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Recapping The NHL Coaching Carousel

Posted by on 7/4/2014 10:24:58 PM

As always, the offseason means free agency, the draft, and coaching changes in the NHL. The 2014 offseason has been no exception as plenty of head coaches lost their jobs and were replaced. Some of the firings were a surprise, while others were a long time coming.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Many fans think that former Pittsburgh head coach Dan Bylsma lost his job at the 2014 Winter Olympics when he was the head coach of Team USA. It could be argued that Bylsma’s bad decision making cost the US a medal. When Bylsma got home, his position in Pittsburgh was instantly shaky. When the Penguins fell short of their Stanley Cup aspirations, Bylsma was fired and replaced by former Portland Winterhawks head coach Mike Johnston. Johnston was a one-time former head coach of the Canadian Olympic team.

Vancouver Canucks

The John Tortorella act is getting very stale in the NHL and it is hard to imagine the former Stanley Cup winning coach landing another NHL job anytime soon. The former Vancouver Canuck’s head coach and noted hot head was fired after only one season in Vancouver and no one was really surprised. The Canucks have replaced Tortorella with Willie Desjardins. The new head coach appears to be a nice guy, which is going to be a nice change for everyone in Vancouver.

Washington Capitals

If you want stability in an NHL franchise, then you may want to avoid the Washington Capitals. The Capitals fired former head coach Adam Oates and named former Nashville Predators head coach Barry Trotz as Oates’ replacement. That is the fourth head coach that Washington has had in the past three years. Maybe it is time for the Capitals to realize that their problems are on the ice and not behind the bench.

Florida Panthers

The Florida Panthers is another franchise trying to find stability through chaos. During the offseason, the Panthers fired former head coach Peter Horachek and hired new coach Gerard Gallant. That makes five coaches in six years for the Panthers and still the organization cannot seem to put a finger on why it keeps losing.

Carolina Hurricanes

In a league that loves coaching changes, the Carolina Hurricanes have been a model of consistency. The team has only had four head coaches in its 17-year history. When Kirk Muller took over as head coach in 2011, many fans thought that the team had found its second coach that was going to lead the franchise to a Stanley Cup. But Muller struggled and the team never made the playoffs in his three-year run. In response, the team fired Muller at the end of the 2013-2014 regular season and brought in Bill Peters as his replacement. For the last three years, Peters has been coaching the defense for the Detroit Red Wings. When coaching Detroit’s defense was an easy job thanks to a loaded roster, Peters did well. But he struggled when players started to retire or leave the team for other reasons. Now he gets his first NHL head coaching shot and a chance to show that the downfall of the Red Wings was not his fault.

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