posted May 13, 2006 at 10:21PM
Well the season ends in a most unglorious and bitter tasting fashion, with a short handed goal against us in over-time, driving the final nail. There will be much finger pointing for sure and why not.
To me this season starts and ends with Brian Murray. His terms of reference were simple ... take the most talented team in the league and win the Cup. Getting knocked out in five games in the second round, does not meet anyone's objectives. As such he should be the first to get the axe.
This is certainly not a knee-jerk reaction. You can go back to almost the very first post of this blog, 175 posts ago, and see that I have been wringing my hands over Brian Murray's ineptitude in organizing and preparing the talent he had available at his disposal.
Are the Buffalo Sabres a better team? No. Oh don't get me wrong - they are a good team, but they don't come close to the talent level we have. But as Dean Brown said they are a team that is "in sync", and the Senators were not.
In fact the Senators have not really been in sync since Nov 30.
Consider that our most "cohesive" line, the Fisher line, was thrown together only two days before the playoffs started.
And we are not talking about subtle stuff here, over the season Murray saw fit to put together, and then destroy the most prolific line in hockey.
Even on that final powerplay I was gnashing my teeth. In round 1 we had the best powerplay in the league because he put Havlat, Spezza, Heatley, Alfredson and Redden together, what I called the "uber-powerplay". What on earth was a rookie doing out on the ice, in that circumstance, with the season on the line?
So regular readers will not be surprised to hear me say that the first step required is the firing of Brian Murray. We do not need to go through another five years with a coach that is incapable of preparing teams for the playoffs. Brian Murray's entire NHL coaching career is an unblemished record of taking strong teams and ensuring early exits from the post season. He is not Jacques Martin, who took a mediocre team and turned them into contenders, but lacked the tools to take the team to the next level. The organization does not owe anything to Brian Murray.
Indeed if it is not announced soon that Murray is being replaced there is a good chance that this team could implode over the summer.
As far as replacement coaches go the two possibilities that quickly come to mind are Crawford and Ted Nolan. Of course the latter means that Muckler would have to go, and I for one, see no reason to rush to his defence.
Anyways, for me the hockey season is over. I have no interest in following the rest of the playoffs. This was the first year I put this blog together. Indeed at first it was just meant to be a repository for a few letters and that is all. It turned into a bit of an obsession. I would like to thank all those who came to the site and I hope you received some, if not enjoyment, then maybe some insight that helped you shape your own opinions and views of this hockey team.
There maybe a "season in review" piece coming out, but most likely I will not really start putting stuff together again until the next season starts.
I hope you all have a great summer.