Senators players caught on video joking about team, badmouthing coach
November 5, 2018
November 5, 2018 10:50 PM EST
Warning: The above video contains strong language.
A number of Ottawa Senators openly joke about their penalty-killing abilities, mock one of their coaches and laugh at the ineffectiveness of special-team meetings in a candid video that was posted online.
The video is the latest bit of embarrassing news for a team that is trying to rebuild a more positive, professional culture in its dressing room, after the high-profile departures of Erik Karlsson and Mike Hoffman.
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The video — since taken down — appears to have been shot in Phoenix on Oct. 29 or 30 during the team’s western road swing. It was recorded, presumably by the Uber driver, as seven Senators were transported in a van or SUV. It appears that none of the players were aware the conversation was being recorded.
A screen grab from the video. Screen grab / Postmedia
Guy Boucher and Martin Raymond. Wayne Cuddington / Postmedia
The five-minute recording, shot from a camera mounted by the rear-view mirror, was subsequently posted on YouTube and Twitter. The bulk of the conversation centres on the team’s defensive woes — the Senators stand near the bottom of the league in terms of penalty-killing and are dead-last in shots allowed per game.
“Marty Raymond, the only coach in NHL history to have the worst power-play and the worst PK within a calendar year,” says Sens forward Matt Duchene, in reference to Martin Raymond, an assistant coach in charge of the team’s penalty-killing this year and power-play last season.
Matt Duchene. Claus Andersen / Getty Images
The remark is met with laughter and only invites more jest from the players.
Defenceman Chris Wideman, sitting in the front passenger seat, chirps in: “Do you notice that when (Raymond) runs the video, if you actually do pay attention, he doesn’t ever teach you anything? He just commentates what’s happening.”
Then Duchene can be heard replying: “Here’s the other thing, too. We don’t change anything, ever. So why do we even have a meeting? I haven’t paid attention in three weeks.”
Chris Wideman in practice. Wayne Cuddington / Postmedia
The driver appears unaware of who the players are and, early in the ride, asks what team they play for. Newcomer Chris Tierney is seated behind the driver and can be seen and heard looking up team statistics on his phone, finding the Sens 29th in the 31-team league in terms of penalty killing.
Defenceman Thomas Chabot can also be seen in the middle of the second row of seats. When Wideman says, “I also hate how he quizzes us,” the conversation meanders and Chabot says, of the next potential meeting: “No, please ask a question, just so he says ‘great question.’”
Thomas Chabot. Jean Levac / Postmedia News
Though obscured through much of the video, the other players getting out of the third row of seats are defenceman Dylan DeMelo and winger Alex Formenton, who has since left the team to return to his junior club, the London Knights, in the Ontario Hockey League.
There is evident frustration at how the team is fighting off penalties or handling breakouts from their own end.
“In practice, when we break out against you guys,” says Duchene, “We get in every time.”
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Similarly, Wideman makes a reference to not being able to slow down opponents, but it’s unclear whether he is referring to the Las Vegas Knights or the Arizona Coyotes, both games the Senators lost during last week’s trip.
“The best part about their break is the fact that we don’t even slow them up. They come in with, like, blazing speed too. Andy’s ‘like oh, s—,’” he said, in an apparent reference to starting goaltender Craig Anderson.
Ryan Dzingel and assistant coach Martin Raymond. Jean Levac / Postmedia News
Raymond, 51, was hired by the Senators in July 2016 and has previously served as an assistant to head coach Guy Boucher with the Tampa Bay Lighting and in the AHL.
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The video is the latest bit of embarrassing news for a team that is trying to rebuild a more positive, professional culture in the dressing room, said to be so poisoned that it hastened the departure of captain and star Erik Karlsson just before the season began.
Late Monday night, the players involved, Thomas Chabot, Dylan DeMelo, Matt Duchene, Alex Formenton, Chris Tierney, Chris Wideman, and Colin White, issued the following statement:
“We want to apologize publicly to Marty Raymond, our teammates and coaches for our comments in Phoenix Arizona on October 29. Our private conversation was recorded without our knowledge or consent. We’re passionate about our team, and focusing on growing together. We are grateful for the support of our fans and organization. This is an important learning experience, and we will do better.”
San Jose Sharks defenceman Erik Karlsson.
Senators head coach Guy Boucher issued the following statement: “Nothing is more important to us during this rebuild than making sure our players and coaches are fully committed to our plan, our values and our system of play. We have every confidence in Marty Raymond’s coaching; in the effort and determination of our team; and in the sincerity of our players’ apology. We are now treating this as a team matter, and will be making no further comment to the media.”
After critical video emerges, what do Sens do now?
Discipline players involved
Make a trade to send a message
Make coaching changes
Have some serious closed door conversations and leave it at that
Uber did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but includes a lengthy section on privacy on its website. Although it does not specifically mention audio or video recordings, it does say “Uber may share your information other than as described in this policy if we notify you and you consent to the sharing.”
Late Monday, Rob Khazzam, general manager of Uber Canada, tweeted the following: “A video was released by the media today of several Uber passengers being filmed without their consent while having a private discussion during a trip in Phoenix. This is a clear violation of our terms of service and we worked vigorously to investigate this issue.
“Filming or recording passengers without their consent is totally unacceptable and if reported / detected we will investigate + take action to preserve our communities privacy and integrity. In this specific case, we made efforts to have the video taken down.”
NOTE: The time and date code on the video are incorrect.