It’s been a busy week in terms of National Hockey League coaches hitting the unemployment line.
First Bruce Boudreau in Anaheim Friday, followed by Bob Hartley in Calgary on Tuesday. Those two gentlemen join former Ottawa Senators coach Dave Cameron in the search for work behind a bench.
There are currently three vacancies in the NHL’s coaching ranks and John Torchetti is still wearing the interim tag with the Minnesota Wild.
Here’s a roundup of the latest news on the coaching carousel front.
Carlyle to Calgary?
Randy Carlyle was relieved of his job behind the Toronto Maple Leafs‘ bench in January of 2015, giving way to Peter Horachek on an interim basis to finish out a disappointing 2014-15 campaign. Mike Babcock has since taken over in Hogtown and everything is coming up Auston Matthews heading into what figures to be one of the most crucial off-seasons in Maple Leafs history.
As for Carlyle, well his named is being bandied about in talks around the Calgary Flames‘ coaching vacancy.
Carlyle’s resume includes a Stanley Cup championship with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007, but it’s been a whole lot of playoff disappointment and/or failing to qualify for his squads since then.
Flames team president Brian Burke spoke about what he and general manager Brad Treliving are looking for in a head coach.
“He [Treliving] wants a physical team,” Burke told Prime Time Sports co-hosts Bob McCown and John Shannon. “A big, aggressive team. And a truculent team. I hate to use that term because it’ll make everyone laugh but our vision is that we want that kind of team. We like that kind of hockey. Our fans like it and we think it’s essential to winning in the West.
“We want to be a black and blue team,” Burke added.
The Maple Leafs led the league in team fighting majors in Carlyle’s two full seasons behind the bench. Hmm…
Boudreau in demand
It’s tough to see someone lose their job…well, unless you’re an NHL team in search of a new coach when the Anaheim Ducks severed ties with Boudreau.
Playoff disappointment stemming from a seeming inability to eke out a win in Game 7s, Boudreau is one of the best coaches the NHL has seen in recent years. He’s far and away the best man currently looking for work.
The Ottawa Senators and Minnesota Wild have reached out to the Ducks re: Boudreau. (As Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman pointed out, Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is expecting that Ottawa will have a short list of two coaches by Friday.)
“I can say that I’ve had conversations,” Boudreau told Sportsnet Tuesday.
Boudreau has coached his team’s to eight division titles in nine seasons behind an NHL bench with the Washington Capitals and Ducks. Still, those seven losses in eight Game 7s are not nothing. Boudreau’s Ducks bowed out of the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs following a first-round Game 7 loss to the Nashville Predators last week.
Wild GM Chuck Fletcher confirmed he spoke to the Ducks about Boudreau, although he noted Torchetti is “definitely a very serious candidate” for the job.
The suitors are lined up; don’t expect Boudreau to be out of work for long.
What Yeo talking about?
Prior to Boudreau falling into the picture, new Senators GM Pierre Dorion reportedly began his coaching search by seeking out a sit-down with former Wild bench boss Mike Yeo.
The Wild were 23-22-10 and sitting outside the playoff picture under Yeo in 2015-16. The club rode a 15-11-1 record under Torchetti to qualify for the post-season.
Yeo coached the Wild for four-plus seasons and holds a 173-132-44 over that span.