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What went wrong in Ottawa?

Bob McKenzie
4/17/2008 1:29:00 AM
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What went wrong with the Ottawa Senators?

Now the team can't rest all the blame on the on and off-ice problems around goaltender Ray Emery, but nevertheless, it was a big problem.

We haven't seen Emery in goal for the Senators since general manager Bryan Murray took over for coach John Paddock, and I don't think we're about to anytime soon.

Emery looks like a strong candidate to be bought out in the offseason. They tried to trade him earlier in the season, but they couldn't. They could send him down to Binghamton in the minors, but that could cause problems with the kids down in the farm.

That being said, the team might have to out the remainder of his contract. He is a younger goaltender and an affordable buy-out with $3.25 million and $3.5 million in each remaining year of his contract. Martin Gerber, a lightning rod of controversy for the way he played in goal, should be back.

The idea of trading centre Jason Spezza or winger Dany Heatley is tough, simply because their trade value has lessened coming off a bad season and bad playoffs.

From the front office, Senators owner Eugene Melnyk gave a public endorsement of Murray on Wednesday and it was a smart thing to do. If he didn't give that vote of confidence, there would be a huge feeding frenzy over Murray's immediate future.

That's not what the Senators need right now.

They need strong leadership from Melnyk to Murray. In turn, Murray has to work at buying out Emery, hiring a new head coach, figuring out how to supplement the defence and how to handle the Spezza-Heatley situation going forward.

Bob McKenzie

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