him to Vancouver, and he ran me
over on his way to the nearest exit."
Ron Wilson, of course, lost his job after failing to pull the Maple Leafs out of their recent tailspin. Wilson brought the season’s total for coaching casualties to eight, which would be bad enough. But lately it seems like any coach who isn’t being sent to the unemployment line is winding up the injured reserve instead.
San Jose coach Todd McLellan missed several games with a concussion after being hit in the head with a stick. He finally returned to the Shark’s bench on Tuesday for a matchup against Edmonton Oilers coach Tom Renney, who is coming off his own recent concussion thanks to an errant puck. And let’s not forget Sabres’ coach Lindy Ruff, who suffered broken ribs in a collision during practice.
It would be tempting to say that any coach who’s managed to avoid getting injured or fired must be doing pretty well. But apparently not, since according to my sources plenty of other coaches are also having a rough time of it. Here’s a sampling of some other recent coaching complaints.
Mike Yeo, Minnesota – Now realizes that when he spent all that time teaching the forwards how to properly slide along the ice in an attempt to block a shot, he apparently should have also told Devin Setoguchi that he didn’t need to do it on his own shootout attempts.
Randy Cunneyworth, Montreal – Hasn’t had time to make much progress on learning French lately, which is too bad because it would have really come in handy next year when he’s coaching in Belgium.
Peter DeBoer, New Jersey – Feels like his first season with the Devils has gone pretty well all things considered, so not really sure why his desk calendar for the first week of April says “help new coach move in to office”.
Mike Babcock, Detroit – Now that he won’t be matched up against Wilson for next year’s HBO 24/7 series, will probably need to scrap his idea of answering every question by saying “Hey, refresh my memory, how did Ron do in the 2010 Olympics?”
Paul MacLean, Ottawa – Despite a recovering local economy many businesses that were once thriving are now struggling just to make ends meet, at least according to the guy in charge of putting a new nameplate on the coach’s office door.
Alain Vigneault, Vancouver - New addition Zack Kassian has struggled to fill the void left by the departed Cody Hodgson, in the sense that he never seems to complain about his ice time or ask to be traded.
Todd Richards, Columbus – Whenever he mentions how difficult it is to be an interim coach without knowing whether he’ll still have a job once the new general manager is in place, he’s inevitably interrupted by Scott Howson saying “Dude, I’m standing right here”.
Glen Gulutzan, Dallas – Like everyone else, still has absolutely no idea who Glen Gulutzan is.
Randy Carlyle, Toronto – Assumed it was a bad sign when he started his first defensive drill as Leafs coach by saying “OK, show me what you’d normally do after a simple shot from the point” and the entire team immediately went to center ice for a faceoff.
Dale Hunter, Washington – In hindsight, should probably have thought about which team he was talking to before he gave them that whole “Let’s treat every game like it’s a playoff game” speech.
Ken Hitchcock, St. Louis – Kind of wishes he hadn’t bothered with that intrasquad Team Halak vs Team Elliott “first goal wins” scrimmage, given that it’s now been going on since last Tuesday.
Dan Bylsma, Pittsburgh – Already has Evgeni Malkin penciled in as the first line center and now Sidney Crosby is coming back, and you know how much of a pain it is to have to go visit a jeweler to find out your ring size.