Thursday, December 15, 2005

Olczyk fired, Therrien hired

Well, that was fast.

Days after rumours circulated about the demise of Pittsburgh Penguins coach Ed Olczyk, former Montreal Canadiens coach and bench boss of the Penguins AHL club, Michel Therrien, is the new coach of the NHL Penguins.

Which means, of course, Olczyk was handed his walking papers after just 111 games as a head coach.

Pundits said when Olczyk was hired that it was a risky move, given his lack of coaching experience. It was apparently a Super Mario call, as were some of the Pens' offseason acquisitions. Neither are looking particularly good so far.

It was also said Olczyk wasn't running a tight ship and that the team's practices lacked structure. Neither of these things will be a problem under the no-nonsense Therrien. (It's interesting how the Penguins have been raiding their AHL franchise, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton — the hottest pro hockey franchise anywhere right now — all season, promoting young talent like Ryan Whitney and Erik Christensen. Now, they've nabbed the coach, making you wonder what will be left of W-B/S by the season's end.)

Still, I find it hard to believe Olczyk is to blame for the Penguins woes this season. I said their roster stunk before the season began, and — surprise, surprise — it still stinks now. And worse than I ever could have imagined.


At 9:30 a.m., December 15, 2005, Blogger alyosha mcbain said...

Hmmmm...while you were quite prescient in your preseason assessment of the Penguins roster, I must remind you that you referred to the NY Rangers as a "hapless club" destined for "more of the same" in terms of their postseason drought.

The Rangers may be the biggest surprise in the NHL, but I warned you in a comment a while back that the Rangers had potentially one of the best goaltending tandems in the entire NHL with Kevin Weekes and Henrik Lundqvist. Coach Tom Renney has done a magnificent job with this once-directionless franchise, and I think it is almost safe to say (if Jagr stays healthy) that the Rangers will be making the playoffs this season.

At 12:58 p.m., December 15, 2005, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Three things.

a) This is a Penguins thread... the predictions list, like every one made by everyone in the preseason has plenty of things wrong with it. Jes Golbez created a chart of predictions before the season, and the Rangers are at the bottom as picked by THN, Sports Illustrated, etc., etc. No one outside of New York picked them to turn things around when it was clearly a rebounding year.

b) I had no idea Henrik Lundqvist was this good. I don't think anyone outside of Sweden did. I saw him play in the World Jrs that one year, but the Swedes had a weak team and they finished fourth.

c) It's a long season.

At 2:33 p.m., December 15, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"c) It's a long season."

Sure is. Makes you wonder about that Senators post you wrote....

At 2:42 p.m., December 15, 2005, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Well anonymous (in Vancouver, B.C., on Shaw Cable who googled 'james mirtle' to find my site), as a frequent visitor to my site (27 times), you'll know I said in that other thread:

"'Asking the question,' to me, just means comparing this team to what some of the great teams did early in seasons and over the course of the year. It's not literally saying they are better than the 1976-77 Canadiens — that's absurd."

Makes me wonder why some think that Senators post was so out to lunch it deserves bringing up in a thread about Ed Olczyk.

At 3:03 p.m., December 15, 2005, Anonymous Lyle Richardson said...

I'll stay on topic, James. It was inevitable that Eddie got canned, but the guy who should've also lost his job was Craig Patrick. He put this team together and is just as much to blame for its woeful performance, perhaps more so. You'd think he would've learned from watching the Rangers failed experiments in team building via the UFA market that this was something doomed to failure.

Oh well, perhaps having Therrien kickin' 'em in the pants every game will turn them around, although it's a long shot for them to make the playoffs at this point. That hole they're in is awfully deep.

Just hope Therrien's learned to control his temper behind the bench.

At 3:54 p.m., December 15, 2005, Blogger ninja said...

Well anonymous (in Vancouver, B.C., on Shaw Cable who googled 'james mirtle' to find my site), as a frequent visitor to my site (27 times), you'll know I said in that other thread

that was awesome : )

At 8:23 p.m., December 15, 2005, Blogger Brushback said...

"Just hope Therrien's learned to control his temper behind the bench."

He's definitely wound a bit too tightly, that's for sure.

I was able to watch him for
the length of a 7-game series between Hartford and Wilkes-Barre a couple of seasons ago, and it seemed like he was always doing something outrageous, like standing on top of the boards, or throwing his jacket around.

At 11:24 p.m., December 15, 2005, Blogger Docciavelli said...

Yeah, but Brushback, a half-nuts disciplinarian is probably just what the doctor ordered. The days of the Pens floating through life with coaches who smile at Mario and nod their heads are over, and that's a good thing.

James, you're right to mention that this is a Pens thread, but Alyosha has a point in bringing up the accuracy of your preseason picks since you referenced them in your original post. Yes, the season is long, but you have to admit that picking Boston 3rd in the east and the Rangers next-to-last hasn't exactly panned out. Then again, my picks weren't all that accurate either (I figured the Bruins would finish 7th in the east, Pens would finish 8th and Rangers 9th).

At 11:47 p.m., December 15, 2005, Blogger James Mirtle said...

I've got no problem if someone wants to rag on my picks, but do so in that thread (or another one on the Rangers).

And, if you have a look at the predictions chart, everyone picked Boston to be good and everyone picked the Rangers to be bad. I'm not sure what it proves saying 'you were wrong about the Rangers!' when everyone else was too... especially when we're talking about the new Penguins coach.


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