Monday, November 28, 2011

Southeast Shuffle

In a span of two hours, Guy Boucher became the longest tenured coach in the Southeast Division. Both Bruce Boudreau of the Washington Capitals and Paul Maurice of the Carolina Hurricanes were fired. Replacing them were Dale Hunter and Kirk Muller (rumored) respectively.

First, for the Capitals-- I guess if you give the people what they want, like old colors, jerseys, and players-- then you let the prisoners run the asylum. That said, if there's a hard-ass guy to get the team to pay attention and give effort-- it's Dale Hunter.

That said, Bruce Boudreau probably wasn't the guy to get the Caps over the hump after four seasons of trying. He lost the room and wasn't getting the effort from the guys that he needed to. When you have your star player who's signed long-term and your coach at odds-- the coach always loses out. Though Boudreau's tenure yielded the revitalization of the Capitals, he just never seemed to have the killer instinct needed. Going 201-88-40 will only give you so much reputation before the dismal playoff record comes up. Best of luck to Boudreau, who did a lot of the Caps in the long-run.

When it comes to the new coach, Dale Hunter is a legend in the Caps history. He's a guy who was a hard-nosed player and will probably be a hard-nosed coach. Yet, it's going to be a learning curve for a guy who hasn't coached a NHL game before. Sure, he was the fastest coach to win 300 and 400 games in the OHL and is only 49 away from 500; but it's two different dynamics. That said, I think he'll bring a different message to the room; holding more guys accountable and really laying into them because his number is hanging in the rafter and seems to care a lot about the franchise. We'll see how it goes.


As far the Hurricanes are concerned-- fool Jim Rutherford once, shame on you; but if you fool him twice, shame on him. It seems that the second tenure of Paul Maurice ended as fouly as the first....but like every jokester on Twitter noted-- he'll be back for a third.

Though it won't be confirmed until later, replacing him with Kirk Muller should be a good idea, as he seemed to be groomed to take over the Canadiens coaching position, but then went to the Nashville Predators organization to coach the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals, who are 10-6-1 this season. Muller is a guy who seems to have a great grasp of the game behind the bench and should be able to take over the Hurricanes pretty easily; whom are second to last in the Eastern Conference at 8-13-4. Muller will have a lot of younger guys who have some experience due to their runs in the playoffs-- but getting the most out of them on a nightly basis will be the key.


These were changes that were going to be made sooner or later and I guess they let their coaches give thanks and then can them like so much cranberries. Now, it's time to put these new coaches under the microscope and observe every movement.

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