Now that the madness has subsided a little bit, I wanted to take a minute and reflect a day that was surreal on many levels.
The Laviolette dismissal didn’t come as a huge surprise, although the timing of it did. I was expecting it a bit more the morning after the Ducks loss on Monday. When it was quiet then, I figured nothing would happen until after the three-game homestand, if at all.
Laviolette leaving would have been enough in itself. But not only was Paul Maurice his replacement, he was already in the building and ran practice literally one hour after the press conference. Covering a Paul Maurice-run practice was probably the last thing I expected to be doing when I arrived at the rink yesterday morning.
Oh, and for good measure, Ron Francis is now on the coaching staff. Wild, wild day.
We can discuss the reasons for the changes all day, but for me, the following sums it up in a way that’s fairly short and sweet:
Canes’ record in November 2007: 7-6-0 total, 5-4-0 at home
Jim Rutherford in April’s season-ending press conference:
”For whatever reason we then went through a period of time in November and December of undisciplined, lackluster, inconsistent ... poor work ethic, and that’s what really cost us the playoffs,”
Canes’ record in November 2008: 7-9-0 total, 5-6-0 at home.
A few weeks ago, Rutherford said he was shying away from major changes since the team won three straight after first three-game losing streak of the month. A 1-4 record since then probably sealed the deal. The sluggish play in November of last season extended all the way until late January, which is something the Canes can’t afford to do again.
It’s always a huge shame to part ways with a coach, especially a very good one who won a Stanley Cup in the not-so-distant past, but here’s hoping Maurice provides the shake-up the team clearly needs.
Best of luck to Laviolette, who I’m sure won’t be out of work for long.
Pregame skates are back in the Maurice regime, and I’ll have updates afterwards. Justin Williams is participating.