Since Eugene Melnyk bought the Sens in 2003, the club’s had seven different coaches.
The seventh, Dave Cameron, was fired on Tuesday.
On Thursday, Cameron met with the media to discuss his dismissal. Not surprisingly, Melnyk came up and, also not surprisingly, Melnyk’s remarks from three weeks ago — in which he ripped into Cameron — came up as well.
“That was hurtful,” Cameron said (per the Sun) of his owner’s remarks from late March. “I didn’t feel any need for it.
“It felt like I was fired for three weeks… every day.”
Back on Mar. 22, Melnyk met with the media to discuss Ottawa’s disappointing campaign, one that would ultimately see the Sens miss the playoffs for the second time in three years.
Cameron was forced to shoulder a large chunk of his owner’s critiques. From the Citizen:
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 [Murray, Sens GM] 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.”
At that point, it was pretty clear Cameron’s job was in major jeopardy.
Of course, Melnyk later added that nobody was safe in Ottawa and — to be fair — his words rang true. Cameron wasn’t the only fall guy; assistants Andre Tourigny and Jason Smith were also let go, as was goalie coach Rick Wamsley. Murray was replaced as GM by his longtime assistant, Pierre Dorion.
Still, all this begs the question — how desirable is the Sens job? Cameron was fired one year after overseeing the greatest regular season comeback in NHL history. Paul MacLean was fired one year after winning the Jack Adams.
Maybe the problem isn’t behind the bench.