The Ottawa Senators are going to miss the playoffs for the second time in three years, and the guy in charge isn’t happy about it.
What’s more, it sounds like heads might roll.
“I’m looking at all of it, right across the board, nobody is safe when you have a year like we just did,” Sens owner Eugene Melnyk said on Tuesday, per the Ottawa Citizen. “The status quo would just get us there again next year and this team cannot survive not making the playoffs.”
In meeting with the media today, Melnyk sounded off on a number of problems he’s seen with the club this year.
He cited inconsistent play and the inability to get on a winning streak as a chief culprit. Ottawa never won more than four games in a row this year, and only did that twice, to which Melnyk said “I don’t think we ever had a streak of any significance.”
As for head coach Dave Cameron? He can’t be feeling much job security after this:
Melnyk hasn’t liked what’s happened with the Senators since Day 1. He was mystified by Cameron’s decision to sit starter Craig Anderson in the club’s home opener in October and give O’Connor, a raw rookie the net, in a 3-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens.
He was asked why it went so badly?
“No idea. Bryan and I sit there and we just nod our head. We can’t get it. We get it now. I remember back in December some of those games, three in a row that we lost by a goal we were leading. It was inconsistency and some stupidity,” said Melnyk, who then pointed at Cameron’s decision.
“I go back to the very first game. You put in the second goalie. What was that about? On opening night and the guy gets clobbered. It’s not fair to him, not fair to the fans. Just a lot of little tiny mistakes that all of a sudden escalate and get serious and get in people’s heads.”
As for players, Ottawa doesn’t have a ton to do on the contract front. There are no key unrestricted free agents needing contracts and, of the RFAs needing deals — Mike Hoffman, Alex Chiasson, Matt Puempel, Ryan Dzingel, Patrick Wiercioch and Cody Ceci — the Hoffan one could get interesting, given he leads the team in goals (26) but has also clashed with Cameron on occasion.
Finally, there’s GM Bryan Murray.
The 73-year-old has won respect and admiration throughout the league for continuing to work through prostate cancer, and reports had suggested this would be his last season on the job.
However, in September, Murray suggested he might not be ready to step away.
Per NHL.com, Murray’s contract with the Senators calls for him to be a consultant next year, which could pave the way for assistant GMs Pierre Dorion and/or Randy Lee to be promoted to the head gig. Or Melnyk could bring in a new GM entirely, one with a fresh set of eyes for the organization.
Whatever the case, it promises to be an interesting offseason in the Canadian capital.