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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Atlanta terminates Bob Hartley; Musical chairs starts

Less than three hours after musing on Wolves Coach John Anderson getting his chance in Atlanta because Bob Hartley couldn't survive another loss, the Atlanta Thrashers announced Hartley was terminated due to the six losses chronicled earlier.

My thoughts on the next Atlanta coach are that we'll probably see Atlanta Assistant Coach Steve Weeks, Atlanta Assistant Coach Brad McCrimmon or Wolves Coach John Anderson get the nod. Chances are that John Anderson flew down to Atlanta this morning to meet Don Waddell.

I don't think they'll use Gwinnett Gladiators Coach Jeff Pyle.

It is very likely an opening will occur as a result of whatever choice they make (and they could reach outside the organization for the next coach). And, as a result, Anderson will land in Atlanta.

Then the next question is whether Jeff Pyle moves up to Chicago or Wolves Assistant Coach Todd Nelson moves up in Chicago. In either case, I think we'll see Jeff land in Chicago. Then, an opening occurs in Gwinnett. If Pyle moves up, do they fill it with Cam Brown or Todd Nelson? It's musical chairs time...

Although John Anderson has been critisized for some coaching decisions made in campaigns, Anderson has worked extensively behind the bench with professionals and brought the Chicago Wolves three championships and a finals match during his tenure here and brought the Quad City Mallards to the United Hockey League championship during his time there.

The best assessment of his current value to Atlanta was noted by Tim Noonan in a post on Wolfkeeper this morning:

(Atlanta is) a team with a pretty solid group tenured NHL’ers (Kozlov, Hollik, White, Rucchin), some guys who have the talent to put up big numbers (Hossa, Kovy), and some guys he’s worked with for a handful of seasons (Exelby, Sterling, Popovic, Kari).

This isn’t too different from the type of teams he was used to working with in the IHL days. He’s clearly better working with older players, and maybe a “players coach” would be the right thing for Atlanta.

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