When half of the National Hockey League teams are battling for a ticket for the Stanley Cup finals, the other half of the clubs are cleaning out dressing rooms and lockers and facing the media to answer dreaded questions about potential trades, draft picks and who will return next year. And we are not just talking about players and free agents, coaches and general managers also face the same questions. Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion faced the media on Thursday and, of course, had to answer tough questions on finishing 30th in the league and on the future of head coach Guy Boucher with the organization.
In his press conference, Dorion made it clear the status quo is not acceptable. He also noted that thge future of Boucher and his coaching staff remains unknown as the general manager said a complete evaluation is underway from top to bottom. However, he did mention that a decision on Boucher is unlikely to be made until after the draft lottery in late April. However, he will need to see two changes from the team's head coach.
"We're going to implement younger players in our lineup. And we're going to practice more," Dorion said. "If I hear 'rest is a weapon' one more time, I'll go crazy."
"This year we found too many excuses, we've got to move forward from that."
It's great to see a general manager and his players take accountability for the disappointing season they had, however, it was somewhat short-lived for Dorion... Following his press conference, the Sens general manager was on the air of Ottawa's TSN 1200 to discuss his post-mortem of the season and made a strange comment that - to be totally honest - sounded like the worst excuse of all.
Dorion explained that "he has no problem taking media criticism about being 30th but there were things reported this season by the media were totally untrue."
While the general manager did not expand on his controversial comment, some media members were shocked to hear it. Looking back at the Senators' season and what was reported on, let's say, Erik Karlsson, Bobby Ryan and the ongoing trade rumors, all seemed to be accurate. Karlsson is heading into the final year of his contract and negotiations on an extension can begin July 1. Dorion has already said they will offer their captain an eight-year deal, but the question remains whether or not they will be able to offer enough money to entice the superstar defenseman to remain a Sen.
That all seems true, according to what Dorion has explained and the answers from Karlsson himself, who did previously say that he wouldn't take a hometown discount. TSN's Travis Yost commented on social media about Dorion's excuse, looking for a better explanation that the one provided by the GM.
In total, Boucher has posted a 97-79-20 record with the Senators over the past two seasons.
Let's hope the offseason also allows Dorion to take a look in the mirror and take accountability for his decisions as well... Oh, and he should maybe leave the media out of it.