NOW’S NOT A GOOD TIME TO BE DORION
There was a time not so long ago when you would very much have wanted to be in Pierre Dorion’s shoes.
He was a respected NHL scout who suddenly had a chance to be the general manager of a team in his hometown.
Does it get any better? Apparently, yes.
Dorion’s first coach hiring would be Guy Boucher, who hadn’t been able to get a job in the league for years. Dorion adamantly stated Boucher was his first and only choice. He was confident in a decision that turned out to be a very good one.
In their first year together, they led the Ottawa Senators to the Eastern Conference final. Dorion was a finalist for the GM of the year award, while Boucher received votes for the Jack Adams Award as best coach.
This was going to be a good, if not great, marriage.
But apparently it also got worse.
Less than 12 months later, you wouldn’t want to be Dorion. The team he runs is screwed. Dorion has to trade Mike Hoffman, but he can’t. No team is going to touch Hoffman. Not unless the police quickly conclude their investigation and find that his fiancée Monika Caryk is innocent of serious harassment allegations made by Melinda Karlsson.
If such turns out to be the case, Melinda will be liable for defamation. She knew this going in.
Dorion has to trade Erik Karlsson before the draft to get picks that theoretically will develop a year sooner than the ones he would get for Karlsson next year, but he can’t. Not while there’s still a shadow of a doubt as to which of Melinda or Caryk is telling the truth.
The one that isn’t could spread more poison that would destroy her man’s next team.
Dorion promised a group of fans he wouldn’t move Karlsson before the draft, that he would offer him an eight-year contract extension on July 1.
That would be a waste of time now unless Dorion can somehow guarantee the captain that Caryk will no longer be a part of the Senators family by the start of training camp.
There’s only one way Dorion can do that. Once no other team makes a deal for Hoffman or claims him on waivers, Dorion has to tell Karlsson the Senators will pay the speedy winger millions to stay at home in Waterloo for the next two seasons.
Even in that unlikely scenario, Karlsson will most certainly want as far away from this crap show as possible, primarily because of the ringleader — and we’re not referring to Dorion.
There has been speculation the Senators knew of this wives and girlfriends soap opera — by the way, if it does become a movie, Elisha Cuthbert will play herself — for most of the season. Yours truly was even guilty of that.
It made sense. Dorion has talked about the open-door policy he has with Karlsson, saying the two have a strong relationship and continually discuss all matters. Wouldn’t something like this have been brought to the GM’S attention? Wouldn’t Dorion have traded Hoffman the minute he found out?
Of course, the would be if Karlsson believed all along that it was Caryk waging the attack on Melinda. But what if he didn’t? What if Karlsson and the team only thought it was some whack job of a fan who was harassing Melinda until after the trade deadline? What if any evidence they had against Caryk didn’t come to light until the season’s end?
Another theory bouncing around is that even if Dorion was told of a problem between Monika and Caryk and knew he had to deal Hoffman, he was instructed not to by owner Eugene Melnyk.
After trading for Matt Duchene and giving up first-round picks in the process, Melnyk was all in for this season. Trading away your top goal-scoring forward would be hurtful to that cause. Better to tell your people the scandal would settle on its own.
Either way, Dorion’s hands were tied.
If, in trying to trade Hoffman during the last few weeks, he has failed to mention the allegations against Caryk, well, that’s a whole other story. Rival GMS might have a little trouble trusting him going forward. But really, do you blame Dorion? He would be able to make a trade if no one knew.
Oh, and the next man in his position who doesn’t try to pull a fast one on a fellow GM will be the first.
Meanwhile, there are fans out there saying Dorion should not use the fourth overall pick in the upcoming draft, but instead trade it or give it to Colorado as part of the Duchene deal. But do you really think Dorion would bank on the Senators being worse next season, which would give them another shot at a first overall pick?
If the Senators finish 31st in 2018-19, it’s tough to see Dorion still being their GM.
There is a suggestion that Dorion trades down in the draft, maybe gives up the fourth pick for the 27th and gets an asset in return, then flips the Avalanche the 27th pick. It would be a nice idea if it wasn’t an Ottawa original pick he had to give up.
It seems fashionable to put a lot of blame on Dorion for what’s going on with the Senators these days, but he was, is and will remain a smart hockey man. He could use some help, however, but that call has to come from up top.
A tall, wise fellow summed up the Senators situation by saying this: “Organizational standards are set at the top. Everyone takes their cues from that.”
In other words, the Senators are screwed.
No, you wouldn’t want to be Dorion right now.
Senators GM Pierre Dorion has an unenviable mess on his hands as he tries to improve the fortunes of the flagging franchise.