• By: Dave Gross

Perception of Dorion Never Impressed Ottawa’s Fan Base

Scotty Bowman – savvy technician and genius evaluator.
Sam Pollock – larger than life, deal-stealer.
Glen Sather – cigar-smoking dynasty maker.
Cliff Fletcher – courageous wheeler-and-dealer.
Brian Kilrea – legendary manager; bigger than the game.

As a hockey fan, perception can be king. Case in point is the above collection of names who – when thinking about conjuring a list of the top general managers in hockey – sit at or near the top (there are more, of course).

The perception when these names are called is simple: These are some of the best; some of the savviest hockey managers in the game’s history, with a little mythology mixed in.

When the above names ring out, you can visualize each one (try it, I did, it works).

While the track records speak volumes for each, it’s not so much the actual deals that stick out in the mind, it’s the reactionary feeling that goes with each one as well. Strong builders. Each one. You can sense that aura.

And I think that brings us to former Ottawa Senators General Manager Pierre Dorion.

For all of Dorion’s successes and failures, the perception of what he represented, what people thought of him, stand out and stand out now in a less than flattering light. Ask yourself this – when you thought of Dorion did you imagine a modern-day Glen Sather chomping down on an unlit cigar barking on the phone at an over-matched rival GM?

Not a chance.

The perception of Dorion was different. He was the over-matched, unprepared, out-of-his-league general manager. He was the local kid from Orleans, Ont., working at a job he had no business being employed at.

That’s what hockey followers thought. That’s what the fans perceived him to be.

How accurate was the evaluation? To be honest, I never met the man face-to-face so querying the Wayne Scanlans or Bruce Garriochs or John Rodenburgs would be a better avenue taken. For the majority of fans and for myself, our evaluations are based on TV, radio and print. (And internet fan/chat sights as well these days).

Much has been written (and talked about, no doubt) in light of Dorion’s dismissal yesterday afternoon. Did the guy make some poor trades? Sure, but so too did the wall-of-famers at the top of the column.

Did Dorion swing a few dandy ones? Undoubtedly – the Erik Karlsson one yielded plenty and might be considered Dorion’s best.

The circus surrounding Alex DeBrincat isn’t looking too plum right about now though, and Dorion’s persistent tinkering in bringing in poor supporting pegs like Josh Brown, Alex Burrows, Michael Del Zotto et all was purely puzzling.

Did he nail it at the draft table? He sure did a couple of years ago when he and his scouting team selected Tim Stutzle and Jake Sanderson . . . then a couple of years before when Brady Tkachuk was left around for Ottawa at Pick No. 4.

Then again, he sure did not when he used first-round picks to choose Jacob Bernard-Docker and Lassi Thomson, and perhaps on Tyler Boucher.

A few big hits and a few big misses. There you go. Fill your boots.

So when the ‘inevitable’ came to pass yesterday afternoon and Dorion was sent home, ‘undeniably’ capped off by the Evgenii Dadonov fiasco, was anyone really surprised?

To be honest – I felt the writing was slapped on the wall well before the Dadonov ruling came down. Dorion’s days were numbered. Dorion just didn’t fit with the new-look, city-slick regime.

Anyone else spot or feel the awkward vibrations during Michael Andlauer’s induction ceremony? Ditto when sidekick Steven Staios had the red carpet rolled out?

Anyone else watch the Senators last few crumbles against Buffalo and Detroit and see the cameras rolling on Ottawa’s private box, taking in what appeared to be an extremely edgy Dorion with a steely-eyed and grim Andlauer perched over his shoulder (Staios in tow)?

Anyone else get the feeling that Dorion just wasn’t wanted or was going to be a part of this boy’s club for much longer?

Maybe it’s just me.

But that was my perception.



Thursday, Nov. 2: LA at Ottawa (7 pm)

Saturday, Nov. 4: Tampa at Ottawa (7 pm)

Wednesday, Nov. 8: Ottawa at Toronto (7 pm)



Photo: Courtesy CP