Paddock Sens' safe choice

John Paddock will be introduced as the Senators' new coach at a press conference today at...

John Paddock will be introduced as the Senators' new coach at a press conference today at Scotiabank Place. (Sun File/John Woods)

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:45 AM ET

John Paddock is the right choice right now to become the Senators' sixth coach.

In a move that shouldn't catch anybody by surprise, the 53-year-old will be introduced today at a press conference by Senators GM Bryan Murray after Murray did his due diligence in a search for his successor.

It's believed Murray interviewed former Senators captain Randy Cunneyworth yesterday before closing the books on the process.

The Senators should have another Stanley Cup contender next year, so choosing Paddock to take over for Murray makes sense at this point.

SEE EYE-TO-EYE

Paddock and Murray saw eye-to-eye on a lot of issues and Murray has made a point of saying on more than one occasion dialogue between the GM and his coaches is important.

There's a good relationship there, so that should make for a smooth transition for the team.

With the Senators coming off their most successful playoff run in modern history, causing the least amount of disruption is probably the way you want to go.

Are there other candidates out there worthy of consideration?

Either of the Pats: Quinn or Burns?

Neither comes with any guarantees.

Having Quinn around would make the Battle of Ontario interesting, especially if former Senators GM John Muckler winds up with the Leafs as senior adviser.

Burns, who appears to have won his cancer battle, has been out of the game for a while, but has said he'd like to return to coaching.

But bringing in a new coach, and inevitably new ideas, might not be the right thing right now. The Senators have another year of opportunity here. They will return their Stanley Cup final team pretty much intact next season, but face uncertainty after that with the likes of Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley potential unrestricted free agents next summer.

Bringing in a new coach who would have to get to know the players in a critical year might be the waste of that opportunity.

Paddock is a safe choice. There's something to be said for continuity in this situation.

COACHED JETS

He coached many of the current Senators going back to their days in Binghamton of the AHL and he has the respect of the players.

Paddock joined the Senators as coach in Binghamton in 2002 and coached there for two years. He was named an assistant to Murray three years ago and was co-coach with Dave Cameron in Binghamton during the lockout year.

A native of Brandon, Man., Paddock was coach of the Winnipeg Jets from 1991-95 and GM from 1994-96.

Playing in the tough Smythe Division, the Jets had a 106-138-37 record with Paddock behind the bench.

Cunneyworth might still be part of the Senators' staff before all is said and done and that would be a solid move.

With Greg Carvel already set to return as one of the assistants, it would make sense for Murray to leave the open assistant's job to be filled with a man of Paddock's choice.

Cunneyworth would be a good pick, but the Senators are going to have competition. It's believed the Coyotes and the Panthers both have a strong interest in bringing Cunnyworth on board as an assistant.

Panthers coach Jacques Martin coached Cunneyworth when they were both with the Senators.

The Coyotes offer Cunneyworth the chance to work with Wayne Gretzky.

CUNNEYWORTH RISING

Cunneyworth is one of the rising stars in the coaching ranks, having coached the last seven years with Rochester of the AHL, the Sabres' farm team.

He will be a coach in the NHL one day -- you can take that to the bank.

There aren't many guys in the game who personify the qualities of dedication, work ethic and professionalism than Cunneyworth.

The Senators, meanwhile, made official yesterday the appointments of Tim Murray -- Bryan's nephew -- as assistant general manager and Brent Flahr as director of hockey operations.


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