Fixing the Senators

DON BRENNAN, BRUCE GARRIOCH, TIM BAINES AND CHRIS STEVENSON, SUN MEDI

, Last Updated: 9:35 AM ET

4 ON 1: OTTAWA SUN HOCKEY EXPERTS DEBATE THE ISSUES OF THE DAY

DON BRENNAN: I'd start by eating Martin Gerber's contract and recalling Brian Elliott from Bingo. Then I'd seek out Dr. Johnny "Feel Good" Phelan and bring him in to find out what's up with all the players who have lost their scoring touch. But I don't think canning Hartsburg or Murray is the way to go. This roster shouldn't be as bad as it is. And the coach has improved their defensive play. The problem is in between the ears of the players.

BRUCE GARRIOCH: Couldn't agree more. Fire the GM. Fire the coach. Still left with the same players. I'm not as hard on Gerber as Don. Alex Auld has given up 28 goals in six starts and has lost all six. The only option the coach has is to start him (today). My opinion is wait until the end of the year (for decisions on the coach and GM). Where is Mike Fisher? He hasn't scored since Nov. 27. Where is Antoine Vermette? Where is "Dominant" Dany Heatley?

TIM BAINES: And I agree with you both. But we know that won't happen. Unfair as it may be, it seems likely to me they will fire the coach and maybe the GM, too. I heard Nick Kypreos saying today that Craig Hartsburg was a good junior coach and that's where he deserves to be, not with the Senators. Would Bryan Murray bring in Bob Hartley as coach? Would Eugene Melnyk clean house and bring in Pat Quinn for both jobs. Is Steve Yzerman in play?

GARRIOCH: Yzerman will be a good GM down the road, but he is learning the ropes with Ken Holland in Detroit. Yzerman would probably like to get through 2010 and then figure it out. Although he made a comment earlier this season that he may have to leave Detroit to become a GM. Yes, you are right Tim, we all know what happens.

CHRIS STEVENSON: Tim, it's easy to ask questions, throw out names. What would you do?

BAINES: I ask questions because you guys are more in the loop. If I'm the owner, it's too painful to distance myself from. I'd either comfort myself drinking margaritas in Bert's Bar in Barbados ... Or I'd fire the coach and GM. The team is spinning its wheels. Change can bring immediate results. I don't think they're ready to join the John Tavares Derby. I don't think Melnyk will tolerate the mediocrity that comes with battling for the basement. But what do I know? I'm just a sports editor who sits in his office each night on his oversized ass.

STEVENSON: Are Murray, Paddock, Murray and Hartsburg all bad coaches? I don't think so. That's not to say another guy couldn't have had more success behind the bench of this team. I don't know if putting another horse on the coaching carousel is going to be the answer.

BAINES: But if you decide that it's not the coaches, then maybe you look at the makeup of the team ... from a standpoint of both position and character. The GM has to answer to that.

STEVENSON: I agree, Tim. What Melnyk has to decide is if Bryan Murray is the guy to clean up the mess he helped create. They had a bunch of guys who had career years when they went to the final. They got well paid for losing the final. Now they play like motivation is a problem. They would never admit that, of course, but the coach has said consistency of effort is an issue.

GARRIOCH: Yeah. But I guess if you are going to make major decisions like that, don't do it based on 41 games. You will have lots of time in April and May to make sound decisions. I'd like to see them make a bloody trade. At this point, I'd take an Easton for a Reebok.

BAINES: Atta bloody go, Bruce. Are you sideways, yet?

GARRIOCH: I will be sideways after a couple of those $2 Coors Lights, watching the game across the road at Bada Bing. Speaking of sideways, Ryan Miller was a little hot at a Buffalo News columnist today. Reminded me of our good friend Dominik Hasek.

BAINES: So the Sens should just leave this status quo? No changes? Yeah, the fans will buy that, for sure. You can only get beaten down by powerhouses like the Maple Leafs and Islanders so many times before you've got to blow the team up with that Acme dynamite. It'll be like Wile E Coyote trying to blow up The Road Runner. It always backfired on him.

STEVENSON: I'm all for making some personnel changes. Good luck with that. There's a lot of talk and no action. I think this situation is at the feet of the players right now.

GARRIOCH: Told you. Trade, baby, trade!!!

BRENNAN: Pierre McGuire and Gord Miller just got in my face. Told me to "admit your wrong" about a dig I took today. I wasn't wrong. They kept pushing. I may have reacted unfavourably.

STEVENSON: All I know is if Team Canada has the same emotion Don just had in a press box tiff with Miller and McGuire, the Swedes are in trouble.

BAINES: C'mon Don, you need anger management counselling. Why do you get so worked up?

STEVENSON: Maybe there's room wherever it was Sean Avery went.


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