To keep simple, the ABCs are: Andlauer and Brady are here to stay they just need a coach to join them. Ok, yes, 100%, the fans, the players, and the guys behind the scenes are all on the same page. After blowing a 4-2 lead to Nathan MacKinnon’s four-goal performance for the Colorado Avalanche, Sens fans are left shaking their collective heads. The best players have to be better than to let your opponents run wild. Moreover, Michael Andlauer came in as the new Ottawa Senators owner with a plan to bring stability to the club. It does appear it is headed that way, but there sure are some bumps along the way. And as for Captain Brady Tkachuk, he has been frustrated at times this year. But he is doing it for the love of his team, and his fans do appreciate that passion.

The Recent Slide and the Smith Firing

The Ottawa Senators, from the owner to the players and fans, are having a difficult time right now, losers of six straight. Their last victory was their convincing 5-1 drubbing of the Detroit Red Wings, and the departed foe, Alex DeBrincat. That was two weeks ago tomorrow (Saturday), and things were looking up. The team was at .500. But, since that game, the team has been in disarray. This past Sunday, the club was outclassed by the defending Stanley Cup Champs the Vegas Golden Knights, 6-3. Unfortunately, that marked the end of Head Coach D.J. Smith’s tenure with the Senators. Next, in the two games since then, the Sens blew a 3-0 lead against the Arizona Coyotes and the previously mentioned lead over the Avs. Sure, these are very strong NHL teams, but excuses don’t make the playoffs. Needless to say, yes, things are dreary right now, but hang on, the Sens are a very exciting team, and this is time for optimism.

The Ottawa Senators Leadership Is Owner Michael Andlauer and Brady Tkachuk

Michael Andlauer, the Ottawa Senators owner, is searching to bring calm and stability to the team. He is surrounding himself with the right hockey minds for the task. Having brought in Daniel Alfredsson and Jacques Martin, meant for the perfect interim fill-ins in the post-Smith era. Furthermore, there is little doubt that Andlauer knows how to run the perfect business model. Andlauer has grown his healthcare and sports businesses into flourishing enterprises. He is now bringing that knowledge, business savvy, and experience to the Ottawa Senators organization. But it will take time to filter down to the on-ice product.

The Young Core Sticks Together

According to EliteProspects, the Ottawa Senators at 26.21, are the fourth youngest team in the NHL. This club is tight-knit, including six players on the current roster as former first-round picks by the team. For example, a team like the Toronto Maple Leafs have five. Two others, Joshua Norris and Erik Brannstrom, were first-round picks by other teams, who have only ever played in the NHL for Ottawa. In addition, three undrafted free agents have only ever suited up for the club (Artem Zub, Jiri Smejkal, and Parker Kelly). Many of their players only know each other from a professional NHL career standpoint. Most of them only knew one coach and had never seen the playoffs. But they are led by their captain, and he’s a 2018 first-rounder by the club, who isn’t going anywhere.

Brady Tkachuk has led the club in hits since his arrival. Only one season did he not lead the team, his rookie year. In 2020-21, he led the team by an astronomical 134 hits over second-place Nikita Zaitsev. In his 387 career games with the club, he has an average PPG of 0.76. He does do it all, including some very passionate post-game press conferences such as to call out the fans for booing their team.

Are There Any Examples to Follow?

Along with Brady, a lot of the right pieces are in place. It really is a case of what’s missing. Experience amongst the players, and proven NHL-level winners. Also, a tactical coach, to teach their skilled players how to optimize their performance. Look for example at Jon Cooper and the Tampa Bay Lightning. He helped turn the young crop of Brayden Point, Nikita Kucherov, Victor Hedman, and Andrei Vasilevskiy into a perennial powerhouse.

The Senators don’t need any more skilled pieces, they have plenty of that. They need players and a coach to instill toughness through the lineup. In addition, their depth guys need to be more physical and help take the weight off of Tkachuk’s shoulders, literally. Their young forwards and defenceman are extremely talented, but also plagued by inconsistency. Between some bad luck or injuries, they can never seem to have any momentum. They require a coach to come in, as a tactician, and instill a development plan so it doesn’t matter who’s in and who’s out on a nightly basis.

Owner, Players, Coaches

The Ottawa Senators owner and management in place seem in no rush to bring in the replacements for the empty roles. It is a feeling-out process, and there are pieces in place to get the team through the interim. But, given how the team has played, the fans are rightfully so growing impatient. The club is without a permanent General Manager and Head Coach. It is impossible to preach stability, leadership, and direction when that’s the case. That is why it is so important for Tkachuk and Andlauer to be the leaders through this time—Tkachuk for the players on the ice, and Andlauer for the off-ice adventures.

There are names out there in terms of replacements for the Head Coach role. Names like John Gruden or Jay Woodcroft have come up. Both have connections to the current executives, either Andlauer or President of Hockey Operations, Steve Staios. Gruden coached his junior club, and Woodcroft was under Staios with the Edmonton Oilers. However, no one has emerged leaps and bounds as a frontrunner. Same with the General Manager position, hence, the patience in the hiring process. They need defence and attention to detail, and that will ultimately be passed on from the coach to the players.

Main photo: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Akash Mahi, a dedicated enthusiast of the game, is a recognized expert in the domain of tennis balls. With a keen understanding of materials and aerodynamics, he has contributed to the evolution of tennis ball design, enhancing playability and performance. Mahi's expertise continues to impact both casual players and professionals alike.