|Craig Hartsburg's tenure in Ottawa lasted only 48 games, far fewer than the former Senators coach expected when he took the job (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images).
Craig Hartsburg doesn't look far when it comes to assessing his coaching tenure with the Ottawa Senators, which came to an abrupt end on Sunday night.
"I'm not the type of person to make excuses and blame others," he said.
"I look in the mirror first."
Hartsburg spoke with Ottawa media on a conference call earlier today, making his first public comments since Senators general manager Bryan Murray relieved him of his duties on Sunday night. He leaves behind a team that, at 17-24-7, sits in 13th place in the Eastern Conference, 14 points short of a playoff position.
It's certainly not the ending that Hartsburg envisioned when he took the Senators coaching job last June. Binghamton Senators coach Cory Clouston replaced Hartsburg on Monday.
"I'm very disappointed in what has happened, both in being fired and also in how our team has played," an emotional Hartsburg said in reading a prepared statement. "I'm not here to make excuses or blame others. As a coach, I take great pride in my team's work ethic, high level of competing and team play. I take responsibility for those not being good enough.
"I feel bad for letting Bryan down. Bryan is a good man. I want to wish the players the best. They are a good bunch of guys and I hope they turn things around very quickly. I leave here knowing that I did my best and I guess my best just wasn't good enough. I tried to treat people the right way, with respect and integrity.
"And I wish Cory all the best. Hopefully, a different voice makes a big difference."
Hartsburg refused to point the finger at any of his players for his demise.
"I don't think it's just about certain players," he said. "I think it's the team itself. To me, we didn't (consistently) get the work habits and competing and playing a good team game with structure. It certainly shouldn't fall on any one group of players' laps. It was my responsibility to get those things done and it didn't happen."
The Senators job was Hartsburg's third in the National Hockey League, following earlier stints with the Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks. He said it's too soon to predict what comes next for him or to properly analyze what went wrong in Ottawa.
"It's still really early in the process for me," he said. "There are so many emotions that are going through my head right now. You really need time to reflect and look back at the things we tried to do and try to learn from it.
"Right now, to say 'I should have done this' or 'I could have done that better'... You really need some time to reflect on everything that's happened."