Postseason and Firing Season
Posted By: Aaron Sims
It’s been a bad weekend for a trio of coaches with Milwaukee Admirals ties.
In DeBoer’s case, he was inherited by a new GM. Dale Tallon is working on rebuilding the Panthers and dealt nearly every veteran on the roster. DeBoer will be a coveted property, perhaps ending up in Ottawa where he was a favorite for the job three years ago before Florida GM Jacques Martin swooped in to hire him.
Clouston replaced Craig Hartsburg in Ottawa. I’ve heard rumblings that the coaching staff had little support from GM Bryan Murray, who is getting the chance to revamp a roster after several years of bad decisions. As pointed out in the above link, Murray has averaged a coach per season. The constant in the Senators mediocrity and irrelevance is, you guessed it, Murray. Perhaps Murray tried to distance himself from his coaches to save his own job?
Lauer will find another gig. He’s a sharp hockey mind. Brad has coached at the major junior level in Canada and in the pro ranks. My guess, and I stress the word “guess”, is Brad would like to be a head coach to make the next step in his career.
The Richards firing is the most puzzling to me. He has another year on his contract and was hand-picked by GM Chuck Fletcher. The Wild has been plagued by bad drafts and a dearth of prospects due to trades by the former regime that Fletcher and Richards replaced. Fletcher, too, hasn’t made the best decisions. Hindsight is 20/20, but the Nick Leddy deal with Chicago for the bloated salary of Cam Barker doesn’t look good.
The writing may have been on the wall for a bit in Minnesota. In the last 27 games of the season, the Wild won just nine, which may have been the death knell. The team went 2-10-1 before winning the final two games of the season.
Kevin Gorg is a Wild broadcaster on Fox Sports North. He said on KFAN radio Monday that he has never been around a harder-working or more-prepared group of coaches than Richards and his assistants. Gorg has been around the game for a long time. That’s an impressive statement.
Now, Minnesota will likely hire a veteran, expensive coach. Michel Therrien makes a lot of sense, as the above link points out. Richards will no doubt have another crack at it.
The New Jersey job is open, too, with Jacques Lemaire stepping down.
There have been a number of AHL coaches graduating to the NHL recently. Everyone points to Bruce Boudreau of Washington. Recently, Dan Bylsma, Guy Boucher and Scott Arniel have improved situations where they are.
If one looks to the AHL, Lane Lambert has got to be near the top of the list. In four seasons as head coach for the Admirals, Lambert owns a 178-103-15-24 record, a .617 winning percentage. He has two West Division titles to his credit.
What’s more, players develop under Lambert. At the close of the 2010-2011 season, Nine players on the Nashville roster spent significant development time under Lane’s guidance: Jon Blum, Cody Franson, Blake Geoffrion, Matt Halischuk, Patric Hornqvist, Cal O’Reilly, Pekka Rinne, Nick Spaling and Colin Wilson. A look at other organizations finds Mike Santorelli, Alex Sulzer, Ryan Jones and Rich Peverley.
Then you have stories like Chris Mueller’s. He played his way into a NHL contract this season. Hugh Jessiman had his best pro success in Milwaukee. He earned his first NHL callup this season.
It’s hard to overlook what Lane has done in just four seasons as the head coach in Milwaukee.
I plan on writing about my favorite playoff moments since I became a part of this organization at the beginning of the 2005-06 season. I’d like to hear from you as to what yours are. Send me an e-mail
. I’ll compile and list on Thursday, the day of the first playoff game.
Which former Admiral had the most NHL goals this season? Scottie Upshall scored 22 with Phoenix and Columbus. Hornqvist had 21, Santorelli 20, Peverley and Jones 18 each and Wilson and Shea Weber each had 16.
According to hockeydb.com
, the cities that have provided the most Admirals players in the AHL are Edmonton and Montreal with ten. They are followed by Toronto (7) and Sault Ste. Marie (6). Madison, WI and Edina, MN lead the United States with three players each.
Who is the top American born scorer in Admirals AHL history? The answer is Wyatt Smith from Thief River Falls, MN. He scored 114 points in 165 games with Milwaukee.
The top scoring defensemen in Admirals AHL history are Alex Sulzer and Andrew Hutchinson, both with 96 points. Cody Franson recorded 95.