Most unjust coach firings?

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by reckoning, Feb 18, 2007.

  1. reckoning

    reckoning Registered User

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    Firing the coach is often just a kneejerk reaction by management if a team is slumping to appease the media and fans who are looking for somebody to pay for the team not winning the Cup. The "fire the coach" crusade reaches ridiculous proportions at times. On this board this season, probably about 25 of the 30 team boards have had threads about how the coach needs to be fired (though they rarely have any suggestions about who they should hire who would be better.)

    Anyways, if management makes that decision, it can backfire a lot. Some of the worst examples:

    Don Cherry Boston 1979: I know he's not the most popular person on this board, but he was a good coach. He was fired simply because he didn't get along with Harry Sinden, but Sinden must have noticed that the players liked Cherry and were willing to play hard for him. Sometimes you have to put aside a personal dislike for somebody if they're performing well.

    Peter Laviolette Islanders 2003: Another stroke of genius courtesy of Mike Milbury. I remember when it happened during the 2003 playoffs, a reporter asked Pat Burns (who didn't know about it) his opinion and Burns reply was something like "They fired him? W hy the heck would they do that?" Seeing Laviolette win the Cup with Carolina must've really stung with Islander fans.

    Roger Neilson Toronto 1979: Did a good job the two years he was in Toronto, but Harold Ballard thought the team needed a change. And they did change: they went from a respectable team to a joke. Don't forget the whole fired/rehired paper bag fiasco either.

    Jacques Demers Montreal 1995: Sorry, but firing the coach, a coach who won a Stanley Cup, five games into the season is just ******ed.

    Any others?
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2007
  2. sunb

    sunb Registered User

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    With any type of management / leadership role, there is a tremendous deal of politics involved. Anytime there are egos and emotions involved, conflicts arise naturally. This is merely human nature and is inexorable. I wouldn't be surprised if there are many many coaching / GM firings that were borne out of a interpersonal conflict between team presidents, owners, GMs, coaches or player.
     
  3. Riffo*

    Riffo* Guest

    Claude Julien, 2006
     
  4. MXD

    MXD James St. John Smythe

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    If you take out Don Cherry, that makes a good list.
    Cherry brought a very good team absolutely nowhere, and he was the reason why his team loss a 7th game...
     
  5. Meichel Kane

    Meichel Kane My Name Is

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    Ted Nolan?
     
  6. CoupeStanley

    CoupeStanley Registered User

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    Unfair, yes... but It was predictable since the day Gainey became the GM.

    He would pick his man and he did.
     
  7. JWINK19

    JWINK19 southern Devils fan

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    Firing Roger Neilson while he had cancer would have to rank right up at the top.
     
  8. Wetcoaster

    Wetcoaster Guest

    "Roger got cancer. That wasn't our fault. We didn't tell him to go get cancer. It's too bad that he did. We feel sorry for him, but then he went goofy on us." - Booby Clarke
     
  9. Wetcoaster

    Wetcoaster Guest

    Brian Burke firing Mike Keenan.

    In June 1998 Burke was hired as GM by the Canucks and who can forget his famous pronouncement about working with Mike Keenan:

    "I'm thrilled to have Mike Keenan as my coach. It's not something that I am saddled with. It's something I have been blessed with."

    On January 17, 1999 Burke pulled the trigger on the Bure trade sending to Florida RW Pavel Bure, D Bret Hedican, D Brad Ference and a 3rd round pick (Robert Fried a 6'3" 210 lb RW who just graduated from Harvard this season) and receiving in return D Ed Jovanovski, G Kevin Weekes, LW Dave Gagner, LW Mike Brown, and a 1st round pick in 2000 (Nathan Smith).

    Oh yes, and recall that Burke said he would not hold Keenan accountable for the Canucks record until after the Bure trade was completed and Keenan had some time to work with the new assets.

    Burke was true to his word, two games later he fired Keenan :sarcasm: and hired Marc Crawford (for those of you who missed it that is a sarcastic comment). BTW for those of you who forget since Crawford remained under contract to the Av's it cost Burke yet another second round draft pick (Hasn't he run out of them yet?) to be able to sign Crawford.
     
  10. Vector

    Vector Registered User

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    I still have a strong dislike and lack of respect for Clarke after those comments.

    On the Keenan Firing: It was pretty underhanded but it was the best move for the team. Burke also claimed he wouldn't trade Bure (I have that quote in a different location and can dredge it up in a few days) and did a week later. He's notorious for saying one thing and doing the other.
     
  11. Hasbro

    Hasbro Can He Skate?! Sponsor

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    If anything Cherry's firing from the Rockies was more unjust.
     
  12. Transplanted Caper

    Transplanted Caper Registered User

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    I'd say the way he was blacklisted afterwords was more unjust, but he clashed with management and Hasek. He was likely considered the most expendable.
     
  13. reckoning

    reckoning Registered User

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    Cherry did a great job with Boston. There were a good team, but not a great team. The same team didn't do any better the next few years after he left. To take them to 7th game overtime against the Montreal dynasty was impressive. I think the too many men call is way overcriticized. Yes, the coach ultimately has to take responsibility for that, but no other coach has been run down as much for something like that. Late in the 3rd period of the 1986 Game 7 between Calgary and Edmonton, the Flames took a too many men call. I never heard anybody say Bob Johnson was a bad coach because of that. Or that Barry Melrose was a bad coach because of the McSorley stick call.
     
  14. WheatiesHockey

    WheatiesHockey Registered User

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    Coaches make great scapegoats for all the team ills. The coaches game stops at bench management these days and even then there are 2 or 3 assistant coaches on the bench as well.The decision to keep or not keep a player pretty much hinges on strict criteria based on value of the player contract. Coaches have to function these days in an environment where the team is already picked for him. Firing coaches seldom produces much except maybe in the short term. The scenario is almost always the same. The announcement that Coach X will bring winning hockey to Town A. 18 Months later there is an announcement that Coach X has been relieved of his duties in Town A because the team picked for him did not perform as well as expected. There will be an interim coach until a replacement is found and then a similar announcement for new coach Z will for certain bring the winning hockey tradition back to Town A.
    Larry Robinson for one did deserve a better fate than his NHL coaching career gave him. The list would probably get pretty long these days.
     
  15. Hockey Outsider

    Hockey Outsider Registered User

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    This was one of the worst firings I've ever seen. Houle panicked and fired Demers after Montreal started the season with a five-game losing streak. Demers was a great coach; perhaps his greatest skill was his ability to ensure that many of his big-ego stars remained focused and committed to the team. Montreal would really miss that for the rest of the season. Demers also kept his teams fairly disciplined.

    However, the firing was more than about losing Demers. The result was that the inexperienced Mario Tremblay was brought in as head coach. He had no professional coaching experience at the NHL level and, history shows, he seemed to have irrational feuds with various players. Tremblay left Roy in goal for that terrible loss to Detroit, which caused him to leave the team. No competent coach should allow his star player to get embarassed like that. But it was more than just that game; Demers picked on Roy all year. I remember several newspaper stories indicating the two of them almost having fist fights in various parts of the city.

    In short, firing Demers cost a great coach and Patrick Roy.
     
  16. John Flyers Fan

    John Flyers Fan Registered User

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    Roger wasn't fired.
     
  17. Ol' Jase

    Ol' Jase No mas, Adam. No mas Sponsor

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    I seem to remember that he was.
     
  18. John Flyers Fan

    John Flyers Fan Registered User

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    and you would be incorrect.

    His contract expired, and he wasn't offered and new one to be the head coach of the Flyers. He was offered numerous other positions in the organization.

    The comment was obviously ill advised, but the decision was the logical move.

    The Flyers under Neilson twice lost in the first round (98 & 99), and looked brutal doing so. Craig Ramsey took over for Neilson, while he was diagnosed with cancer, and the team made it to game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, while playing without Eric Lindros.

    Just like a player stepping in for an injured player and taking over someone's job, Ramsay did the same. The team responded to him, and he was named head coach, and deservedly so.


    Was it politically correct ??? ... were the comments insensative ??? No and yes. doesn't mean it wasn't the right move at the time.
     
  19. GKJ

    GKJ Global Moderator

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    Terry Murray 1997. Fired because Eric Lindros didn't like him. The Flyers never found a competent replacement until after Lindros was gone.
     
  20. Larry Robinson in 2002 with the Devils.
     
  21. A-Train in Motion

    A-Train in Motion Registered User

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    Ken Hitchcock, Flyers...

    He's gone and the team still sucks.
     
  22. Marc008

    Marc008 Registered User

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    Im not sure what the name of the coach was but I heard that once a Bruins coach was fired by I think it was Harry Sinden he just slid a note under his motel door thats said your fired and when the coach opend the door he could see Harry run down the hall.
     
  23. Wetcoaster

    Wetcoaster Guest

    And where precisely did I claim Neilson was fired????
     
  24. pappyline

    pappyline Registered User

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    I think that was how Tommy Ivan fired Billy Reay.
     
  25. brianscot

    brianscot Registered User

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    Fred Creighton had the 79-80 Bruins cruising along at 40-20-13 when he was fired with 7 games left in the season.

    Sinden took over as coach, Boston struggled to beat an over matched Penguin team in the first round and then were trounced by the soon to be dynastic Islanders in just 5 games. (The fabled Gillies vs O'reilly series.)

    Sinden burned through coaches like a hot knife through butter during his career as GM. It's not surprising that Mike Milbury played under his influence. Sinden was adept at trades and reclaimation projects, but his fickleness when it comes to coaches rivals Al Davis.

    And like Davis, he probably should have just remained coach as well.
     

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