In a shocking move early on Monday morning, the Senators bring in well-known “hockey-guy” Pierre McGuire
The surprising move was announced by the Senators communications Twitter account nearly this morning:
The hiring seems to be the idea of beloved Senators owner Eugene Melnyk who spoke highly of McGuire’s experience and his great knowledge of the game. Time will tell if this move was worth it, but it has for sure caught the ayre of Sens Twitter.
Front Office History
McGuire broke into the NHL during the 1990-91 season as a scout for the Pittsburgh Penguins, he would proceed to spend nearly two years in the position and then would move on to be an assistant coach for the organization prior to departing for an Assistant Coach role in Hartford. McGuire would spend one season in that role before being promoted to the Assistant General Manager position, however, that experience was short-lived as the polarizing figure was awarded the head coach position after Paul Holmgren stepped down from his role as bench boss. He now became the youngest head coach in the NHL at the ripe age of 32, a title he didn’t wear for too long.
Everything would go downhill after his move to head coach, McGuire would be fired by the team after going 23-37-7 during the remainder of the season in 1994. Hartford Whalers captain at the time Pat Verbeek had some interesting things to say following the firing of his bench boss:
"In a blistering post-mortem, captain Pat Verbeek called McGuire’s firing the best thing that could have happened to the Whalers. He said other teams mocked their coach. He said his own teammates had no respect for McGuire. He said a number of players wouldn’t have wanted to play in Hartford anymore."
Then McGuire would join your Ottawa Senators for the following two seasons as a pro scout, before spending one more season coaching the Baton Rouge Kingfish of the ECHL and then dabbling into hockey broadcasting/media for the next 25 years.
Is this move Intriguing?
I find it hard to get excited at this move, I’ve never been a big Pierre McGuire fan and his bullish responses to analytics make me weary about his player assessments. These concerns are reasonable and do have substance, McGuire hasn’t worked in a front office in nearly 30 years and his views on the game are likely “old-school” which can be worrying with how the game is played now.
This interview back in 2014 highlights some of the concerns for Senators fans:
"“The tape doesn’t lie.”“I will cede you this, because I was guilty as the next coach for doing this. You usually had eight 10-game meetings. You do the breakdown: ‘You were a plus-4 over these 10 games, you have five goals, etc.’ You have it all on a graph for a player, you break it down that way.”"
Funny how McGuire was using plus/minus as an analytical guide as it’s quite realistically the stat with the least amount of substance in today’s game, usually only rewarding players on good teams, or with good fortune. McGuire was also quoted as saying that any coach that uses analytics as a guide for bettering a player “should be terminated”. There are very real concerns when it comes to the hiring but there are some redeeming factors if he’s used in the correct role.
There’s no denying McGuire’s dedication and passion about the game of hockey, he spends most of his days watching it, talking about it, and breaking down games, his experience will certainly help the Ottawa Senators if used correctly in regards to the pro side of the game.
Time will tell if this was the correct move for this franchise, but until that point, I’ll be skeptical of the move.