Monday, April 16, 2007

Calgary's Coaching

Calgary's coach Jim Playfair was hired this summer after a successful three year run as Calgary's assistant coach. Darryl Sutter had been working as both general manager and coach in the previous couple seasons. While Playfair hasn't done much to show he is an elite NHL coach, he has been competent.

There is a movement for Calgary to make a desperate move since they are down 2 games to none against Detroit (imagine that an 8th seed - albeit a stronger than usual 8th seed loses two straight games on the road to the number one seed) and fire Playfair before game three to let Sutter coach. Even "TSN Insider" Bob McKenzie abandons his usual job of floating NHL trial balloons and reporting insider NHL leaks to report on this possibility.

New Jersey fired their coach Claude Julien just before the playoffs began. It was a desperate move which has so far paid no clear dividends for the Devils. Currently, The Devils are tied 1-1 in their first round series with the Tampa Bay Lightning. I imagine that most likely, that would be their situation with Julien coaching or with Lamoreillo. It's a desperate move that likely will wind up making them look stupid.

Calgary needs to win four out of their next five games against Detroit to not be eliminated. Likely, they won't do it, but it is possible. It is possible with coach Jim Playfair. Right now, the situation is one of desperation. Calgary sees their post season slipping away and they suggestion is that they do something - anything - even something stupid. The fact that doing something stupid won't likely change anything doesn't matter. It's an oversimplification of the situation. It's as though people believe that the Calgary Flames don't know that these games are important and they need a move to shake them up. Of course they know the Stanley Cup playoffs are important. Of course they are giving it all they have got and so far they haven't won.

Any manager of anything (not only hockey) who hires somebody and then fires them at the most important point in their job is an awful manager. They are an egomaniac who cannot stay out of the limelight and give their underlings a chance to succeed. This hurts their chances of bringing in a top coach in the future. If you are a coach with a choice of where to work would you go to the place where they have a history of firing coaches whenever games get important?

I hope Darryl Sutter lets Jim Playfair have his chance with the Flames for the rest of the playoffs. It is very possible that Calgary comes home and wins a game or two and this series looks much more winnable and the desperation is gone.

NOTE: Tampa Bay is now leading New Jersey 2 games to one. That alone should be enough to show any crazy Flames fans who support the desperate idea of firing Playfair now that its hardly a cureall for their team's problems.

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