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T O P I C    R E V I E W
The 4th Line Banger Posted - 03/14/2009 : 09:12:19
Is it just me or is this NHL season in some kind of a black hole??? There are things that have happened this year that I have either never seen before or never expected to see. Most of what confuses me is in coaching. If one would have told me that there would be 7 coaches fired during the season, I would have not been surprised. But tell me the story around those 7 coaches, I would have thought it was a joke.

The first coaching change was scapegoat Dennis Savard in Chicago. The Blackhawks brought Joel Quinville into their organization in the off season and I think every NHL pundit knew that at the first glimpse of weakness in Chicago’s game Savard would be gone. I guess a 1-2-1 start was enough of a crack and Savard was done. Nothing about the past two seasons of Savard carrying a young (and very average) team ever closer to the playoffs. Don’t let the door hit ya on the way out.

Next came Barry Melrose in Tampa Bay. New GM Brian Lawton decided to move out a brilliant Coach in John Tortorella and bring in a guy who had not coached in the league in 7 years. Above this, Melrose never had a winning season as a coach without some guy named Gretzky on his team. This was only a matter of time, but it is interesting to see that Tampa has virtually the same win percentage under both Melrose and current interim coach Rick Tocchet.

Now, so far things are not too weird. A little, but nothing out of the twilight zone. But this is where things start getting really odd for a while. The Carolina Hurricanes decided that Peter Laviolette’s time in the Tar Heel State was done. This is the same guy who coached the team to a Stanley Cup just 2 1/2 seasons earlier and had the team playing to their potential. However, the weirdest thing is that the man who replaced Lavioette (Paul Maurice) is the same guy who Laviolette replaced in 2003. Don’t recall ever seeing that before.

Now we get back into a coaching change for normal reasons. The Ottawa Senators were on a slow, 2 season slide that found them on the outside of the playoffs for the first time since 95-96. Unfortunately, super duper junior coach Craig Hartsburg did not have the same success with the Sens. But to bring in Cory Clouston?? The under 40 completely unproven coach at the NHL level to stop the slide??? Wow.

Ok, now back to complete craziness. The next three coaches to get fired (Michel Therrien, Tom Renney, and Guy Carbonneau) all had teams with winning records and 2 of the 3 were playoff teams at the time of firing. Therrien was replaced by an AHL kid (much like in Ottawa), Renney was replaced by Tortorella(who was replaced by Melrose in Tampa just a few months early and was fired as well). Gainey for Carbo, I would buy that for a dollar.

My point behind all of this is that coaching in today’s NHL is complete madness. If one would have told be that a Jack Adam’s finalist and a Stanley Cup finalist coach from last season would be fired this season, I would have laughed out loud. Especially when you consider that of the three longest tenured coaches in the league (Lindy Ruff in Buffalo, Barry Trotz in Nashville, and Craig MacTavish in Edmonton), not one of them have a .500+ regular season record. Couple this with the fact that Trotz and MacTavish’s teams have made the playoffs a combined 7 of a potential 16 times and only 6 of those times were first round loses. Basically, if you lose enough, or stay mediocre long enough you might keep your job as an NHL coach. But be successful, or over achieve with a team that should not have succeeded and you will be on your way out at the first sign of weakness.


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6   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
irvine Posted - 11/23/2010 : 16:04:58
oh, if figured it had to to with the PUH tags at the end of the post. :P

Beans15 Posted - 11/23/2010 : 10:15:41
There was a spam comment that I deleted. Hence the "nice spam bud' comment.
irvine Posted - 11/21/2010 : 18:10:35

The 4th Line Banger is not 'spam'.

He is a writer who does articles for our forum from time to time.

Yewcandoit Posted - 11/21/2010 : 02:47:13
Nice spam bud.
slozo Posted - 03/31/2009 : 04:40:08
Some perspective must be given here, however weird things might seem when taken out of context.

As umteman says, Pittsburgh has really picked it up and played like the playoff team everyone expected them to be since the change (although it did coincide with some important d-men coming back into the lineup). As well, Carolina was on the outside looking in before; now they are playing like a team that has a chance at a first round upset. Clouston in Ottawa has them playing much much better, and with more games left they'd be in the playoffs.

And with the other situations, you have to give perspective. When you have "lost the room", as Tortorella and Carbonneau had, then you have to make a move . . . as much as Montreal was in the playoffs at the time, they had also been slowly sliding downward, a trend which has continued. I don't think Tortorella is that brilliant at all, frankly - he's a rah rah coach with no real system in my mind, and Tampa Bay is playing much better without him, most notably the young rookie Stamkos.

Looked at in perspective, these moves don't look to weird . . . they look smart - or at the very least, practical.

"Take off, eh?" - Bob and Doug
umteman Posted - 03/30/2009 : 18:07:40
And how strange that situation in Pittsburg is! They struggled most of the season with the coach who guided them to the Stanely cup final just last season (Therrien), replaced him with a first year AHL coach (Bylsma) with zero NHL coaching experience and... voila!..complete turn around, 14-2-3 since. Granted there have also been a couple roster additions and Crosby has really come on in that time, but the question being how much of that is due to some impact Bylsma has had, or is it just a new chemistry with Kunitz and Guerin. How much credit do you think Bylsma deserves?

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