Senators Lift The Cone of Silence, And Un-veil “The Plan”


We’ve heard rumblings about its existance.

Pondered its content

Screamed for its release.

And now, after their hand being forced by dismal, fan taunting performances, the “plan” has been revealed…well, sort of.

From Melnyk -“The reason I’ve been quiet is I’ve been working on a plan. That plan is now in motion.”

Based upon reports from the Globe & Mail, and Ottawa Sun, here is the chatter around “the plan”.

About The GM

Murray will not be replaced this season, and will remain in place beyond his current contract, but in the role of “Senior Hockey Advisor”.  Think of this as being similar to a “Chairman of the Board” position.  He will be the eyes and ears of the owner, and ensure that any and all decisions are in the best interests of the franchise.  He will not make the decisions, or even necessarily actively augment them, but will be available to help support hockey management in making the best possible decisions.

GN Reaction – This can work, but it will require a significant amount of goodwill and professionalism on the part of both Murray and the new GM.  In a best case scenario, the team can more quickly evaluate opportunities, and more thoroughly examine the pros and cons of said opportunities.  In a worst case scenario, management becomes dysfunctional, un-focused and paralysed by “analysis paralysis”, or worse, in fighting.

This management practice has been slowly creeping from the board room, into the NHL (MLSE, CHI, CGY), with mixed results.  It is no wonder a business man, like Melnyk, feels drawn to this common industry practice, but will a new GM, used to the traditional autocratic model, be able to function effectively within this hybridized environment?  Will Murray be able to sit by and watch someone else dismantle his team, or trade/promote prospects in a manner inconsistent with his own views?

Autocracy is surely the most simple of decision-making models, but rarely the most accurate.  While a consultative management style can be more cumbersome, it often allowes for much more well researched/reasoned decisions.

In THEORY, I support this decision, but Melnyk will have to be ruthless is ensuring it remains effective and constructive.

This model leads me to believe Little Murray is well and in the running for the new GM position.

About The Coach

The claim is Clouston will remain on board for the entirety of this season, but his future employment will be determined by the incoming GM.

GN Reaction – This only makes sense if one of 2 factors are in play;

1. Melnyk will not allow a new salary to be added to the payroll and Murray refuses to return behind the bench,

2. Melnyk believes Clouston has a legitimate shot at remaining as Senators head coach, beyond this season (read the new GM already supports Clouston).

The biggest issue I have with this is the damage keeping Clouston in place can have on either, or both, the players, and fans.  If either lose faith in Clouston, he has to go, or forever be a point of contention, valid or not.

The Players

This one remains the least flushed out, as is only reasonable, considering the dynamics at play.

It is presumed that the plan is to begin a rebuild, vs retool, but how deeply this rebuild cuts remains to be seen, and may be determined as much by desire, as ability, to make change.  In other words, who do they want to trade/resign, and who can be traded/re-signed.

Only time will tell, and I’ll look more closely at the options in a upcomming blog.

Another hint comes directly from Melnyk, who stated, in speaking to the Ottawa Sun “The time has come to make some of the most difficult decisions that an owner can make. Do we need a game-changer? I believe we do.”

GN Reaction – This sounds to me that Melnyk believes the team lacks a legitimate game changer, or at least enough of them.  Does this mean he does not see Alfie as a game changer?  Or Spezza?  Or Gonchar?  Or does he believe they lack a game changer to reach their full ability?  Again, time will tell.

I hope it means they intend to abandon the UFA route, as I for one believe this is akin to being on life support.  If it’s over, it’s over, and keeping the machines running, to no good end, is futility.  UFA’s are little more than roster life support machines, IMO.

Here’s to going after some top prospects, or impending RFA’s, that, if it must be done from outside, is the better strategy, with legitimate opportunity for long term returns.

Stay tuned for my upcoming post, “Now what? – The Options”

GN

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One Response to “Senators Lift The Cone of Silence, And Un-veil “The Plan””

  1. For one I don’t want Spezza to go. The team needs to build around him. Kelly & the young players also stay.. the rest can go. I won’t be crying if they leave.. but Alfie.. I don’t know.
    He is not having a good year either.. but he has been the face of this franchise for such a long time… I think they would keep him.

    This team gets younger and hopefully faster. It has been seen this year that overall this current Sens team is slow.

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