It has been one week since the Ottawa Senators fired their long time AHL Coach Troy Mann. The wording of of the press release was very awkward and veiled. ” A change like this is a difficult decision, but we are aligned internally and feel this is necessary for the short term and long term growth of the players in our organisation as well the cohesion in systematic play between Ottawa and Belleville.” Ryan Bowness Belleville Senators GM.
So let’s take a closer look at this. Every player that has been through Belleville has not looked out of place at the NHL level. Just look at Kastelic, Kelley, JBD, and Greig, all useful players.Mann turned around the career of Nick Paul who is now living the dream in Tampa playing for a Coach and an organisation that actually knows what he is doing! As for the the cohesion in systematic play , every player that comes from Belleville seems to have a grasp of how to play the game correctly. The Senators have been stuck in their own end for three plus years. That responsibility falls on Dorion and Smith.
The definition of a system is: a set of principles or procedures according to which something is done; an organised framework or method. Where as a tactic is: an action or strategy carefully planned to achieve a specific end. What the Senators should have been teaching is tactics not system. A good Coach should know the difference. From the Bowness statement you could read into that Mann was teaching tactics. The words are sound similar but their applications could not be more different. Perhaps this explains why JBD comes up plays better than 3 of the 6 roster defence-men and then gets sent down.
Another point of curiosity. Why would the Senators put a first year Assistant Manager in charge of your most important part of your organisation. Player Development! What message are they sending to the players? This is an important role that should be assigned to a more established hockey person, not a rookie. So, once again the Senators make another organisational error. The dynamics in the organisation are preventing the right people from doing very meaningful work. That comes down to leadership and that starts with the GM. He can rationalise the dynamics that he has created but in reality he has violated values and integrity of the organisation. Basically putting self interests of others ahead of the team concept. We should also keep in mind that with all the injuries and call ups in Ottawa and the injuries in Belleville , perhaps Mann had to do what he felt necessary to win games in Belleville. After all they do have a commitment to fans that support that franchise as well. From the Bowness statement it sounds like Mann was quite involved in the Belleville community and releasing him is a damaging move to community relations.. Another distraction at the AHL level where you are developing your next generation of talent. There should be minimal distractions and 100% focus on improvement.
The Senators were negligent and reckless in this decision. Hockey teams always speak of being resilient but in the wake of his decisions he has done considerable damage to the entire organisation. These decisions still matter even though the team will have new ownership and they will want their own management team in place. These are actions are carefully being scrutinised because new ownership will have to clean up the mess left by this group.
Until next time!
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