Tuesday, November 14, 2006

MacLean must be reading this blog.

Holy crap. My post yesterday must have got a lot more attention than I thought. I put Gallant on the notice board and 5 hours later he's fired. I don't know my own influence.

I kid, of course. A coaching change has been long coming, and the CBJ execs finally recognized this.

Gerard Gallant was removed from his coaching duties today and replaced on the interim by assistant coach Gary Agnew. This specific step is only somewhat promising. While Agnew may already be experienced in the Jackets system, having spent the last 6 seasons with the Syracuse Crunch, he lacks much NHL experience. While I'm open to any change for this dismal jackets season, I expect MacLean to seriously pursue a long term replacement, and not leave Agnew in as a tiny scab on a festering wound.

This Dispatch article discusses a few potential coaching solutions. First and foremost is Ken Hitchcock. He was fired by the Flyers this season, though he is still under contract with that franchise filling in on some administrative positions. Hitchcock holds a 408-284-100 record in the NHL, which supports a nearly 60% winning percentage- almost 20 points higher than any coach of the Jackets.

Andy Murray recently left the Kings, has a winning record, and would be available quickly. He is also the only Canadian coach to win two world championships.

The final coach discussed in the Dispatch article is a name that Jacket fans should recognize. Kevin Dineen, who was on the roster for the Jackets' first three seasons, is now on the coaching hot list. He has already been getting attention from other NHL teams because of his success guiding the Portland AHL team to the playoffs.

Whomever MacLean chooses, I have the best of hopes. A major coaching change may be able to turn the tide for this team. The fans are tired, the players are tired, and the season isn't far from being totally shot. Picking up a big time coach could reassert our position in this league.

MacLean: Just don't do anything stupid, like start coaching the team yourself.

(Update: Check out this article, also in today's Dispatch. Hunter makes some really good points about the status of our team. The problem may very well be far larger than one man, or possibly it is one man -MacLean. Either way, the crony system is going to do us any more favors than it already has.)


Drew said...

Of the candidates you mentioned, I'd expect Agnew and Dineen to get the most consideration.

The problem with Murray, Hitchcock, and any other number of fine candidates is that they will not work with Doug MacLean. I would be shocked to see anyone who does not "go back" with Dougie be offered the position.

If we can get Doug out of there, then maybe we can actually get some real hockey minds in Columbus.

Anonymous said...

Hitchcock built his record in the old NHL. I don't want that dinosaur coaching in Columbus. Besides, do you think he would work for MacLean? Dineen is not ready yet and may be just another MacLean crony. Murray will not get the support he needs from MacLean.

Doug HAS to go. Start with a new GM, let him hire the coach, put the roster together, and wait until next year. I'm sorry but that is the best case.