BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — Barring a last-minute change of heart, one of the five candidates already interviewed by Bryan Murray will be the next coach of the Senators.
That number will only grow to six if and when Binghamton bench boss Kurt Kleinendorst has his sit-down with the Ottawa GM when the Calder Cup final is over.
Meanwhile, Eugene Melnyk put Murray in a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t situation when he said, during Memorial Cup week, that his choice would be Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors coach Dave Cameron.
Perception-wise, at least.
Even if Murray likes Cameron best, hiring him will look like he’s only following the owner’s orders. And if he doesn’t think Cameron is the best candidate — which is more likely the case — Murray says no to the guy who gave him a three-year extension a couple of months ago?
He’ll do it, but it’s not a situation he should have been put in.
Along with Cameron and Kleinendorst, the list of candidates includes Paul MacLean, Kirk Muller, Craig MacTavish and Gerard Gallant.
The guess here, at this moment, is that it will be MacLean, the longtime assistant of Detroit’s Mike Babcock, Murray’s proudest hiring. No doubt Murray talked to Babcock about MacLean, who would have been highly recommended by his current boss.
The first-period injury to Jared Cowen meant even more playing time for Mark Borowiecki, the Kanata native Ottawa picked in the fifth round of the ’08 entry draft. Borowiecki was the captain at Clarkson University before the school year ended. Bingo brought him in for a look, since this is where he’s going to play next season. Borowiecki took the rope and ran with it. Saturday’s game was his 20th of the playoffs. “For me, he’s been a total, big surprise,” said Kleinendorst. “He’s just an honest guy, keeps the game simple, he’s physical, he’s got great character. He’s one of those players who goes a little bit unnoticed, and he’s probably as important as any guy in our locker room right now as to the fact we’ve needed him to be right here where we are right now.” Borowiecki might not be a better prospect than Patrick Wiercioch, a second-round pick in the same draft who is currently one of Binghamton’s Black Aces. He’s just what Kleinendorst needs more of right now. The Senators do feel Borowiecki will play in the NHL one day, however. “Obviously I know I’m not entitled to anything. I’m not really expecting anything,” said the 21-year-old former Smiths Falls Bear. “But I think it’s important just to work hard every day and show them what I’m like as a player, what I can do. Hopefully they see that and give me a shot in the future here.” ... After missing Round 1 with an injury, then returning only to find he was unable to produce the way he did as the AHL regular-season scoring champ (86 points, 69 games), Corey Locke seems to be rediscovering his touch. His first-period goal was his second in as many nights and his third point in the last two games. Locke, who now has 14 points in 15 playoff games, is participating in his third AHL final. The last time was as an Aero. “I thought I’ve played pretty well during this playoff run,” said Locke. “Sometimes you can’t judge your game on points. Some people expect me to put up bigger numbers and obviously I want to, but if I’m generating chances, making plays, getting pucks to open teammates, then I’m happy with that.” ... Locke’s goal was set up on a sweet play by Andre Benoit, who has been the Senators’ most productive defenceman this season. A 27-year-old from St. Albert, Benoit can become a UFA this summer. The Senators gave him his first and only eight games in the NHL this season. They want him back. Benoit has to decide if he’ll get a better chance in another organization. But history shows that the grass isn’t always as green as it appears on the other side. “I haven’t thought about it yet,” said Benoit, who had 55 points in 73 games and has been exceptional in the playoffs. “I’m going to wait and see how this unfolds. It’s one day at a time right now.” ... While it took them the better part of a day to fly commecercially to Houston for Games 1 and 2, the B-Sens will charter to Game 6 Monday ... Sign of the times at the Broome County Veteran Memorial Arena: “Who Needs Batman We’ve Got Robin.”