Three Reasons Why Dave Cameron Is A Bad Hire For Ottawa


In front of a crowd at the annual Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors’ awards banquet on Saturday night, one Dave Cameron took it upon himself to “leak” news that he was on the cusp of being hired on as an assistant coach with the Ottawa Senators. Said Cameron, “It’s just a matter now of crossing some T’s and dotting some I’s”. The ridiculousness of pre-announcing his employ on Paul MacLean’s coaching staff notwithstanding, here are three reasons why Cameron is a bad decision for the Senators’ coaching staff.

1) The Optics: From an outsider perspective, this move has the appearance of a guy getting a job because he is a loyal company man and chummy with the boss. It is no secret that Sens owner Eugene Melnyk is a giant fan of Cameron. Over the past 11 years, Cameron has acted as head coach and GM of the Majors, Melnyk’s other hockey team, and also served as coach of the Senators’ AHL affiliate in Binghamton (Tony’s piece has all the details about Cameron’s history). While there is nothing inherently wrong with someone who has paid their dues within an organization being promoted, it does look sketchy when the owner – a passionate, but non-hockey man/expert – starts singing the praises of one of the candidates (by default) in the midst of a hiring process. While it is his team and he is the man handing out the cheques, Euge has a staff in place to make the kinds of decisions that are out of his realm of expertise. If he were truly and completely committed to winning, as he has stated various times in the past, he would cease meddling in the hockey operations end of things.

2) Paul MacLean already having his authority undermined: Freshly minted as head coach, Paul MacLean spent the last six years as an assistant coach for the Detroit Red Wings – MacLean knows a thing or two about what it takes to be a solid, NHL assistant coach. New head coaches are typically responsible for selecting the two assistants that will be working with them. In MacLean’s case, it appears as though his hiring came with the contingency that he “select” the owner’s man for one of those positions. All the right things will be said, how this was MacLean and Bryan Murray’s choice and that it was a merit-based decision, but it seems awfully coincidental that MacLean would select that very guy that Melnyk was publicly drooling over. We as fans can only hope that MacLean had some input into the Cameron decision and he doesn’t feel the pressure to look over his shoulder on a consistent basis.

3) “C” is for choke artist: For all of the success that he’s had in the junior ranks,  Cameron enters the NHL coaching ranks as the guy who coached the Canadian World Junior team that blew a 3-0 lead in the gold medal game and lost to Russia. The same guy that coached the St. Mike’s Majors to a game #7 defeat in the OHL Championship. And the very person who then went on to oversee his team lose the Memorial Cup as the host city. Three championship games, three championship losses – all in the span of SIX MONTHS. Apparently that’s the kind of commitment that gets a guy a promotion. If the Sens ever make it back to the Stanley Cup Finals, maybe they give Cameron an all-inclusive ticket for a Carribean cruise.

With that being said, I wish for nothing more than Cameron to erase the unpleasant optics of his hiring. Time will tell. As for the meddling owner, instead of influencing the process of hiring personnel and other hockey related matters, why not put your  money where your mouth is and make sure Scotiabank Place has a decent HD scoreboard in time for this year’s All Star game.


Thanks for reading and as always, comments are welcomed.

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