Ottawa goes Green

As Kermit the Frog sang – lyrics and melody by Joe Raposo – It’s Not Easy Bein’ Green. And you can sing that one to the Ottawa Senators newest head coach who’s getting nailed with the negative from a large majority of wordsmiths on the team’s main chat board.

Like it or not, former Toronto Maple Leaf thorn-in-Ottawa’s-side Travis Green is your man, on a four-year deal announced Tuesday afternoon.

Here’s some of the more printable reactions:

“I hated Green as player. I wanted to punch his rat face as a Leaf. Not sure how he is as a coach, but he wouldn’t be my first choice”

“This smells of another typical Sens underwhelming hire”

“(Claude) Julien was apparently very interested and most would agree he’d be a great option, the team obviously values what Green brings to the table, and what that is likely doesn’t come through on hockey DB”

“So far, he’s proven to be a bad coach . . . The discussion should be what makes people think he’ll turn it around and be better in Ottawa? And the answer isn’t ‘wins and losses in Vancouver don’t matter and trust (Ottawa GM, Steve) Staios.’”

“Green is the worst coach after DJ (Smith) In this league. Just a garbage thrift choice. You get what you pay for . . . TG will be a walking disaster”

And on and on and on.

Forty-plus pages and counting of less than sizzling positivity.

But as a guy who covers the team daily shared with me late last night, while he sees the move bringing Green in as bench boss as ‘underwhelming,’ he’ll reserve judgement until identifying if the former Vancouver and New Jersey head coach is a decent fit.

While it’s a calm position to take, you can’t fault the Ottawa Senator fan base for the reaction. That especially after names like Julien (a respected Stanley Cup winner with Boston and Jack Adams Award winner . . . and a local guy) and Craig Berube (Cup winner with St. Louis) were available.

General manager and team president Steve Staios had this: “After speaking to several highly qualified candidates, it became clear that Travis is the right fit to lead our group. As we’ve routinely stated, developing a winning culture is paramount to our aspiration of achieving sustained success. Travis has a burning desire to win, is passionate about teaching and holds his players to a very high standard.”

Green is described as a coach who relishes structure . . . and guess what the Senators lack?

Green’s NHL coaching resume isn’t brilliant. His career winning percentage – with the Devils and Canucks – is well under .500.

From the management team to the local media to the national media to the frustrated fan base . . . everyone around the Ottawa organization stipulated that this coaching hire was the most important piece of business the team would be doing this off-season. Maybe even the most important piece of business in the entirety of the last decade.

Hence the early reaction is – to put it mildly – speculative.


THOUGHT, SEEN AND HEARD: A potentially big night for the Senators on Tuesday as the NHL holds its draft lottery (6:30 pm ET, Sportsnet). San Jose has the best odds/percentage to capture the top pick at 18.5 per cent. Ottawa’s shot comes in at 6.5 per cent . . . Last time Ottawa picked first was in 1996 when they took Chris Phillips from the Lethbridge Hurricanes . . . If you are Mitch Marner and uncomfortable with the media and fans treatment of you and feeling, generally, unwanted – wouldn’t you wave your no-trade clause? . . . Chicago and a hook up with Connor Bedard wouldn’t be a bad tonic for Marner . . . Toronto’s top priority will be blueline help but signing UFA Max Domi is right there as well . . . Congratulations to Rick Bowness. Wonderful career . . . The Bruins walloped host Florida in Game 1. It’d be no surprise if the Panthers shake off the rust and win the next four . . . Down to two Canadian teams now and unfortunately, they play off against each other . . . Theme for Vancouver-Edmonton: Depth and structure versus a God-like superpower . . . At this point we’re calling for an Oilers’ Cup win. Mind you in the pre-season this corner was going with the Leafs . . . No doubt Colorado and Edmonton are quite similar. Both have duos that are far superior to the rest of the roster. Question being, if you had to choose between a McDavid-Draisaitl tandem or a MacKinnon-Makar pairing to lead the way, where are you leaning?

PHOTO: Courtesy Reuters