(Gothenburg, Sweden) Radek Bonk experienced dark days with the Ottawa Senators, before the team found greater success.
The club has recently gone through another troubled period, but the former Senator sees better days ahead.
Bonk lives in the nation’s capital and follows his former team closely. He understands the frustration fans felt during the era of late owner Eugene Melnyk.
However, he has been optimistic since a group led by Michael Andlauer purchased the organization.
A difficult start to this season led to the dismissal of D. J. Smith and the return behind the bench of Jacques Martin, Bonk’s coach in Ottawa from 1996 to 2004.
“They have a great future,” Bonk said at the world junior hockey championship, where his son Oliver is playing for Canada.
“There were four, five, six difficult years. The change of coach will be good. A new voice and a little more structure. »
Bonk scored 194 goals and 497 points in the NHL in 969 regular season games.
He played 14 seasons after being drafted third overall in 1994 by the Senators.
He added 12 goals and 27 points in the playoffs in 73 games.
The 47-year-old former center believes Martin will steer the Senators in the right direction, just like he did in his day.
“(We were the worst) team in the league and then Jacques came in,” recalled Bonk, who also played for the Montreal Canadiens and the Nashville Predators in the NHL.
Before retiring in 2014, he also played for five years in the Czech Republic, his native country.
“He (Martin) gave us direction,” Bonk continued. It made us see that if we wanted to win, this is what we had to do. We have become one of the best teams in the league. »
Bonk said that with Martin, we always knew what to expect.
“He makes you accountable,” said the man who had 25 goals and 70 points in 2001-02, in his best season.
“He’s going to be good for the younger players. If they apply what he teaches, they will have better results. »