Dysfunctional franchises

A weekly sports column from the 100 Mile Free Press

Sometimes professional sports can get extremely messy, and I’m not talking about muddy and/or bloody uniforms.

I recently read the owner of the Phoenix Suns, Robert Sarver, let in a bunch of goats – yes, real goats – into the front office. As you could probably guess, it was a literal mess but also shone a light on how dysfunctional that franchise is.

It got me thinking about the Ottawa Senators, who have also been a little bit of a mess for the past few years. So I decided to compare two of the most defective franchises in North American sports right now.

Phoenix Suns

Sarver purchased the Suns in 2004 for $401 million and immediately had success, winning three divisional titles in a row from 2004-07. They haven’t had much success since then and it’s possible a lot of the blame could be placed on Sarver’s shoulders. According to Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN, a number of unnamed former coaches have talked to him about the owner’s more hands-on approach, such as immediately confronting them in the tunnel after the buzzer about substitution patterns or insisting on employing tactics during halftime. Former players, as well as the coaches also talked about Sarver yelling from the stands about pulling his own players from the game.

Currently, the Suns sit in the last place of the Western Conference. Ignoring the weird goat incident, the Suns have employed five general managers and seven head coaches since 2007. Not one of the head coaches has surpassed the number of games of Sarvar’s first head coach, Mike D’Antoni (389). The closest was Alvin Gentry who coached from 2009-2013, helming the bench for 261 games.

Ottawa Senators

The Ottawa Senators are an embarrassment. There really is no way around saying that. Just read the Twitter thread below.

Eugene Melnyk will probably go down as one of the worst general managers in the history of the NHL, and that’s saying a lot.

He threatened fans about relocating the team. He’s overseen the trades of Erik Karlsson, Mike Hoffman, Kyle Turris, Matt Duchene and Mark Stone. Franchise hero Daniel Alfredsson leaves the front office because of Melnyk, Ubergate, dropping heavy balls on fans, the list goes on and on.

The Senators are like a caged dog with rabies, except it’s only interested in biting itself. I mean, this season they traded three players in the top four of team scoring (Stone, Duchene and Ryan Dzingel). They did receive some great young talents and future draft picks. It might not matter much in the long run considering no one seems to want to stay in Ottawa.

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