It's now official. John Muckler is out as general manager of the Senators. The Sens made the announcement this afternoon. Amidst all the speculation this past weekend most fans came up with their own reason for the firing. But the Sens' explanation was one I hadn't thought of.
There was a vacuum in succession.
Think of all the things you thought it might be. The team shot them all down today. The Sens announced there were no personality clashes. Owner Eugene Melnyk said today he was proud, honoured and privileged to work alongside Muckler. Melnyk also said age was not an issue. The inability to acquire Gary Roberts was not a deciding factor. The team did not have a poor season, as Muckler out duelled 28 other general managers this season.
Melnyk said there was a vacuum in succession. Melnyk said, ''We just thought if there's going to be a crossroads it's got to happen now and it has to happen prior to the draft. The assistant GM left last year and there was no successor that was obvious other than Bryan. It just happened to be the end of his coaching contract.''
I think I speak for everyone when I say, "Huh?" You removed the guy because you only had one possible replacement? By that rationale, the Sens next move will be to trade Daniel Alfredsson and make Mike Fisher the new captain. There is no other successor to the captaincy that's obvious other than Fisher.
Keep in mind, Murray isn't much younger than Muckler. We may soon be at a crossroads with him too. Maybe Murray should be fired immediately because there's a TOTAL vacuum in succession now.
I don't have a problem at all with the move. The explanation is just, well, odd. The upside of the V.I.S. explanation is - and obviously the club is cognisant of this - it allows Muckler to walk into the NHL sunset with head held high. Nothing but respect. And he certainly deserves that.
The search is now on for a new head coach. Okay. My source was 1 and 1 on the weekend. He got the dismissal right but thought Murray would take both jobs. I expect he was asked to keep both gigs but declined.
Some possible candidates? Ex Senator captain Randy Cunneyworth was mentioned a ton today. If local ties help your cause, other candidates should include (listed in my order of preference): former Devils' coaches Larry Robinson, Pat Burns or Claude Julien; current assistant John Paddock, who's also being courted by Peter Chiarelli in Boston; Flyers' assistant Terry Murray - Bryan's brother; St Louis assistant Brad Shaw: recently fired Tampa assistant Craig Ramsay.