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Is DJ Smith on thin ice if the losing continues this week?!

November 8, 2022, 12:16 AM ET [192 Comments]
Kevin Francis
Ottawa Senators Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
With the Ottawa Senators losing streak reaching five games after Saturday night's 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, Sens' head coach DJ Smith is really starting to feel like his job is on the line. If you listened to him after the loss to Vegas on Thursday night, he sounds quite defeated. When you have to resort to telling the media and fanbase that if the team plays that hard every night, they will eventually win their fair share of games, you know things are going sideways. As a head coach, you can't preach moral victories in pro sports. This is a results driven business and this team is failing to do so.

Let's face it, Ottawa has yet to play back to back nights, so the schedule has been extremely favourable to the team when it comes to fatigue and the grind of the schedule. Every team in the NHL has had to deal with injuries early in the season, all you have to do is look at the Flyers lineup as they are without Sean Couturier and Ryan Ellis, both players were expected to play major roles on the team yet they continue to get results, unlike Ottawa.

When any GM of a team in pro sports gives a vote of confidence to their head coach, it usually means he has no choice and needs to change the narrative, otherwise the GM would be putting his head coach in a bad position. The fact that DJ still lacks at making in-game adjustments and once again got stuck with his 4th line out against the opposition's 1st line even though he has last line change on home ice, tells you he gets outcoached far too much even with a more talented lineup.

Last year's record after 11 games was 3-7-1 compared to 4-7 this year. Both DJ and Dorion have said over and over how the team can't get off to a slow start again, but it's happening as the team is already 7 points out of the last wildcard spot. Let's face it, the chants in the third level on Saturday night of fire DJ could be heard in the first level. Sens fans are more frustrated than ever when DJ continues to play Nikita Zaitsev(0-6 record for Ottawa when he plays) when on two occasions Pierre Dorion has called up more capable defensemen than Zaitsev in Dillon Heatherington and JBD. The fact that JBD was called up on the weekend but didn't play while missing two games in Belleville made no sense as it affects his development by missing important game action. DJ continues to show the fanbase that he has no patience for the youth on the blueline otherwise JBD would've dressed on Saturday night.

The fact that Dorion called up JBD again, should show the fanbase that he's not happy that DJ didn't bother to dress him against the Flyers on Saturday night. There's definitely some friction between the two as I've been told by a few sources. When Dorion hired Ryan Bowness, it was for him to help out on the pro scouting side, so why was Dorion out in Winnipeg doing something that Bowness should be doing? The only logical answer is that Dorion was talking to a few potential head coaches out in Winnipeg, away from Ottawa and the media spotlight. Dorion has been told by a few vets in the locker room as well as a couple of the young leaders on this team that DJ is losing the locker room. As I've mentioned in this spot before, a few longtime members of the team have no faith in DJ Smith and have made this known to Dorion going back to the player exit meetings.

I've been told by other sources outside of Ottawa that Dorion won't stay the course with DJ and even Jack Capuano if the losing continues this week. There's a saying in pro sports, you are either selling hope or winning, sadly neither is happening right now with the Ottawa Senators. On Saturday night, many fans left the arena immediately after the game. When the team is winning, all three restaurants at the CTC get many fans staying afterward. But that wasn't the case on Saturday night when Ottawa lost yet again. Losing affects everyone's bottom line and it has to stop asap!

I'm curious to hear Sens' fans' thoughts on what you feel should happen with the coaching staff.

Thanks for reading.
Kevin
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