The fall guy
You can certainly call the managing acumen of
Waddell, his spider senses tingling since his Thrashers were meekly swept aside in the first round last spring by the Rangers, knew he was on a very short leash as a result of his team's listless 0-6 start. After watching the Thrashers offer little resistance to the Flyers in Tuesday night's 4-0 loss, it was clear that a shake-up was on the horizon. So rather than wait for that leash to turn into a noose, Waddell gassed head coach
Not that it was a bad call on his part. The walk down the plank shouldn't have been a lonely one for Hartley, who failed to complete his fifth year with the Thrashers, but it was deserved. His taskmaster act was clearly wearing thin on the troops, an inevitability for those who follow this tack. But just as deadly as losing the room were the questions about how he handled his charges.
Hartley was second-guessed for several of his decisions during the playoff disaster, including his use of goaltenders
Safe to say, Hartley deserved the collar. He was part of the problem...but hardly the only part.
It was Waddell, after all, who asked Hartley to win with a roster that included neither a legitimate No. 1 or No. 2 center. It was Waddell who failed to replace
Already there are plenty of whispers about Hartley's potential successors.
More likely candidates include
Waddell did what he had to do to save his job. But this was a reprieve, rather than a stay of execution. Unless he performs some miracle while wearing his GM hat, the on-ice fortunes of the Thrashers seem unlikely to improve significantly while he's behind the bench.
The other skate will drop soon enough.