Bobby Ryan sounds off on the future of DJ Smith in Ottawa.
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Bobby Ryan sounds off on the future of DJ Smith in Ottawa.

The former Ottawa Senators forward shares his thoughts on the coaching situation in Ottawa.

Jonathan Larivee

The Ottawa Senators have not had a good start to the 2023-24 National Hockey League regular season and as a result there are some who already want to see drastic changes being made to the team.

In spite of having only played 7 games this season, posting a record of 3-4 in the process, there have been some early calls for a change in leadership in Ottawa including early calls for the jobs of general manager Pierre Dorion and head coach DJ Smith. Much of the flack directed at Dorion has cooled off since the announcement of a 41 game suspension for restricted free agent Shane Pinto, but the same cannot be said of Smith.

Recently, former Ottawa Senators forward Bobby Ryan addressed the criticism directed at the Sens head coach and he suggested that cooler heads should prevail here.

"Lot of my timeline is seeing fire DJ related stuff…I get it," began Ryan. "But I don’t get it, until a group of players quit on a coach..he’s still hitting the points he’s trying to..there is no quit on the ice under him. It’s 7 games in. Let’s pump the brakes here."

Ryan argued that this is the first season where Smith truly gets to be a coach and he should receive some breathing room after having toiled with a poor roster for several seasons.

"Respectfully no..he’s had four years of kid gloves," said Ryan in response to those pointing to Smith's long tenure behind the Senators' bench. "Develop, mold, teach but don’t piss off the main guys. Now he gets to. He’s now a coach and not a teacher. Let’s give him a chance."

I doubt very much that Ryan's endorsement will impact Smith's future in Ottawa, but I'm sure the Senators' head coach appreciates the support nonetheless.