On Sunday, General Manager Jason Botterill said it was a lack of success in the second half of the season that ultimately led to the firing of Phil Housley.
On Monday, the players said it was their fault.
“It’s on us in the room. We’re the product on the ice,” captain Jack Eichel said when asked about having to go through another coaching change in his young career.
“It’s unfortunate that had to happen because Phil’s not the one playing the games. I’ve said this to you guys before, it’s on us as players to be better on the ice every night. It hasn’t been good enough.The prouduct on the ice hasn’t been good enough. It falls on nobody but ourselves.”
“I thought Phil was a great communicator. I thought he did a great job of preparing us to play,” added goaltender Carter Hutton. “I think a lot of it falls on the players in this room. We go out there and we play the games. For us, for me, it was just the inconsistency of which team was going to show up. I think that was probably the hardest part for everyone involved was there were nights we would be electric and then nights, even period by period, we’d show up and were a different team.”
In total, the Blue & Gold only won 16 of their final 57 games and finished 27th — after climbing all the way No. 1 in the league standings following their 17-6-2 start.
They also went nearly four months before securing back-to-back wins as they missed the postseason for a second straight year under Housley and eighth straight as a franchsie.
“Sometimes when things go well, coaches get a lot of the credit. When things don’t go as planned, coaches end up paying for it,” said winger Jason Pominville. “Is it right? I guess time will tell. But, it’s not fun to see and we should all feel resposible for it, for sure.”