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Sens owner says no decision made on coach, GM

by John Kreiser and John McGourty
Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk on Wednesday denied media reports that he's made any decisions on the future of coach Craig Hartsburg and General Manager Bryan Murray.

"Contrary to what is being reported today by the media, I have made no decisions with respect to any personnel changes within the Senators organization," Melnyk said in a statement released by the team. "Winning remains our No. 1 priority, and there is a collective focus by our management, our coaching staff and our players to deliver this to our fans."

The Senators haven't done much winning this season. They are 1-5-1 on an eight-game road trip that concludes Thursday at Boston and 13-19-6 overall, last in the Northeast Division and 12th in the Eastern Conference. That has led to media speculation that Melnyk would replace Hartsburg and/or Murray.

Earlier Wednesday, Le Journal de Montreal joined the Ottawa newspapers and other media outlets in suggesting that Pat Quinn, who led the Team Canada to the gold medal at the just-concluded World Junior Championships — held at Ottawa's Scotiabank Place — would take over as coach and that Bob Nicholson, president of Hockey Canada, would become the new GM.

However, Quinn said he hasn't talked to Melnyk about the job.

"I think that report is awfully unfair to Bryan Murray and Craig Hartsburg," Quinn told early Wednesday evening. "As far as I'm concerned, there has not been one iota of mention of a job for me. The report is way off-base. Unfortunately, I think it doesn't speak too well of some people in your business."

Quinn also said he had not spoken to Melnyk since a brief conversation about the World Juniors before the tournament started. Much was made in the media of a big hug that Melnyk gave Quinn at the bench after Canada's 8-1 thrashing of the Czech Republic in the Canadians' opener at the tournament.

Hartsburg signed a three-year contract in June to replace Murray, who had taken over behind the bench after John Paddock was fired last Feb. 27.

Material from wire services and team Web site was used in this report

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