The Ottawa Senators announced Friday that they have relieved head coach Guy Boucher of his duties after three seasons with the team. Assistant coach Marc Crawford has been named interim head coach.
General manager Pierre Dorion made the announcement and the change is effective immediately.
“I want to thank Guy for his three years of service. He is a good person and has been an excellent representative of the Senators,” said Dorion in a release. “At this point, however, we need a different set of coaching and leadership skills to guide our team through this rebuild,” said general manager Pierre Dorion. “In the interim, Marc will bring a different perspective along with a wealth of head coaching experience.”
The organization says that they will be conducting an evaluation of the current coaching staff in tandem with the search for a new head coach after the season ends.
At a press conference held at the Canadian Tire Centre, Dorion explained why the decision to let Boucher go was made now instead of at the end of the season.
“We just felt as recently as this morning that Guy wasn’t going to be our coach moving forward,” said Dorion. “For both parties we felt it was probably time to move on.”
Crawford, 58, coached the Colorado Avalanche to a Stanley Cup win in 1996 and is in his third season as a member of the Senators coaching staff. He also spoke at the conference and while he says he’s ready for the challenge, he feels for Boucher.
“Today is not a time for anything other than emotions,” said Crawford. “Seeing Guy this morning, my heart goes out to him. I’ve been in that position before and I can guarantee you it is very uncomfortable. With that I want to say that we really do have a great group of players here but we’re not showing it in the standings.”
“It is a good group. I’ve been around hockey for a long time and I know a good group when I see it. Hopefully we’ll band together and make something positive out of the final 18 games.”
Crawford has 18 seasons of National Hockey League coaching experience and has served as an NHL head coach for 1,151 games.
The Ottawa Senators have found themselves in the headlines throughout the last several weeks with the collapse of the RendezVous LeBreton project and several high-profile trades ahead of the deadline.
The Senators are currently in last place in the NHL and lost their sixth straight game 4-2 to the Oilers on Thursday night.