Several Ottawa Senators players apologized Monday night for mocking assistant coach Marty Raymond in a video recorded without their knowledge during a recent Uber ride.
Seven Senators players were riding in an Uber in Phoenix when they began panning the team’s penalty kill and Raymond’s coaching techniques. The Uber was equipped with a dashboard camera that recorded the Oct. 29 conversation, which was later published online. The original video was removed, but it has been copied and reposted.
The players — Chris Wideman, Matt Duchene, Thomas Chabot, Dylan DeMelo, Alex Formenton, Chris Tierney and Colin White — are seen and heard in the video complaining about the team’s penalty kill, which Raymond oversees, when the driver asks what team they play for.
“Ottawa,” Wideman, a defenseman, says in the clip. “As you can tell, we’re really pleased with our [penalty kill]."
The remarks were met with laughter as the players looked at statistics that showed the Senators' penalty kill ranked near the bottom of the NHL. As of Tuesday, Ottawa is killing penalties at a 68.8 percent rate, next to worst in the 31-team league.
In the video, the players criticize Raymond’s coaching techniques.
“Do you notice that when [Raymond] runs the video, if you actually do pay attention, he doesn’t ever teach you anything?” Wideman asks in the recorded conversation. “He just commentates what’s happening.”
“We don’t change anything, ever,” replies Duchene, a center. “So why do we even have a meeting? I haven’t paid attention in three weeks.”
Warning: video contains profanity
The Senators entered Tuesday tied for 12th in the Eastern Conference with 13 points and a 5-6-3 record. The seven players called the incident “an important learning experience” in a statement, vowing, “we will do better.”
“We want to apologize publicly to Marty Raymond, our teammates and coaches for our comments in Phoenix on Oct. 29,” the statement read in part, via ESPN. “Our private conversation was recorded without our knowledge or consent. We’re passionate about our team and focusing on growing together. We are grateful for the support of our fans and organization.”
Uber in a statement said the video was a “clear violation of our Community Guidelines. As soon as we learned of this situation, we immediately worked to help get this video removed.”
Still, the driver probably did not break any laws by recording passengers and publishing that recording. Arizona is a “one-party consent” state when it comes to recording conversations, according to the Digital Media Law Project. That means only one person in the conversation, in this case the driver, must give permission to record.
Also, dashboard cameras are common in cars used by ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft. They allow drivers to record interactions with passengers and other vehicles for an added sense of safety and to assist in filing insurance claims.
Uber allows drivers to use those devices in its company guidelines but advises drivers to adhere to local recording laws, which vary by state.
But Uber Canada General Manager Rob Khazzam tweeted Monday, “Filming or recording passengers without their consent is totally unacceptable and if reported / detected we will investigate + take action to preserve our communities privacy and integrity.”
Ottawa missed the playoffs last season under Coach Guy Boucher and is in the midst of tearing down and revamping its roster. Boucher expressed confidence in Raymond and declined to comment on possible punishment for players.
“Nothing is more important to us during this rebuild than making sure our players and coaches are fully committed to our plan, our values and our system of play,” Boucher said in a statement. “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.”
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