There is a growing rank of unhappy and frustrated Senators fans stirring up a cauldron of hostility in the relatively quiet city of Ottawa, and with good reason.
After yet another loss against Marty Brodeur and the Devils on Saturday, Sens faithful are starting to point the finger.
No longer is it the play of certain individuals on the team where that blame is being cast.
Fans are now looking to coach Paddock as the cause of the Senators poor performance, with many thinking it’s time he is fired.
You have to question how a team that went all the way to the Stanley Cup finals under Murray’s rule, and started out so well, can all of a sudden look so dysfunctional.
Since early on in the season, Paddock’s decisions have been wishy-washy. He has not shown any faith or put any support into either goaltender, and his “win and you’re in” approach can only be described, in my point of view, as demoralizing.
How can either Gerber or Emery build any confidence in themselves and their abilities when they are consistently pulled when they lose a game? How is either net minder supposed to feel like an integral part of the team’s success when the only focus on them is when they lose?
If a team is to gel, create chemistry and maintain it, there has to be some kind of consistency. There has to be a game plan. In order for that game plan to succeed, the players have to believe in it, and support it.
Up until now, Paddock’s game plan seems to be “win”—Not play hard, and play as a team, but simply win.
The constant line juggling that is part of Paddock’s repertoire doesn’t allow players the opportunity to get comfortable with one another. Chemistry is not always an exact science. It takes the right mixture of ingredients to ignite that spark. Yes, sometimes it takes a bit of experimentation, but it also takes time, and it takes work.
Don’t get me wrong—coaching people to excel is a tricky business. Motivating individuals to want success is one of the most difficult tasks of any coach or leader. You can’t underestimate the importance of team morale though, and perhaps it’s time Mr. Paddock focuses on building morale in his team and supporting his players rather than benching them when they make mistakes, or pulling them from a game when there is a loss.
Tough love, which seems to be Paddock’s style, doesn’t always work. If anything, it only serves to build resentment.
Furthermore, respect is a two way street. If Paddock wants his players to listen, and more importantly, understand and DO, he needs to respect his players as human beings, instead of viewing them as high performance machines that can't make mistakes.
The Sens have the potential to once again run like the well-oiled machine they once were. They might just need another mechanic to get them there.