The Ottawa Senators are at a crossroads in their history. They are followed one of their best seasons ever with one of their worst ever. They need to decide whether it’s time to rebuild or retool and who to stay with the team. Who will be around to take this team back to the playoffs is up for debate, the most controversial of which is the status of Guy Boucher.
Guy Boucher has to be in the conversation for one of the most up and down coaches ever. He’s notorious for his defence first style and implementing a 1-3-1 system. He’s also known for being very successful in his first year as the head coach.
First Season Success
In his NHL debut in Tampa he led the team to game 7 in the Eastern Conference Final before eventually falling to the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins. Sound familiar? Boucher did the same thing with Ottawa last year by leading the Ottawa Senators to game 7 to the Eastern Conference Final before falling to the Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins.
Second Season Failure
The next season Boucher failed to make the playoffs in Tampa and was fired part way through his third season with the team. Now it looks like Boucher is following the same course. The Sens will miss the playoffs this year and may finish as low as last in the league.
Will He Stay Or Go?
Now the question is should he stay on board and is he the problem? There’s no correct answer for those questions. The Sens have been fickle with coaches in the past and haven’t hesitated to fire them. However, it seems likely that if the Sens struggle early next season than Boucher may find himself out of a job sooner than many would have expected one year ago.
Is Boucher To Blame?
Now the final question, is Boucher to blame? There is no yes or no answer to that question. There are aspects to his style and preferences that absolutely have caused this team to perform worse than their potential. His over reliability on veterans and his reluctance to let a team with many high skill players use that skill in a high risk and high-speed style of play. However, this season is not his fault. This season is the fault of everyone from the players to the coaches, management, and ownership. Everyone is to blame. However, with that said the first casualty is always the coach and Boucher will be on a short leash going forward.