A New Year, A New Low
Look, I could pile on here, but honestly, why bother?
We all know what to think of that game, I need not elaborate simply to add my voice to the chorus of demands for change.
I’ve already said my piece, now it’s in the hands that be.
I also will not make excuses for this loss, as no amount of fatigue can explain the lack of execution of even the most simple of plays. But fatigue no doubt did play a role in the big picture outcome of this game, that being a loss, in humiliating fashion or no.
The question now is, ultimately, will there be changes?
Will there be a change behind the bench?
Will there be a change to the roster?
Will there be a change in the on ice performance?
As for a change behind the bench, if body language is any indication, it would at least appear Clouston expects a change. His “stare to nowhere” after every goal, and penalty, has been omnipresent over the last few games, and if nothing else, it certainly indicates a degree of paralyzing frustration on Clouston’s part.
As well, the fact that, after the 5th goal against, the only people paying the least bit of attention to Clouston’s commentary were numbers 15 and 42, may well indicate a lost room.
Should he be fired?
Well, to be blunt, why not?
His presence certainly isn’t seeming to help. But, with that being said, if management fires Clouston, they have to acknowledge the blood on their own hands, and maybe, even more damning, the utter failure of this roster to perform at even a modicum of their on paper ability.
But, like the back to back games, Clouston’s coaching ability, or lack thereof, does little to explain this teams inability to complete even the most basic of hockey plays.
So, as is so often the case, the coach may well die for the sins of the players, but to what end?
Will Elliott now stop the easy ones, Kovalev hit the open net, or Gonchar complete a pass.
The truth is, for whatever reason, this team has performed well below expectations, and this has been done on the back of players doing the same.
Regin has been a major disappointment, as has Gonchar, Kuba, Leclaire, Phillips, and Kovalev, I guess.
Will a new coach fix them, too?
What needs to be done is for management to make a very difficult decision.
Blow it up, or suck it up.
If it is blow it up, the model has got to be that of the Flyers, a team that decided it would part with key players, in an effort to wipe the slate clean, and build around those players identified as having a future on the club, both currently signed, or available.
It was swift, harsh, and gutsy.
It was also highly effective.
Could this fan base accept the trading of Phillips, Kelly, Ruutu, Neil, Kovalev, Kuba, Fisher, Michalek and even, if possible, Gonchar and *gulp* Alfredsson?
This isn’t to say all of these players would even have a market, let alone, in some cases, be willing to waive their respective RMC’s, but this is what a full “quick clean” rebuild would entail.
As mad as we may all be right now, are we truly ready to go to extremes?
More importantly, is management?
I doubt it.
The truth is, more often than not, the action in the face of reality, pales in comparison to the reaction in the face of emotion.
The suck it up entails a somewhat similar reaction, but less far reaching. It means firing the coach, if he is identified as a legitimate part of the problem, and the exodus of certain players, similarly identified, and accepting that parting with these players may well result in little or nothing in return, apart from change, and a cleansing of the air in the dressing room.
I’m concerned that management has been un-willing to make moves, in hoping that either the team will respond from within, or a palatable return, for certain players, will come to the fore.
I believe Ottawa has to be wary of the Toronto and Calgary model. In the former, they just dumped everything, chainsaw surgery, and ended up with a tossed salad team with little cohesion or direction. In the latter they attempted to acquire a host of spare parts (from the Leafs…) in a sort of “let God sort them out” trade, leaving CGY with little to show for it, at the end of the day.
Murray needs to do something, no doubt, and I would like to see him start by getting his hands on Iginla. I believe this team, like Iginla, needs a new start, in the leadership department. No, not to replace Alfie, he is the captain, but instead to plan for his eventual retirement.
Spezza needs a scoring winger, Iginla needs a play-making centre.
Secondly, I would like to see him acquire Vokoun.
I see both of these as strategic acquisitions, and worthy of parting with some up and coming talent, and draft picks. Dip into the depth of young centres (Foligno, Regin, O’Brien, Silfverberg) or young defensemen (Cowen, Wiercioch, Gryba, Rundblad, Wideman).
Then part company with the likes of Kovalev, and Kuba, by whatever means.
Adding Iginla and Vokoun won’t make this team a Cup contender, but it will fill 2 key holes so obviously hampering this teams progress.
The losses of Heatley and Emery are looming large, and Murray has to either suck it up and replace them, or accept this current roster is beyond a minor repair, and blow it up.
Indecision, to date, has hampered management, as much as players, and the results are not pretty.