The NHL-worst Ottawa Senators continued their shakeup Friday, firing head coach Guy Boucher, the team announced.
The move comes shortly after a flurry of roster activity at the trade deadline, when leading scorers Matt Duchene, Mark Stone and Ryan Dzingel all were traded. The Senators are 22-37-5, while their 49 points are five less than the team with the second-worst record, the Los Angeles Kings.
Boucher will be replaced immediately by associate coach Marc Crawford, who has previously coached the Quebec Nordiques, Colorado Avalanche, Vancouver Canucks, Dallas Stars and Kings.
“I want to thank Guy for his three years of service,” Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said in a news release. “He is a good person and has been an excellent representative of the Senators. At this point, however, we need a different set of coaching and leadership skills to guide our team through this rebuild. In the interim, Marc will bring a different perspective along with a wealth of head coaching experience.”
There had been speculation that Boucher would be fired last offseason, but after meetings with members of management, he was brought back for the final season of his contract. Changes were made, though, as the intention this season was to have Boucher focus more on the power play, while Crawford and assistant coach Rob Cookson worked more at 5-on-5 play.
The results were negligible as the Senators never emerged from the slide that started last season when the team finished 28-43-11. Just one season prior to that, they were 44-28-10 and took the Pittsburgh Penguins to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals before falling.
Boucher, 47, was 94-108-26 in his time with the Senators. In six seasons as a head coach in Ottawa and Tampa Bay his record is 191-187-46.
Crawford, in his third season as Senators associate coach, brings 1,151 games of head coaching experience to the job. He is 549-421-78 over his career with 103 ties. He coached the Avalanche to the Stanley Cup title in 1996.
Crawford, 58, now will oversee a rebuild as the Senators have 17 selections in the first three rounds of the next three NHL drafts.
Boucher’s dismissal means seven NHL head coaches have been fired this season. Randy Carlyle (Anaheim Ducks), Dave Hakstol (Philadelphia Flyers), Todd McLellan (Edmonton Oilers), Mike Yeo (St. Louis Blues), Joel Quenneville (Chicago Blackhawks) and John Stevens (Los Angeles Kings) also have been removed from their positions.
—Field Level Media