to see how they would perform and to give them a taste of what to expect.

  • spezzerman

    Chirp, I unfollowed you on twitter after that ridiculous tweet about trying to get fired. After reading this, I will reconsider. Not that you care of course, but you have 10,000 followers and your influence is pretty great. Even if you think its BS, why post that in the first place? Unless you know for a fact, this type of speculation crap doesn’t help at all. I’m not looking forward to another (long) summer of ridiculous speculation and what not. This young team couldn’t take the next step. They got way to used to things coming easily and need to relearn how to win. A few minor tweaks and some pretty intense summer training/developing will help this team improve next year. In the long run, a little adversity is probably what is needed to help this team take the next step.
    You could probably make an argument that Maclean is coaching like a guy who knows he cant be fired and has big picture in mind.

    • John Q. Spartan

      The picture in his mind is a Picasso!

      • spezzerman

        Good. I like that he aims high. :)

  • NO65*

    PM is trying to have his players to play like the Red Wings of the past 20 seasons. Should he succeed, it will be a lot of fun to watch. But would Spezza survived with the Wings they way he plays? I doubt it.
    Go SENS Go

    • Sandy

      There is nothing wrong with him wanting his team to play like the Red Wings do… I actually appreciate the up-tempo exciting games like last season..
      Spezza had a very bad start to the season.. but so did the rest of the players, with the exception of Ryan, Turris, McArthur.. Spezza has been much better since Hemsky has been brought in.
      Changes are coming.. but it should not be the Head Coach.

  • A-Train

    If he’s not getting along with the owner, GM or star players….we don’t really need to worry about whether or not he’s “trying” to get fired. It will happen regardless.

    • Sandy

      McLean should not be fired — I will be very upset if he is. The first two seasons he was here, he had an experienced captain who helped him a lot. This season he has an inexperienced captain who he can’t rely on like he could Alfie. That’s not saying anything about Spezza being a bad captain… as we don’t know. We are not ‘in the room’ or around the players at other times to really know. He’s not Alfie. It’s his first season as being a captain and he has a lot to learn. The same could be said for other first time captains… even Alfie.
      IMO the Owner is really hurting this team.. financially and the relations with his employees. This Owner is too hands on in way of making personnel decisions. His decisions should be his CEO, etc and his GM.. Then those people should be responsible for the rest. The Owner should not dictate which players should be brought in as UFA (like reportedly he did with Kovy) as he has no experience in that matter. He also should not dictate who the coaches should be…

      • Tcharger – Ryan-For-51

        Don Brennan ‏@SunDoniB 24m
        Bobby Ryan says he loves Ottawa and could see being a Senator for a long time. #sens

        SANDY PLEASE READ!!!

        hahaha

        • Sandy

          Yes.. I know that.. But the point is .. what salary will he demand.. and will Melnyk pay up.
          Ryan wants to stay.. but the key is will Melnyk pay him what he wants to keep him?
          IMO, Melnyk is trying to operate a team in a multi-billionaire dollar business by running in with quarters.

          • spezzerman

            16,000 people went to the game last night….4,500 unsold tickets

          • Sandy

            Including me.
            But you know what is really funny? Those 4 season ticket holding Leaf fans that sit behind us… we haven’t seen them for several games.. They have been giving their tickets away..

          • Hax

            Ryan is no idiot. He knows that Melnyk is a wild card but if he made the comments he clearly thinks he can get a contract he’ll accept. His comments were better than just the basic “I’m happy here” – he went well beyond that.

            I’ve been encouraged since he “came in hot” and did those man-on-the-street videos in the summer and haven’t wavered much. Until he proves differently, he’s clearly expecting to be part of this team indefinitely.

          • Sandy

            Don’t get me wrong.. I want him back … badly.
            He’s going to have a great season next year.. book it.. Along with McArthur & Turris..

          • A-Train

            Reality is, Ryan probably has the best bargaining position in dealing with Ottawa.

      • A-Train

        Oh I know. But look at Bryan Murray — he’s learned how to make effective moves while working under an overbearing owner. That’s how you survive in any organization. Pissing off people you need on your side….it not ideal.

  • Sandy

    Disappointing season for sure. But should we have seen this coming when Gonchar & Alfie were let to walk. That D looked so young to us.. and they did not have a good season as a whole..
    Paul McLean’s system is an up-tempo, puck possession — go all out for your 45 sec shift and to roll with 4 lines. Can we honestly say this season that this team had 4 good lines that could do what he wanted them to?

  • runningbear1974

    It’s funny to think that Maclean deserves to be fired for playing players on his roster in certain situations…

    • Phil.

      Correct. He should be playing players who are not on his roster, ideally using the proposed trades found in the comment section as guidelines.

  • MethotToMyMadness

    The Sens are currently sitting 22nd out of 30th place. That puts us in the running as a potential to win the 1st overall pick on the lottery. It’s not very likely, but that’s too close for my liking since it’s being handed over to the Ducks.

    If Ottawa isn’t going to win these games for a playoff position, then do it for Murray and the Org so we can set that pick somewhere in the 11th overall and above range. We have 6 games left. Oh, and try our hardest to beat the Leafs in the standings, that should be reason enough. Go Sens! Fail Leafs!

    • Hax

      I could care less where the Ducks pick. If we hadn’t made the trade (i.e. if we still had the pick) this season would have been totally different anyway.

      It’s not like we traded the pick to a division rival along with two other picks (ahem, blue team, ahem) where we could potentially pay for it for years to come.

      If Silfverberg, Noesen or yet-to-be-picked ever haunt us it will be in the SCF and only if both teams make it the same year.

      • Sandy

        If those players sent for Ryan plus the pick they get .. come back to haunt us in the SCF.. that will be in about 5 yrs or so…

      • Zelle

        *fast forward six years from now and yet-to-be-picked scores the GWG against the Sens in game 7 of the SCF*

        Noooooo! Curse you Hax! *waves fist*

      • runningbear1974

        totally agree… What matters is the picks we have, and the position those ones are… Better position better…

    • A-Train

      Let’s say “our” pick ends up as #7.

      Here’s some recent 7th overall picks: Ryan Suter, Rostislav Olesz, Jack Skille,
      Bryan Little, Jakub Voracek, Colin Wilson, Nazem Kadri, Jeff Skinner, Mark Scheifele, Mathew Dumba

      So, some players you’d want. Some you could take or leave. Nothing is certain, but if Ryan signs and plays well, it’s a good trade.

      • Sandy

        This is said to be not one of the best drafts.. so it’s hard to know how it will turn out in way of prospect they get..
        The Sens need help now and need Ryan..

  • Aaron 2.0

    Really nice write-up today, Chirp. I think you captured the one obvious fact about this season. There’s clearly no one reason or no one person that is responsible for the step backward this year. Rather, many factors are coming together at once. The most alarming thing may be the shear number of concerns, even if they aren’t really big ones on an individual basis. Communication along with person reflection will probably be needed for almost everyone involved with the team this year (ownership, management, coaches, and players). There are clearly examples of stubbornness this year, at many levels. I certainly hope the people involved have the maturity to do what’s right for the team. That is to look inward, admit wrongs, be willing to correct them, and respectfully keep lines of communication open throughout the off-season. After all, they all want the same thing, to be a winner.

  • Brutus5247

    Really folks winning the last 10 wasn’t going to happen. You could play well enough to win all 10 BUT there are other factors. Hitting posts, missing wide open nets, lucky break for the other team, stellar goaltending on the other team etc.etc etc. Just hope they play with all their heart and start working toward next year.

    • Sandy

      No, that wasn’t going to happen. But you would have thought they would beat the Islanders..

      • my2sens

        Without Jonny T in the lineup no less…

        • spezzerman

          or Okposo…

      • Sensnation

        Without Spezza, Ryan and Cowen it’s a lot closer than fans wanted to admit.

  • Harv

    Well, if this is an accurate review of the situation it is pretty disheartening. An owner who thinks he is a coach, a GM who doesn’t get along with the coach he hired and a coach who is inflexible even when the season is on the line. OK, I know winning 10 in a row and making the playoffs was a stretch but at least you have to try.

    But, what do you do when you are a Sens fan and have no inclination to change? You hope that whatever is going on gets straightened out over the summer because a dysfunctional ownership/management group spells long term disaster.

    If we take Ryan at his word, and there is no reason not to, then that is great news. McArthur gets pumped about playing with Turris and Ryan – who the hell wouldn’t be pumped at playing with Turris the way he is going? Hemsky sticks around because we are buying into Spezza and keeping our fingers crossed that, for the first time in 12 years he will actually back check. Z’Bad, Hoffman and Stone are the future and the keep improving next year. Smith, Neil and whoever get 4th line and 4th line minutes because everyone, everyone is doing what they are expected to do on and off the ice.

    Man, if this works it will be awesome and if it doesn’t it is at least going to be interesting.

    Who is not pumped for the summer action and the next year?

    I’d love to see:

    Michalek, Spezza, Hemsky
    McArthur – Turris – Ryan
    Hoffman – Z’Bad – Stone

    with all those guys having a good year. Playoffs would be a cinch up front no matter if we keep:

    Condra-Smith-Neil as fillers.

    Defence is going to be more experienced. Let’s say – Karlson can retunr from his injury – I doubted he would be the same player when it happened and so far he is not the same player – but, every team in the league would take in a heartbeat. Weircoch convinces PM that he is a good guy and Ceci keeps it going. Great attacking D there. Methot, Cowen and Gryba – stay at home guys – that is not a label but a plea!

    And, we even stop bad mouthing Phillips as long as they mostly keep him away from the ice during a game.

    Anderson and Lehner can get ‘ur dun, I say.

    Go Sens!

  • Sensnation

    Chirp, I’m sorry but this article is a complete overreaction to this season and you sell PM way short in his coaching style. Maybe it’s how you wrote it, but I read this and am left thinking you don’t understand him that well. Some of what he’s done is situational. He has a young team and leaned on his healthy veterans more often, but at the end of the day fans are mainly complaining about 3rd line getting 3rd line minutes, because they want it to be the 4th line and so on.

    He’s an oldschool player and some of his philosophies are from that era and it shows in his coaching style, but they aren’t wrong or right, they are just different. Fans who don’t remember the old days, or hell weren’t even around then, don’t understand that it’s nothing new and thus also don’t seem to understand the reasoning behind simple decisions.

    This group, team, organization was due for a step back this year. The D was brutal, but it’s because it’s still a young group with a lot to learn. No big changes needed, just more time to keep growing and weeding out who the 6 will be going forward. PM and BM know this, but they cannot go public and say we expect a bad season, or a tough growth season. Fans, media and pretty much everyone would not accept that kind of truth, and would definitely hurt their bottom line.

    At the end of the day, this team is heading in the right direction, with a great coach, a really good gm and a hell of a core moving forward. I know everyone wants to lay blame and explain it the way they see it this year. Sometimes a step back is needed to continue moving forward.

    • Michenator

      I don’t think Chirp was taking a shot at Maclean at all, more just an explanation and some insight.

      I think people got caught in the hype of us being a potential cup-contender. I completely agree that the team maybe did need a bit of a step back. Our defence needs to be stronger and smarter and I don’t think that means trades, I think it means experience and growth. BOTH of those things that can happen over the summer and from a season like this.

      My BIG question is do you keep the C with Spezza next year or maybe give it to a younger player like Turris who has stepped up and shown how 200ft, two-way hockey is played… my only concern is locker room leadership, which none of us really know or understand.

      • Sensnation

        If Spezza is around there’s no question he keeps the C.

        • Michenator

          TRADE SPEZZA!!!!!! hahahha… but ya I think you’re right. I feel like maybe he started to grow into it more by the end of the season.

          • Sensnation

            Yup, takes time like everything. Fans just don’t have any patience for real life timelines.

      • Doc

        If Spezza stays, he stays Captain.

        You don’t give a player the Captaincy and then take it back the next season.

        But to be honest, I think people put too much thought as to who wears the ‘C’. It’s not a one man show behind the scenes, so for me it’s kind of irrelevant who actually wears it on their jersey.

        • Michenator

          I don’t think you can say it’s irrelevant but I do agree it has to be a strong collective locker room.

          • Doc

            Irrelevant in a sense that if it’s Spezza, Neil, Turris or whoever has it stitched on their jersey, it won’t change anything because it’s a leadership group.

    • BeJamin

      You seem painfully ignorant. It’s not the 99 people in the room who aren’t understanding. It’s you. Chirps explanation was very easy to understand for everyone else. And yes, there is a right or wrong. Playing a grinder like Neil on the 3rd line is wrong. Everyone complaining about the allocation of playing time to players who have no business seeing so much ice is correct. You can feel free to disagree with it. Just know that everyone else thinks your nuts. You’re that 1 guy in a room of 100 who disagrees. Give it up bud.

      • Sensnation

        Man you are stupid. The 3rd line is a grinder line. Learn the fucking sport! Wow your blind following of 99 people (which is inacurrate by the way, there are more supporters here then you realize) is the stupidity seen across society. The whole world used to think the earth was square, so I guess you enjoyed following that one too.

        • BeJamin

          You’re right man. Third lines in Boston, San Jose, and St.louis are just full of grinders. Neil isn’t even at the grinder level genius. He’s a 6 minute fighter. He has zero hockey sense. His underlying numbers are at the Colton Orr level. Please shut the fuck up you are so insanely stupid.

    • SensChirp

      Hmm. Think you might have missed the point of the article. Wasn’t a
      criticism of MacLean but more an explanation of his “philosophy”
      combined with the realities of the environment he is Coaching in.

      • Sensnation

        I understand your assessment, however I think he coaches for the betterment of the team more than you give him credit for. A lot of things he did this year are for the long term success of the organization/team, not the immediate 2013-2014 success. I think that’s more team view than individual.

        Some of the ways you explained it off, just made me believe you didn’t see what he was doing the same way I guess. Some of his moves have simple answers that fans and media are just refusing to see.

        But as I said, may be reading it a certain way other than intended.

        • A-Train

          I think it’s been a lot harder to see how his current strategies benefit the team going forward.

          Last season though….seems to have paid off. Especially the decision to play Turris as a first line centre.

    • boom

      I think you are selling Chirp short, and he understands the situation better than you think.

      If you had been paying attention over the past couple months, you would have seen him reply to posters (like myself) who were questioning MacLean’s decisions.

      While he agreed that some of them seemed odd, he maintained that there are things going on behind the scenes that may override what seems to be the more popular opinion over who should be playing etc.

      His post today, in my opinion, presented both sides fairly with regards to MacLean’s coaching throughout this, and previous seasons.

      This (coaching) is one area wher Chirp and I have disagreed on this season, but at no point did I think that he never understood the situation, and his post today proved it, in my opinion.

      • Sensnation

        I’m not saying Chirp doesn’t know or doesn’t understand, I just think certain aspects didn’t paint the most positive picture of what PM is trying to do.

    • John_Q_Spartan

      Most of this blog post is just rumour and opinion. It’s not gospel.

  • Michenator

    Thanks for the insight Chirp!

  • Sandy

    Wayne Scanlan ‏@HockeyScanner 1h

    “The reality is we can’t just blow everything up.” MacLean

    Wayne Scanlan ‏@HockeyScanner 1h

    How to fix what ails the Sens. “Practice is the first solution we have. And then – different players.” MacLean.

    Let the speculation begin… WHO is he referring to? Is it his place to say that, right now? Sounds like he is very frustrated… and who can blame him..
    But in order for him to get his players playing his way… he needs players that can play that way…
    And Chirp… part of the ‘talk’ this management needs to say is to Melnyk… Shut up and pay up!!!

    • Sensnation

      Sandy telling the owner that made it so you even have NHL franchise to cheer for to just “shut up and pay up” is so selfish.

      Is that really how entitled this fanbase feels? The guy owns a business, he can do or say whatever the hell he wants with it. Just be happy he actually wants it to stay here.

      • Sandy

        He owns the team yes so he can say what he wants , BUT sometimes he just has to stay quiet…

      • John Q. Spartan

        No kidding. It’s like telling the fans to pay up and shut up… Good luck.

      • Jacques

        Listen Dude , TV deals has put this team in an excellent position moving forward! He has to show some good faith and put some of that extra money on players! Melnyk will make money especially in the next few years! No doubt! And if ever he sells the team with a TV contract like that in place he’ll make a fist full of dough! He’s laughing all the way to Jamaica and back!

    • Senatollah

      PAY up to get what? who?

  • spezzerman

    Chirp, I’m curious, what are your examples of the “toxic environment from top to bottom” that you refer to? I’m not trying to be facetious, I’m generally curious what specifically you are referring to.

    • Doc

      From what I can gather, there were some talks that things weren’t going well within the organisation. Not specifically at the management level, but within regular staff in the arena too. Negativity breeds more negativity, and it doesn’t take long for it to spread.

    • Sandy

      I was wondering that too. You hear the players talk about this being a class organization that treats it’s players very well… but then you hear the ‘other’ stuff.

      • SensChirp

        That’s a good point, Sandy. Players always have good things to say about how they are treated. When they are still here, I guess. Dysfunctional relationships between the decision makers, key people losing jobs and a general sense of unease/low moral among team employees is what I was referring to.

        • spezzerman

          Ok, I see you are talking about the non hockey side of things.

          • The Apostle

            There was a lot of chatter even before the lock out that morale was very low within on the non hockey side of the organisation. And the lock out hit the Senators a lot harder than many other teams because of the internal financial pressures. Two friends of mine who worked in the accounting/finance team both jumped ship before the lock out because they knew what the internal operating budget would mean for them.

            Most of it is just normal crappy office stuff that we all deal with on a day to day business. The comment from one of them that really sunk home was “knowing that you work for your favourite sports team only takes you so far”.

            Apparently it hasn’t been a great place to work in for a while, I’m not sure how different that is from a lot of other places but we all know that sometimes your work environment sucks.

          • Sandy

            But the non-hockey staff should be treated well also. A happy employee does his job right. An unhappy employee doesn’t.. and it eventually shows up in their work.
            They are in a ‘service’ industry.. and having employees content shows in their connections with the public..

        • Tcharger – Ryan-For-51

          The non hockey employees are miserable… I’ve been told this from multiple sources.

  • thepez

    ” but there has been a pretty steady stream of “rumours” about guys possibly not taking their jobs as seriously as the Coach would like them too.”
    This quote from your post Chirp is intersting. If there are guys not taking their jobs seriously then they should be shipped out of town and in my opinion it doesn’t matter who they are. Top of this list, based on what happened this year, seems to be Marc Methot. Although (not including last night) I thought he was playing better since he was re-united with EK65 and after his “healthy scratch”.

    • Brutus5247

      I thought Methot played well last night, stood up a lot of guys at the blueline. Giving up 2 goals should win most games. Playing defense with Karlsson has got to be a friggin nightmare for his partner. He is exceptional with the puck(when he doesn’t give it away), and made a few good defensive plays last night. However, if you watch, his backwards pace is usually wrong, and his pivot is attrocious. He really seems affected by the injury to the left achilles, his push leg on the right side pivot. This allows just about everyone to get outside on him. The thing about outside is that he goalie has a better angle to stop it and it gives someone else time to clear the rebound.

      • Senator forever

        EK has always played this way. That is his style to force the player to go wide and give the goalie a good angle.

  • Jacques

    The thing I don’t understand is that if the coach had issues with the way certain players played the game than why did he send them over the boards so much. Did he ,set up ,these players for such a fall from grace that Murray has no choice but to get them out of town??? Maybe MacLean knows what he wants and will go about forcing Murray’s hand. I guess he knew after game number 20 that this team wasn’t going anywhere. He knew that they weren’t going to make the moves he needed to be made. Here’s hoping Murray and MacLean get on the same page, the GM has to bring in the type of players that fit the coaches system. MacLean has said it, 200 ft puck possession players! We’re far from that right now unfortunately. I think the players like playing for this coach.

    Now, I liked what I heard from Bobby Ryan today, He likes the small town life and I think Ottawa fits his liking. His off season home is in Utah I think, so he finds that lifestyle in both locations! I can definitely see him signing here now! A healthy Ryan will give us a truly dynamic player. Signing Ryan will be great, it will mean big moves in the off season. GO SENS GO!

  • Hax

    Not suggesting this is what is going on with the Sens but I’ll relate this from my days coaching competitive baseball:

    Now clearly these are kids, not professional athletes, but there were always 3-4 kids that never missed a practice and were never late for games etc. Then there were 2-3 that never seemed to show for practice and were otherwise unreliable. The rest fell in the middle where you couldn’t really question commitment but the fact remained they sometimes missed.

    Point being, as a coach you HAVE to reward the 3-4 kids that never miss. And you HAVE to make some sort of example of the 2-3 that aren’t showing the effort. Regardless of skill.

    It would be nice if the 3-4 dedicated guys were also the best players but sometimes it’s actually a stronger message when they’re not.

    Giving your weakest player a start to reward him or benching your best player when his attitude sucks goes a long way. In that specific game you’re risking a loss of course but you’re banking on the idea that you’ll win more games down the line.

    Anyway, take it or leave it I guess – but as fans I think we should hope/believe that MacLean is trying to build a team that will last and not as worried about winning every single night.

    • Jacques

      MacLean knows what team he needs to win, now if the GM doesn’t agree that he can supply that team then we have a problem.

      • SensChirp

        What?

        • Jacques

          MacLean has an idea of what type of player he needs at all positions, on this team. I think he purposely set up certain players to be exposed.

          • Jacques

            Not saying he threw the season but I think he’s thinking long term and he doesn’t want Murray to F things up for him.

          • John Q. Spartan

            Which players are that?

          • Jacques

            Example, pairing Cowen a guy who can barely skate with Karlsson. He knew that Cowen’s weaknesses would shine through. Half the time left on an island when 65 is up the ice. Cowen looked terrible, maybe MacLean feels that this guy doesn’t have what it takes. No secret, at years end when they’re trying to make a push,Cowen,Greening,and Spezza were hurt, or scratched, who knows. It’ll all come out after July 1st.

          • Hax

            That’s a stretch IMO and doesn’t jive with how I picture Murray. His comments that Chirp alluded to don’t seem all that wild to me either. Though I only read them, didn’t hear Murray’s tone of voice I guess.

            I do think that some players didn’t fill spots that MacLean and Murray thought they would. Whether they were 100% in agreement at the start of the year or not I’m not sure and I suppose I can see MacLean playing a player in a spot Murray felt the player was filling to show “he’s not working” but not out of spite. More to make sure they’re both positive it won’t work out.

          • Senatollah

            the coach doesn’t expose players – unless he wants the WHOLE organization to be a joke league wide. Hey free agent X, come play for my team, it’ll cost you 10-15% of your salary compared to a US based team, and for kicks if you have a bad day our coach would love to EXPOSE you to the whole hockey world. What a great sales pitch. When you have a player that doesn’t play like you want – see O’Brian or physically can’t keep up – see Corvo then the coach has the GM do something about it.

          • Jacques

            Sorry, but we were a joke, we gave up the most goals in the League. A year after, a rookie team, gave up the least. There’s a fly or flies in the ointment?? Don’t u think.

          • Senatollah

            Love conspiracy concepts but look at the facts and remove emotions. The defence this year is much younger than last year (take away Goncher, add 19 year old Cici. Could also make a comment on Beniot but he was only in the org to help the BSens). Wierdo, Cowen and Gryba are still learning the game. Gryba was/is a hanger on, much like a Carkner who can play NHL but not a big minute, long term guy.

            As for the goalies – all advanced stats said expect a return to the league wide averages. So lower all goalie stats.

            Overall this team is on the same pace as they were last year. Take away the emotion of the playoffs last year and ask yourself if the lockout ended one week earlier would the same team make the playoffs last year or not. I think the answer would be not as the team was trending down and just snuck in. A favourable match-up with Montreal, had it been any other team and 4 and out or 5 and out wouldnt have been crushing in the first round based on expectations. But to really think, this team was a 2nd round playoff team last year (remember everyone picked them to finish low and miss playoffs) and that this year they should go farther. Big stretch. You have an awesome youth movement going on, but it will take time to enjoy it.

      • Sensturion

        A coach’s job is to work with the players and staff that are assigned to him. MacLean has say about who plays when and where, but ultimately, his job description is to do the best he can with what he has.

        At the start of the season, we, as fans, were all pumped about the upcoming season. We loved the moves (excluding the Alfie departure) that Murray had made and, besides the Ryan injury, the players that we signed or traded for lived up to, or went far beyond, the expectations we had of them. Last year’s defense corps seemed great (mind you, stellar goaltending was a major factor) and we all assumed that the same lineup on paper could compete night in and night out with the best.

        Melnyk then said, great. No more spending. So Murray complied and that’s what we were left with. Hell, Melnyk didn’t even want to take on Hemsky’s full pro-rated contract to end the season.

        So we were left with Maclean’s piss poor decision making, Murray’s (albeit understandable) reluctance to go over Melnyk’s head, and an owner who seems incapable of actually owning a team without running into money issues.

        So yes, there are problems, but in no one can a fan, of all people, claim that one person carries the blame more than another.

      • PraiseAlfie11

        Other way around, Jacques ;)

    • SensChirp

      People are going to roll their eyes at this post but it’s actually a simplified version of at least part of what I think MacLean has been wrestling with this year.

      Doesn’t mean it’s a winning strategy, unfortunately.

      • John_Q_Spartan

        Is there any evidence to back any of this up? What players aren’t giving a proper effort? etc. etc…

        • Zelle

          There is no way he would ever tell the public ‘Well Spezza was fucking off at practice today so he’s benched.’ There are some things we’ll just never know and it’s probably for the best.

          • John_Q_Spartan

            Oh, I agree. But it seems others are implying that they know something we don’t…

            p.s. media is at practice all the time

          • Zelle

            Oh I see what you mean.

          • PraiseAlfie11

            There is no way spezza was benched. That’s coming from people trying to stir the pot.

        • Pugnacious Serf

          The evidence is on the score sheet.

          • John Q. Spartan

            Oh ok… that clears it up. Thanks.

      • Hax

        People roll their eyes at my posts?!?!? Get outta here.

        LOL

        Yeah I expect it and not pretending I know anything more than anyone else. Just from my point of view I’d rather a team built properly from the ground up than just keep trying to force the issue every season no matter what (aka the leafs model).

    • Tcharger – Ryan-For-51
    • Senator forever

      I coached baseball also and agree with your assessment. There are always players who listen and conform and those who don’t. I think our GM and coach need to get on the same page (is they are not) and bring in more reliable players.

    • Miguel

      sorry Hax these are Professionals being paid millions, it is a long way from little league baseball. If you think any of our players are not motivated to win, they should not be in the NHL period.

      • Hax

        Missed my point entirely but thanks for trying.

  • Jacques

    You know what, in two years from now, we’ll see if either MacLean is a genius or a dodo Bird. I think his motive was to expose the open sores to his boss,”we can’t win with what we have here”- now the ball is in your court do something about it. I think that this was his driving force. He seemed too smart a man in the past to become so inept all of a sudden! Don’t forget he learned from one of the best

    You know he likes 200 ft players and in the off season we allowed probably the player who best exemplified that type of play ALFIE to sign with Detroit! It must’ve kept MacLean up at night! I would’ve been pissed in his shoes.

    • Brutus5247

      I like your conspiracy theory but I’m not sure what his think’n was. I think he likes Defence Wins Games theory, but it doesn’t work when some of your top forwards don’t think that they need to be part of that. I’ve seen a multitude of hockey in my life and coached(minor league) for many years. I see a few things that bothered me this year that I can’t explain.

      Why the FK was Joe Corvo even in the lineup? To me this is a slap in the face for the d who had to sit out. Were they screwing up that bad that you stop their development?

      Are the players given the freedom to do what they do best or is that creativity stymied? Is the system more important than the individual?

      Do we play to win or play to protect when we are ahead?

      Why do we have our checking line out in situations where we need a goal. Are we afraid of the risk involved?

      Are the leaders leading by example?

      Are some key players likely to re-sign if we continue to be a budget team?

      How do we cut back on penalties?

      What are we doing to improve our scoring? We miss the net a lot. Have they done repetitive drills for shooting to improve muscle/perceptual memory? These guys are pros but basic drills just reinforce previously learned behaviours.

      • PraiseAlfie11

        Was looking up Corvo…Here’s something I never knew:

        “Corvo was arrested in November 2002 in Boston after he grabbed a 34-year-old woman’s buttocks in a restaurant. Restaurant staff told him to leave, but Corvo returned, punched the woman and then kicked her when she fell to the ground, police said. Corvo was given a three-year suspended sentence after he pleaded guilty to assault.”

        • Jacques

          What a bum(pardon the pun).

          • PraiseAlfie11

            Good one :)

  • Miguel

    He has caused this team many points this season,
    But to sit all your offensive stars to start the 3rd period, in a must game,
    and to continue to force barely 4th line players like Neil, Greening, Condra and Smith, as well as put some d-men in obviously bad situations like Cownen and Phillips, is plain and simple strange bizarre, and dare I say idiotic!
    He put Neil for the last minute of the game, and on a 3 on 2 MacAurter feeds him perfectly in the slot only to watch him miss a perfect shot opportunity and sail out the zone.
    Hey forget the fact that I am a hockey fool behind a keyboard, while he is the genious who has risen to the top, but why not at least appease the fans?
    Do you think I dropped $200 to watch Smith, Neil, Condra, Kassian, CP4?
    Fuk no!
    if we are down by one goal against a shit team, them put out the best stars, and give me my moneys worth, and if they go down, they do so with their best.
    But NO… Lets make another statement!
    PM, so far you statements have cost us a playoff year!

    • Zelle

      You should get out of your tunnel more often, it’s starting to affect your vision. :P

      • Miguel

        try taking the rose coloured glasses off for a change… He Alice, we are not in Wonderland… this team sucked this year, and bow out to the lowly NYI, and PM leads the way with idiotic statements!

    • Hax

      Did you really want to get thumped by the Bruins so bad that you’re willing to drag this season’s problems into next year and beyond?

      I don’t see why trying to finish 8th this year (much less trying to win because you bought tickets) is anywhere near as important as making sure all our players play the way their supposed to.

  • MoeDozer

    specialty teams win playoffs. for the last 2 years we had an average PP with a very strong PK..now both are a joke. blame it on players, coaches, whoever you want. IMO its the first thing that needs to be changed this off season.

    starting with the PP, look across the league all top goal scorers play on their 1st PP unit sometimes for the full 2mins. that means bobby ryan must be out there with karlsson all the time. mix in the abundance of talent between spezza, turris, zibby, hemsky, mac, hoffman, stone etc.
    there should be no damn excuse for phillips to EVER be on the PP. we have 2 very skilled offensive dman between ceci and weirdo.

    Our PK is over worked and too slow. it does not help that we have neil 6th in league in minors, smith 9th, and the most minor penalties in the league as a team. while a big physical team like the sharks are the least..

    i used to be a condra and greening supporter but after this season im done with both especailly after seeing DD and derek grant. both are faster, younger, hungrier, more skilled even..

    • Sandy

      I’ve never, obviously, played the game to know why the PK sucks like it does.. other than being slow and out of position.
      But listening to Todd White on the post-game show last night.. say there is too much of a gap for the Sens when killing a penalty. Okay, Mr. Cameron, do you get that? Don’t these guys know that? Todd White for asst coach for special teams next season? LOL.

      • Jacques

        When certain players are out on the PK, 15-22-14 we seem to collapse our box too much, the point men come down and are getting premium shots off. You have to pressure the points a little more.

  • Sandy

    I’m sure Paul McLean was pissed that the Sens let Alfie walk.
    He said last couple of seasons how much he leaned on Alfie.. and obviously he didn’t have the leadership core this season that he could rely on… in the same way..
    His coaching decisions lately are most likely out of frustration (IMO) if his top players are not getting the job done.. He has said before.. that frustration is a useless emotion… well, I think frustration is showing throughout the management and the players..
    What this season will show everyone in the organization that you need good players to be competitive and those good players.. have to play and play right.. Hopefully the disappointment of this season proves as motivation for next..
    Of all the interviews I saw on the Sens website today.. Turris was the one with the most disappointment..
    Pierre McGuire said it best just before the season started, that with Columbus & Detroit coming into the East, that was going to put some teams out of the playoffs that got in the last couple of years.. I guess he was right.. as, it appears, both of those teams are going to get the wild card spots…
    As long as it is not the Laffs..

  • Sandy

    Nice to see Bishop is human. Goes behind the net to clear the puck.. and it’s right onto a Flames player and then into an empty net.
    Bennie.. you have to be better than that against the Habs..
    As I write this he let’s in another goal by Westgarth? Wow..

    • Zelle

      I’m watching Leafs v Bruins and it’s a really good game. Bernier keeping them in so far really, but Leafs have had some good chances too.

      • Sandy

        Yeah.. flipping back and forth. The bastards are leading 2-1..

        • Zelle

          Bernier making some crazy saves again. Bleh.

          And wow Clarkson just got owned by Lucic.

          • Sandy

            We don’t need him to get ‘hot’ again..

  • broog

    Paul Maclean has made such horrendous lineup decisions this year, it’s astounding.

  • Sandy

    Some interesting comments from Bobby Ryan:

    On the rumours of his links to the Flyers:

    I don’t know where that came from. I think probably five per cent of players if that get to play for their hometown team. If that were the case Toronto would be full of guys. Because (Bobby) Clarke and my family are so close I think that’s always been a natural theme of progress but outside of seeing them in the summer when I go home and catching up and skating with those guys it has never been a conversation that we’ll see in 2014 or 2015. We’ve never had that conversation. Like I’ve said, I’ve always wanted to be part of one organization, now I’m getting a chance to be part of two and for me that’s the way I like it. When that time comes, maybe, but right now I’m a Senator and I truly love that.

    On if he thinks there is Stanley Cup potential here:

    This was a weird year. For times it looked great and for times nothing seemed to — we’d take one step forward and two steps back. It has certainly been a learning curve for a lot of guys in the room that maybe haven’t been through this. I’ve been through it and learned how to handle it a little bit, but I certainly see that potential. I see guys that come up like Stone and Hoffman, Pageau, guys that can contribute. I think the future is bright, I think no matter what happens with the five guys that are up in the next year and a half here there’s a lot of positives for this organization. I certainly don’t see why we couldn’t.

    • Jacques

      I love this guy! 100 percent healed he’ll be great!

    • PraiseAlfie11

      SIGN HIM NOW.

  • Zelle

    Unbelievable that Philly is completely running the game but CBJ scores the first and only goal.

    • Jacques

      Sort of Like parts of our game last night.

    • Sandy

      If the Leafs win against the Bruins.. then I want Columbus to win….

      • Zelle

        So far looking like both of those will happen. Although honestly Philly should have buried their game 5 times over by now. Puck luck!

        • Sandy

          Boston had better smarten up as IF the Leafs get in.. that’s who Boston plays in the first round.
          They don’t want to give them any motivation.

          • Zelle

            Maybe a false sense of security? haha. Leafs cheated their way in a break for icing without using a timeout and the announcer was like ‘well done’. >.>

          • Sandy

            I’m just sick and tired of every sports channel sucking up to the Leafs… it’s all you hear.
            Just want them out so we don’t hear anything for 2 mos about them.. that and I also hate them.

  • Moudy Mahfouz

    Columbus up 2-0. Scoreboard watching is tough

  • PraiseAlfie11

    It’s really quite simple. If cowen, smith, greening, phillips, corvo, wireciotch (I know its wrong) , condra showed up this year, it could have easily been a playoff team.

    • Sandy

      Or Alfie stayed.

      • bluebuyyoo

        In the words of Alfie, “Probably not.”

  • Zelle

    Kadri with his flying elbows again…

    • Sandy

      I assume no penalty to the ‘little darling’

      • Zelle

        Of course not! Ref was right there too.

      • Zelle

        And of course Kadri gets the GWG… hate this guy.

        • Jonny

          Good player, wether you like it or not.

          • Sandy

            He’s a rat who gets away with everything.

          • Jonny

            I know, he does it so well, wish we had someone like him. Instead, we have Cowen…(enter epic sad face here)

          • Zelle

            No thanks. We had a pest like player with potential and they gave him away. Don’t think they want to go that route.

          • Jonny

            Who? Vaclav Varada?!?! lol

          • Zelle

            Good or not he’s going to end a career with his careless elbows to the head. He has no respect for other players.

          • Jonny

            Tell that to Mr Hockey.

          • Zelle

            ..what?

          • Jonny

            Gordie Howe…nevermind you dont follow hockey.

          • Zelle

            So because I’m not over 40 years old and don’t watch alumni play I don’t follow hockey?

          • Jonny

            I’m not 40 either and sure as hell know who the fuck MR HOCKEY is…lol

          • Zelle

            I’m sorry I don’t read up on guys who used to play hockey, just the ones that do now. I still don’t see how that matters on my opinion on Kadri? So since Gordie Howe threw elbows and he’s Mr. Hockey then all players should throw elbows just like Mr. Hockey. Makes sense. Also I don’t see how not knowing his nickname has any effect on me following hockey now. Thanks for being condescending though it’s always appreciated.

          • Sandy

            Can’t compare leather elbow pads to the concrete ones they have now.

          • Jonny

            Same with the flimsy helmets they had compared to the indestructible helmets they have now, its all relative.

    • Guest

      I love this…..

  • Andrews theory

    Wow I just got back in town and read this post.

    Fantastic write up Chirp.

    I still like the make up of this team and our prospects.

    Fingers crossed the other stuff works itself out starting by a sale of the team this summer.

    • SensChirp

      Thank ya

  • Sandy

    Not watching the Leafs game.. what happened to Bernier?

    • Andrews theory

      His own player pushed a bruin on top of him and he was helped off the ice with no weight on that leg.

      Insult to injury, leafs took a penalty on the play

      • Sandy

        Well if it’s Reimer the rest of the season.. then I don’t think he can carry them to a playoff spot.

        • spezzerman

          he did last year.

  • Jonny

    LEAFS WIN LEAFS WIN LEAFS WIN!!! Oh dang wrong blog.

  • thepez

    Just started watching the leafs game with 5 minutes left. The referees should be ashamed of themselves. Two phantom holding calls on both teams. I hate both teams but the NHL should be embarrassed

    • Sandy

      The refs did their job… The Leafs won. It benefits CBC and the NHL if the Leafs get in the playoffs… Did you not know that?

      • Jonny

        The Bruins had a PP to end the game and couldnt score, things were very even. Refs were non factor.

        • thepez

          Both calls were bogus. Refs are a joke.

          • Zelle

            I believe the holding call on the Leafs was a makeup call for the missed high stick on Hamilton which needed stitches. Then since they called that weak one they probably felt they needed to call a similar holding call on Bruins too.

          • Jonny

            yep so non factor, everything evens out. No team benefits.

          • thepez

            And that my friend is why it’s a farce.

          • Zelle

            Yeah the whole game was kind of iffy refereeing wise, but what else is new. The game as a whole was entertaining, although if the Sens had been playing it would have been nerve wracking as chances were exchanged back and forth. Not enough penalties for it to be a Sens game though :P

          • Sandy

            Joanette was one of the refs.. He’s couldn’t ref a pee=wee game

          • Sandy

            No Rask… big difference.

          • John Q. Spartan

            Kulemen bear hugged the Boston player, ha.

          • Jonny

            So no issue then.

          • thepez

            Only issue is the refs are incompetent

          • Jonny

            Every team knows this and have to play with it, no issues.

      • thepez

        You think I would after the hose job the SENS got in Montreal. Oh well part of me hopes the Leafs make the playoffs and the Bruins just absolutely wax them in 4. The other part of me wants to see the SENS beat them next Saturday and screwing the a-holes.

        • Sandy

          I want option 2.. Screw the a-holes

  • Senator-Stanley

    Great post Chirp
    Love to be a fly on the wall for that end of season meeting!

  • Roar…

    What’s that you say? So the Leafs were out shot 17-5 and out-scored 2-0 in the third period, blowing yet another lead. The refs made sure they got a 4 on 3 PP in overtime which is more or less a guaranteed goal for a good PP unit? I’m just so shocked ;). It’s not like it matters. Columbus won. Leafs looked bad vs. a team that played the night before. There are only two possibilities. Toronto squeaks in (unlikely, they’re behind 2 teams who both have a game in hand) or Toronto misses. If they squeak in, they’ll get pounded by Boston in 4 for everyone’s amusement. That’s almost better. And Bernier got hurt so they pretty much have no hope. Games for Toronto are just as meaningless as they are for Ottawa right now.

    • Jonny

      The Leafs can beat Boston thats not the issue, the issue is the Leafs always beat the Leafs.

      And as per you’re and everyone elses comments on how the Refs and the NHL “help” the Leafs then why would they get pounded in 4? Haha too funny.

      • BeJamin

        Lol I was mostly being sarcastic. Leafs get pounded in 4 because they suck obviously? A few extra power plays don’t save them lol not vs an actually good team

        • Jonny

          Well they did go to 7 vs the Bruins last year and had them beat if not for the collapse, hence why the Leafs beat the Leafs most of the time.

          And that was with Reimer to boot.

  • SuckitPhaneuf

    Leafs get a pp in overtime on a pathetic call after mugging the Bruins most of the night.
    This league is a joke s long as certain teams get to play by different rules.

    • Jonny

      The Bruins had that same call in they’re favor at ther end of the 3rd period where they could have won the game.

      • John Q. Spartan

        They were both called holding, that’s about where the similarities end.

      • SuckitPhaneuf

        You are truly delusional and beyond talking to if you think the leafs and habs dont get more favourable calls then other teams.
        It is not even the power plays they get, it is the penaltys they dont get that make things unfair.
        Leaf players must be so confused when they get traded and suddenly cant hook, hold, and interfere like they are used to doing.
        If you cant see this there are certainly fans of 28 other teams who can.
        It is the way it has always been

        • Colin

          Jonny is correct. The Bruins got a PP with something like 1:45 left in a 3-3 game. They had the opportunity to end it, but they could not score. The Leafs capitalized on their chance. Both penalties were bullshit calls that never should have made in the first place.

          Not disputing the Habs/Leafs reffing bias, just stating that the Bruins had their chance last night at the end of the game.

  • Aaron 2.0

    For anyone interested, I’d recommend checking out Yost’s blog titled “On Paul MacLean and Penalties”. He presents penalty data for the team, but more interesting are the numbers for individual players! He also presents some possession and goal data to back up who might be able to afford taking a few more penalties (if they are doing other good things to make up for their penalty issues). I don’t want to give too much away, but it points to a problem that goes back farther than this year, and also questions some of the player choices by MacLean.

    Sorry to do this Chirp. I try not to do this a lot, as it seems a little rude to promote another person’s blog right on your site. But, I thought he did a nice job at putting together a story that was well supported by his analysis.

    Anyways, just more food for thought, and discussion. Cheers.

    • Harv

      Interesting stats and logical explanation. It confirms what most of us have seen with our own eyes during the season. Combined with Chirp’s comments here it seems to point to a coach who needs someone to explain the result of his own actions to him. If he is stubborn, believes his way is the best way and does not listen well, it is going to continue as is. Doing the same thing and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.

      You have to hope the team is doing this type of analysis as well and maybe things will change for the better.

      • Aaron 2.0

        Just like Chirp, I don’t think he’s a bad coach. Chirp’s analysis of MacLean favoring guys that do exactly what he says makes a lot of sense from what we are all seeing this year, even if it might not be the most effective use of his bench from a team perspective. I’m cautiously optimistic that an off-season of soul-searching will hopefully result in some changes (not just for the coach, but for all levels in the organization). After all, nobody wants to keep losing. And, as you point out ,it’s pretty difficult to expect different results if you keeping trying the same things.

    • SensChirp

      No apology required. I actually talked to Yost about how perfectly timed the two blogs were. I think they actually complemented each other pretty well.

      MacLean likes to reward guys that work hard but often on this team, the guys working hard are also the guys that aren’t working all that effectively. Makes things tricky for a Coach.

      • Aaron 2.0

        That’s perfectly and very succinctly stated Chirp, about “hard work versus effective work” . It sums up everything about the possible coaching philosophy in 5 words!

        The fans are happy that these guys are working hard, and of course we hope it rubs off on the other players! Whether it has that affect or the opposite (because other player see their own roles reduced), is probably really tough to know. But, as much as we fans complain about time allocation, it’s not to say we don’t appreciate all of our players, and what they do for the team. We just wonder if it’s an effective use of the players sometimes. Definitely a tricky situation for our coach. I look forward to seeing how he adapts next year, if he adapts next year.

  • senate19

    Chirp – one of your best blog posts. Insightful, thoughtful, respectful, objective. Well done.

    • SensChirp

      I appreciate that. Took a little more time on this one than I do some other posts, obviously. Some important messages in here that I felt fans had to know/consider. Thanks for reading

      • Jonny

        Yep well done Chirp. All the hard points you tackled with grace and honesty. Its been a very bad season (not only on the ice but off the ice aswell), anyone who thinks otherwise or doesnt acknowledge the “toxic” situation the Org is in is just trying to cover it up.

        As fans we shouldnt do that, dont dwell in mediocrity and accept it. Demand results, no way we go from 2 playoff appearances of 7th and 8th and now this year finish in 12th and accept that? Has to be coaching issues as we only got better with the addition of CMac and Ryan and later Hemsky.

  • senate19

    I’m not sure if this has been brought up yet, but yesterday on Prime Time Sports, Cox and Bob were talking about Bob Nicholson stepping down from Hockey Canada.

    Then Bob M. started suggesting he was maybe going to take a stab as Leafs pres. or something along those lines, which Cox disagreed with.

    Cox then went on to talk about his CLOSE relationship with TSN and Bell, and hinted at the idea of a fit in Ottawa for Nicholson. I’m not sure how that would work, as Cyril Leeder seems to do a good job? Not sure what it would mean re: Melnyk, but maybe something’s up? Any thoughts Chirp, or pointless banter?

    • SensChirp

      If you can get Bob Nicholson interested in your organization, do it. Make room. Haven’t heard what sort of role he is looking for though?

      • senate19

        Well, it was all speculation – seems like the news was reported the second it happened, so it was immediate speculation on their part. Kind of like, “what else does Nicholson have left to achieve at that level” “the only thing left is his name on a cup”.. etc..

        • Jonny

          Well then that settles the speculation to come to Ottawa…

          • boom

            why be a dick? I suppose you think a better alternative for him would be the leafs eh?

  • Imasensfan

    Wondering how you know relationship between Mac and BM is strained. Brian Murray did say that Mac was a good coach and had the ear of the room.

    • boom

      I’m curious about that too, Chirp.

      I recall suggesting that there was a disconnect between the two of them, and, at the time, you dismissed the notion.

      I’m guessing you have heard rumours since then…

      I agree, by the way, with senate19 – great post.

      • Tcharger – Ryan-For-51

        I too had said that and had been shot down…. Glad to see others are now hearing the same thing.

        At this point I would hope Murray goes again before another coach is made to be the scapegoat

        • SensChirp

          You’re both right. I did dismiss it at the time. And still really don’t have much to go on other than people speculating it and the comment on TSN1200.

          Seem to recall an incident earlier in the season where there was a comment about player usage? Anybody recall that?

          • boom

            Two things I remember:

            Bobby Ryan suggesting that he must have kicked MacLeans dog or something…

            Brian Murray stating that he feels Zibby is a top six forward after several games where he (Murray) apparently thought that he wasn’t getting enough ice-time…

          • CUP 2014-15

            Kind of remember something about ZBad . My memory is not the best but I believe Murray wanted Zibby at centre and due to a recall of Grant or SDC there was no room at C for Zibby.

    • Jonny

      Just listen to the interview, if Murray loved the job PMac did he would have said so and would have 100% support for him, yet he couldnt even endorse his own coach for next year.

      Not saying PMac is on the “hot seat” but he is clearly “on notice” as the panel alluded to. Another season like this past one and he’s in hot water.

    • I’m just sayin’

      Yet another coach that Murray hired not meeting his expectations you say ?

      Maybe it’s time for GM Murray to appoint himself as head coach.

  • Senator forever

    Good article but I think toxic is too strong a word. Every team in the league has players who disagree with the coach and management. This is human nature. The Senators have a great coach, a great GM and an owner who we should be thankful for despite his minor interference. It could be worse. I am not a believer in overspending to please the fans. I believe in spending at the right time perhaps in a year or two from now when we are truly ready to contend. That day is coming my friends. Just remember there are thirty teams and only one Cup winner. The other 29 all have issues as well. Go Sens Go!

    • sell the team Eugene

      Daniel Alfredsson was driven out of town.
      I’ll NEVER be thankful for what Eugene Melnyk has become.

      • Terry

        Did Alfie tell you that himself?
        As much as I appreciated Alfie for his years of service to The Senators and the community he still signed the dotted line in Detroit. Unless some remarks came to light that I missed the whole situation is being kept tight-lipped.
        And Alfie is gone, the team has started the Age After Alfie and there were bound to be some choppy waters along the way. Most of the Fans have moved on, its over and Alfie is in Detroit.

        • Senatollah

          Alfie is getting his shot with Detroit this year, be happy for him and hope the Sens keep progressing cause if his old bones feel good you never know if ‘HE’ plays one more year if he could come back. Bring Alfie in for MM09s salary, what a top 6

    • aegiszx

      Yep, there are many teams worse off than the Sens. Are people forgetting that Nashville is also a small market, low budget team since they came into the league… Imagine being Shea Weber locked into that market… Good on him for getting his money, but I dont think he will win the Cup with the Preds IMO…

  • jasonontheoldsenschirp

    Anyone else see this lol? http://ftw.usatoday.com/2014/04/mark-stone-high-five-tom-brady-ottawa-senators/

    Kinda funny from mark stone

    • xN1Cx

      This is awesome!

    • Terry

      It is funny, that’s what I am going to do from now on.

    • runningbear1974

      that was awesome… I love our young guys…

  • BeJamin

    I think what happened this year in Ottawa really smells the same as what happened in Boston with Seguin. Although truthfully, who are these players who aren’t doing what’s being asked?
    Pageau, Stone, Hoffman…they all seem to do what is asked of them?
    Maybe Wiercioch & Zibanejad have been a bit immature or not done what was asked, but who else can we really name?
    The “rewarding” of Smith/Neil/Greening for being “good soldiers” doesn’t really seem justifiable. There are plenty of players on the team who work hard… so why is it always these 3 who’s on ice performance is nothing short of horrifc… being the ones who get rewarded. It just doesn’t make any sense.

    • runningbear1974

      If rookie is not doing what you ask… no problemo… you bench him, or send him down to ahl…. But what do you do if the veterans aren’t on board? It then becomes a toxic power struggle…

  • SensGod

    Great article

  • NickofTime

    Once again blame is pointed in the wrong direction when it comes to the fans & their heroes the players. It’s the players who play the game not the coaches, it’s the players who score, who stop pucks, who make mistakes, create turnovers & take penalties & blow leads. The coaches use what they have at their disposal to create a game plan & prepare the players the best they can & it’s the players responsibility to execute those plans. Players who don’t are given less ice time & if they don’t or can’t can be eventually replaced or eventually the coaches are replaced. Fans are too dedicated to the players & think they are above repoach or making mistakes although in every game we watch they make all of them. Not to say the coaches don’t make mistakes either but in all the games I watch & I have watched all of them it’s the players making all the mistakes.

    This yr’s version of the Senators IMO the responsibility for poor execution falls completely on the players & not the coach. They have been horrendous in their own end & constantly over pass to make the perfect highlight reel goal in the offensive end. This nonsense needs to stop & the coach benches players who don#t seem to listen. Spezza, Karlsson, Ryan & now Hemsky & Zibanejad are all responsible for some terrible defensive play most of the yr & over passing & trying to be too fancy offensively. I don’t blame the coach I blame the players. But I still think they could have a great team if they were to stop reading their own press clippings & start playing the kind of game they are capable of.

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