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Senators name Travis Green as head coach | CBC Sports

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The Ottawa Senators are turning to Travis Green to end a seven-year playoff drought.

The NHL club announced Tuesday that it has hired Green as the club’s new head coach and signed him to a four-year contract.

Green takes over from interim head coach Jacques Martin, who coached the team after D.J. Smith was fired on Dec. 18. Martin, who previously coached the club from 1996-2004, is staying on as an adviser.

“After speaking to several highly qualified candidates, it became clear that Travis is the right fit to lead our group,” Senators president of hockey operations and general manager Steve Staios said in a release.

“As we’ve routinely stated, developing a winning culture is paramount to our aspiration of achieving sustained success. Travis has a burning desire to win, is passionate about teaching and holds his players to a very high standard.”

The Senators said the timing of a press conference to introduce Green was yet to be determined.

Ottawa last made the playoffs in 2016-17, when they made a surprise run before losing to Pittsburgh in seven games in the Eastern Conference final.

The team has had its share of high-profile struggles on and off the ice since then.

Season began with promise

This season began with the promise of stable ownership under new governor Michael Andlauer, but went off the rails quickly when longtime GM Pierre Dorion was fired after an NHL investigation into irregularities stemming from a 2021 trade caused the team to forfeit a first-round draft pick.

On the ice, the Senators got off to an 11-15 start, prompting the team to fire Smith in his fifth season coaching the club.

The multi-year deal for Green shows the club believes he can turn its fortunes around.

The 53-year-old from Castlegar, B.C., coached in the Vancouver Canucks’ system from 2013 to 2021, including four-plus seasons as head coach at the NHL level.

The Canucks posted a 141-159-35 record under Green and made the playoffs once, when they advanced to the second round of the 2019-20 post-season before losing to Vegas in seven games.

He was fired 25 games into the 2021-22 season along with general manager Jim Benning with the Canucks sitting at 8-15-2.

Most recently, Green posted an 8-12-1 record as interim head coach of the New Jersey Devils last season after Lindy Ruff was fired on March 4.

Green has had greater playoff success at the American Hockey League level. He led Vancouver’s former affiliate, the Utica Comets, to the 2015 Calder Cup final.

He also won a Western Hockey League championship as interim head coach with the Portland Winterhawks in 2013.

Internationally, Green coached Canada at the 2022 Spengler Cup.

Green spent 14 seasons in the NHL as a player after being drafted in the second round (23rd overall) by the New York Islanders in 1989.

He recorded 455 points (193 goals, 262 assists) and 764 penalty minutes over 970 regular-season games with the Islanders, Anaheim, Phoenix, Toronto and Boston.

Blues stick with Bannister behind bench

The St. Louis Blues have removed the interim tag from Drew Bannister’s title and named him their full-time coach.

President of hockey operations and general manager Doug Armstrong announced the move Tuesday.

Bannister, 50, signed a two-year contract to remain in the role after replacing Craig Berube when the 2019 Stanley Cup-winning coach was fired in December. The Blues went 30-19-5 after Bannister took over for Berube and finished six points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

This is Bannister’s first head-coaching gig in the NHL. He previously coached the Springfield Thunderbirds of the American Hockey League, St. Louis’ top affiliate, for two-plus seasons.

Keeping Bannister fills one of the many potential vacancies this off-season. There have been 16 coaching changes (half the league) over the past year, not counting the need for Winnipeg to find a successor for Rick Bowness, who announced his retirement Monday.

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