2011.01.11: In which we indirectly ponder a new name for our blog

Conrad

So, here’s a question: what, if anything, is there to be gained by firing Clouston at this point in the season?

I’ve gotta think that it’s not worth the transition. The season is lost, that’s all but guaranteed (Sportsclubstats has the 8th seed at less than 1%). We’ve already had four coaches in three seasons (including Murray’s second try). And we’ve got injury problems. So what’s the point in bringing in someone for a doomed season to get some losses under their belt? This is an on-ice issue, and this team isn’t going to turn it around until a few of the passengers are jettisoned this off-season.

But if firing him is out of the question, then what about next year? Is he gone no matter what? Or do you give him a chance, given he’s been one of Ottawa’s better coaches for the last few years?

James

Dear Conrad,

You’ve done it again! There is next to nothing to gain by getting rid of Clouston at this point in time if you ask me. Murray too, really (just be sure to super glue whatever hand he uses to trade draft picks for veterans to his forehead before the trade deadline) .
As you readers who have been to this website more than once *leaves hand hanging in anticipation of a high five for what feels like…forever* know, I think the best time for any regime change will be in the offseason. Otherwise, it’s saying, “Here you are, , lets see what you can do with this line up that doesn’t currently include Jason Spezza, Mike Fisher, Pascal LeClaire, and CCFR Smooth Jimmy Update: Alexei Kovalev, halfway through the season! Do you have what it takes to coach this team into perhaps NARROWLY missing the playoffs!?” Which was pretty much the situation Clouston was thrown into btw…except that he had a two year younger Alfie, Spezza, and Heatley…oh and Kovalev even wasn’t ON the team at all back then…and Anton Volchenkov very much was…

It seems like the more we know the less we know with this here caper.

I am kind of getting the impression that the players don’t like Cory Clouston or playing for him. That he, despite dressing incredibly smoovely, is a prickly pear to deal with. I think a lot of prickly pears (thing that exists?) can get results but perhaps the lack of age he has on – lets face it- a good portion of the team make his marching orders seem a little hollow. I’m just speculating here of course but something seems very off behind the scenes. Maybe it’s that people are stressed the fuck out because basically everyone on the entire team – save for Erik Karlsson and i dont know..Chris Kelly- is having a terrible season. Any which way you put it, I don’t think that it’s a good idea to have Melnyk eat ANOTHER contract (only 60 since buying the team!) for a few months so players can work out their inner “trying to please their dad/great great grandfather” complex under the spry 88 year old Bryan Murray.

What you’re saying is true Conrad, Clouston has been pretty effective as coach; numbers wise. Those numbers are rapidly changing for the worse. So are his whacky, WHACKY line combos and weird ideas in regards to playing Gonchar on his wrong side, using Kovalev in the shootout every single time despite him being bullshit at it, akljase;fjel;kjakl;dajsdf, and not putting Kuba in jail, infinity.

I honestly just cant figure out how a coach who is supposed to preach a high flying puck possession strategy cant organize a team that is supposed to be just that into scoring goals/ looking like they are on a power play when they are on one/ tie together more than two consecutive wins. I have to think that some of that blame has to fall on him for that. How the hell are these guys supposed to get used to playing with each other btw? I would be so annoyed to have different linemates shift after shift. And TRUST ME what ‘pretend me’ is annoyed with holds a lot of sway in the NHL/Anywhere.

Closely related to that last point about the team’s on paper identity (making teams block shots instead of having to block them, right Bry Bry!) being far, far from the product on the ice leaves Murray greatly to blame. I think the post-Stanley Cup finals iteration of the team was built a bit stupidly. Most of the roles of players who were left to walk were not effectively replaced. Unless we are supposed to think signing Matt Carkner was a reasonable fill in for A Train ditto AN INJURED GOALTENDER for Martin Gerber…well actually…no WAIT no no…that is insane… Who the fuck trades a healthy player for an injured player? That’s totally crazy now that I think on it. I cant remember but was it Murray who chose a declining Redden over Chara? or nothing over the secondary scoring of Havlat? I don’t know IM NOT MADE OF WIKIPEDIAS IM JUST MAD!!!!
Either way just ride this bullshit out a few months. It will be fun to watch someone fill in for Kovalev win or lose. He’s been bullshit this season. Also it will be awesome to see Zack Smith replace Ruutu – who broke my pretend heart.

Ride this bullshit out. If Clouston’s not going to be resigned – take the mean time to consider the identity and make up of the team and how to get the best results…eating another contract hasn’t been doing that so far. Maybe that should be one of the first attempts to curb some of the many bad habits that this organization has developed.

Also, can’t Daniel Alfredsson be the coach too?

Conrad

Well said / MC’d / VJ’d.

I know we’ve talked in the past about how often it seems like the management for this team brought in a coach who was going to throw some chairs around the room and preach (read: scream hysterically about) accountability, and our conclusion is always, “You can talk to Jason Spezza like he’s a fool, and he might actually be a fool, but the guy was drafted extremely high and makes millions and millions of dollars and being loud and obnoxious is not gunna convince him not to try that no-look pass at the blue line / make his bed.” It’s just not. Ever. And it’s starting again as some writers suggest this team hire the pallbearer Ken Hitchcock.

You don’t need someone to treat adult men like children. You need someone who can earn their respect. With Clouston, I think it was that he actually coached a lot of them in Binghamton. There was a comfort level, a sort of hard-won respect that is earned by virtue of being an AHL coach and having the ‘interim’ (read: disposable) tag hung over one’s head. And he tried his best, and did better than many would have thought. Better and worse men than Clouston have fallen trying to get through to Spezza. But c’mon: you add Kovalev, who is the most unreachable man ALIVE, to this team, and then ask the coach to preach responsibility, you may as well be asking him to lay hands on Leclaire and heal his badly broken everythings.

So, firing Clouston makes no sense. Firing Murray, on the other hand, I’m all over UNLESS doing so means you can’t hire him to manage scouting and drafting. But if there’s going to be another GM next year then I absolutely want him in charge well in advance of the trade deadline – which is seven weeks away, by the way – and with a mandate to do at least a mini-rebuild. I do not want someone who will not be here at the draft to be the one making the trades, be it of draft picks or players for draft picks.

As for letting Chara walk, that was Old Man Muckler, not Murray, but yeah, that set us back. Just today I was talking to a co-worker about the long list of moves that could be seen as the Breaking Point for this franchise’s Window of Contention i.e. Mixed Metaphors of Melancholy:

– Havlat is traded for…uhhh…pop quiz! Who did we trade Havlat for? That’s right: a dot matrix printer.
– Chara is allowed to walk for nothing, in favor of Redden. Redden immediately halves his talent in favor of cocaine (probably)
– Vermette, a 2nd line center, is traded for an injured goaltender who immediately dies and whose ghost is now our backup
– Volchenkov is allowed to walk for nothing
– Cullen, Sutton, Commodore, Stillman, and Comrie (X2) are all traded for and then allowed to walk to nothing
– Emery is signed and then immediately bought out
– Heatley is traded for some salary buy-outs

Cheeeeeeeerist that smarts. Any one of those could be seen as a fatal flaw.

Aaaaaaand…break!

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