NHL Saturday: Top five
CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency
|Jacques Lemaire came back for an encore performance, taking over the Devils on Dec. 23, 2010. (REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine)
Top Five in-season coaching changes since the lockout.
This was a tumultuous week with three coaches being fired, bringing to four the number of clubs that have decided a change behind the bench was necessary to change the direction of their clubs. Here are the five in-season coaching moves that have had the greatest positive effect on their clubs:
1. Dan Bylsma, Pittsburgh Penguins: He became the coach of the Penguins on Feb. 15, 2009, replacing Michel Therrien. Bylsma helped the Penguins to a 18-3-4 record down the stretch and then the franchise's third Stanley Cup. Doesn't get any better than that.
2. Bruce Boudreau, Washington Capitals: He took over the last-place Caps from Glen Hanlon on Nov. 23, 2007 and, after taking them to a 37-17-7 record, they won the Southeast Division title and Boudreau won the Jack Adams as coach of the year.
3. Paul Maurice, Carolina Hurricanes. He took over the Hurricanes on Dec. 3, 2008 and they went on a 33-19-5 run, finishing second in the Southeast Division. They ultimately lost in the Eastern Conference final.
4. Jacques Lemaire, New Jersey Devils: Lemaire came back for an encore performance, taking over the Devils on Dec. 23, 2010. Lemaire took the Devils on a 29-17-3 ride that saw them come up just short of a playoff berth.
5. Joel Quenneville, Chicago Blackhawks: He took over from Denis Savard four games into the 2008-09 season and took the Blackhawks to a 45-22-11 record (their most wins since the 1999-2000 season). The next year they won the Stanley Cup.
* It is interesting to note that two of the guys who lost their jobs this week -- Boudreau and Maurice -- were themselves mid-season replacements, giving credence to the argument that a new coach can make a difference.