The Ottawa Senators fired head coach Dave Cameron plus assistant coaches Andre Tourigny and Rick Wamsley, the organization announced Tuesday.
Cameron had been the Senators’ bench boss since Dec. 8, 2014. He was the 11th head coach in franchise history. Prior to that role, the 57-year-old spent three-plus seasons as an assistant coach with the team.
This is the latest in a series of changes the Senators will undergo this off-season.
Bryan Murray officially stepped down as the team’s general manager Sunday. He was succeeded by Pierre Dorion, who addressed the media to discuss the coaching changes and what type of coach the team needs to get back to the post-season next year.
“We’re definitely going to look at someone who can make a commitment to have our players play defence,” Dorion said. “This isn’t just on the coaches, it’s on the players too. We’re going to hire someone good. I know there’s a good quality coach that we can hire out there when our season starts in September.”
Dorion added he is hopeful the team will find a coach prior to the 2016 NHL Draft, which begins June 24.
“We’re going hire the best coach available,” he explained. “Ideally, someone with NHL [head] coaching experience would be great. But there could be a candidate that’s so special out there that doesn’t have NHL head-coaching experience and he might be the guy that leads us to the promised land. Then he would be the guy who we will hire.”
Ottawa finished the 2015-16 campaign with a 38-35-9 record and missed the playoffs by 11 points. It was a disappointing result considering last season’s memorable run to the post-season.
“When you have years like this it’s frustrating, especially when you have a good group of guys,” Sens forward Mark Stone told reporters Monday when players cleaned out their lockers. “You want to win together, you want to succeed together and we weren’t able to do that so we know there’s going to be changes. It’s just the nature of the game.”
Veteran forward Chris Neil pointed to consistency as one reason the Senators struggled. “Whatever you bring to the team that’s what you’ve got to bring and do it right and consistent every night,” Neil said. “For us we didn’t have enough of that this year. You would play unbelievable one game and look like a great playoff team and the next night you look like you don’t even belong in the league. You can’t have those lapses.”
Special teams was another reason the Sens couldn’t keep pace in the race for the post-season. They finished with the 26th-ranked power play and the 29th-ranked penalty kill.
Tourigny was dismissed after just one season with the team. He joined the Sens’ staff after two seasons as an assistant with the Colorado Avalanche. Meanwhile, Wamsley had been with the organization since 2010.
Assistant coach Jason Smith was also relieved of his coaching duties, but the team has offered him another position within the organization.
With files from Canadian Press