Thursday, November 22, 2018

The 10 types of mid-season coaching changes (and how they usually work out)

It’s​ been a rough few​ weeks​ for​ NHL​ coaches.​ After​ going all​ of 2017-18 without​ a single coach losing​ their​ job until the​​ final day of the season, we’ve already seen four pink slips this year, including two this week. And we’re only a quarter of the way through the schedule.

Typically, NHL teams don’t want to make coaching changes while the season is going on. It’s virtually always a sign that something has gone horribly wrong, and a major change is needed to try to salvage the season. But at the same time, plenty of GMs around the league are under pressure to do exactly that. And that pressure will only mount as other teams make changes and potential candidates get snapped up.

So today, let’s look at 10 types of midseason coach firings, and some examples of each from the last 25 years of NHL history. Maybe they can teach us something about this year’s firings – from the four we’ve already seen and the ones that might still be to come.

And we’ll start with what is, unfortunately, probably the most common kind of midseason coaching change…

The Deck-Chair Reshuffling

The scenario: The season isn’t going well. The team fires its coach and hires a replacement. The season continues to not go well. Maybe it wasn’t the coach, you guys.

Recent examples: The Leafs go from Ron Wilson to Randy Carlyle in 2012. The Senators trying to stop a tailspin by replacing John Paddock with GM Bryan Murray in 2008. The Canadiens firing Alain Vigneault for Michel Therrien in 2000. The Canucks going from Tom Renney to Mike Keenan in 1998, and then again from Keenan to Marc Crawford the year after. The Wild replace Mike Yeo with John Torchetti in 2016. Panthers’ coach/GM Rick Dudley stepping aside for John Torchetti in 2004. The Kings replace Andy Murray with John Torchetti in 2006. Uh, maybe we should just call this one “The John Torchetti”.

Does it work?: Nope. Although in most of these cases, you get the feeling that nothing would have.

Potential 2018-19 cases: We’ll have to wait and see what the new guys can do. But the Kings are already giving off that vibe.

The Too-Little-Too-Late

The scenario: The old coach was bad. The new coach is good, at least for a while, and the team starts playing up to expectations. But the GM waits too long to make the switch, so they miss the playoffs anyway.

Recent examples: The Blues firing Andy Murray for Davis Payne in 2010. The Senators going from Craig Hartsburg to Cory Clouston in 2009. The Islanders making the switch from Jack Capuano to Doug Weight in 2017.

Does it work?: Yes and no. In a way, this has to almost feel like the worst-case scenario for a GM. It’s one thing to make the wrong move. It’s another to make the right one, but realize you pulled the trigger too late for it to make a difference.

Potential 2018-19 cases: None of the firings we’ve seen so far will fall into this category, because at least the four teams acted with enough time left to right the ship. But will we look back at some other team that hasn’t made a move yet and wonder if they should have joined the early-season crowd? Maybe not, but every Flyers fan is angrily clenching their fists right now just in case.

>> Read the full post at The Athletic

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