Sports Outside the Beltway

Ottawa Senators fire coach John Paddock

This comes with less than 20 games left in the NHL season.

OTTAWA — The Ottawa Senators, looking sluggish in a recent, lengthy slump, on Wednesday fired coach John Paddock.

General manager Bryan Murray will take over coaching duties for the last 18 games of the regular season. Murray was coach when the Senators advanced to the Stanley Cup finals in 2006-07, but stepped aside to become GM during the summer, and Paddock was given the job as coach.

The Senators lead the Northeast Division by a point over the Montreal Canadiens, but have been shut out in their past two games. Ottawa has lost six of its past eight games and 14 of its last 21.

Murray’s first game in his return behind the bench will be Thursday against the Flyers in Philadelphia.

Murray has been almost as well traveled as Mike Keenan. With stops in Anaheim, Detroit, Washington, and Florida. The Senators have been a disappointment after a fast start to the 07-08 season. I still feel the talent is there for Ottawa to win the conference. A resurgent Pittsburgh Penguins look like the Senator’s biggest obstacle, that is other than themselves.

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