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The Bedard Bowl in Anaheim/Time to move on from DJ Smith

November 25, 2022, 12:31 AM ET [226 Comments]
Kevin Francis
Ottawa Senators Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
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As TSN1200 called the Ottawa Senators' road game in Anaheim tomorrow, the Bedard Bowl is all you need to hear about how bad the season's first quarter has gone for the Sens.  Both fans and many media in this town are beyond frustrated with DJ Smith and Pierre Dorion.  After listening to radio shows, podcasts, and print media that cover Ottawa, I can honestly say this is the first time most people who follow or cheer for this team are ready to move on from both individuals.  How many more times can we hear DJ tells the team deserved a better result, that they outworked their opponent or that the team ran into a hot goaltender?!  The excuse book is full after starting the season 4-2 but as Bill Parcells, the Super Bowl Head Coach once said, "you are who your record says you are." Ottawa has now gone 2-10-1 since a promising start while they have yet to win a game after trailing entering the third period which is very troubling as many players on this team are used to losing the last four seasons.  

Fans don't want to hear that Ottawa is dealing with injuries, every team is dealing with injuries, in fact, some teams had it very rough to start the year like Boston or Washington, yet they found a way to win.  But that's what good teams do when they have proper coaching in place, proper structure, and proper systems in place because the coaches put their players into a position to succeed using their strengths.  This has yet to happen with Smith, Capuano, or Payne behind the bench and it's time to wipe the slate clean to save the development of the youth on this team.  When your identity as a team is to outwork your opponent, you know your team is in a heap of trouble because that is what occurs at the minor hockey level, not at the professional sports level!  This team continues to dump and chase the puck when they have a high skill level, rather than dictating and initiating the play.  The puck still doesn't move north enough when leaving the defensive zone, instead, the puck moves west/east far too much, creating turnovers and chaos far too many times then leaving the goaltender hung out to dry. 
 
To hear how ignorant DJ Smith is with this fanbase when saying his team has outworked the opposition in 18 of 19 games, is something you'll never have a professional coach say except in Ottawa.  Adding insult to injury is that Pierre Dorion says he's loyal to his head coach, are you kidding me?!  What GM in professional sports says something so absurd?  Both of these men told the fanbase this summer to judge us on our record this season, well DJ and Pierre, this fanbase has listened and is now done with both of you running this organization into the ground. Like the TSN broadcasters said last night, this isn't the "try hard league", it's the "results league", but Ottawa is subject to this circus.  

Ottawa has faced seven backup goalies so far this season while catching a few teams in back to back games to snag wins.  On two occasions, the Sens were rested the night before sitting at home while teams like Boston or Buffalo played on home ice then had to travel to play Ottawa the next night.  The fact that the Sens didn't use the schedule to their advantage to start the year is very telling of how the rest of the season is going to go once they have to play back to back nights.  Ottawa played 11 of their first 17 games at home but now this team finds itself playing 12 of their next 20 games on the road, in which they have only one road win and that came in Philadelphia.  

In Ottawa's loss at home to New Jersey this past Saturday, I had many people who work on different levels with teams around the league reach out to me. The common theme was the moment they saw DJ Smith put out five forwards on the PP to end the second period only to see the Devils score shorthanded to make it 4-1 was the final straw for them with DJ behind the bench.  NHL personnel people all said, how do you kill all the momentum after Ottawa had just cut the lead 3-1?  Only to see their coach put his team in a losing situation when they needed to enter the third period down two goals and still have PP time to begin the period.  Instead, this coach is so in over his head, that his decision to go for it at that time was a fireable offense after all he has done wrong with this team over the years. What NHL team would hire DJ Smith as their head coach if he was available tomorrow?!  I think any hockey fan on here knows the answer is a resounding, not a single team! 

I know Dorion kicked the tires on Rick Tocchet this past summer as a potential replacement for DJ Smith.  I was told by two other sources that Claude Julien has been approached behind the scenes to gauge his interest in the job too.  Ideally, Troy Mann could be elevated as an Assistant Coach with the big club with Tocchet or Julien as Head Coach.  Wade Redden's name has been mentioned as also helping out on the bench with the blue line.
  
Thoughts Sens' fans as to what should happen with DJ Smith when Ottawa returns from the current road trip?!Thanks for reading.

Kevin
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