Ottawa Senators GM Pierre Dorion addressed a wide variety of subjects today, and he mostly said what needed to be said, but also left the door open just enough to allow all sorts of sadness to slip through.
Shortly after Erik Karlsson described listing the 10 teams he’d accept a trade to as a “formality” and after he walked back/spun comments about free agency, Dorion came close to saying what he should about the mega-star defenseman.
The good: Dorion said he wants Karlsson “to be a Senator for life” (via NHL.com’s Chris Stevenson) or at least 10 years (via TSN’s Ian Mendes).
Not as good: The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch notes that Dorion did say that the team is listening in calls about all players.
Now, look, many GMs will say that they’re listening and may even actually scribble down offers, even if they have no intention of making a trade. And, as Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin shows us, a GM could say “I will not trade P.K. Subban (for example)” and then trade him days later.
Still, with the temperature rising in Ottawa … maybe an even more emphatic “No” would have been more effective here? Just saying.
Dorion also addressed this doozy of a Kyle Turris quote from Josh Clipperton of the Canadian Press. Here’s what Turris said first:
“It’s tough because I think management did want to sign me, but I think that the owner didn’t. And that was his decision,” Turris said.
Yeah, not good.
There are many rumor swirling around Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, whether he ends up retaining his ownership status or not. It’s no secret, really, that Ottawa has been a budget-conscious franchise at times, which certainly brings into question whether they can stomach paying Karlsson what he actually deserves. Especially if things don’t settle down.
Dorion did what he could to affirm his shot-calling strength to the media, as Mendes and others report:
“Everything in the hockey department goes through me, not Mr. Melnyk,” Dorion said.
Speaking of the hockey department, Dorion also noted that a coaching change won’t happen.
Personally speaking, this is the area where it’s easiest to see eye-to-eye with Dorion. While Guy Boucher’s leanings, from the 1-3-1 and on, frequently make for yawn-inducing hockey, it’s difficult to quibble with the results. In a way, Boucher might be so effective that he’s put himself in a pickle: by creating a mirage with such a strong run, many likely expected the Senators to keep pulling rabbits out of hats.
We’ve seen plenty of Jack Adams winners become victims of past successes. In some cases, they got there through sheer luck. With Boucher, it might be a mix of shrewdness and luck, and now that luck is fading away.
Long story short, firing Boucher would be foolish when he’s likely made Dorion and others look smart.
Amusingly enough, you could apply a similar logic to the dangers of trading Erik Karlsson. The superb Swede is the sort of talent who can camouflage a lot of issues; moving him would essentially be an admission of defeat, as you’re simply not going to get a fair return in any EK swap. The only sensible situation in which a Karlsson trade happens would be if you went into a rebuild, and it could be a grim one in that.
Speaking of grim, that remains the best way to describe the current state of affairs for the Senators, who are suffering from dealing with tough situations but also, in some cases, from self-inflicted wounds.
But hey, much like when Paul MacLean spoke of his kid’s use of Taylor Swift lyrics, at least Dorion’s kid is having a good time with all of this. Kind of:
That might not be so easy to shake off.
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.