John Paddock ran out of ideas and time as he tried to get the Senators to play the way they did in building the Eastern Conference's best record.
With the Senators in a massive slump, general manager Bryan Murray decided the only solution for Ottawa to save its suddenly crumbling season was to go back: back to when Murray was coach.
Murray fired Paddock yesterday with only 18 games left in a season that is in danger of falling apart despite a robust 15-2 start. Murray, who led the Senators last season to their first appearance in the Stanley Cup finals, is stepping back behind the bench for the remainder of the season.
"It's shocking really that it comes to this," Murray said. "It's disappointing from everybody's point of view."
Murray moved up shortly after the Anaheim Ducks beat the Senators, 4-1, in the Stanley Cup finals to become the general manager last summer. Paddock went from being Murray's assistant to his replacement.
Assistant coach Ron Low was also fired yesterday, a day after the team was shut out for the second consecutive game, 4-0, by the Bruins.
"It comes certainly because of performance lately," Murray said. "The results we've been having - or not having - was an indicator that some adjustment, some emotion had to be brought back to the team."
Murray will continue to perform his duties as general manager. Those demands should lessen since the NHL trade deadline passed Tuesday.
Paddock was in his sixth season with the Senators. He posted a 36-22-2-4 record as head coach. Paddock, who coached the Eastern Conference in last month's NHL All-Star game, was offered another role in the organization.
Sharks 4, Blue Jackets 2 - Brian Campbell notched his first point for San Jose and the Sharks scored three goals in an eight-minute span of the second period to win in Columbus.
Sabres 8, Predators 4 - Steve Bernier scored twice and added an assist in his Sabres' debut, pushing Buffalo back into eighth place in the Eastern Conference with a win over visiting Nashville.
Wild 3, Lightning 2 - Pierre-Marc Bouchard had a goal and an assist to lead visiting Minnesota. Pavol Demitra and Brian Rolston also scored for the Wild.
Maple Leafs 4, Panthers 3 - Matt Sundin's second goal with 1:08 left in regulation forced overtime, and Toronto went on to a shootout victory over host Florida.
Blackhawks 1, Coyotes 0 - Patrick Lalime made 32 saves for his first shutout in more than a year, and Jason Williams scored the lone goal in host Chicago's win over Phoenix.
Avalanche 3, Canucks 2 - Joe Sakic tied the score with 14.7 seconds left, and Marek Svatos scored the winning goal in the shootout, lifting the visiting Avalanche.