November 14, 2006

The Columbus Blue Jackets .....: elevate Agnew (Interim) to replace the fired Gallant as Head Coach. Who's a good long term solution for the struggling Ohio squad? The team fell to 5-9-1-0 to start this season and find themselves in last place in the Central Division. With the signing of Anson Carter and the addition of Frederick Modin in a trade, expectations were high for a 1st ever playoff appearance. What happened and who's the next Coach out in the NHL?

posted by skydivedad to hockey at 11:11 AM - 13 comments

Quinn might be a good fit. Murray is next to go if the Sens don't play a solid game against Buffalo tomorrow. Cox deals with these exact questions today, though I hate to give the ever-pessimistic one credit for anything.

posted by garfield at 11:35 AM on November 14, 2006

I would suggest that McConnell fired the wrong guy - maybe they should look above the coach.

posted by smithm23 at 11:48 AM on November 14, 2006

Welcome, smithm23. Your patience is impressive.

posted by garfield at 11:52 AM on November 14, 2006

It's sad, because it's not like the Blue Jackets are exactly short on talent. They've had a couple of crucial injuries (Duvie Westcott, frex, can't come back fast enough) but the real problem is one of underachieving. Now that Fedorov is getting back up to speed, maybe that'll kick-start Nash & Carter, who have sleepwalked through the first quarter of the season. There's no small amount of upside here, but you need a motivator behind the bench. Quinn is not a good choice, I wouldn't think. Murray? Maybe.

posted by chicobangs at 12:05 PM on November 14, 2006

Why wouldn't Quinn be a good choice, considering how he turned the Leafs around? Has he adpated to the new style? I don't know. But I think he can get the forecheck going.

posted by garfield at 12:13 PM on November 14, 2006

you need a motivator behind the bench Sounds like a job for The Man With The Golden Mullet. As for the Blue Jacket's abundance of talent, I'm skeptical. Everyone's oohing and aahing over Zherdev, Nash and Westcott, but none of these guys have delivered seasons even remotely close to what Crosby, Ovechkin or Phaneuf gave us last year. Of course, not all prospects are first-year wonders, but still, the Jackets' young guns leave me cold. And they don't have a goalie. Leclaire is no Fleury, sorry. And Murray is the next to go. I don't know what's taking so long.

posted by qbert72 at 12:19 PM on November 14, 2006

Yeah, they do need a goalie. Leclaire showed flashes last year, but he's been about at the level of a career backup the rest of the time. They'll have to limp along to the trading deadline and hope for a good deal from somewhere. Nash is a world-class Iginla-level talent. Zherdev will sneak into an all-star game or two over the course of his career, and it was fun to watch Duvie Westcott grow from lunkheaded tough guy into a solid two-way defenseman last year. When he & Berard come back, that's a solid pairing that'll really help. Unfortunately, Vyborny & Modin are merely quality character guys who may be able to close the deal, but they need the spark that Nash hasn't had in him for the last few weeks, and that Foote & Fedorov don't seem to be able to consistently provide at all anymore.

posted by chicobangs at 01:23 PM on November 14, 2006

I agree with Smithm23. Federov is what, 73 years old? While Carter and Modin are both good players they are not enough to turn the Jackets into a playoff team. A coach can only do so much with the players he has, time to look at who is bringing in those players. That being said, the Jackets don't look like the same team that put together quite a few wins at the end of last season. Either they were over achieving then, or they have too many players that aren't putting in the same effort now. Sometimes a new coach can change that, so I guess we'll see.

posted by MrFrisby at 01:32 PM on November 14, 2006

Offensively this squad is pathetic, only 33 tallies, the fewest in the league. If it wasn't for the lack of offensive punch LeClaire might have had a chance in a few of their loses. After they opened the season winning 2 of the 1st 3 games apparently the fans became overly excited and Gallant has to fall on his sword while the GM continues to justify the charrade. Anson Carter was never an offensive whiz, he only looked that way skating along-side the Sedin twins (who wouldn't). Everyone in the league except MacLean knew that signing him wasn't gonna spark an offensive avalanche. Trading the franchise's winning-est goalie for Modin is another fine example of how not to improve your squad. Zherdev played hardball and MacLean blinked first, did anyone actually believe Zherdev wanted to play in mother Russia! This is a classic example of how to sink a squad in the off season without really trying. They need a hired gun after continuously reaching into the organization for the next Coach, I could understand that approach if this was an organization with a history of winning. Who's next? Can Gretzky fire himself? Murray deserves it for sure and Trent Yawney can't be feeling great about what's going on in Chicago. I'll leave you guys with one more question. Which division will send the least teams into the playoffs?

posted by skydivedad at 01:39 PM on November 14, 2006

Columbus shouldn't be this bad. I mean - they're probably not a playoff team in the West because it's so deep - but they have some decent young talent, some proven talent and leadership and they should be scoring more goals. Federov is obviously not the answer, but he tends to have better second halves, so I bet he picks it up a bit and they have a good collection of forwards. What they don't have is dependably goaltending, a blueline (if losing Westcott puts you in the tank, you were probably all ready there to begin with), and - most importantly - their stars playing well. This team is going to live and die with Nash scoring and he hasn't. But he's more than legit as a scorer. He's not Ovechkin, Crosby or Phaneuf - but he could score 50. Hell - he should given his production to date. I don't think a Pat Quinn is a great choice just because I buy the criticism that he's no good with young players. Columbus is almost all young talent. Brian Murray seems to make more sense, but I bet you see a younger, cheaper coach in there somewhere. An assistant somewhere that needs a shot a la Babcock seems more likely to me.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 02:40 PM on November 14, 2006

Good point about the young players. I knew I was missing something obvious which explains how I could agree with mr.dicks.

posted by garfield at 03:42 PM on November 14, 2006

At least McLean hasn't put himself behind the bench again like he did a few seasons ago. After the Chicago fiasco (eight power plays and zero tallies!?) I told my wife that Gallant would be gone by Thanksgiving if they didn't win a few more games in the next couple of weeks, and that was unlikely given the three games coming up against Nashville. I wasn't surprised that they let him go. Gallant has made a few bonehead errors these last couple of games and I think that's what got him canned. Against Edmonton, he failed to put another guy on the ice after a 5-minut major expired, keeping the Jackets shorthanded longer than necessary and allowing the Oilers to score. Also, regarding Chicago, he had a chance with 1:45 left to pull the goalie and didn't. The next opportunity happened with about :30, and you can't do a heck of a lot with that much time left, let alone calling your timeout with three seconds to go. John Tortorella in Tampa Bay seems to be getting a little frustrated with how folks are responding to him, so after four years he might be ripe for a change in scenery. Although Florida to Columbus? Usually it's Ohioans wanting to go to Florida!

posted by gdvbranz at 05:24 PM on November 14, 2006

To quote Stan Fischler: Has anyone advised Anson Carter (14 games played, two goals, one assist, three points) that training camp is over?

posted by MrFrisby at 10:20 AM on November 15, 2006

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