The Senators have fired Eli Wilson, their goaltending coach. As I’ve said on-air for a week now, it’s something that had to happen. Ottawa’s save percentage is the worst in the NHL right now. Is that all on Wilson? No. The buck stops with the goaltenders themselves (if only the buck were a puck). But Wilson’s track record in Ottawa has been awful.
Martin Gerber, Ray Emery, Pascal Leclaire and Brian Ellliott all took steps backward on Wilson’s watch. Co-incidence? 1 or 2 is coincidence. Four? That’s a trend. If it’s not, Wilson is one of the unluckiest guys in NHL history. He took four guys under his wing and all four failed to thrive.
Frankly, I’m surprised he wasn’t shown the door at the same time as Emery, simply based on his hiring circumstances in 2007.
After the Sens won the 2007 Eastern Conference title, Ray Emery had a little power. He hinted strongly that it was a good idea the team hire Wilson, his personal goalie coach, full time. Or else. The Sens rolled with that and then Emery reciprocated by turning into an ass. They eventually asked Ray to go away. During Wilson’s tenure, they also asked two head coaches to go away. For some reason Wilson, the guy Bryan Murray was probably forced to hire, ducked every bullet.
The answer probably lies with Cory Clouston. When Clouston was hired last spring, he likely went to bat for Wilson. Clouston openly spoke today of his friendship with Wilson. It probably goes back several years. Wilson spent 4 years (2003/04-2006/07) as goalie coach in Medicine Hat, where Cory Clouston’s older brother Shaun has been an assistant coach for the last 7 years.
Murray has now fired at least one coach in every season he’s been a GM, usually at this time of year. February 27/08 - John Paddock and Ron Low. February 1/09 - Craig Hartsburg and Curtis Hunt. Murray is running out of bullets and soon Eugene Melnyk will run out of patience.