In the days that span between the end of the NHL regular season and the beginning of the playoffs, there is always a number of coaching and GM changes made by teams that were left out of the post-season fun. So, as sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west…the past couple of days have produced a few such moves.
On Wednesday, Craig MacTavish was fired as head coach of the Edmonton Oilers after his team failed to qualify for the post-season for the third straight season. Edmonton finished with a record of 38-35-9 for 85points, which was good enough for 11th place in the Western Conference.
During the news conference, General manager Steve Tambellini said, “He gave everything he possibly could to help this team get better, but we both agree that it is time for a change.”
On Monday, the Colorado Avalanche made a change in the front office, relieving general manager Francois Giguere. That team finished a lowly 32-45-5 for 69 points which landed them at the bottom of the Western Conference.
Team president Pierre Lacroix called the last-place finish ”unacceptable” and he will oversee the Avalanche until Giguere’s replacement is brought on.
Over the weekend, Jacques Lemaire, the only coach the Minnesota Wild has ever known, stepped down from his post following the Wild’s 40-33-9 season…those 89 points landed them 2 points out of a playoff spot.
“I think it’s time for the players to get a new coach and myself to look for other stuff,” Lemaire told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “I always said they’ll be a time. There comes a time that you know it’s the right time to go, and I know this. I had a great time, man. I had eight great years.”
(And as we find out just a few hours after I posted this…the Wild make the announcement that general manager Doug Risebrough will not return as well).
Just a few days after the NHL regular season ended on Sunday…three teams making major changes. Will we see any more coaches and/or general managers being shown the door or…as was the case with Lemaire…simply stepping away?
Well, in Montreal it’s been rumored that general manager Bob Gainey could be on the hot seat. The firing of Guy Carbonneau back on March 9 really didn’t seem to light the type of fire under the team as he had hoped and the Habs squeaked into the playoffs. If Montreal lays an egg against the highly-favored Boston Bruins in round one…Gainey could be on his way out.
As far as out Thrashers are concerned…John Anderson’s job is, and should be, safe going into next year. The 22-18-1 second half record has given fans here reason to hope for better days to come. As for general manager Don Waddell, I don’t expect him to be going anywhere anytime soon either.
Could Islanders Be Saying Good-Bye To Long Island Before Too Long?
Driving home this afternoon, I was listening to The NHL Channel on XM-204. They replayed an interview that WFAN conducted with New York Islanders’ owner Charles Wang. The discussion revolved around what might happen if he and his “Lighthouse Project” failed to gain approval from Nassau County and the Town of Hempstead to renovate the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and the surrounding area.
The Islanders play in the third oldest arena in the NHL…behind Mellon Arena and Madison Square Garden…and it is has the lowest seating capacity. Pittsburgh is slated to play in their new home, Consol Energy Center, in the 2010-11 season.
Wang made it very clear that he believed that if the Islanders relocated to another city it would be “devastating” to New York and Long Island. However, he also stated with no uncertainty that if this issue was not settled by October of this year, he would begin officially entertaining bids from other locations in which to move his franchise.
The Islanders lease at NVMC is set to expire in 2015.