NHL Coach Under Fire After a Passive-Aggressive Healthy Scratching

Published January 18, 2023 at 10:07 PM
It's safe to say that things aren't going according to plan for the Ottawa Senators.

After acquiring Alex DeBrincat, and signing Claude Giroux, the team was poised for a real chance at the playoffs.

Unfortunately, they sit 14th in the East at this time, no better than where they were last season.

A lot of the blame has come on head coach DJ Smith, and rightfully so, since the lineup appears rather elite. While the defense is thin, and their goaltending is always a question mark, they have one of the more dynamic top-six groups in the league.

Now, DJ Smith has fuelled the fire of hate around him by healthy scratching Mathieu Joseph.

Not only is Joseph one of Ottawa's most reliable bottom-six forwards, but tonight he would be facing his brother in the NHL for the first time. Because of the momentous event, over 50 of Joseph's friend and family will be in attendance. Unfortunately, Mathieu will be watching from the press box.

Ian Mendes of The Athletic tried to dig in to the case, and ultimately determined that this was more than just a hockey move. This was essentially a matter of punishment.

Tried to dig into the Mathieu Joseph situation over past few hours, but all sides quiet right now.

My sense is this isn't a traditional «coach versus player» healthy scratch situation.

I also get the sense this might have something to do with something non-hockey related.

Punishing a player is already wrong, but doing it on what should have been a memory of a lifetime is absolutely disgusting.

If DJ wasn't on the hot seat already, he definitely isn't gaining new fans.
January 18   |   98 answers
NHL Coach Under Fire After a Passive-Aggressive Healthy Scratching

Should DJ Smith be fired?

Yes7677.6 %
No2121.4 %
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