BRUCE GARRIOCH: I don't think a whole lot. Still got the same group we so lovingly call "Coach Killers" in the dressing room and they've just claimed their latest victim. Clouston can bring structure and accountability. Not sure if he can bring wins with these guys.
TIM BAINES: Bruce, you just admitted you don't think a whole lot? A change had to be made. But the problems seem deeper than the coach. The GM has to be accountable for the last year and a half.
CHRIS STEVENSON: The best-case scenario is what happened in Washington with Bruce Boudreau coming in from the farm team and completely changing the direction of the team. That was a real exception, of course. The usual result? Not much changes.
GARRIOCH: The worst-case scenario is it turns out like Dave Allison and that was pretty bad.
STEVENSON: Yeah, but Sparky Allison was entertaining. I remember him performing the Hockey Night in Canada theme before his first Saturday night game with the Senators. Unfortunately for him, that was his high point. I know somebody is going to ask out there, but I don't know what Sparky is doing now. He coached the Iowa Stars last year in the AHL.
GARRIOCH: Who cares about Sparky?
STEVENSON: I always enjoy a stroll down memory lane, Bruce. He's part of the rich tapestry of Senators coaches, part of a list that grows longer every month around here, it seems.
DON BRENNAN: Hartsburg had structure and accountability. Everybody just thought his accountability would mean Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley in the press box after games they strolled their way through. Maybe it should have. But if I was the coach and desperate for a win, I'd find it hard to sit my top players, too. I'd like to think that I would try it early in the season, but if it doesn't work, you risk losing those guys. This way, he might have just lost other portions of the room.
BAINES: How do you lose portions of the room? These guys are privileged. They make millions of dollars. They should be working their asses off every night.
BRENNAN: Should, yes. But it happens Tim. You lose players. You've never heard of that?
BAINES: I've heard of losing sports reporters. They become angry, bitter, argumentative. Just fortunate we don't have anyone like that on staff.
BRENNAN: Count your blessings.
GARRIOCH: I just laughed out loud. I can't think of anyone who is like that.
BAINES: Don't laugh out loud. This roundtable is serious stuff. Intelligent panelists ... and Don.By the way, great job without me last week. I was in the Dominican Republic funnin', sunnin' and beerin'. Met four great couples from Ottawa. Maybe they'll buy the paper after they realize how cutting edge this twice- weekly debate has become.
BRENNAN: I liked Hartsburg, for what its worth. I think he's a good coach, too. It's like Baines getting fired if I wrote a few bad columns. I mean, I never would, but just think. Hmmm ... just think ...
STEVENSON: Well, Tim's still here, so there goes your argument.
GARRIOCH: Tim won't be here much longer if he let's us keep talking like this. Publisher Gibbons likes us to stick to hockey.
BRENNAN: This e-mail stuff is tricky, eh Tim? See the 'Reply All' option? Try it some time.
BAINES: At least your old e-mail is not under your wife's name ... like your home phone number.
GARRIOCH: Shhh. I'm vacuuming.
STEVENSON: Are the veterans in the Senators room, who, judging by the results, have apparently ignored the last three coaches -- who all had NHL experience -- going to listen to some young guy fresh out of the minors?
GARRIOCH: Nope. The veterans must licking their chops. I hope Clouston holds them accountable and takes away some ice time. I don't like that the big three were kept together.
BRENNAN: It actually makes you sick when you hear Hartsburg take full responsibility for this. Did he tell them not to score? Did he tell them not to finish checks? Did he tell them not to battle for the effin' puck? I asked some players, and they said there was nothing about his system that should have led to failure. These guys cost him his last chance in the NHL. The guys who didn't give every single bit of themselves every night has spoiled a good man's dream. A man who really did nothing wrong. I think there are players in that room who should really be ashamed of themselves. Are they? I don't think enough.
GARRIOCH: Really, this is no shock. This is the same story every February. Except it will have a new twist this year: Missing the playoffs. Then we'll find out how patient the guy in Barbados (insert Eugene Melnyk here) really is.
BRENNAN: One week off and Tim is out of shape. In every way. The best line in one of the roundtables you missed wound up on the cutting room floor. It came from Brad Fritsch, who offered a golf tip to our buddy Bruce "Lefty" Garrioch. Said Fritsch: "Switch to right-handed, take two weeks off, then quit."
BAINES: I wouldn't have cut that line out. I've seen Bruce fall asleep on the golf course and there's ample evidence he's used a hand wedge, accompanied by the throwing of sand into the air to make it look legit.
GARRIOCH: If I switched to right, I'd have to put down my beer to swing.