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Sean Tierney The Hockey Writers

Published on Tuesday, December 9, 2014





Paul MacLean Out, Dave Cameron In as Ottawa Senators Look To Salvage Season

Paul MacLean Out, Dave Cameron In as Ottawa Senators Look to Salvage Season

Dallas Eakins just breathed a sigh of relief.

After weeks and weeks of utter futility in Edmonton, the head coach of the Oilers avoided being the first coach to be fired in the NHL this season.

Instead, Ottawa Senators bench boss Paul MacLean was the first coach to be fired this year.

As per the Ottawa Senators Twitter account:


Despite posting a middling (but not awful) 11-11-5 record, the Senators’ sloppy defensive zone coverage (second-most shots against in the league) and lack of leadership led to MacLean’s dismissal.

As Dave Lozo of the Bleacher Report writes,

Coaches lean on their leaders in order to achieve accountability in the locker room. Perhaps the combination of new captain Erik Karlsson, [Chris]Neil and [Chris] Phillips wasn’t serving that purpose as well as the previous group. Just how effective Karlsson, a first-time captain, and Phillips, who may be bitter after being passed over for the ‘C’ not once but twice, were as leaders is something only they and the players in that locker room know.

Paul MacLean Ottawa Senators

Paul MacLean is the Sens new coach. Is he the maestro the Sens have been looking for? Photo BY Canadian Press. June, 2011.

Intangible facets aside, this season’s team was a fringe playoff contender at best no matter which players were cracking the whip in the locker room. Not only are Spezza and Alfredsson gone from that 2011-12, but so is Foligno. There has been a lot of standard roster turnover since 2011-12 and even 2013, but very little of it has served to make the Senators a better team.


With all the roster turnover during the past two seasons, MacLean seemingly lost the young leadership group and young squad in general (the Senators are the tenth-youngest team in the NHL). As Ken Warren of the Ottawa Citizen notes, MacLean and captain Erik Karlsson were regularly seen in heated discussions, both during practices and games.

All told, MacLean finishes his tenure with the Ottawa Senators with a solid 114-90-35 record, two post-season berths, one Jack Adams award, and one amazing doppelganger.

Paul MacLean Moves Out, Dave Cameron Moves Up

Former Sens assistant coach Dave Cameron will take over the head coaching duties for Paul MacLean.

Cameron has a lengthy tenure with the Senators organization. He coached with the Binghamton squad for three seasons prior to coaching the Senators as an assistant coach in 2011. Cameron has never been a head coach at the NHL level, though he is a teacher and a player’s coach.

By firing MacLean, the Senators have signalled that they are not interested in tanking to pursue the right to draft Connor McDavid in this season’s draft.

Instead, the Cameron hiring appears to be a safe move to encourage the Senators to climb the standings and make a pitch for a post-season spot this year. If Cameron succeeds in cutting down the shots-against total while Craig Anderson continues to play at an elite level, the Sens are likely to find themselves clinging to one of the last playoff spots next spring.


What do you think, Ottawa Senators fans? Are you happy that Paul MacLean is finally gone? Is Dave Cameron the right man to replace MacLean?

Author information

Sean Tierney

Sean Tierney


I'm a sports fanatic. I've written articles about the Leafs, Habs, Sens, Raptors, and Blue Jays for a variety of sites. I work to include analytics whenever possible, I like long walks on the beach and candle lit dinners, and am definitely not the tallest guy in the men's rec basketball league.

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