SENS, LEAFS SET TO MAKE CHANGES !

January 8th, 2009

Mike Fisher is getting more ink from his reported romantic link to American Idol singer Carrie Underwood than from scoring goals for the Sens this year. Which for Fisher is not good because he has only scored three times as the teams second line C. Fisher dating is a big deal for the Sens media, they would like to blame the dating on the teams bad performance. I got news for the media: all the guys generally are dating someone with Fisher or Mike Comrie of the Islanders are no different. Except these woman happen to be names that everyone recognizes. Fisher may have not played all that well this year offensively, but he is far from the start on the list of problems in Ottawa.

They can’t make trades in today’s NHL which is terrible for the fans, if you as GM of a team would like to make sweeping changes to your lineup you basically have to wait til summer.

Sens are thought of around the league as a soft team that like their Ontario rivals the Leafs are easy to play against. Sens may not be getting the tough coaching they need with Craig Hartsburg, who in Junior is known as a no nonsense coach, but it seems that the players in Ottawa are not getting the same Hartsburg. Hartsburg has reportedly said that he doesn’t believe in benching to get his message across, so on Sportsnet, Nick Kypreos said as a former player “it’s the only way to get across to the players if they are not doing what you want”. Kypreos said that Hartsburg is made for Junior coaching and basically that he was not tough enough to coach in the NHL. If that’s true and Hartsburg does not believe in benching or has changed the way he coached and is not tough enough on his players then he will be replaced by the Sens and rightly so. It’s often the worst thing a coach can do is not bring what got him there much like a player when he arrives in the NHL.

CHANGES DO NOT ALWAYS WORK

John Paddock was fired and Sens GM Byran Murray brought himself in and then fired himself at the end of the year . Murray could have hired local coach and former Av’s Stanley Cup winner Bob Hartley if he thought the team needed a tough gruff coach for the players. He chose not to hire the tougher Hartley instead hiring  Harstburg after some flirting with Peter DeBoer who ended up as the Florida Panthers bench boss. Murray if told to replace Hartsburg with say older tougher meaner veteran coach like Pat Quinn would be basically going full circle. Murray who is a very capable GM understands the game to the point where if the NHL was different would have already made some massive changes to his roster. But in today’s NHL the only way it seems to try and fix things is with subtle mid season moves or a coaching change. The style of  coach is so critical when it comes to your own players and reading what type of coach will get the most out of your roster. But I have said this many many times about the Sens, they simply are not as gritty or tough as they need to be to compete at the top of the conference anymore.

QUINN THE ANSWER FOR SENS ?

Quinn will only really bring some veteran presence to the team not much of chalk talk changes to the way the team plays. Holding them accountable would not be a problem but I for one will be shocked if he gets the Sens job even if it is for just the balance of the season.

When push comes to shove whether Hartsburg is not tough enough or not,  Quinn who would be tough no doubt. But in the end the roster is not good enough to get what the owner wants from his hockey club no matter who is behind that bench.

TORONTO GET TOUGHER FINALLY !

Toronto GM Brian Burke had seen enough of his players getting pushed around and made the move to land his former Duck player Brad May. May, 37  will as an older respected player bring toughness which is much much needed on the weak Leaf roster.

Some of the Toronto media in their wisdom is saying that Burke brought in May to teach and show leadership to Antropov, Stajan among others. Burke wants to trade those guys and that’s the last thing he cares about is teaching leadership to guys he is going to attempt to trade. Burke like me got sick of watching the Leafs get pushed around, he knows May will drop his gloves with anyone, including pictured here with one of the league’s heavy weights Derek Boogaard.

CHARACTER YES, LONGEVITY NO

May does have character no doubt but what he does for Burke is make it less sick to watch for the rest of the season in Toronto as he gets set to make deals. Burke will look to unload his soft skill on other desperate for some skill teams heading into playoffs. If Burke is savvy and I’m sure he is, he will move off guys like Antropov, Stajan and Kaberle to teams in need of a push and willing to give up young talent or high picks.

This next few weeks will be interesting to say the least to Burke’s time in Toronto in what he called his dream job. Burke has put together his dream team of personal in the hockey offices and now hopes to build the same on the ice. But May was not the answer to that, May was brought in so that he could bare to watch his team today play without total embarrassment.

For Hockey God I”m Dave Frost

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