Saturday, December 3, 2011

A fond farewell to the NHL's fired coaches

"Wait a second," thought Getzlaf, "Why do
I have to be the baldest guy on the bench?"
It's been a bad week for NHL coaches. After a relatively stable first two months of the season, NHL teams apparently decided it was time to start handing out pink slips.

Both Carolina's Paul Maurice and Washington's Bruce Boudreau were fired on Monday, and they were joined on the sidelines a few days later by Anaheim's Randy Carlyle. Or at least Maurice was; Boudreau was busy taking Carlyle's job.

The week's action brings this season's total number of fired coaches to four once you count Davis Payne, who got a head start when he was fired by the Blues three weeks ago. No doubt they'll be joined by others as the season wears on, but for now the latest round of coaching musical chairs seems to have ended.

But before we all move on, let's take one last fond look back and the four coaches who've been shown the door since the season began.

Davis Payne, St. Louis Blues

Previous experience: Was a virtual unknown in the hockey world when he was hired to coach the Blues in 2010, but things are much different these days because it's now 2011.
Career highlight: In one of those crazy little bits of trivia that nobody ever remembers but that's still technically true, was once the head coach of the St. Louis Blues.
Eventual downfall: Like other coaches who've lost their jobs to Ken Hitchcock, just couldn't win back the fans once they'd grown tired of watching vaguely entertaining hockey.
Future outlook: Is apparently working on a long-term deal with Calgary, according to hockey experts overheard mumbling something about Flames fans being in for another decade of constant Payne.

Paul Maurice, Carolina Hurricanes

Previous experience: Was named the coach of the Hartford Whalers at the age of 28, since that was the oldest a person could be without automatically throwing themselves in front of the Zamboni each time they heard "Brass Bonanza".
Career highlight: Won the Stanley Cup as coach of the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006, everyone just incorrectly assumes.
Eventual downfall: In hindsight, probably shouldn't have let Tomas Kaberle deliver that preseason "It turns out you can win a Stanley Cup ring without actually doing anything" speech.
Future outlook: Will probably want his next job to be in a city that appreciates the sport a little more than Carolina but isn't quite as hockey-crazy as Toronto. So, anywhere.

Bruce Boudreau, Washington Capitals

Previous experience: Spent the better part of three decades riding the buses in various minor leagues, so it was a huge shock when he had some difficulty relating to a player with a $124 million contract.
Career highlight: Led the Capitals to the best regular season record in the league in 2009-10, which would have been ever better if they hadn't listened to all those local football fans who insisted that the top seed always gets a first round bye.
Eventual downfall: Communication with star players Alexander Ovechkin and Alex Semin became so difficult that it often seemed as if those two were speaking some sort of completely different language.
Future outlook: Will no doubt quickly return to NHL prominence, but has decided to spend a few seasons in Anaheim first.

Randy Carlyle, Anaheim Ducks

Previous experience: Spent over 16 years as a player and then a coach in Winnipeg before being convinced to take a job in California during what hockey historians now refer to as "the shortest negotiation in history".
Career highlight: Joined that most exclusive of coaching clubs in 2007, when he qualified for the playoffs with a roster built by Brian Burke.
Eventual downfall: Failed to heed the age-old coaching advice, "always make sure your franchise goalie doesn't mysteriously develop vertigo".
Future outlook: May occasionally be mentioned as a possible replacement for Ron Wilson in Toronto, but only if the Maple Leafs miss the playoffs or have an extended slump or lose one game or give up a shot on net.


  1. NHL coaching carousel . . . .

  2. The photo caption knocked me out of my seat, well done.

  3. the boudreau stuff was gold.. hahaha!

  4. awesome piece.. kaberle joke killed me but the burkie playoff teams was a low blow :(

  5. I've decided to comment on stuff like this tonight. Good work. Been reading this for a while. Keep it up. Played in the GTA for a season, not for the Leafs don't get too excited, and Leafs fans are exactaly (sp?) as you portray them. Spot on - on all observations.

  6. Come on DGB - admit it - you will miss not having Paul Maurice to kick around! Of course, at this rate, we may need "" sooner than you think! He seems to be waking this team up, though.

  7. "but only if the Maple Leafs miss the playoffs or have an extended slump or lose one game or give up a shot on net. "


    But not because I am a Caps fan. In fact, I like to see the Leafs do well. No, I find this hilarious because, as Oail Andrew "Bum" Phillips once said:

    "There's two kinds of coaches, them that's fired and them that's gonna be fired."

  8. This has to be one of the funniest photo captions ever! And I loved the Kaberle joke. 5 stars :)

  9. I TOTALLY assumed he won the Stanley Cup with the Hurricanes in 2006. Feel so much shame.

  10. Re: "," he's going to be a great coach in the NHL. In fact, I'd be willing to bet he'll still be coaching Carolina after the Devils go through their next 7 coaches. So basically, he needs to last 2 years or so.

  11. Hey... Brass Bonanza is my ring tone. I'm not joking.