Sens GM narrows choices

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 2:48 PM ET

The Senators could have a new coach by the end of the week.

Senators GM Bryan Murray has decided not to interview former Lightning coach John Tortorella, which means one of Bob Hartley, Craig Hartsburg or Peter DeBoer will likely be Ottawa's next bench boss.

Sources say the Senators were concerned about how Tortorella's over-the-top tirades would affect the atmosphere in the dressing room.

With Tortorella out of the picture, here is a closer look at the attributes of the three leading contenders to be coach of the Senators.

- DeBoer: The Kitchener Rangers coach, who has turned down NHL coaching opportunities in the past, might be the frontrunner in Ottawa. DeBoer, who led the Rangers to the Memorial Cup final last month, wouldn't be afraid to cut his teeth in a Canadian city where the team is going to be at the forefront of media attention. If DeBoer doesn't get the Ottawa job, it's believed the Sharks' coaching job is his for the taking .

- Hartley: Those who have played for him say he's tough but fair. Hartley is a demanding coach who gets the most out of star players. The former Atlanta coach has a couple things working in his favour: He has a good relationship with Ottawa winger Dany Heatley; he won a Stanley Cup as coach of the Avalanche in 2001; he is from Hawkesbury.

- Hartsburg: The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds coach is demanding of his players. Hartsburg, who has NHL experience as a coach with Anahem and Chicago, won back-to-back gold medals as Canada's bench boss at the world junior championship the past two years.

Murray doesn't have to hire a coach before the NHL draft is held at Scotiabank Place on June 20-21, but with the Senators planning to be aggressive in the free-agent market on July 1, it makes sense to have a coach in place to help draw players to Ottawa.

"This is going to be a tough decision for Bryan Murray to make," a league executive said yesterday. "Hartley and Hartsburg have proven track records. The biggest question is: Can a rookie coach like Peter DeBoer come into the NHL and learn right away? It's a tough call."

Off the Glass

Don't expect to see RW Shean Donovan back with the Senators next season. The word is the Senators offered the Carleton Place native a one-year deal at less than the $925,000 US he was making last season and Donovan, who had 12 points in 82 games last season, turned it down.


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