FILe - In this Sept. 26, 2016, file photo, Ottawa Senators head coach Guy Boucher, left, speaks with assistant coach Marc Crawford during the third period of a preseason NHL hockey game in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Senators have fired coach Guy Boucher and named Marc Crawford as the interim replacement. General manager Pierre Dorion announced the abrupt firing Friday, March 1, 2019. (Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

Senators fire Guy Boucher, name Marc Crawford interim coach

March 01, 2019 - 1:23 pm

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — The Ottawa Senators fired coach Guy Boucher on Friday and named assistant Marc Crawford as the interim replacement with the NHL's last-place team mired in a six-game losing streak.

"I want to thank Guy for his three years of service," general manager Pierre Dorion said. "He is a good person and has been an excellent representative of the Senators. At this point, however, we need a different set of coaching and leadership skills to guide our team through this rebuild."

The 47-year-old Boucher coached the Senators to within one victory of the Stanley Cup Final in 2017 in his first season behind the bench. He previously got the Tampa Bay Lightning to within one victory of the final in 2011.

Dorion said he decided a change was needed Thursday night but slept on it first before advising team owner Eugene Melnyk of his decision on Friday.

"For both parties, we just felt it was time to move on," he said.

Boucher is the seventh coach to be fired this season. The Senators are 22-37-5 and in last place among the league's 31 teams.

Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki seemed to suggest change wasn't a bad thing.

"It's one of those things if you keep doing the same thing and the results aren't there, then it's tough to keep players engaged," he said, according to The Canadian Press. "There needs to be a way to keep players engaged to show that there's maybe a change to be had or a change to be made that's going to help us progress forward — and when it doesn't happen, personnel change will happen."

The 58-year-old Crawford, who coached the Colorado Avalanche to the Stanley Cup in 1996 and has been a head coach at various stops for 1,151 games, has been an associate coach on Boucher's staff the past three seasons. He will take over as head coach starting with Saturday's game at Tampa Bay.

Dorion said the Senators will search for a new full-time coach after the season.

"In the interim, Marc will bring a different perspective along with a wealth of head coaching experience," said Dorion, who added that the team is looking for someone who can teach, listen and communicate to let "every team member know where they stand and what is expected."

"We will hire the best coach available," he said. "That meets our needs for this team to grow. To set a culture that we need to have success and to put us on the right path. We did that last time and we're going to do it again when we hire the next coach, whether it's Marc or someone else."

The move comes amid a tumultuous stretch for the Senators, who saw Erik Karlsson and Mike Hoffman depart long before the woes of this season set in.

The team traded its three top scorers for younger players and draft picks before Monday's trade deadline after the Senators couldn't come to terms with pending free agents Mark Stone, Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel. Ottawa missed the playoffs last season after making an early trade to acquire Duchene. The Senators sent a first-round pick to the Avalanche in the deal and now that selection could be first overall this year.

Earlier this week, a plan for a new downtown arena for the Senators was killed after the National Capital Commission announced mediation had failed to resolve a dispute between team owner Eugene Melnyk and project partners.


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