Late last week I listened to Thrashers general manager Rick Dudley interviewed a couple of times on XM’s NHL Home Ice Channel. Each interview started off with the same question…”Why did he feel the need to replace the entire coaching staff at this time?”
He responded by saying that he and the organization felt they had a team that was good enough to make the playoffs and, as such, they had set a “goal” to qualify for post-season play. When they failed to meet that goal, Dudley would continue, they felt the coaching staff should be held accountable for that failure.
This train of thought falls right in line with departing veteran Slava Kozlov’s comments last week that he also felt the blame for last season’s failure to make the playoffs landed squarely on the shoulders of head coach John Anderson. He cited that the Thrashers lineup was, in his words, the best they had ever had in his time here, but that the coaching staff didn’t seem to work hard enough…or work the team hard enough…to achieve their goal of securing a playoff spot.
Now, combine all that with the comments Dudley made to C-Viv late last week in regards to the coaching search and the possible makeup of next season’s roster. “We’d like to sign the bulk of our free agents”, he said to Vivlamore. “We think they are good players”.
“I’m hopeful because all of them have expressed that they like what we are doing here, they want to be back”.
He also stated that he has was “uniquely qualified” when it comes to hiring a new head coach, given the fact that he has been a coach and general manager in the past. In making that statement, he has made it clear that whomever is tapped to take over the vacant head coach position here will be someone he feels is the man to take this team to the next level…the playoffs.
Thus, Rick Dudley is saying that man will be brought in based on his decision. Therefore he…Rick Dudley…will be responsible for that call.
Now, given that…let’s move forward to next season’s roster. If indeed Dudley is successful this offseason in re-signing such UFAs and Pavel Kubina, Maxim Afinogenov, Jim Slater…maybe even Colby Armstrong and Johan Hedberg, (as Dudley has indicated he is in favor of)…what do you think the chances are that the new coaching staff will be under the same mandate to make the playoffs next season?
I mean, if last year’s team was good enough to succeed…and the coaching staff was held accountable for the failure…is the new bench boss going to be held to the same standard if they are given much the same roster to coach? And by that I mean he is expected to coach the team to a post-season birth, or be held accountable.
I would like to believe the answer to that question is “Yes…yes they will be”.
Even though most are willing to give this new front office arrangement a chance. The fan base of Thrasherville is growing impatient as it has been waiting for over a decade to taste their first playoff victory.
Round One Playoff Update
Enjoying the playoffs so far? I sure am…many interesting story lines forming so far. Not the least of which is that all eight “underdog” teams managed to secure at least one victory on away ice, thus making the series a best of five with three games on their home ice.
Given that, the probability of a few upsets are certainly in line, (DUH5).
I do think, however, that Montreal just might have lost their chance at overall success Saturday when they blew that large lead in game two. Coming back home with a 2-0 lead and the next two games played on their barn would have set them up big time. But the Caps have to feel energized with their comeback.
Philly, on the other hand, took their success on the road and built a two games to one advantage with a 3-2 overtime win at home in game three of their series with New Jersey. Colorado did the same when Dan Boyle’s attempt to pass the puck behind his goal wound up in his goal. Ryan O’Reilly was credited with the game winner and Graig Anderson blocked all 51 Shark shots in the 1-0 victory.
Tonight, Boston, Montreal and Los Angeles will each try to go up 2 to 1 after achieving their minimum goal of stealing a game away from home in Buffalo, Washington and Vancouver.
Congratulations to Bob
The winner of the 2010 Rawhide Blog Comment of the Year. Bob’s “Unleash the Futility” comment netted 37 of the 104 votes casts. World be Free got 20 votes, B. Thenet and Brendan each received 16 for their comments while MB got 15.
So congrats Bob, (a.k.a. Joe Friday)…I look forward to posting up your blog entry in the coming days and you’ll get that cold beverage of your choice the first game we are both in attendance next season!