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Jacques Martin’s Senators are like DJ Smith’s Senators

A few weeks ago, the Ottawa Senators made an important change: they finally relieved DJ Smith of his duties as the club’s head coach.

We all knew it was time. And we’ve known it for a long time.

The challenge, of course, was to find a replacement who wasn’t going to be around for the long haul. After all, hockey president Steve Staios wanted to find his GM before appointing a coach.

For these reasons, the arrival of Jacques Martin made sense. After all, he’s not here for 10 years, and we thought he could help the Sens become a more organized team.

But is this really the case, given the state of the club since his arrival?

  • December 19: 4-3 loss to the Coyotes
  • December 21: 6-4 loss to the Avalanche
  • December 23: 5-4 (OT) win over the Penguins
  • December 27: 4-2 win over Maple Leafs
  • December 29: 6-2 loss to Devils
  • December 31: 5-1 win over Sabres
  • January 2: 6-3 loss to Canucks
  • January 4: 4-1 loss to the Kraken
What this means is that the club scored just six points out of a possible 16. Their opponents? 11 points. The Sens also scored 27 times, but gave up 33 goals.

That’s almost one more per game. And that’s more than four goals allowed per game.

Of course, I understand that the club has come a long way and is in last place in the East. I also understand that a coach can’t change everything in just a few days.

But the club doesn’t start its games well, and allows some ugly goals here and there. The defensive game isn’t as tight as it should be, which means the club often plays catch-up hockey.

It’s not ideal.

Jacques Martin, earlier this week, was even talking about benching players as he did when he was first at the Senators’ helm.

Five of Martin’s eight games since his return to Ottawa have been on the road. Of those five games, only one resulted in a win.

And since that was in Toronto, Martin has yet to win outside his native province.

If you count the Ottawa club’s last eight road games, you’re talking about a record of one win and seven losses. Let’s just say that’s a pretty poor team record.

DJ Smith was fired after three straight road losses.

All this to say that sometimes you can see the effect of a coaching change quickly. But in Ottawa, we can’t really say that’s the case – quite the contrary.

I’m not saying we should get rid of Martin tomorrow morning, since the Sens’ season is over anyway. That said, it’s important to remember that the Sens now have a full-time GM: Steve Staios.

Naming him GM wasn’t the basic plan, but hey: now the Sens have established their structure on the second floor, which opens the door to the eventual hiring of a full-time coach when the club is ready. I expect that to be this summer.

Is this the part of the story where we bring Patrick Roy’s name back into the conversation?


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