Fire Sale: Two NHL Coaches Lose Their Jobs, More To Follow
Just three days after the NHL regular season came to its close and already two head coaches have lost their jobs.
The first coach to go was Rick Tocchet in Tampa Bay.
The Tampa Bay Lightning were in the running for one of the last playoff spots in the Eastern Conference before the Winter Olympics, but stumbled out of the gate after the break.
Actually, “stumbled” is an understatement. The Lightning lost nine of their first 11 games after the Olympics and finished with the worst post-Olympic record in the league.
Tocchet’s firing was no surprise; neither was John Anderson’s in Atlanta.
The Atlanta Thrashers were in a very similar situation to that of Tampa Bay.
The Thrashers controlled their own fate heading into the final two weeks of the season. Atlanta got a taste of the eighth seed before losing four of its last five games and slipping to 10th in the East.
Another coach who might be on his way out is Randy Carlyle of the Anaheim Ducks.
The Ducks missed the playoffs for the first time since 2004 and finished 11th in the Western Conference. The disappointing season can be partly attributed to the fact that Anaheim lost Francois Beauchemin and Chris Pronger in the offseason.
"When you lose players the caliber of Chris Pronger and Beauche off your back end, obviously it's going to have an impact," Carlyle told the Associated Press after the season ended. "We were able to ride a wave for four or five years, but right now is a huge disappointment."
But despite losing the defensive duo, Anaheim still boasts an extremely talented team with Olympians and All-Stars throughout its lineup—this is the same reasoning that explains why Carlyle might be searching for a new job in the near future.
New York Rangers head coach John Tortorella is also on the hot seat after the Rangers lost out on the playoffs on the final day of the season.
Tortorella has not been a fan or player favorite throughout the year. He also made plenty of questionable decisions during the season; the most recent of which was pulling star goaltender Henrik Lunqvist in what was a one-goal game against the Buffalo Sabres on April 6.
The often unbalanced Tortorella has recently placed the blame on several players, including superstar Marian Gaborik.
“I think Gaborik is a legitimate star,” Tortorella told the New York Times. “I don’t like the way he has played in big games. I think he needs to cross the line there and play better in big games.”
But had it not been for Gaborik’s production earlier in the season, the Rangers more than likely would not have been in the playoff race at the end of the season.
It will certainly be interesting to see how the next few months play out and which coaches get the boot.
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