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Would the Sens really fire MacLean?

Apr 10, 2014, 11:55 AM EDT

OTTAWA, ON - MARCH 16: Head coach Paul MacLean of the Ottawa Senators looks on from the bench against the Colorado Avalanche during an NHL game at Canadian Tire Centre on March 16, 2014 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Getty Images

From the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch, on the future of Senators coach Paul MacLean in the wake of the Sens missing the playoffs for the first time since 2011:

MacLean, less than a year removed from being the Jack Adams winner as the coach-of-the-year, is definitely on the hotseat for his handling of the club’s talent and an inability to right the ship.

It spoke volumes when GM Bryan Murray refused to give MacLean a vote of confidence during an interview with TSN 1200 a couple of weeks ago.

The problems that plagued the Senators in a 7-4 loss Friday to the Montreal Canadiens were typical of what’s gone on far too many times this season and it’s a large part of MacLean’s job to address issues.

Heading into the first season of three-year a contract extension he signed in the summer, the Senators have to decide if they want to part ways with MacLean or give him a chance at redemption next year.

It seems hard to believe that MacLean could become a coaching casualty, even after conceding the Sens have taken a step back this season. Not to say he’s done a fantastic job — defensively, Ottawa’s had issues — but is the coach to blame for the team’s goaltending woes?

If he is fired, MacLean would arguably become a victim of his own success. The Sens overachieved the first two seasons under his watch, making the playoffs with one of the lowest payrolls in the league. The bar, as a result, was set higher.

On the bright side for MacLean, if he isn’t back with the Sens next season, he shouldn’t receive any shortage of interest for openings on other teams.

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