After listening on a conference call earlier this evening, two things were certain.
It clearly pained Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli to have to relieve Head Coach Dave Lewis and Associate Head Coach Marc Habscheid of their coaching duties.
It was also clear, however, that he also believed that this was the right decision for his hockey club at this time.
"Especially now, with the salary cap, the margin for error is so small," explained Chiarelli. "And coaching often makes the difference."
The GM had started the phone call by saying that he had "great respect for both of those men and for what they have done in the past and what they will accomplish in the future, however my job is to ice a team that is going to win on a consistent basis.
"One of the things that was telling to me this year was the inconsistency of our play.
"We would go for long stretches where we would be either very good or not so good and what tells me as a manager is that there is a level of play that we can attain…and it didn't happen.
"In fairness to Dave and to Marc we put together a staff under somewhat extenuating circumstances. And I interviewed them both. They were both good."
"To say that maybe there wasn't the right mix -- in hindsight -- that is probably a correct statement," said Chiarelli. "I know that the both of them are tremendous individuals and have good track records and I know that they will succeed in the future."
In Boston, however, the General Manager admitted, "for some reason, it did not produce the outcome that I wanted."
Asked about Coach Lewis and whether he held his players accountable, Chiarelli implied that Dave, in his own way, did hold his skaters accountable.
"Dave had his own style," said Chiarelli. "And I want to emphasize that the players have to respond, too."
And moving forward, the word 'accountability' will be very important.
"Dave had his own way of doing that," said Peter. "But I made the assessment that his way wasn't compatible with our guys."
|John Bishop is the beat writer for BostonBruins.com. He covers the Black & Gold hoping to offer a positive look at the team, not only from the stands and the press box, but also from inside the locker room. A graduate of Boston U. and Northeastern, 'Bish' grew up in Connecticut and moved to the Hub of Hockey in 1993. Since then he has made all four rinks at the Beanpot schools, as well as both Gardens, his icebound homes away from home. Prior to joining the TD Banknorth Garden staff in 2005, Bishop had written for several publications, with his primary focus being college hockey. He coauthored the book Bygone Boston in 2003 and hopes someday to pen a bio of Hobey Baker. |
In terms of a schedule for the hire, Chiarelli said that the search would begin immediately so as to have a head coach in place when the free agency period opens up on July 1.
"I think it's important," said the Bruins GM. "I have a short list of candidates that I am contemplating and I think it is important to (choose a coach) before that day.
"Any free agent that is going to consider a place to play, especially in this new system…they want to know who the coach is and what the coaching staff consists of."
Although he is being retained, Doug Houda is not a candidate, and Chiarelli declined to name the people on his list.
Also, the Bruins GM did not have a clear idea as to what roles the two dismissed coaches would be assigned in the organization, but said that he would not stand in their way should any other team come calling.
Finally, when asked about his having to fire his first coaching hire, and the resulting questions that might have come from his employer, the General Manager was philosophical.
"Well, it certainly was something that I looked at," said Chiarelli. "But the move that I have to make has to be the best one for the organization.
"I looked at it and I examined it and at the end of the day I decided that this was what was best for the organization.
"When I presented it to Mr. Jacobs, he supported me," he said.
Certainly, this was not a decision that anyone is taking lightly.
"A four year deal is an expensive commitment," said Chiarelli of Coach Lewis' contract. "But coaching is so important and we have to get it right."