The NHL's coaching carousel began to go 'round in earnest last week, with three jobs turning over in a four-day stretch. Besides the departure of Bruce Boudreau and the arrival of Dale Hunter in Washington, D.C., here's the lowdown on what went wrong and what to expect from here on in
December 12, 2011


In Ken Hitchcock

Out Davis Payne

Reason for the change

The Blues are a big team and are built to play physical, but that element was missing during a 6-7-0 start. Doug Armstrong became the first G.M. in the NHL to swing his ax, cutting Payne loose on Nov. 6 after only one full season and a career record of 67-55-15.

Will it work?

So far Hitchcock, who won a Cup with the Stars in 1999, has brought fire, focus, and energy to St. Louis—as well as the physical edge for which his teams are renowned—going 8-2-3 through Sunday. The Blues' talented young players have responded well, and the club should make the playoffs.


In Kirk Muller

Out Paul Maurice

Reason for the change

After spending handsomely on unrestricted free agents Anthony Stewart, Alexei Ponikarovsky and Tomas Kaberle, Carolina was off to a 8-13-4 start. Star forward Eric Staal has looked awful (five goals, nine assists, --17), and the Hurricanes were playing soft.

Will it work?

The passionate Muller will bring great energy and should have Carolina digging hard every night. Watch for the club to become much more aggressive in all facets of the game, especially on the forecheck and the penalty kill. But making the playoffs will be tough.


In Bruce Boudreau

Out Randy Carlyle

Reason for the change

Like a lot of highly demanding coaches, Carlyle came to the Ducks with a short shelf life, and after six years the 2007 Cup winner was past his expiration date. He's a good coach, but the Anaheim players had simply had enough.

Will it work?

General manager Bob Murray was clearly looking for someone to change the environment on his club, and the affable Boudreau, who isn't afraid to let his players get creative, will certainly do that. A postseason berth is a long shot, but the fact that Murray pulled the trigger quickly at least gives the Ducks a better chance.