Judgement Day—Carolina Hurricanes GM Continues Deliberation
The talk of the town is still about the status of Carolina Hurricanes head coach, Peter Laviolette and whether or not he will be fired. General Manager Jim Rutherford has said on more than one occasion during recent press conferences, that he is holding off on meeting with the coach because he is waiting for emotions to go down after the disappointment of not making the post season for the second consecutive year.
A layperson could easily interpret that to mean that if Rutherford were to meet with his coach today, he would fire him. Some people think that JR has already made up his mind about the matter.
One thing has come to recent light. The General Manager seems to be skating on thin ice with this attempted public lynching of Peter Laviolette. Perhaps this fanbase is more perceptive and knowledgeable than the franchise bigwigs think they are? Did Rutherford assume that fans would automatically jump on the “Pete Must Go” bandwagon after he called out his head coach and identified all of his mistakes in the media?
If that was the intention, then unfortunately for JR the exact opposite has happened. Fans are overwhelmingly supporting Laviolette, and if Rutherford indeed terminates him, he could very well have a backlash on his hands.
Unlike the situation with Paul Maurice, whom most fans agreed needed to be replaced, even though they liked him, in this case most fans seem to feel that a coaching change isn’t necessarily the answer, and that Peter Laviolette is not the primary reason that the Hurricanes failed this year.
While the coach undoubtedly made some errors, some more detrimental than others, there were also many setbacks that were out of his control. Everyone knew from the first day of training camp that the defense was full of question marks and would be a problem. There was also no reason to assume that the previous year’s backup goalie problem would somehow fix itself.
Also, the loss of over 300 man-games due to injuries played a part in the Hurricanes demise.
The truth of the matter is that there are issues being discussed behind closed doors which will determine the fate of Laviolette, much more so than any of the reasons or disappointments that Rutherford pointed out in his press conferences. Was the coach insubordinate to the GM? Is there a trust issue? A disagreement about personnel or philosophy?
It would seem inevitable that a general manager and head coach need to get along and work well together as partners, if a team is to have success. That probably means that a certain general manager may want to reconsider his strategy of bashing his coach in public, especially when 90-95 percent of said public seems to support the coach.
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