D.J. Smith tells all after being fired by Ottawa

He was let go by the Senators after another bad start this weekend.



The Ottawa Senators finally made a change over the weekend, firing embattled head coach D.J. Smith after yet another poor start to the season and a total record of 121-154-32 along with zero postseason appearances. 

And in his first public comments since the change was made, he maintains that he's proud of the work that he did while behind the Senators bench, and is instead blaming injury woes on why he wasn't able to help the team take the next step.

“Absolutely, I’m proud of the amount of work that we put in, the amount of people we met and I’m proud of a lot of the players that we brought from young kids to what we think are really good NHL players,” Smith told Garrioch. “That job was to come in and do that. I think I leave with a lot of guys that are much better NHL players than when they came in. One of the most unfortunate part of this job is the injuries and you can’t control those. We had insurmountable amount of injuries over my time here. Whether it was goaltending, star players or centres. It’s not an excuse, but you need the tools to win in this league. The timing of these injuries were crushing."

However, he maintains his disappointment in how things turned out. 

“I’m disappointed that we couldn’t turn the corner with this group for whatever reason,” Smith said. “Whether it was injuries or whatever the case may be. When we got it back to .500, you had to see that we needed to make a step and not continue to drop lower. I’m disappointed in that, but not disappointed in the whole body of work. I think I did my job in developing these young guys and turning them into real NHL players by giving them the confidence every day.”

With former Senators head coach Jacques Martin having been named interim coach along with former Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson being tabbed as an assistant, Smith hopes that the city of Ottawa is soon able to enjoy cheering for a winning team again. 

"I don’t only want them to be successful for themselves, but also for the city to experience a winner again," Smith said. "It’s really close and unfortunately my time came up but this team is going to be really good. They have good leadership, players that care and like each other, and for a lot of reasons we didn’t find a way to win early in the season. That doesn’t mean this team can’t get it going. There’s too much in that room. I have no doubt that if I had stayed right to the end, we’d be right close to the playoffs.”

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Source: TSN