Saturday, October 20, 2007

Easy Come, Easy Go

If you haven't heard by now, Bob Hartley has been fired. After taking the Atlanta Thrashers to the playoffs for the first time in franchise history, as well as clinching their first Southeast Division title, his thanks for a dry spell at the beginning of the season is a pink slip.

Granted, the Thrashers are 0-6. Their power play ranks 28th, and their penalty kill 29th. To add to their misery, they average a league worst 1.5 goals a game, and allow 4.5, also a league worst. It could be simply that the team isn't clicking as well as it should. It could be that they might have a playoff hangover, even though they went 4 and gone in the playoffs.

But for whatever reason, Bob Hartley is to blame for this travesty. It is easier to blame the coach, than the players or the GM. Don Waddell is a genius, so obviously it isn't his fault. Marian Hossa and Ilya Kovalchuk can divide by zero and stop the world from rotating by just thinking about it. Keri Lethonen is the final solution to cancer. There's nothing wrong with the team, and by all rights they should've been 6-0. Because Bob Hartley was behind the bench, they aren't.

The above paragraph sounds harsh, and it is. From the sounds of things, it's probably what some people are thinking.

Coaches have the worst job in the league. They aren't given the proper due when their teams are doing spectacular, and they're discarded when their team stinks up the joint. In the meanwhile, they're responsible for dealing with the possibility of locker room drama, making players happy with adequate ice time, and motivating their troops when they need it. The best thing that happens to them is a simple trophy that the media votes on called the Jack Adams trophy. Kinda makes you wonder why they're in it at all, doesn't it?

So this is an ode to whom I feel is still a good coach, Mr. Hartley. Good luck with your future endeavors, and I hope your next team treats you better than the last one. People soon forget you have banners in two cities, and rings from one.

That's something Mr. Waddell can't claim over you.

~ Atma


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