Coming into 2015-16, the Ottawa Senators were hoping to build on last season’s crazy second half run that saw Andrew Hammond lead them to the playoffs against all odds. Unfortunately for them, the year didn’t turn out the way they wanted it to.
They might not be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention just yet, but it would take a minor miracle to see Ottawa extend their season beyond Apr. 9 (it won’t happen).
On Saturday, the season may have hit a new low, as Ottawa jumped out to a 3-0 lead over Anaheim before the Ducks stormed back to win the game in overtime. After the loss, Chris Neil openly criticized his teammates for their lackluster play when they were up big.
“We’re up 3-0 and guys are cheating to make it 4-0, 5-0, instead of just holding the lead,” said Neil, per the Ottawa Citizen. “We left our goalie hung out to dry.
“If you’re cheating for goals, you’re not helping your team. It’s not great. It really isn’t. Guys aren’t trying to be selfish, but it is a selfish play.”
When head coach Dave Cameron got wind of Neil’s comments, he disagreed with his rugged winger’s opinion.
“I disagree that there’s too many (guys cheating),” said Cameron. “I thought for the most part we were real solid, but when you give up goals, obviously guys are on the wrong side of the puck, but that’s the game, too.”
It’ll be interesting to see how the Senators approach the off-season after they took a step back in 2015-16. Will they bring Cameron back? He doesn’t have a ton of job security, as he’s entering the final year of his contract. A budget team like the Sens could opt to fire him because there isn’t much term left on his deal.
Neil has another year remaining on his contract at $1.5 million. He has a no-trade clause.
Last week, owner Eugene Melnyk came out and said he wasn’t satisfied with the direction the Senators were heading. He admitted that changes will be coming.
“We’re going to have to make changes for next year,” said Melnyk.
“I’m looking at all of it. It’s right across the board. There’s nobody safe when you have a year like we just did. No way. The status quo will just get us back [here] again next year.”