With the team on the ice struggling mightily on their current road trip and the imposing figure of Pat Quinn looming, Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk released a statement Wednesday in an attempt to end the speculation pertaining to a possible change in the Sens coaching staff and management.
Several media outlets had released reports stating that the Senators were prepared to fire head coach Craig Hartsburg and general manager Bryan Murray and replacing them with the combination of Quinn as head coach and Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson as GM.
Melnyk stated that those rumours were completely false.
"Contrary to what is being reported today by the media, I have made no decisions with respect to any personnel changes within the Senators organization," Melnyk stated. "Winning remains our number one priority and there is a collective focus by our management, our coaching staff and our players to deliver this to our fans.
I, along with our fans, will do nothing but continue to remain fully committed to our Senators and enthusiastically cheer them on to a successful second half of the season.
This is crunch time. Now, more than ever, is the time to rally behind our team. We don't surrender half-way though the season.
Every victory from here on in matters. We know it and the fans know it. Period."
In addition Quinn told TSN Wednesday that he had not had any conversations with the Senators at all.
Speculation in the Nation's capital was running rampant after Quinn led the Canadian National junior team to their fifth consecutive gold medal at the IIHF World Junior hockey championship in Ottawa.
Melnyk was seen congratulating Quinn quite enthusiastically following Canada's demolition of the Czech Republic and was also on hand to present the team with their Gold medals.
The Senators have been a major disappointment this season as they sit dead last in the Northeast Division with a 12-19-6 record including a dismal road mark of 4-13-3. Due to the fact that Ottawa was hosting the World Junior tournament, the Senators have been on an extended road trip where they have gone 1-5-1 with one more game against the Eastern Conference leading Boston Bruins before returning home.
There has been plenty of noise from Senators fans demanding the firing of Hartsburgh who signed a three-year contract prior to the season. Ironically enough Hartsburgh led Canada to Gold in the World Junior tournament the two year's prior to Quinn's success this season.