New coach should not require on the job training

That tremor you felt in the late morning was a major management shakeup that rippled through Thrasherville. It moved certain front office members from one position to another…and left in its wake several casualties.

Anderson…out.

Cunneyworth…out.

Nelson and Weeks…out and out.

A general manager other than Don Waddell will hire the new coach, however, as he will relinquish his general manager’s duties to Dudley. Waddell will take on the role of team president…something that has been speculated for a while now.

What do you think of the Thrashers parting ways with Anderson?

  • Agree with it: He failed to do the job (72%, 144 Votes)
  • Disagree with it: He was not to blame (28%, 55 Votes)

Total Voters: 199

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In essence, the Thrashers “Rich McKay-ed” Waddell.

My thoughts on that…well, I would have rather had a clean break with Waddell altogether. But I will take this over the status quo. I think his 12 years on the job has been, well, just look at the record…308 wins in 820 regular season games and no wins in just four playoff games.

The other side of that coin is that many see Waddell as a very good PR person, generous with his time to fans and makes himself available to the press for grilling. I hope these qualities will serve him and the team well in his new post.

Could this new arrangement work? Well…if Don allows Rick to do his job without a lot of interference, maybe…just maybe it could.

Of the coach firings, I will say I wasn’t expecting to see the whole crew was sent packing. I personally would have given Anderson into next season to “right the ship”. However, Anderson and Co. inherited a team that finished with 34 wins two years ago and coached them to two 35-win seasons. That’s not the kind of progress that will keep a coach around the NHL for too long…so it should not really come as a big shock.

Regardless, Dudley and Waddell now begin their search for a new coaching staff. Exactly who…well, I haven’t gotten wind of any particular person of interest but I do have one request for Don and Rick.

Please make hire someone that has a decent amount of coaching experience already.

What do you think of the Waddell/Dudley moves?

  • Good way to make a change (40%, 76 Votes)
  • Waddell should have been let go (59%, 114 Votes)
  • Liked it the way it was (1%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 192

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Of the three previous coaches this team has had, two have entered into the job as head coach here with no previous experience as an NHL bench boss and both were fired taking with them losing records. The one that came here with some experience…Bob Hartley…led the team to better records each year here and coached them to a Southeast Division championship.

In short, I simply do not think that this organization can afford another coach that requires “on the job training” at this level.

Of course, the question is then…who exactly is out there that would fill the bill?

Well, there is Craig MacTavish who has had a year off since leaving Edmonton. I would suspect that over the next day or so Calgary will release Brent Sutter. Not advocating or dismissing either…but those are just a couple and I’m sure you have some suggestions of your own as well.

Oh yeah, and one other thing…while we’re at it, can we make sure there is a true goalie coach on the new staff?

178 comments Add your comment

R. Stroz

April 14th, 2010
1:34 pm

R. Stroz

April 14th, 2010
1:38 pm

My take:

1) not entirely unexpected, yet pleasantly surprised

2) Weekes is finally gone.

3) Waddell serves as a go between owners and GM. Waddell is the salesman for Dudley’s plans. Waddell provides the polish for Dudley, so Dudley doesn’t deal with ownership directly. Otherwise, Dudley would probably use his knuckles to polish ownership.

4) Waddell is rewarded for towing the company budget.

5) Dudley has spent the last year picking his team.

6) The era of excuses just left the building.

That’s my first take.

Tom (Capital T Tom)

April 14th, 2010
1:44 pm

We all talk about Waddell having pictures, but Weekes sure must have had something on the boys upstairs. He never developed a goalie with 2 first round picks to play with and never improved the position during his tenure, yet still kept his job.

Alan R.

April 14th, 2010
1:46 pm

My thinking essentially follows that of Stroz. I think I’ll have more to offer once the pieces start falling into place as this offseason progresses. Then again, I’m sure that’s how most people feel.

Sherry Taylor

April 14th, 2010
1:48 pm

A Scotty Bowman would be good, if there is one out there not retired. He demanded respect, and got it, and knew how the heck to kick some pads when players weren’t doing their job. And, there was no questioning his leadership. At least now, there aren’t as many big egos which a coach must ‘coach around’.

Savannah Blueland Fan

April 14th, 2010
1:50 pm

Bobby Cox will be available.

Hip Czech

April 14th, 2010
1:58 pm

Moose Hedberg for goalie coach…heck, even make him a player/coach if he still can play.

Red Light

April 14th, 2010
1:59 pm

Craig Ramsay is my first and only choice!

Alan R.

April 14th, 2010
1:59 pm

Oh. Also, from the last blog:

Evander Kane made an appearance on Boston radio this morning. The audio of that interview here.
The audio of that interview is here. Lasts about 10 minutes or so, and is located about 1/3 through the Hour 2 segment.

Rightshot

April 14th, 2010
2:00 pm

I’ll coach! I even have experience.

da 'boomer

April 14th, 2010
2:00 pm

can we steal barry trotz from nashville?

DWTOO

April 14th, 2010
2:03 pm

We need someone with a proven track record, NHL experience, and walks on water. Actually Hartley might not be a bad idea – there can’t be too many hard feelings as he is seen around the areana. Doubt that he buys those seats.

World Be Free

April 14th, 2010
2:16 pm

Sherry, Bowman and Dudley were in Buffalo at the same time in the early 80’s. Not sure if Bowman actually hired Dudley to coach the Sabres, I’d have to do some research on this. Duds will command respect, just look at the effect of his first decisions today and that’s to send ALL the coaches packing. Bold move for a man with no coaches on the staff.

Red Light-boy would that be a good choice! Rammer is another one of my former Sabre favorites and a well-respected man throughout the league.

GaVaHokie

April 14th, 2010
2:20 pm

Stroz… spot on, I concur.

I have to think the candidates are Denis Savard, Craig MacTavish, Andy Murray and John Stevens… I won’t discount a Hartley revisit, ala Paul Maurice.

Just wish we had better timing on these situations so we could get a Claude Julien or Peter Laviolette type candidate.

Hookyboob

April 14th, 2010
2:23 pm

Alan R.

April 14th, 2010
2:23 pm

Absolutely not to Hartley. He’s still unemployed for a reason.

Smitty

April 14th, 2010
2:30 pm

How about Ted Nolan?

World Be Free

April 14th, 2010
2:32 pm

Smitty, how cool would that be?

Stefan

April 14th, 2010
2:33 pm

How bout John Stevens? He was the scapegoat for Philly’s fiasco this year, so maybe he needs a change of scenery? Or steal Denis Savard from Chicago (Dudley’s old ties)?

GaVaHokie

April 14th, 2010
2:34 pm

3) Waddell serves as a go between owners and GM. Waddell is the salesman for Dudley’s plans. Waddell provides the polish for Dudley, so Dudley doesn’t deal with ownership directly. Otherwise, Dudley would probably use his knuckles to polish ownership.

Would kind of like to see Dudley push ownership around a little bit for their “lunch money”. :)

The Shawshak Redemption

April 14th, 2010
2:35 pm

To paraphrase Ellis Boyd Redding

“Don Waddell, who crawled through a river of his own feces, and came out clean on the other side.”

GaVaHokie

April 14th, 2010
2:35 pm

Absolutely not to Hartley. He’s still unemployed for a reason.

I’m with you, but I get a bad feeling… just being my usual Devil’s Advocate.

GaVaHokie

April 14th, 2010
2:40 pm

Didn’t Ted Nolan cuss out the organization when we passed him over at the last minute for Bob Hartley? I think we also considered Nolan when we hired Curt Fraser… I don’t see him in the picture.

alex

April 14th, 2010
2:42 pm

best choice stevens, but won’t be done, to expensive for waddell, he robbed this organization for 11 years, should’t he have to work as team president for free now.

Joe Friday

April 14th, 2010
2:42 pm

“Duds will command respect, just look at the effect of his first decisions today and that’s to send ALL the coaches packing. Bold move for a man with no coaches on the staff.”

Lloyd, I’m just not reading this the way you are. I see this Dudley/Waddell shuffle of titles are purely a PR move made begrudingly to satisfy the demands of so many of us that left because we have no faith in Waddell’s ability. But Waddell’s still in charge. Dudley’s his guy. And the announcement didn’t say Dudley fired, them, read carefully here (collectively . . .as in, Waddell is still calling the shots, they only did this as a PR move to make some think that Dudley will be in charge now–he won’t be, Waddell is still his direct superior, just like he was last week):

“Collectively, we decided that we would not retain Head Coach John Anderson and Assistant Coaches Randy Cunneyworth, Todd Nelson and Steve Weeks, all of whom we thank for their dedication and contributions to the organization.”

As for the coach, please on McT. No way, no how. Hartley’s not coming back either. I think the dust settles for a bit here and we see who is fired from coaching positions over the next month or so, an early exit may lead to a good coach getting canned. There’s no rush, training camp doesn’t open for many months.

Bluenote

April 14th, 2010
2:48 pm

Denis Savard with a career 65-66-16 record? Chicago connections make this an interesting pick.
I loved the spin-a-rama but I’m not sure those are compelling numbers to consider him as a coach.
Perhaps he’s ready for another try.

Scott Stevens would have to be the player I’d most like to see be successful as a coach.
A contractual pipe dream…but I can’t imagine him doing a Droopy Dawg postgame interview

GaVaHokie

April 14th, 2010
2:49 pm

Absolutely not to Hartley. He’s still unemployed for a reason.

I disagree… we have 10 UFA’s and a Super Star to replace this summer… I’m sure a lot of players are going to want to know who they’re playing under before signing.

GaVaHokie

April 14th, 2010
2:51 pm

Oops… wrong quote… let me try that again… Rawhid delete my 2:49 post.

There’s no rush, training camp doesn’t open for many months.

I disagree… we have 10 UFA’s and a Super Star to replace this summer… I’m sure a lot of players are going to want to know who they’re playing under before signing.

Joe Friday

April 14th, 2010
3:04 pm

“I disagree… we have 10 UFA’s and a Super Star to replace this summer… I’m sure a lot of players are going to want to know who they’re playing under before signing.”

Ok, there’s no rush, July 1st doesn’t come for 2 1/2 months . . .

GaVaHokie

April 14th, 2010
3:10 pm

Ok, there’s no rush, July 1st doesn’t come for 2 1/2 months . . .

… that’s better. :)

World Be Free

April 14th, 2010
3:11 pm

Joe Friday-you gotta know Dudley. Duds reports to Waddell but I don’t expect Wads will micro-manage him, nor would I expect Dudley would put up with it. I believe Dudley was hired last summer with this in mind, his hiring was a long term plan to get Waddell out of the hockey day to day and get a proven replacement.

Waddell is the boss, but Dudley is his own man. I just can’t see he would take the job if he couldn’t have it his way. They have had 8 mos to work out the details.

You gotta have faith folks. We all wanted change, it’s not the total change we all expected but it is change. I will be TOTALLY jazzed when Duds steps to the microphone in LA to call out our #1 picks this year, if we don’t trade them!

Bluenote-Stevens would be a good call, no Hitchcock please!

You want a new name for a coach? How about Bryan Trottier?

GaVaHokie

April 14th, 2010
3:14 pm

Going back to Bob Hartley… devils advocate… you could argue that it’s a completely new, fresh situation to bring him back in… new GM, completely different squad. There’s only (potentially) one player remaining from the Hartley days, and that’s Jim Slater, who absolutely LOVES Hartley. Slater commends Hartley for teaching him the finer points of the game.

… I would personally like a better candidate, but he’s no worse than the other choices floating out there, in my opinion.

Dandylions

April 14th, 2010
3:25 pm

Found this quote in an AP article – good grief he is going to lend his experience to Dudley – say it ain’t so “My role within the company has evolved and grown the last few years, and the owners and I agree that it’s the appropriate time to have Rick assume all hockey-related responsibilities while I shift my primary focus to the business side of the Thrashers,” Waddell said.

“I will be less involved with the team on a daily basis, but will continue to make myself available to Rick and to lend my experience in any way that allows him to succeed and for us to build this club into a perennial contender.”

Joe Friday

April 14th, 2010
3:26 pm

See Hokie, Joe Friday is much less argumentative with you, our little “moving in the right direction” here in Rawhideville.

Joe Friday

April 14th, 2010
3:28 pm

“good grief he is going to lend his experience to Dudley – say it ain’t so”

And read Dudley’s quote about working closely with Don. And read the owner’s press release that came out today about the “collective” decision to let the coaches going. I’m telling you, this has PR move written all over it, and Waddell is still going to be pulling the strings, no other reason to keep him.

Midfield

April 14th, 2010
3:31 pm

I don’t know about Bob. During some games he hangs around the arena without a pen, so it’s impossible to even get an authograph from him when your hands are busy carrying all that beer. What on earth is he thinking?

Mr. Heat Miser

April 14th, 2010
3:33 pm

Anyone seen Curt Fraser?

Badger Bob

April 14th, 2010
3:35 pm

I love the Kaner interview on the Boston station. He was great – very diplomatic and humble! Future team leader, for sure!

While John Torchetti may be a leading contender for the coaching post, I’d definitely like to see us wait until mid-June in order to consider newly-fired coaches.

MB

April 14th, 2010
3:36 pm

“Slater commends Hartley for teaching him the finer points of the game.”

That should pretty much be the death knell for Hartley’s candidacy!

Rawhide, I agree that we need a proven coach. Sorry for JA, but 9/10 years of incompetence has destroyed what patience Atlanta fans might have had for a rookie NHL coach learning the ropes.

TableHockey

April 14th, 2010
3:36 pm

Dan Kamal interviewed Dudley today. You can find it here: http://thrashers.nhl.tv/team/console.jsp

Couple of interesting things – he said they won’t be talking to coaches anytime soon as most of them are working. I take that to mean they are interested in staff that are on a current playoff team.

He also mentioned the importance of our two first round picks and how important they are considering contributions from young players such as Kane and Bogosian. My take on this is that they plan to take those draft picks as opposed to trading them for an established player.

Lastly he indicated that he felt most of the UFAs want to remain in Atlanta.

It’s an interesting interview if you have time to check it out.

jimbo

April 14th, 2010
3:42 pm

Nothing unexpected in the moves including the continued survival of Teflon Don. He clearly reached his level of incompetence as a GM and now gets to fail as a Pres. of the Spirit. I don’t care who we get as long as its a strong disciplinarian with a defensive system that enables us to adjust when necessary and close the door in the third period. We want ungly wins not exciting losses. What about Scotty?

World Be Free

April 14th, 2010
3:43 pm

Please free me Trixie!

Rawhide

April 14th, 2010
3:52 pm

Rick Dudley will be on NHL Home Ice Channel (XM 204) at about 4:15 pm today. DE is on right now…says the move does not surprise him given the fact that RD came in last year.

Now…since Bob Hartley’s name has been kicked around in here today…

While I am not advocating re-hiring Bob Hartley as head coach, one thing that cannot be overlooked is the fact that the ONLY successful era in the Thrashers’ history was when he was coach here. Why is he not a head coach today? Who knows…maybe he likes his gig with RDS.

But here are some cold hard numbers concerning Hartley and his time here.

With Bob Hartley behind the bench the Thrashers went 136-118-24-13, a points winning percentage of .531. Without him, they are 172-283-42-32, a points winning percentage of .395.

He took over a team that had 12 wins, 25 losses, 4 OTLs and 2 ties halfway through the 2002-03 season. He coached that same team to a record of 19-14-5-7. Combined with his time in Colorado that season, he was 29-22-14-5.

The next three seasons saw the Thrashers win 33 games and finish with 78 points…41 wins and 90 points…then 43 wins and 97 points.

Oh yeah…and a Southeast Championship to boot.

That is called progress, my friends.

Hartley’s career coaching record is 329-226-61-34…a points winning percentage of .579.

In his 8 full seasons as a head coach he led a team to a winning record 7 times.

IMHO, he was scapegoated in October 2007 by Don Waddell to save his own neck. However, since that time the Thrashers have played to a record of 104-109-27.

I said then…I’ll say again now…the wrong guy was fired that day.

Most of us agree that in pro sports, winning is the only real indicator of success. Well, given that criteria, Bob Hartley was a success here.

So…again, while I do not advocate bringing the guy back in, I also do not join the chorus of those who say he was a bad coach.

lilibeter

April 14th, 2010
4:07 pm

Regardless of how much I like John Anderson, I cannot justify his continued tenure here. I agree that we don’t have to make a hasty decision about who we hire. Deadline day is still a while away, and there may be more firings throughout the league that might free up a nice, experienced, hard-nosed S.O.B. of a coach.

I’d like to go on record at this point as saying that I DO NOT CARE if we have to over-pay a coach to come here. While I can’t provide a suitable name yet, I would love it if we were to reel in a coach who is league-recognized as being a goldmine of a hockey coach. My personal preference would be a coach who has an absolute burning desire to prove just how great of a coach he is by taking a team with a decade-long record of failure (like our Thrashers), turn that team around, and make winners out of them. If such a coach exists out there, then that’s our guy.

Joe Friday

April 14th, 2010
4:07 pm

Rawhide, agreed, Hartley was scapegoated. Watch the interview with Dudley that TableHockey linked above. Dudley clearly is going to prudently wait, as he should, and look to hire someone off of one of the playoff clubs, even a head coach that may get fired, but I look for him to target an assistance off a current club.

This is the biggest move he can make.

Lloyd, I can see why you like Dudley, that’s the first interview I’ve seen of him and I like what I see and heard.

Rawhide

April 14th, 2010
4:10 pm

This is the biggest move he can make

Joe Friday - Agreed. This first, big decision will set the tone of his tenure as GM.

jimbo

April 14th, 2010
4:13 pm

We could do worse than Uncle Bob but not sure that he has stayed connected with the NHL sufficient enough to know what other teams are going to throw at us. What has he been doing?

GaVaHokie

April 14th, 2010
4:14 pm

Rick Dudley was just on 680 the fan… overall sentiment, “I will be taking ideas to Waddell, and then we’ll both take the idea to Ownership”.

Sounds bad, but as long as the ideas that he takes to Waddell are GOOD ideas, I don’t see why there are any problems. I’d think Waddell would trust him enough.

lilibeter

April 14th, 2010
4:17 pm

Oh, and because I am a girl and can get away with saying such things without being accused of being a total pansy….

DING DONG THE WITCH IS DEAD!!

(Okay, well maybe not completely dead – perhaps even only relocated a bit. Either way you look at it though, D-Wad is FINALLY no longer our GM after years upon years upon years of suffering!)

ThrashDawg

April 14th, 2010
4:22 pm

I thought that after Hartley was fired the story was Kovulchuk did not get along with Hartley. Considering the fact that Kovy most likely ran the franchise while he was here, it would not surprise me if he got Hartley fired. I may have dreamed that story but I thought that was the deal.