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The 6th Sens Mailbag – The Carbo Edition

Today, we received this email from a reader named Cody (@icescoopz_CA), as always, my comments will be in bold. Without further ado…

Hey guys, I twittered you asking about Carbo as a potential Sens coaching candidate the other day, and just wanted to expand on my theory.

We all hear about McLean, Muller, Cameron and Kleinendorst as front runners for the vacant Sens coaching position, but does Murray really want to go that route? I think the expectation at Clouston’s dismissal was for him to pursue a candidate with proven NHL experience. Hartley was the only connection Garrioch could make, and had to actually contact the Sun to refute the rumour. After that, it seems the interest in an experienced coach faded due to a lack of suitable candidates sitting on their asses waiting for a call.

Hitchcock was one, but he also has a history of bad blood with Spezza. Keenan was another, but I think Murray realizes he can’t have another military-school style coach. He needs a players’ coach, someone the players want to win for.

Agreed. Hitchcock has the shelf-life of an opened mayonnaise jar after it’s been left in the sun for a few days. And even if Hitchcock thinks that he can turn Spezza into the next Yzerman, I’d balk at bringing in a coach whose reputation for favoring vets precedes him.

I suspect Carbo martyred himself as scapegoat for the Habs struggles, to deflect blame from the media directed at the players. Let’s not forget the Habs finished atop the East less than 10 months before he was let go. Yet noone says anything. Then I saw this: http://www.torontosun.com/2011/05/18/nhl-notes-stars-searching-for-coach

Ironically, many of Carbo’s heachaches had to do with the production of The Enigma – Alexei Kovalev. Surprise. Surprise.

Why would he be interviewed by his buddy Nieuwendyk if he had no interest in returning to the NHL? Carbo took over the Sagueneens with no long-term committment, because he owns a portion of the team. It’s the perfect cover for a guy who cares deeply about both the game and his reputation.

Or if he wanted perfect cover, he could have hid behind the aforementioned Hitchcock.

I have a feeling Murray is very high on Carbo. He must feel hesitant about hiring another AHL/CHL coach to take over, and KK can be promoted to assistant to keep him from bolting. Carbo plays a defensive game, and this team needs to move in that direction, what with guys like Cowen getting their shot and the non-pedigree forward crop we will usher in next fall.

From an outsider’s perspective, Carbo is the perfect fit, and I think that IF he was interested in Ottawa (and I realize Dallas may be his first choice), Murray would definitely give him the job over KK, Cameron, Muller or McLean. Likely, the chips will have to fall in Dallas before we see anything happen here.

I think Carbonneau is legitimate candidate to be interviewed, but there are some red flags that could be cause for concern. There was a fantastic article written by regular 6th Sens Podcast guest Neate Sager that touches upon some of the issues with Carbo’s coaching style. In Sager’s article for Yahoo! Sports, he includes some quotes from Carbo’s former players that appeared in a Sean Gordon Globe and Mail article. Take a look:

“A couple of his former players told FI after Carbo’s departure that he wasn’t exactly Jon Gruden-esque in his work habits (not for him, the 5 a.m. office arrival), that his practices weren’t exactly Babcock-ian.

“And that when the going got tough, Carbo just didn’t have what it took to figure out a way to turn it around.

“It’s the sort of thing that always comes out after a coach is fired — he was a crappy communicator, he wasn’t an Xs and Os guy — and now Carbonneau has a chance to show his chops once again.

“The Official FI Impression ™ on Carbonneau is that his greatest difficulty was his inability to see the game through any other prism than the one he had when he was on the ice.

“A doer, then, not an explainer, and a guy who had no patience for players who weren’t as good as him (which applies to a good many, as it happens).

“A couple of years on the sidelines — well-paid and high-profile though they may have been — will have helped create the distance he probably didn’t have when in his first pro go-round.”

Those don’t exactly sound like glowing reviews. Especially for an organization that desperately needs someone in here who has the patience and communciation skills to impart the proper knowledge and tactics into his players.