Sunday, May 11, 2008

Craziness in the Coaching Ranks

It's one thing to have the announcements of Paul Maurice and Joel Quenneville being let go from the Maple Leafs and Avalanche, respectively. It's a whole other thing when you hear that Barry Trotz and Jacques Lemaire are returning to the Predators and Wild. It makes you wondering what's going on with some GMs when thinking about what coaches should be behind their benches.

Maurice's scenario was something that seems predictable-- without a playoff appearance in three years, without a permanent GM, and with a whole lot of turmoil in the roster; Maurice was the fall-guy, plain and simple. All the players with no-trade clauses on the Leafs (thanks to John Ferguson Jr. of course), the ability to motivate the team wasn't there for Maurice because the players knew they couldn't be moved without their approval first. When you have that kind of issue, it's hard to get anything going.

Quenneville is an interesting case. Maybe there was another offer too good to pass up (perhaps Ottawa, Atlanta, or the Leafs), but Quenneville didn't do awful in Colorado. Three seasons, three 40+ win seasons, two playoff appearances-- then the team and Quenneville decide to part ways. There has to be something more to this situation and may unfold when/if Quenneville gets another gig.

However, the Trotz and Lemaire situations are fair too mind-bending-- especially considering the lack of success both have had in recent years.

Trotz has been with the Predators since day one and all he has to show for it is four straight first round exits in the past four seasons, though the regular seasons have been on the up and up. With all the change going on in Nashville, you'd think they would have changed the coaching regime as well. However, David Poile has stuck with Trotz, mostly because he has know him since Trotz was a part of the Capitals organization as coach of the Portland Pirates, then the Caps AHL affiliate. I'm sure that Trotz will be on a tight-leash if he can't get success from his team in the early going of the '08-'09 campaign.

Lemaire has also been with the Wild since day one, but his success has been up and down. With the exception of the first two seasons, Lemaire has maintain an above .500 winning percentage, but doesn't have much to show; save one big run in the 2003 Playoffs. The Wild have only made it to the playoffs twice, though the fact they are in a very tough division could be an excuse for the lack of success, but at that point-- wouldn't you want someone who can break through that barrier and take all doubt out of the toughness of the division??

It's very confusing to me, but what do I know-- I'm not a GM. You would think that coaches who haven't been able to break a threshold that you want to break through would get canned over guys who've only had a limited amount of time to show what they've got.

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