Several Ottawa Senators players were recorded openly mocking coaches and joking about the state of the team while riding in an Uber during a recent road trip. That video, which was presumably recorded and shared by the driver of the vehicle, hit the internet this week via Twitter and YouTube.
The five-minute recording appears to have been captured in Phoenix last week and featured a number of prominent Sens players -- including Matt Duchene, Chris Wideman, Thomas Chabot and Chris Tierney -- poking fun at the team's current defensive and special-teams woes.
‘I haven’t paid attention in three weeks’: Sens players caught knocking coaches, laughing about team on video https://t.co/rNNSNjDjsd pic.twitter.com/toWFPhw5fx— Ottawa Citizen (@OttawaCitizen) November 6, 2018
Senators assistant coach Martin Raymond was a frequent target of the players' criticisms.
"Marty Raymond, the only coach in NHL history to have the worst power-play and the worst PK within a calendar year," said Duchene, a forward who has spent the last year in Ottawa after arriving in a trade from Colorado last season.
Raymond runs Ottawa's penalty kill this season, which currently stands as the league's third-worst unit. He also led Ottawa's power-play unit last season, which finished fifth-worst in the league.
"Do you notice that when [Raymond] runs the video, if you actually do pay attention, he doesn't ever teach you anything?" Wideman asked. "He just commentates what's happening."
Duchene replied to that observation with a pretty damning response.
"We don't change anything, ever," he said. "So why do we even have a meeting? I haven't paid attention in three weeks."
The players didn't seem to be aware that they were being recorded during the conversation, and the video never shows the driver acknowledging the camera mounted under his rearview mirror. However, the recording doesn't seem to be illegal considering Arizona is a one-party consent state, and the driver made himself part of the conversation when he asked the riders what team they played for.
The players involved released a joint statement on Monday night to apologize for the incident.
"We want to apologize publicly to Marty Raymond, our teammates and coaches for our comments in Phoenix, Arizona on October 29. Our private conversation was recorded without our knowledge or consent. We are passionate about our team, and focusing on growing together. We are grateful for the support of our fans in organization. This is an important learning experience, and we will do better."
Senators head coach Guy Boucher released a statement through the club on Monday night.
"Nothing is more important to us during this rebuild than making sure our players and coaches are fully committed to our plan, or values and our system of play. We have every confidence in Marty Raymond's coaching; in the effort and determination of our team; and in the sincerity of our players' apology. We are now treating this as a team matter, and will be making no further comment to the media."
Uber has yet to release a comment regarding the situation.
Regardless, this is another unwanted blemish and distraction for a Senators team that has had plenty of them over the past few years. The organization was hoping to turn the page and make progress on a drama-free rebuilding period, and that is certainly not off to an ideal start, on or off the ice.