While They Were Sleeping
posted Aug 1, 2006 at 05:49PM
Now that the foundation of the team for this coming season is basically set it is time for Melnyk to make those changes that are necessary for Ottawa's continued success. So what I am talking about is the firing of Muckler and Murray.
I have not yakked too much about jettisoning Muckler. With so many players that had to be signed, firing Muckler right after the playoffs could have resulted in complications ... unintended consequences. But now that the team is in place there is no need to keep him.
There are still holes and weaknesses that have to be addressed before the season starts and those won't be filled by negotiating salaries. They will have to be filled by trades and in my estimation Muckler is the new Mike Milbury of the NHL. A detailed examination of his trades will come later. But all you have to notice is what other GM's keep demanding in return when ever Muckler comes a calling. They are the equivalent of sucker bids... because in their minds there is a good chance that he will bite and give up the store.
And have no doubts that I have not forgotten about Murray. At the end of the Buffalo debacle I wrote that "no real progress can be made until Brian Murray is let go" . Despite having the most talented group of forwards in the league, he kept trying to impose line combinations and a style of play that fit his own particular "philosophy", but had no relation to the strengths that we had at our disposal. The result was continuing losses to teams that had less talent but were organized to get all of what they had on the ice. The fact that Murray did not "take seriously" a Buffalo team that finished just one point behind us and was totally outcoached is just added justification. His entire approach to handling a hockey team is one that guarantees predictable mediocrity.
As a coach he has a perfect record of taking talented teams and guiding them to early exits in the playoffs. Even as a GM his playoff successes are suspect. In both cases, Florida and Anaheim, he had put together mediocre teams that were pulled forwarded by once in a life time performances by goalies Gigeurre and Vanbriesbrouck.
Definitely put me in the Gerber camp, but to pray that he will be the equivalent of a goaltending Messiah is not the way to go if you can help it.
Now I have no names to suggest as far as GM goes.
Crawford and Nolan, two men I thought would be a good fit as coach, are no longer available. However there is one more person who spent the last season in Quebec and that is Patrick Roy. Despite his claims of being happy where he is, I have no doubt that he could be "persuaded" to take a bus over to the Corel...Ok the Bank, and take over the Senators. It is a move that has benefits on a lot of levels, and not just in creating a winning team.