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New head coach Green looking to bring accountability to young, talented Senators

OTTAWA — Travis Green says he is a firm, approachable and detail-oriented coach. The Ottawa Senators are banking on those qualities to make an impression on their young and talented roster.

OTTAWA — Travis Green says he is a firm, approachable and detail-oriented coach. The Ottawa Senators are banking on those qualities to make an impression on their young and talented roster.

Green was announced as the Senators' new head coach Tuesday after a selection process that included discussions with half a dozen candidates. He will be tasked with fostering a culture of accountability in Ottawa.

“I’m going to push the team in a direction of improving and making it a winner and having winning habits," Green said Wednesday at his introductory press conference. “It’s one thing to be a skilled group, it’s another thing to be a skilled winning (team).”

General manager Steve Staios highlighted Green’s leadership experience and ability to develop players as key factors in the hiring, reflecting owner Michael Andlauer’s commitment to turn around a Senators team that has finished out of the playoffs for seven straight seasons.

"I think Travis fits the mould of the culture we’re trying to create here," said Andlauer. "I keep on reiterating we’re in the people business and the ones that are going to care more and work harder in this competitive landscape are going to be the winners."

Andlauer said he was part of the process but let Staios make the final decision.

Although the 53-year-old Green does not have a winning record as head coach, or a wealth of NHL playoff success, he evidently impressed Staios enough to secure the job and a four-year contract.

“Resume, coaching record, compared to the attributes of the head coach,” said Staios. “I think when you look at coaching records, as we went through this, I think you’ve got to look at what the team was at the time, all the circumstances behind it, the age of the group, the talent of the group. I know coaches get judged on their coaching records, but there’s also a lot more to it.”

Green most recently served as New Jersey’s interim head coach this season after Lindy Ruff was fired, where he posted a mediocre 8-12-1 record. Before that he spent parts of six seasons with the Vancouver Canucks compiling a 141-159-35 record. The Canucks made the playoffs once under his watch, when they advanced to the second round of the 2019-20 post-season before losing to Vegas in seven games.

“I think I’m just a better coach from experience,” said Green when asked how different he was from the coach first hired by Vancouver in 2017.

"I look at myself as a guy that’s able to self-evaluate. I have a growth mindset and try to improve. I think that’s important for all coaches."

The Senators (37-41-4) are coming off a season where they parted ways with longtime general manager Pierre Dorion after the team was stripped of a first-round draft pick due to a trade infraction, then fired head coach D.J. Smith after an 11-15 start.

Green takes over from Jacques Martin, who took over from Smith on an interim basis. Martin will remain as an adviser.

A former player with 970 NHL games to his credit, Green is known as a coach who holds players accountable, something that was lacking under Smith.

“If you want to have accountability, you’ve got to be able to express what’s expected,” said Green. “And, that process takes a little time, but any winning team has accountability within their group.”

While he expects accountability, Green said he is someone who cares about his players and wants to work at getting the best out of each individual.

Green is aware of the passion Ottawa fans have for their team. As a member of the Maple Leafs during the 2001-02 season, he experienced the fierce rivalry firsthand when Toronto defeated Ottawa in a tense seven-game second-round series during the peak of the Battle of Ontario.

Now, he's eager to bring that same level of energy back to the Canadian Tire Centre.

"I know how bad people in Ottawa want to win,” Green said. “I’m going to give everything I can to push this team, and when I say push (I mean) develop and help, but also push and be demanding to make this team into a team to be proud of. I want to win a Stanley Cup and I know that’s why we’re here and I’m going to push the team to get to that place."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 8, 2024.

Lisa Wallace, The Canadian Press