Add Detroit exec Shawn Horcoff to list of Senators GM candidates


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You can add another familiar name to the list of candidates for the vacant Ottawa Senators’ general manager’s post.

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Keep an eye Detroit Red Wings assistant GM Shawn Horcoff once the actual search for a replacement for Pierre Dorion kicks into high gear and there will be a lot of names floated between now and the the time a decision is made.

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The Senators aren’t in a hurry and that may also have to do with the fact that there are people who they want to speak with who aren’t available. Plus, assistant GM Ryan Bowness is a top candidate and he’ll be able to step up even more under Staios in the coming months.

While this newspaper has reported the likes of Tampa executive Mathieu Darche is another name to watch along with St. Louis’ VP Peter Chiarelli, Arizona assistant John Ferguson Jr., Horcoff is an interesting option

The 45-year-old Horcoff was a longtime teammate of Staios with the Oilers and has worked his way up through the executive ranks. He spent nine years in player development with the Wings under Ken Holland and was named to the assistant’s role by GM Steve Yzerman in 2022.

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Horcoff is also the GM of the club’s American Hockey League affiliate in Grand Rapids.

Senators president of hockey operations and interim GM Steve Staios told Postmedia Saturday in an interview he’ll take whatever time is necessary to fill Dorion’s role after he was fired Wednesday.

“The one thing we don’t want to do is rush into anything. I feel confident in the group we have in the front office to be able to continue to move forward with our vision and execute on that,” Staios said. “We’ll take the time afford to make sure we get the right people in place and continue to build this to a best in class, which owner Michael (Andlauer) wants.

“But to be quick, and trying to make decisions quickly, without having all the information, I don’t think that would be the right thing to do.”

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Asked by Hockey Night in Canada’s Ron MacLean Saturday why Staios doesn’t name himself the GM, he noted he came here to take a look at the operation as a whole, didn’t expect this scenario and repeated he’s in no hurry.

“I had my vision on being the president and looking at the long-term goals of this organization and we did some good things in the first month,” Staios said. “We want to do what’s best for the organization. Period.”

TAKING A BREAK

The Senators had Sunday off to reflect, relax and try to find answers.

Ten games into the season the club is supposed to push for a playoff spot for the first time in seven years, the Senators are in eighth place in the Atlantic Division with a 4-6-0 record, they’re tied for last in the East and are ranked No. 28 overall.

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If the Senators are going to get back on track the answers will have to come from within. Staios has taken over a team he didn’t build and he’s trying to determine what changes need to be made.

Coach D.J. Smith and the players know as a group they have to be better, but they also need to ignore the noise. He believes his team is letting the pressure to make the playoffs get to them.

“We’ve just got to play,” Smith said following the club’s 6-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning Saturday night. “These are young guys and you’ve just got to play. Don’t read, don’t look at the standings, when this team plays loose and driving (the net), they can defend, they can do all these things and I just think they’re trying too hard.”

That’s a big issue for the Senators. The club needs to find a way to get some consistency. Smith changed all of the Senators forward lines going into the game after the club lost Mark Kastelic and Ridly Greig to leg injuries in a 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings Thursday.

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“You just want to play consistently well every night,” Smith said before the club faced the Bolts. “There is a juggling process when you are losing guys all the time. But, in saying that, the game plan and the floor model has to be the same every night.

“We just have to get better, and better, and better, at it. We’ve just got to play hockey and think less. Sometimes when you have a lot of time off, you’re thinking outside the box. We’ve just got to play. We’ve got good players and they’ve just got to go out there and play.

“We’ll see where we’re at at the end of the month. We’ve got to go month-by-month but don’t go day-by-day. These players just have to do their thing and play some detail in your game. But make sure you’re having fun. When you’re having fun, you’re at your best. You’re going to make mistakes but so be it. Make mistakes trying to do the right thing.”

BATTLING THROUGH

Centre Tim Stutzle said with all the changes it’s hard to have chemistry.

“We have a lot of missing guys right now and the lines switch every game,” Stutzle said. “It’s tough. You can’t build chemistry without those guys. I thought (Greig) was one of our best players throughout this season and now you see him go down.

“There’s no excuses but it’s hard when you’re missing so many guys.”

bgarrioch@postmedia.com

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