NHL: The 20 Worst Coaches of the Modern Era
In the last 30 years, a lot of things have changed in the National Hockey League.
Expansion teams, division realignment, shootouts, ownership groups, players, and of course coaches.
Although the career of a player can last for 10-15 years with one organization, very few coaches can survive for more than four or five seasons behind one team's bench.
Lindy Ruff and Barry Trotz immediately come to mind for coaches currently in the league that have had some great success.
Then there are those that just don't see things go their way, for one reason or another.
Let's take a look at some of the names in the coaching ranks that are famous (or infamous), depending on how you look at it.
Granato was the head coach for the Colorado Avalanche on two separate occasions, and although he wasn't that bad in terms of his win-loss record during his first stint, it was the second one that was atrocious, and cost him his job.
In 2003-04, the Avs were considered the favorites heading into the season, since the club had a phenomenal group of forwards.
Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne had signed below-market deals to make a run with the likes of Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Milan Hejduk, and Alex Tanguay. The club was knocked out in the second round, falling well short of expectations. Granato was let go after the season had ended.
In 2008-09, Colorado again hired Granato to be the coach. This time, he didn't have the same group of stars at his disposal, and ended up leading the team to its worst ever season. He was fired at the end of the year...again.
Cassidy only lasted a year and a half with the Capitals, and seemed to be more concerned with how he looked than how he coached (FYI he was voted one of the best-looking people in Washington during the 2002-03 by some local publication).
He was canned 25 games into the 2003-04 season, but at least he contributed positively in some way for the Caps: That year's dismal start helped Washington finish with the second-worst record in the league and helped them land Alexander Ovechkin in the draft that season.
Bowness coached 463 games, and has a record of 123-289-48-3 for his career. He is known for being the first head coach of the Ottawa Senators in 1992-93.
However, could someone please explain to me how a coach with such a bad track record ends up with a total of five coaching jobs during his tenure?
Sure, he had a great run with a loaded Bruins team in the 1991-92 season, but really, in bits and pieces of eight other seasons, his teams did absolutely squat. He never made the playoffs, and was fired a few times.
Trottier, one of the greatest Islanders ever, jumped to the dark side, when he was hired to coach the Rangers at the start of the 2002-03 season.
Not only did he turn some of his biggest supporters from Long Island against him, but Blueshirt fans couldn't stand him either, as he tried to turn offensively-gifted players such as Pavel Bure and Eric Lindros into New Jersey Devil clones by implementing the neutral-zone trap.
Trots didn't even last the season, as he was fired by GM Glen Sather after only 54 games behind the bench.
Everybody knows "Mad Mike" the executive, but not everybody knows about Milbury the coach. He was behind the bench for the Bruins for only two and a half seasons, but he led the team to the Stanley Cup Finals against Edmonton during the 1989-90 season, and an appearance in the Conference Finals the year after.
His coaching record was bad, but you know the guy is bad when he puts guys like Brian Skrudland and Chris Nilan on an All-Star team ahead of players like Kirk Muller and Guy Lafleur.
In fact, Milbury's All-Star muck-up during the 1991 season was so bad that the Board of Governors had to change the policy of how All-Star teams would be chosen. Way to go Mike!
Sure, No. 99 was a superstar on the ice, and the greatest player to play the game.
However, The Great One was definitely not that behind the bench for the Coyotes.
In four seasons, the club did not make the playoffs, and did not finish better than fourth in its own division. Once the awe wore off for Coyote players of who was behind their bench, it seemed like Gretzky just could not manage to get a lot out of his players.
The worst part has to be his handling of goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. It's not a coincidence that Bryz went from an afterthought to a Vezina contender with Gretz gone.
When Hanlon replaced Cassidy into the 2003-04 season, it wasn't like he was any better.
He never fully garnered the respect and attention from his players, and in parts of three seasons, he never won more than 28 games, and finished last in the Southeast division all three years.
Yes, you may be wondering how in the world can I put a coach on this list that just recently led his team to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Well, then you should also be wondering how can he be fired the following season, despite having a winning record.
Therrien has some supporters, but for the most part, he is one of those brash personalities that might have lucked out in Pittsburgh, thanks to the talent.
His coaching style was never considered great by anyone, and everybody would just tune him out, including the players, whenever he went on one of his random rants.
If you go by win-loss record, he would never be on this list. If you go by actual ability to coach, he's a given.
The 56-year-old Paddock is most famous for coaching the Winnipeg Jets in the early 1990s, and not leading the team anywhere.
In parts of four seasons, the team did not advance past the first round, and Paddock was fired 33 games into his fourth season behind the Jets bench.
In 2007-08, Paddock was handed over a very talented squad in the Ottawa Senators to coach, and although the team got off to a great start, it tailed off as the season went on, and eventually, Paddock was fired.
He was never very approachable from a media standpoint, and was one of the most boring coaches the National Hockey League has ever seen. You might as well have Eeyore behind the bench.
Goring was a great player on those Islander teams in the early 80s, but he was not able to carry that over into his coaching career.
He was coach of the Boston Bruins, and also the New York Islanders. Both stints only lasted a year and a half with each club, and eventually resulted in Goring getting fired.
His coaching record stands at 83-126-27-4. Not that bad compared to some, but not that great either, especially considering the talent he had during his tenure in Boston.
Two seasons behind the bench of the Canadiens, two playoff appearances.
However, when you think of the name Mario Tremblay, only two words come to mind: Patrick Roy.
Two and a half years behind the bench of the Leafs, not much success in terms of winning, and numerous clashes with various individuals within the organization.
Yes, Brophy did quite a bit in such little time. He was really liked by Harold Ballard, but eventually was let go when the results weren't there.
In 1995-96, in between the transition for the Senators from Bowness to Jacques Martin, there was one other coach: Dave Allison.
Allison was 2-22-1 behind the bench. Sure, the sample size isn't great, and it was an expansion team that was only a few years in, but hey, a guy with only two wins to his name has to be on this list.
LaForge coached the Canucks during the 1984-85 season.
He finished with only four wins in 20 games. That was the end of his "career" as a National Hockey League coach.
He was known for the most unorthodox coaching methods ever, and even had practices that were out of the ordinary.
For Canuck fans, this might ring a bell: Pride. Hustle. Desire
As a player, Kasper was the ultimate Bruin, as he was one of their best two-way forwards during his playing career, which resulted in winning the Selke during the 1981-82 season.
However, benching Cam Neely and missing the playoffs for the first time in 28 years because of a horrible showing during the 1996-97 season. It was one of the worst years in Boston's history.
I can't think of a coach that underachieved more than Lewis.
He was handed the reins from Scotty Bowman, who retired following Detroit's Cup win in 2002.
Despite two straight first-place finishes, including first overall one year, Detroit struggled badly during the playoffs, and in the two years that Lewis was behind the bench, the club was only 6-10 in the playoffs, which includes getting swept during the 2002-03 playoffs by the seventh-seeded Mighty Ducks.
He stepped behind the bench for the Bruins during the 2006-07 season, and finished last in the division, and was fired after the season.
Ludzy won only a total of 31 games into his year and half behind the bench of the Lightning before he was fired.
He's one of those media personalities that can rant and rave at everybody else, but didn't have the backup needed with his performance as a head coach.
He was also famous for dropping the Chris Pronger to Los Angeles rumor last year, while the playoffs were still going on. After that, I think Ludzy hasn't been seen on television anywhere.
Eight seasons in the NHL, one winning season, and head coaching jobs with four different teams.
Page did not have a great head coaching career in the NHL. Well, at least he was the General Manager that traded away Eric Lindros, and helped turn the Nordiques/Avalanche into a Stanley Cup contender.
A great blueliner during his playing days, Yawney only lasted a year and a half behind the bench in Chicago.
He left with a record of 33-55-15.
Did Crawford produce results as a head coach? Yes.
Did Crawford have success in terms of winning? Yes.
Did Crawford ever win the Stanley Cup? Yes.
So why is he on this list anyway? Well, I have two words for ya: Steve Moore.
Despite his success as a head coach at an NHL level, he will always be tied to the whole Moore-Todd Bertuzzi incident, stemming from the 2003-04 season.
For the most part, the 49-year-old has been underrated for what he's done on the ice. However, it's always the one bad thing that happens that always sticks out in people's minds. In Crawford's case, it's the Moore incident.