In a season lost several months ago, the Ottawa Senators, the worst NHL team, have sacked their coach Guy Boucher, the team said on Friday.
Assistant Coach Marc Crawford has been named interim coach of the team.
The Senators (22-37-5) scored their top three scorers at the trade deadline, sending Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel to the Columbus Blue Jackets and Mark Stone at the Vegas Golden Knights.
Ottawa lost its sixth straight game on Thursday night, beating Edmonton 4-2.
With an empty composition and a prolonged rebuild to come, it was widely accepted that Boucher would not be offered a new contract, his current contract having lasted until the end of the season. But general manager Pierre Dorion stressed that the team now needed a new voice behind the bench.
"I want to thank Guy for his three years of service, who is a good person and a great representative of the Senators, but at this stage we need different coaching and leadership skills to guide our team. throughout this process, to rebuild, "said Dorion. "In the meantime, Marc will bring a different perspective and wealth of experience as a head coach."
Dorion added that the team would look for a new head coach with the following rather specific attributes:
• A teacher who will focus on the development and growth of each player on the team
• An auditor who encourages feedback from players and coaching staff
• A communicator who informs each member of the team of his position and his expectations
• A tactician who provides structure and game planning that will improve our reconstruction
Crawford, a 58-year-old Stanley Cup winning coach, is in his third season as a member of the Senators coaching staff. After 18 seasons in the NHL, he has been head coach for 1,151 games with stops in Quebec, Colorado, Vancouver, Los Angeles and Dallas.
He won the Stanley Cup with the Avalanche of 1995-1996 and was named the NHL's coach of the year in 1994-1995.
Boucher was in his third year as a coach in Ottawa, with a 94-108-26 record. His trajectory with the Senators mimics that of his first stint as head coach with the Tampa Bay Lightning: getting his team to the seventh game of the conference final in his first season, missing the playoffs in his second then get fired in third grade.
Of course, it would not be senators without a certain level of dysfunction. Boucher was fired just one day after Dorion announced to the Ottawa Sun that a decision on his coach would be made after the season.
"Guy's work has not been easy in recent weeks and everything is going well, and I think he's managed it well," said Dorion at Sun.