Oilers, Avs & Wild Making Moves – Islanders Too?

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.

25 comments Add your comment

Russian

April 16th, 2009
9:36 am

I want to see new GM and new scout team for Atlanta.

Thrasher_Ed

April 16th, 2009
11:15 am

Raw_Hide,
I don’t disagree one bit with your opinion on Waddellsworth! I think he is a likable man, but we need change! Don has had 10 years and what do we have to show for it? An All-Star Game (every team eventually gets that),numerous #1 picks overall, a porous defense, lagging attendance, how many senseless failed free agent signings or lack of signing the free agents who are worth a damn (Marc Savard,Andrew Brunnette,Stevie The Bruise Staios, Marion Hossa, etc, etc).
Things do appear on the up swing in Atlanta. We have a good young core or talent. We need to take a hard look at our UFA’s and RFA’s and get some things settled sooner rather than later. Marty Reasoner should be resigned right now. Colby Armstrong should be extended. Rich Peverley should be signed to a 4-5 year deal. The goaltending issue needs to be resolved and deal the extra for picks or a package of picks or prospects or a talented young winger. This city and fan base deserves better.
Russian – What are you calling for? A new top minor league affiliate?-

LAC

April 16th, 2009
11:27 am

Yes waddell should have been fired monday morning… NO excuses from these owners, I guess they are too hyped up about The NOTHING Basketball Ass.or is it National BORING Ass.? Either nba sucks and that is where they are… caring less about the Thrashers.

NYI will be in KC before long and they won’t support and them move to Hamilton. Wonderful !

Rawhide

April 16th, 2009
11:32 am

Thrasher_Ed – It isn’t as though I don’t think a change should be made. Obvioulsy a logical arguement can be made to do so. But my point is that I don’t believe the change is going to be made….that’s all.

B. Thenet

April 16th, 2009
12:41 pm

The Islanders cable deal is worth too much for the Islanders to move, over $15,000,000 a year through 2030.

No way the Isles are moving anytime soon. Wang is just making waves so he can get his little project approved.

Dwayne

April 16th, 2009
1:08 pm

Pens 4 Flyers 1, 12 penaltys againt Flyers, 5 against the Pens….mmmmmmmm. very intresting.

ranallo10 (in AT)

April 16th, 2009
1:29 pm

Yeah, the Flyers are a dirtier team than the Penguins, very interesting. The Flyers finished 30th in the league with 17.5 PIM/G. Pittsburgh was 13th with 13.6 PIM/G.

Bob

April 16th, 2009
1:40 pm

Wild just fired Risebrough for finishing 2 pts out of the playoffs, and he built a club that went to the Conference finals in their 3rd year and have been competitive every year. If the Habs let Gainey go, there are two quality experienced GMs available. I’d guess the Wild would take a hard run at Gainey though.

Rawhide

April 16th, 2009
2:04 pm

Bob – Yup…here is the link to that story out of Minnesota.

One of the arguements against firing Waddell that I find most the least credible is the one that says… “But who would we get to replace him…it could be oh, so much worse”.

There’s one good name out there…and if Gainey is cut loose too, there’s another.

Now people can state arguements as to why these guys should/should not be considered to come here…I’m just saying that there are those out there that could be tapped to replace D-Dub should the organ-I-zation so choose to do so.

Tony C.

April 16th, 2009
3:24 pm

Would Risebrough even answer the phone if FUBAS called? Would he listen beyond the “Hey Doug, we were wondering…” or would he just collapse into hysterical laughter?

Personally, if was at all possible, I’d go after Gainey-buuuut he’s only worked for ownership who’s main priority was winning (Tom Hicks may be the poster-boy for handing out dumb@ss contracts, but afraid to open the checkbook he aint)- Dallas and MTL both have been anything but shy about going after top-tier talent.

So would Gainey be able to work with a shoestring-budget? Probably. You look at how well-stocked he left Dallas, they may have had some injury problems but that organization is deep, and the commitment to winning is ingrained in their culture. But would he be able to work with the bare-minimum budget that FUBAS hands down? I doubt it.

I would think Risebrough’s experience working with at or barely above “poverty level” budgets would seem to make him the more ideal of the two… But I wonder if he would sign up to go through that sort of challenge again?

Anyway, I would say both men have demonstrated that they are superior to our current GM. Perhaps DW can throttle back the pride a little bit and let somebody have the reins-then he can concentrate on the aspects of bringing the Thrashers to where everyone wants to see them. Honestly, I think he does an adequate job regarding the non-hockey operations portion of the program…certainly, if he were to focus entirely on those aspects I’m sure he’d be very succesfull-after all, it can’t be easy to sell port-a-pottys.

Sara

April 16th, 2009
3:37 pm

Rawhide, I don’t think those comments have ever stemmed from a lack of faith in potential GM candidates so much as a lack of faith in Atlanta Spirit’s ability to make good decisions. If you believe that Spirit approaches this hockey clib from the point of view of containing costs strictly (whether by design or necessity) and putting in their two cents whenever they like (to the detriment of the team’s success), it also follows that it’s quite possible any legitimate GM candidate would be hesitant to take on the job of manning the helm here – especially when the whole lawsuit/ownership debacle is still hanging over the organization’s head.

While I too would have expected any planned GM change to have already been announced, never underestimate the ability for Spirit to change it’s mind – particularly if the available GM pool deepens.

At this point I’m pretty apathetic to the entire situation. I love my team and them I’ll support. But at this point, the debacle is mostly a financial one out of even the control of the Atlanta Spirit at this juncture (if Levenson is to be believed at any rate). Until someone shows up with an open checkbook, I’m not expecting any significant changes on any front. So I’ll content myself with watching our kids develop and see what we can procur from the draft.

Rawhide

April 16th, 2009
4:17 pm

Sara – I hear ya…I believe me, I do understand why some would be afraid of what the Spirit Clowns would do in replacing the GM. However, I have had people tell me to my face that they don’t want to see a change made in the front office because they were seriously scared that another GM would do worse that Don Waddell.

To that I say…”What could be worse that ZERO playoff wins after nine seasons and 10 years on the job”?

I’m sorry…but to me, fear of getting worse is not an excuse to not try and get better after a certain amount of time has passed.

Regardless, as I have opined, I do not expect a change to be made…I’ve accepted that am at peace with it. Now, I want DW to do the right thing when it comes to providing for this team’s needs and I want the Spirit Clowns to do what’s right by allowing Waddell to go out and get what he can…even if that means opening up the wallet just a tad more.

ranallo10 (in AT)

April 16th, 2009
4:25 pm

I would love to see Risebrough or Gainey brought in, I’m just completely skeptical that the two most important things for them to come to Atlanta would happen:

1) I don’t believe the ASG would pursue them because they’ll come with a price tag.
2) I don’t believe that any worthwhile GM candidate would seriously consider coming to Atlanta with all of the apparent strings attached.

There is a positive side though, to hiring any new and known GM…they have some GREAT job security in Atlanta, as shown by Waddell’s string of years at the helm.

Anyways, I’d love for the ASG to utterly surprise me and make a move that resembles them having a brain…but…they didn’t last year for Nonis, so why would they do it this year for Risebrough?

My personal list of potential GM replacements (ordered by preference) has just gone up by one: Risebrough, Nonis, Yzerman, Cheveldayoff. If I knew anything about Poille’s assistant GM I’m sure he’d qualify as well.

LAC

April 16th, 2009
5:04 pm

asg does not have the GUTS to make Positive Changes and the only thing of importance to them is nba crap… Ohanda green arena, Give Me A Break !!! Please,I prefer a silver arena how’s that… no difference.

Plenty of EXCELLENT GM choices out there, I wish we had someone at the controls who was not DRUNK,right bruce ?

LAC

April 16th, 2009
5:06 pm

Poiles assistant is Cliff Fletcher’s son !!!!!

LAC

April 16th, 2009
5:26 pm

See when you have an OWNER, Like in Minnesota, a guy who wants to WIN, change is a good thing !

In Atlanta where you have a bunch of drunk clowns trying to play sports owners and failing at every turn, they cannot admit mistakes and forge a NEW direction, they want more losing which is Their NHL motto !..

And the Career Loser GM proves the point every day !

ranallo10 (in AT)

April 16th, 2009
5:33 pm

Uh, no…Paul Fenton is the Assistant GM in Nashville. I don’t believe he’s of any relation to Cliff Fletcher.

(I hope that linkage worked)

Sage of Bluesland

April 16th, 2009
6:54 pm

ASG and Don Waddell deserve each other…At least we showed a pulse as we closed out our second “Five-Year Plan”…We’ll see what happens when the pressure is on from day-one.

Maybe, if we play bad next year, Don Waddell will finally be shown the door? I can only hope and dream…

Tony C.

April 16th, 2009
7:31 pm

Cliff Fletcher’s son Chuck is Ray Shero’s assistant in PGH. He and Fenton (Poile’s assistant) both used to work for the Ducks organization.

Brendan

April 16th, 2009
9:00 pm

Okay, I like Risebrough and Gainey. For that matter, I like the Head Coaches they canned, Guy Carbonneau and Jacques Lemaire. Hey, plucking guys who won multiple Cups with Montreal in their heyday can’t possibly be a bad thing!

Segue: True or False time. Here now the question: “True or False, Jacques Lemaire once took a team to the Conference Finals on a $22 million budget?”

Cue the theme to “Jeopardy!” Still humming. Not quite done yet. Almost there. Okay. Time’s up.

What did you pick? Oh, c’mon now. Don’t be shy. There’s a 50/50 chance to get this one right. (If only there were a 50/50 chance Waddell was getting fired!)

The correct answer is (drumroll, please): TRUE! In 2003, the Minnesota Wild team payroll was $22 million dollars, and it reached the Conference Finals. Now, I’ll readily admit that it only scored one (1) goal in those CF, but the point is, they GOT THERE. It’s “doable.” So, if Jacques Lemaire were hired as a GM or Coach, or both GM and Coach, he knows how to get results with a shoestring budget. And well, if you’re asking meeeeee who’d I’d rather have overseeing a team with a salary cap floor budget, Waddell or Lemaire, I’d pick Jacques Lemaire faster than you can say “Rumpelstiltskin.”

Glovesave29

April 16th, 2009
10:06 pm

Our assemblage of players doesn’t fit the Jacques Lemaire system. He’s a brilliant hockey mind, but I’d pass on him here. Personally, I prefer an uptempo and high scoring game (yeah, and this from a goalie!) and although I truly would love the successes that he would eventually bring, I think we could get a more suitable GM or coach here to get those same results without all the boring hockey that follows him.

Funny thing, though…as a player with Montreal in the 1970’s Lemaire was a swift sakting sniper, he and LaFleur and Cournoyer were blurs in the ice.

Brendan…what was the average team payroll in that 2003 year?

Thrasher Ed…I have been calling for the Gladiators to move up to the AHL for a while now. All of the other ECHL teams in the SE are falling by the wayside. They can have the AAA team here to work with the Thrash, call ups are easier, and Jeff Pyle, the coach of the Glads plays a similar style to that Anderson employs. Its a winning proposition all around.

pond scum

April 16th, 2009
11:58 pm

I’d first love to ask this question for anyone to maybe give me a reason for this;
The season is over yeah,but WHY hasn’t reasoner been resigned yet? I haven’t found ANY fan who doesn’t want him back,he has stated it publicly he wants to stay and I haven’t seen anything in the CBA that states that a UFA player can’t be resigned by his last team before july 1st? Going out and getting this taken care of would be a great follow up statement to the second half of this season for the fans. If you want season ticket holders and want them to commit,how about some commitment first?

As for the GM/coaching changes- yeah Lemaire got the Wild to the finals in what 03′,with a $22 million dollar payroll.But look at the team then,a collection of vets and a trap system that in all honesty overachieved. Asking for that to happen again is VERY unlikely.

Also,Dallas, Montreal and Minnesota are better markets than we are. We started over from scratch,but Dallas didn’t have to. Minnesota did as the North-Stars moved down south,but they have sold out EVERY game since the very first Wild home opener,those folks are the hockey state no doubt. Then the franchise that has won more cups than any other,you better believe they have a great following to. Comparing the state of these franchises to ours is unfair. Gainey should be canned as well,for he has no limits on his payroll and the Habs seem to draft fairly well. Just what kind of real GM is he if you take those two tangibles of the franchise away? As for Dallas,he was just about in the same situation,established teams that only needed tweaking,not rebuilt or completely built from the ground up. Risebourgh has brought the Wild probably as far as he can,but something doesn’t make sense when the only real superstar you have is your own draft pick and he won’t resign with you,yet your cash vaults stayed packed by the fans attendance? There is more than meets the eye with alot of teams and how they operate.

No, i’m not a big supporter of DW for the many gaffes he has had as GM coming from a franchise in Detroit which,for years sucked but as time went along they got better and better and returned to glory. Our ownership at times I can’t stand neither,because they can’t work together as a team to achieve any goals. They are going to have to open up the billfolds some to get to the cap floor anyways.They want commitment from fans,I’m ready and willing.But when you say your going to try and keep this team together and yet drag your feet when the process should already be in motion,it makes me feel as I’m getting more lip service.And for the life of me,WHY does DW get chosen to have anything to do with our international hockey teams? His job that he gets paid to do is build the Thrashers team,being distracted by trying to put together Team USA would be an honor,but it’s taking up time he should be spending on making the Thrashers better.

The folks with the Thrashers franchise who should be taking the most heat is the scouting department IMHO,and since DW won’t fire them,then he too should go.

I work hard for the money I spend on this team year round and have done so for years now.It’s time to demand that hard work be put into this team by it’s management to see it become better. I’m not demanding a Cup win in a certain amount of time,but other than our 1 playoff season and the last 3 months of this season doesn’t make up for the other short comings season after season of heartbreak and disappointment. Quit being lazy,cheap,and distracted DW and get going keeping this team moving up……. you’ve had alot of rest in the other times you didn’t work to keep Savard,Staios,Belanger,Brunette,ect. but threw at us Rucchin,Holik,Kapanen,Modry,Tamer. Find your spine and get to it,i’ll bring you a vault soda straight from my bottling plant to help you out.

Sorry,I’m not trying to attack any of you fellow posters about the GM/coach talk……. but just don’t know how to really feel about it cause any new GM may not like our current scheme and decide to scrap it and we forever stay in building mode to his likeness.

But I am sick and tired of being sick and tired with the cluelessness that which the team I love most is operated by!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ranallo10 (in AT)

April 17th, 2009
6:12 am

“His job that he gets paid to do is build the Thrashers team,being distracted by trying to put together Team USA would be an honor,but it’s taking up time he should be spending on making the Thrashers better.”

He helped identify players that should go to Switzerland with the team. He’s an advisor. I have a hard time believing that he’s LOSING time towards the Thrashers simply because he’s helping with Team USA. Burke, Poille, Holmgren, Lombardi and Shero are all helping with Team USA as well…it’s not like Waddell is the only NHL GM there with a team that needs improvement (4 of the 6 GMs missed the playoffs, 2 have lottery picks in the upcoming draft).

JAmes_kovyboy

April 17th, 2009
9:22 pm

scout team
owners

get the —- out
ur ruining us

Brendan

April 17th, 2009
10:38 pm

Glovesave29, I can’t rightly tell you what the average payroll was in 2003, in the NHL. But the Wild had one of the lowest. It may have even been LESS than the Thrashers in ‘03. It was, at a minimum, “comparable” to Atlanta’s. Remember, the salary cap didn’t come into effect until 2005-06. And in ‘03, there were teams like NY, Philly, Washington that were up in the $70 million range, and someone had $88 million. I want to say it was the Capitals, but it might have been the Rangers or even the Leafs. Hey, with no cap limit, they could spend to their very heart’s content. It was up to the owner to approve it, nothing more. It was that “hogwild” spending that helped contribute to the lockout. And thank god for it, for it put limits on the spenders and FORCED the smaller markets to at least meet the floor of the cap.