But, really, Brian Burke? I could give two pucks less if you have one Canadian on your team or three hundred, but damn, by this point in the season you might just want to ride the pony/coach that got you there and hope for the best. Regardless, it's time once again for everyone's favorite fired/rehired coaches segment, the Coaching Carousel!
Oh, and it's in the air people, the smell of playoff hockey. Can you smell it? Don't take one big whiff, you may become lightheaded. It permeates everything around you. It's already upon you, there is no sense in hyperventilating yourself into unconsciousness trying to smell it.
But, maybe you can't smell it, or don't want to smell it. Well, I know one thing that smells. Some of the teams who have fired coaches this season. As of now, EIGHT!!! coaches have been fired through three-quarters of the 2011-12 NHL regular season. Compare that to two through this point last season. Yep, two. That is quite a few less than eight if you take time to really think about it.
Again, what follows is superficial data from each team who has fired old coaches and hired new coaches, comparing and contrasting a few stat categories of the teams playing under each coach. It won't solve anything or help you in the dating world, but it may make you sound smart to people who don't follow hockey. And really, isn't that all that matters?
Again, the items highlighted in yellow are specifically important items or stats unique to the success and/or failure of each team.
Click to embiggen each team's stat box.
*-- denotes interim coach
#-- denotes division leader
Stats as of March 6th, 2012 at 11:59pm CT (does not account for Carolina's March 7th game)
St. Louis Blues
The Blues are this year's success story. Yeah, Ken Hitchcock has them scoring and playing overall better hockey than the team under Davis Payne, but just look at that goals against per game average under Hitch. Just marvel at it. It's really a sight to behold. Being the #1 team in the Central Division is an achievement in itself. It's surprising to see the Blues special teams so average considering their dominance over the past four months.
Car-Chair Analysis: President's Trophy? Eh... Let's wait and see how Detroit does down the stretch before we jump to any conclusions.
that can't be good.
Car-Chair Analysis: This team has more problems than what can be determined through a spreadsheet or graph.
They have shown gradual, deliberate improvement in scoring more goals than the opposing team, but a 78% penalty kill average is 11% off of the league leader (Montreal). In a lost season, they do have a serviceable powerplay, so that's something.
Car-Chair Analysis: They probably won't finish worse than Montreal, Columbus, or Edmonton, or better than twenty other teams. Lottery pick, AHOY!
Goals scored, goals scored, goals scored, but goals against, goals against, goals against. This team, as well as they have played under Boudreau, struggles to stay consistent. Hiller is on one night, off the next, and the same thing goes for their offense.
Car-Chair Analysis: Their run over the past two months has been outstanding, but it will have to be more outstanding-er for them to make the playoffs this year.
Los Angeles Kings
The Kings aren't scoring as many goals overall under Sutter, but they are getting them when it matters. Still one of the best in the league when it comes to goals against per game. Sure, the Kings could benefit from more powerplay goals, but it's hard to fault a special teams that gives up so few goals on the penalty kill. If this team had a higher goal producing offensive attack, they may be battling St. Louis for the top spot in the West. Or, they could be giving up three goals per game instead. Whatever.
Car-Chair Analysis: Real talk: The Kings have the potential to be a dangerous team if they make the playoffs. Good defense and good goaltending, with just enough offense sprinkled in has the potential to be hard to stop.
Car-Chair Analysis: Randy Cunneyworth still can't speak French. This results in more losses.
Look, they didn't win with Ron Wilson, and it could have to do with that whole +3 GA/G stat or not. It's just incredible this organization hasn't been relevant for so long. They are like the Yankees in the late 1960s, only longer.
Car-Chair Analysis: The Ron Wilson-era ends and that's all I am going to say for now. Randy Carlyle has coached, like, three games, mended his relationship with Joffery Lupul, and then declared victory all over Lupul's shoulder. That's all you need to know.
Best Available Coaches:
Andy Murray (!!! :D)
Senator Jacques Demers
Coaches on the Chopping Block:
Jack Capuano - NYI (meh, probably not)
Game by game stats