Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Desert dogs set for changes

The departure of associate coach Barry Smith, who will coach St. Petersburg in the Russian league next season, from the Phoenix Coyotes is only the beginning of a series of moves the struggling National Hockey League club will make in the off-season.

According a source, the Coyotes soon will reassign general manager Mike Barnett and possibly replace him with Wayne Gretzky. Does this mean Gretzky will step away from behind the bench?
Yikes. I wholeheartedly endorse any move that dumps Barnett from the GM post, but the last thing I'd advocate for Gretzky was for him to take on even more responsibility in light of how his first two years behind the bench have gone.

The cycle continues in Phoenix.

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At 5:31 p.m., April 10, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It depends if the Coyotes get the Gretzky who assembled the 2002 Olympic team, or the Gretzky who assembled the 2006 Olympic team.

I still think it was two different people.

At 5:51 p.m., April 10, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Gretzky would do better as a GM. Guys only listen to him for so long. They need a Keenan or Burns to whip the young guys into shape.

At 6:59 p.m., April 10, 2007, Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

Barry Smith struck me as a sharp guy, nobody else in the Phoenix organization left the same impression. A strange move indeed.

A question James:
Was Barry a friend of Gretzky before he got the job?

At 7:32 p.m., April 10, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

I don't know exactly what the connection was there, other than perhaps Gretzky being familiar with Smith's work in Detroit, but Wayne requested that he join his staff when he first decided to step behind the bench. I remember last year, too, there was talk Smith may leave the team and Wayne talked about how he hoped to have him back.


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