The Ottawa Senators aren’t having the best 2018-2019 season so far. 14 games in they’re looking at a 5-6-3 record and a -14 goal differential. Whereas so many Canadian teams have come out of the gate firing, the Sens find themselves fading quickly. Their inability to kill penalties, curious coaching decisions, and lack of momentum has a lot of people complaining about the team.
That apparently includes some of the players.
Per the Ottawa Citizen, Sens forward Matt Duchene, defenceman Chris Wideman, defenceman Thomas Chabot, center Chris Tierney, defenceman Dylan DeMelo, and winger Alex Formenton all hopped in an Uber in Phoenix on October 29 or 30 while the team was on the road. Likely unbeknownst to them, the driver was recording the ride (which is allowed and often done to protect drivers from false claims). However, it’s unclear exactly how the ride ended up on YouTube and Twitter, where the players were recorded talking smack about their coaches and team.
— Ottawa Citizen (@OttawaCitizen) November 6, 2018
Much of the conversation revolved around the team’s defensive miscues, something Duchene pointed out might be because of their assistant coach Marty Raymond. “Marty Raymond, the only coach in NHL history to have the worst power-play and the worst PK within a calendar year,” says Duchene. Wideman then chimed in from the front seat, asking, “Do you notice that when (Raymond) runs the video, if you actually do pay attention, he doesn’t ever teach you anything? He just commentates what’s happening.” Duchene then replies, “Here’s the other thing, too. We don’t change anything, ever. So why do we even have a meeting? I haven’t paid attention in three weeks.”
Raymond has been with the Senators since July 2016 and had previously served under head coach Guy Boucher with the Tampa Bay Lighting as well as in the AHL.
There are other comments about the defense and the team’s inability to slow down opponents in recent games.
The video is extra embarrassing since Ottawa came into the season hoping to create a more positive team culture in the wake of last season, which was apparently so bad that it led in part to captain Erik Karlsson’s departure in the offseason. All of the players in the video are still on the team except for Formenton, who is back with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League.
The video is going to create some awkward conversations behind the scenes but there’s also the question of how the video became public in the first place and whether or not the players’ privacy was compromised. Many in the NHL family started chiming in Monday night to defend the players.
Every team in NHL history has had a cab full of guys ripping the coach or GM. That’s a fact. What a compete scumbag move releasing that video
— Ryan Whitney (@ryanwhitney6) November 6, 2018
This is rough for everyone involved, but the invasion of privacy is disgusting. https://t.co/n9GqhR04PQ
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) November 6, 2018
As mentioned, Uber drivers are allowed to record their rides. As far as how local municipalities see it legally, that depends on each one. In Arizona where the ride took place, the recording was indeed legal since it’s a one-party consent state (one participant can record a conversation without the other person’s knowledge or consent). However, it’s unclear whether or not the driver has the legal right to share the conversation publicly without permission or consent. So, in theory, the players could sue the driver as well as Uber, for disclosing what they deem to be private information. The driver would be able to get around this had he made it known he was live streaming or recording, but as far as we can tell that’s not the case.
However it all turns out, the lesson remains…watch what you say and do in your rideshare. You never know who’s listening (or recording).