With 34 games left in the season and the team wallowing near the bottom of the league standings, the Ottawa Senators have fired head coach Craig Hartsburg.
Cory Clouston, 39, head coach of the Sens’ AHL affiliate in Binghamton, will step behind the bench for the remainder of the season. Senators general manager Bryan Murray said he made the switch because he felt the team had not been making any progress in the last few games, particularly after Sunday’s loss to Washington.
“He understood,” Murray said about his conversation with Craig Hartsburg. “He was apologetic a little bit in that he didn’t get the team to play the way he thought he could when he came here.”
By making the switch now, Murray said it gives the club enough games before the trade deadline and the end of the season to evaluate the players before making big decisions.
“Now we have to watch the players over the next period of time and decide who stays and who doesn’t stay to help us go forward,” he said. “We don’t have 20 complete players, but we have a core of players that should be much more competitive than they’ve shown lately.”
Murray acknowledged that a playoff spot is a “pretty tough chore” but it’s not right to just give up, and the fans and the organization deserve every possible effort to make it into the post-season.