Sens GM says MacLean lost the room, ‘didn’t believe in the group’ anymore

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A few quotes below from Senators GM Bryan Murray, who addressed reporters today in Ottawa following the firing of head coach Paul Maclean.

First, the meat and potatoes (audio):

“We’re sitting seventh out of eighth in our division. We continue to be a big turnover team in our own zone. Our goaltending has been, to say the least, outstanding most nights, giving us a chance to win hockey games. [But] the chances against our team are some nights atrocious.

“I think there’s an obligation for a lot of people, the players included, to perform better than that. But the leader of the pack always is the coach, and he’s the guy that has to assemble a group, or a style, or a system, that allows you to be good in your own end, good defensively.”

When a reporter asked Murray if he got the sense that “communication had become a one-way street” between MacLean and the players, here was his response (audio):

“Yes, I did. I actually had several meetings (with players) yesterday and I found that what had happened was…and sometimes this happens when there’s pressure on people, too, that they’re not as open to listen and take ideas and go back and forth in the communication part. I think players today more than ever need and want that. I think they grow up through minor hockey, through the Junior A or college system, where they’ve got great rapport and have some input. Hopefully that will happen now.”

The Sens’ new head coach (not interim as first expected, but full-time) will be Dave Cameron, who was an assistant under MacLean and, before that, a successful junior coach.

“I don’t know if he’s a players’ coach or a demanding coach,” Murray said of Cameron. “[But] I do know that he’s a teacher.”

As for MacLean, it probably didn’t help his cause when he talked a few days ago about being “scared to death no matter who we’re playing. Whether it’s Sidney Crosby or John Tavares or the Sedins, I go day-by-day and I’m just scared to death every day of who we’re playing. … And sometimes I’m scared to death of who I’m playing.”

Said Murray today: “I thought when he came here he was a guy that related very well to the players. He had been a player himself. He understood what it took to play in the NHL. But it seemed that kind of drifted. Maybe it’s the pressure of the business here. Maybe you guys are too tough on our people. But very definitely he became more demanding of some of the players, and more critical of some of the players.

“The fact that he makes statements that ‘I’m afraid who I put on the ice’ type of thing, that kind of sent a loud message to me that, whether it was in jest or otherwise, that maybe he didn’t believe in the group the way we thought we believed in the group when we started the year. “