Paddock blames GM Murray for Senators' struggles Staff

2/12/2009 8:22:31 PM

Almost one year has passed since John Paddock was fired as head coach of the Ottawa Senators, but he has an opinion on who is most to blame for the team's continuing struggles.

According to the Camden Courier-Post, Paddock feels general manager Bryan Murray should be in the crosshairs if Senators owner Eugene Melnyk hands out any more pink slips.

"I think now he's next in line," Paddock told the Courier-Post. "We were 14 games over .500 when I was fired. They're seven under now. Somebody needs to take responsibility for that. Whether the coaches he hired and fired were good or not, they're his players and they're either not playing good or can't play, one or the other."

But Paddock, who is currently the head coach of the AHL's Philadelphia Phantoms, doesn't think coaching is the issue in the nation's capital.

"The players are not very good, that's the problem," Paddock told the Courier-Post.

Earlier this month, Murray fired Craig Hartsburg 48 games into the season after the Senators struggled to a record of 17-24-7. Cory Clouston was promoted from the team's AHL affilaite in Binghamton and given the reigns for the remainder of the season.

When informed of Paddock's comments, Murray stated that he was disappointed; however he said that Paddock thought he was talking "off the record."

"He sent me an apology today in an e-mail," Murray told reporters.

"He indicated to me that he didn't know that he was being interviewed by someone and personal feelings are what came out of it."

Murray also stated that he did not believe that Paddock meant to be malicious, but he should be very careful about what he says to the media.

"John doesn't seem to be that type of guy, sometimes you say things that get in public that sometimes really hurt other people or hurt yourself in the long run."

While he admitted to being caught off guard by Paddock's comments, Murray felt that he did everything that he could to make it work with Paddock behind the Senators bench.

"I know I made the (Joe) Corvo and Patty Eaves trade last year because John wanted me to," Murray stated referring to a pre-deadline deal with the Carolina Hurricanes that saw Ottawa acquire forward Cory Stillman and defenceman Mike Commodore

"He felt very strongly that (Corvo and Eaves) weren't going to help us and that we could get two guys who could give us a better chance come playoff time.  I tried to serve as a general manager as best I could for my coach and it didn't work."

Although Paddock remains on the Senators payroll, Murray stated that he will not attempt to punish his former bench boss from a financial standpoint for his comments.

"There are a couple of clauses that we could have brought in to play but we're not vindictive in that regard," Murray stated.  "We're just disappointed."