There is a more substantial portion of society than I care to admit that is waking up today and saying, “I’ve been there.” Not actually being there as in the back of an Uber joyously ridiculing the boss, but rather having something you said about a superior go public. The email being sent to the actual person your upset with is among the worst case scenarios.
The hockey version occurred last night when a video of several Ottawa Senators players went viral. They were in a ride-sharing vehicle where a dash cam recorded five minutes of what amounted to bitching.
It is honest, uncomfortable, and yet at times entertaining. There is never a moment where I was not cringing. This is an athlete in their most comfortable place, in the private presence of teammates. Minus the driver and the dash-cam that recorded the entire chirpfest.
Go out for work lunch today and raise hands if you think the person in the corner office will surface as part of the conversation. Most times it will be a couple of sentences here and there, and on other occasions, it will go to a much higher level of “we’re mad as hell, and we are not going to take this crap anymore.” Now think of the boss watching a video of that lunch.
The Senators organization reacted swiftly. The late-night media release didn’t dispute the event and went as far as to name the players involved. The statement included a quote by the head coach and revealed the name of the assistant who was the primary target of the players mocking.
The final line set the tone for what happens next. Said Guy Boucher, ” We are now treating this as a team matter and, will have no further comment to the media.”
Publically shutting it down was the only option outside of hiring the real-life version of “Olivia Pope,” and if the Senators haven’t done that by now, it is never going to happen. This team has done the crisis thing before. The players and coaches will handle the questions that will be asked regardless of the declaration.
There is much more uncertainty about what will happen behind the dressing room door. If ventilating the toxic comments made in the video is the goal the club should gather at a wind farm.
I asked an NHL assistant coach how he would go about things in Ottawa. His reply, “I don’t have a clue what I would do.”
Here is official playbook on what to do.
Acknowledge the comments.
Discuss what was said.
Repair the issues at the heart of the video
Trust each other moving forward.
The first task will be the easiest. The players have no choice but to eat this and while the route may include a group meeting with the coaches and team-mates or one loose-lipped offender at a time in the couches office, it will be dealt with immediately.
A former NHL player who suited up in the day of the quotable Brett Hull, Chris Pronger and Mark Messier told me how he would handle the day.
“I would 100% just man up as soon as I got to the rink tomorrow (today) and talk to entire coaching staff together. I would just say that it’s a really unfortunate situation and that I stand by my comments and that I would be open to finding solutions. After all, that Guy Boucher has to have a players, coaches, and trainers, only meeting to break the tension and attempt to move forward. Either way, the dumpster fire in Ottawa just got bigger, and I didn’t think that was possible.”
Keep in mind. Brett Hull used to say the kind of stuff featured in the video straight to his coaches while on the bench or even skating by his bench as they were calling him off the ice, but I digress.
Theoren Fleury reached out via Twitter.
“Name me one player who was completely happy with the coach he played for??? The answer is zero. Name me one guy who never complained about the system the team was playing??? Answer zero especially if your losing. Human nature you question what’s going on.”
The more I thought about it, the more I decided this entire situation isn’t about players ripping on a coach but instead the avenue it was made public.
I think it gives the driver to much credit to say he reeled the players in by asking them which team they played for. I doubt he was hatching a plan to upset his passengers’ universe with the recording device on the dash. I have no idea what motivated his decision. I will say I am of the opinion it was wrong.
My basic understanding of dash-cams in cabs and or transit comparables is they are for the safety of the driver. I 100% support their presence. If the driver has a side hobby of a youtube channel and likes putting his experiences online, then that should be made known.
Scott Norton is an NHL Player agent responded to my opinion in this fashion.
One of the 1st lessons I teach young clients – if you don’t want something to go public, don’t post it, text it or talk in front of others! It’s definitely unfortunate and disappointing, but if it hadn’t videotaped, it certainly could have been repeated 2nd hand! #ThinkBeforeTalk https://t.co/D417Jo3Ksz
— Scott Norton (@NortonSports) November 6, 2018
So how does someone vent, in a secure way? I proposed resurrecting the “Cone of Silence” from the old Get Smart TV series.
When in possession of something delicate, Maxwell Smart used this apparatus to securely, pass information to his boss. Great idea, but terrible execution.
I agree.. I don't even think of dash-cams recording me. I am older though.. WE are getting closer and closer to the days of Get Smart. Maxwell Smart was ahead of his time.. #coneofsilence https://t.co/aEssgYkdms
— Daren Millard (@darenmillard) November 6, 2018
I imagine there have been a few nights we have each tried talking to a shoe!🤪 https://t.co/y0wRP3uECt
— Scott Norton (@NortonSports) November 6, 2018
The driver himself has not been identified. I could care less who he is. I want his company to look into the incident. I would also encourage the guy to ask any future customers if they played in the NHL. It may not be a good idea to accept those passengers.
Everyone complains. Everyone vents . The driver is a scumbag
— David Ling (@Davidgling) November 6, 2018
Total bullshit to say the least !! Sue him…
— Marc Savard (@MSavvy91) November 6, 2018
So this is the Day in Ottawa. Thanks to buddy Greg McCauley for putting what lies ahead a little context
— Greg McCauley (@gregmccauley9) November 6, 2018
It’s an ugly thing, and it can divide a dressing room that was still very much in the healing process from last seasons terrible divide. The Karlsson/Hoffman incident doesn’t have anything to do with present-day problems but does very much illustrate how fractured a hockey club can become.
Does this impact Matt Duchene’s future? Will the soon to be unrestricted free agent become a villain? Will the video controversy drain away with little impact?
We are once again in the midst of a Senators storm. It’s ugly and juicy with lessons in dealing with modern technology offered for those interested.
Rome is once again burning. Hard to believe there is anything left to be set ablaze.
I suggest going easier on those carrying the torches this time.
Of course, there is one good thing about all this. I would think Pierre Dorian will hold a media conference. Those are always fun. I wonder if he will get the same question I received in the middle of the eruptions
How does this affect the Nylander situation @TheAthleticTO
— Severio Schickedanz (@taylorprestidge) November 6, 2018