In early February, Clouston became the fourth different coach to go behind the Senators bench since the team reached the Stanley Cup final in 2007. All four remain on the club payroll.
Clouston reminds me of an unknown actor who’s given a chance to audition for a great role. Everyone figures the role will go to someone famous. But the kid aces the audition so completely the director has little choice but to hire him. Clouston has gone 19-10-3 as Sens coach. At that pace, over the full season, the Sens would have been 4th in the East and 6th overall in the NHL.
Earlier this season, so many of this club’s young players looked like spare parts, unlikely to amount to much as NHL’ers. Under Clouston, Ryan Shannon, Nick Foligno, Brian Lee, Brendan Bell and Jesse Winchester now look like bonafide assets. I can’t think of a single player who hasn’t looked more comfortable since the coaching change. I’d love to see this Sens team go back in time one year and take over from the whipped looking bunch that entered last year’s playoffs.
How can you not look forward to next season? The club looks like its old self again. They've lock up a bright young coach and look forward to the arrival of a top flight young goalie (Pascal Leclaire) along with an exciting young prospect on defence (Erik Karlsson). If only the Sens really had acquired Yashin on April Fool’s day, they could cap it all off by sending Yashin to Long Island again for the Islanders’ top pick this June.