Terrible Outbreak of Shpilkis in the Genechtagazoink.

Scott Arniel is the latest NHL coach to catch a case of the shpilkis.

He’s out at Blue Jackets head coach.  Todd Richards is in.

Exit...Stage Right...

This morning the Blue Jackets announced that assistant coach Todd Richards will be taking over coaching duties of the struggling team (on an interim basis) for the rest of the season.  Richards joined the team as an assistant in June of 2011 and will make his head coaching debut on Tuesday when the club takes on the Chicago Blackhawks.

Scott Arniel now joins the every increasing list of fired NHL coaches this season – Davis Payne (Blues), Paul Maurice (Hurricanes), Bruce Boudreau (Captials), Randy Carlyle (Ducks), Jacques Martin (Canadians), and Terry Murray (Kings) – and we feel sort of bad for him.  He had a rough start to the season without James Wisniewski and a grip of players out with injuries.  They seemed to pick it up in Nov/Dec but have floundered as of late, essential sending Arniel off to collect unemployment.  Columbus is in dead-last place in the NHL, with just 27 points and 20 points out of a playoff spot.

There is no doubt that all the teams who have lost coaches this season have talented players peppering their rosters, so how come they aren’t winning?  Are the coaches not motivating the players enough?  Is their style of coaching not suited to the caliber of players on the team? Are the players being lazy? Or are they just not as good as we think they are?  Has the management just not put the right pieces of the puzzle together to build a winning hockey team?

So with this recent firing, we want to pose a question to our WUYS readers.

When a team is struggling & not winning games, who’s really to blame?  The coach?  The players?  The management?

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  1. I always think about this. The coach is the only person who can’t go on the ice and score goals, so why is he always at fault? In some situations, I agree wholeheartedly that it’s more the team’s attitude than their ability – ie. Boudreau’s firing from the Caps. That was the right move, because the power dynamic between the coach and players needed to change before anything else could (or has, really, but at least Ovi has scored more).

    For the Jackets… if it works, it’s the right thing. If it doesn’t, then I don’t see that it hurts them either. It’s not like they can lose more.

    • Sue Reply

      I also think a fantastic coach can hold a team together in the worst of times. Dan Bylsma is a perfect example of that. That man has kept the Pens together even when they lost Crosby and Malkin last year to the hurt and dwindling amount of talent that they have YET Bylsma still gets every bit out of his players.

      Coach Q of Chicago could be in that same vein too. The Hawks were decimated because they had to let a lot of $$$ go, but the Hawks were scrimping and scraping for each win. Sure, they were still talented (how can you not be with Toews, Sharp, Kane, Hossa, etc.), still it’s got to be hard when your core players are gone next season.

      Agreed that Boudreau had to go. 24/7 did nothing to help his cause especially when you see how Dan Bylsma coaches compared to him. Though, I think once Ovi was benched for part of that game his walking papers were signed.

  2. Gemma Reply

    The thing with the coach is really case by case basis. In Toronto, Burke defended Ron WIlson earlier on in his tenure because the players he had were horrible and it wasn’t the coach’s job to pull out a miracle. He said something along the lines of changing the whole team before the coach and it being his fault that he hasn’t given the players to Wilson to work with.
    But now that the pieces are there, if the team doesn’t make the playoffs, his job will be on the line. The case with Randy Carlyle, Bruce Boudreau, and maybe even Terry Murray was that they had playoff calibre teams. Some guys can’t get the team motivated or learn to play the coach’s way i.e. an offensive minded player with a defensive minded coach. Since the Caps were mentioned already I won’t comment on them but watching the Anaheim players’ interviews after Carlyle firing, you could tell, he just wasn’t working for the team anymore.

    *Apologies on the Toronto-minded post but they kind of fit perfectly for the explanation even without a coach firing.

  3. Ezra Reply

    Right now, the “Ice Capades” has a higher entertainment value than a Columbus hockey game. I’m not saying there’s no talent, but I have yet to see any real chemistry in their lines. If the coach can’t get them to sync, he’s gotta go. The Caps fired Boudreau because the team wouldn’t follow him anymore. Ovi was leading the revolt. The Habs fired Martin because they’re the Habs and they like to whine 🙂
    I believe that owners and managers tend to have an itchy trigger finger when looking for the reason their team (investment) is faltering and the coach is the perfect fall guy. If the team wins, the coach gets a fraction of the limelight; but, if the team loses, the coach gets the proverbial police search helicopter of a spotlight cast upon him.