Ex-Columbus coach Scott Arniel’s had over a week to digest his firing, but — as a recent interview in the Columbus Dispatch suggests — the former BJs bench boss is still having a hard time swallowing it.
Arniel spoke with Aaron Portzline and made no bones about the difficulty of moving on.
“This is something that doesn’t have a good taste to it,” Arniel said. “I don’t think I’m going to get used to it. You go through moments where you’re OK and you’re coming around and then something triggers it and you get very angry again. You get upset and you start all over with your emotions again.”
Arniel said he wasn’t surprised about being let go. The Blue Jackets were the NHL’s worst team (they still are) and given the volatile coaching market, he saw the writing on the wall.
“I’m smart enough to look around the league and notice that six guys, all of whom are probably more qualified than I am, got the same message already this season,” he said. “But it has been over a week now and it still bothers me, still gnaws at me. I hate to leave unfinished business. And look: I’ve been a coach for 13 years; I didn’t get stupid in three months.”
He might not have gotten stupid, but Arniel must wonder how this stint will affect his reputation. He went 45-60-18 over 1.5 seasons — while hardly a disastrous performance, it’s not exactly bolstering his resume.
See, losing attaches a certain stigma that can be awfully hard to shake. (NFL example — say Rod Marinelli deserves another gig. Can any GM/Owner overlook his 0-16 season with the Lions?) Arniel told Portzline how difficult all the losing was on his and the team’s psyche.
“I’ve never been through something like this where everything that could go wrong, did go wrong,” he said. “It’s a downward spiral that started early and we all got caught up in it. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to be around.
“You see things happening. You try to stop it from happening, but sometimes you’re helpless.”
Talk about perfect timing.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic scored his first goal of the season on Tuesday, doing so in overtime to lift the San Jose Sharks past the goaltending of John Gibson in a 2-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks.
Facing off against their California rivals for the first time this season, the Sharks dominated puck possession and on the shot clock. Had it not been for the play of Gibson, this one could’ve been a lopsided win for San Jose.
Gibson replaced Jonathan Bernier to begin the second period. Bernier left the game with an upper-body injury.
In relief, Gibson made 24 saves on 25 shots. Vlasic was the only San Jose player to get the puck past him, but not before the Ducks managed to steal a single point.
The Ducks recorded the single point, but did so faced with a short-handed lineup as the game continued. Not only did Bernier leave the game, but so, too, did Ryan Getzlaf, who didn’t play a shift in the third period.
He left with an upper-body injury, as per the Ducks, who at the time listed his return as questionable.
So, it seems Jake Allen was onto something.
The St. Louis Blues goalie noted a few days ago that Calgary Flames fans shouldn’t be worried about Brian Elliott despite his early-season struggles.
Well, Elliott has since put together strong performances in back-to-back games against Central Division opponents from Chicago and then St. Louis.
After earning a shootout win over the Blackhawks on Monday, Elliott was put back in the Calgary net to finish off the back-to-back road set.
Facing his former team, Elliott made 23 saves on 24 shots and the Flames recorded a 4-1 victory. It was a special return to St. Louis for Elliott, who spent five seasons with the Blues.
“I saw that on the schedule from a while ago in the summer,” Elliott told NHL.com. “You want to come back here. I had so much fun playing in front of these fans in this building and wanted to do it again even though it was another team. The guys did a heck of a job in front of me to get that win for me.”
Not a bad trip for the Flames, with a maximum four points against two teams considered to be contenders in the Western Conference.
“I thought we were good in front of him, too,” Flames coach Glen Gulutzan told the Calgary Herald. “I thought we kept a lot of the stuff to the outside, but he made some big saves, especially at the end, when we knew their push was coming.
“I thought that was when he was his best. And that’s what you need — we put ourselves in position to win and then he carried us through.”
Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson began Tuesday’s game on the bench, but was forced into action to begin the second period against the San Jose Sharks.
Jonathan Bernier, who got the start, left the game with an upper-body injury and was doubtful to return, the Ducks stated on Twitter.
Bernier has played in only one other game for Anaheim so far, making 42 saves on 45 shots in a loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Oct. 15.
Frederik Andersen‘s difficult start to the season continues.
After an interesting exchange when questioned about his goaltender prior to Tuesday’s game against the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning and some guy named Steven Stamkos, Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock was once again forced to answer inquiries about the play of Andersen, who allowed seven goals on just 24 shots.
Andersen stayed in the crease for the entire game, as the Leafs lost 7-3. He certainly didn’t get much help in the defensive end from his teammates in front of him.
Stamkos started the scoring for Tampa Bay, and continued it with a rocket one-timer past Andersen, before finishing with a four-point night.
But in Toronto, the conversation about the amazing play of rookies like Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner seems to have shifted to the play of their goalie, acquired in a blockbuster deal with Anaheim, in which Toronto parted ways with a first- and second-round pick to make it happen. The Leafs then signed him to a five-year, $25 million deal.
Playing on a new team in a hockey-crazed market has likely been an adjustment. His season also started with an injury in Olympic qualifying.
Following the loss Tuesday, Babcock explained his reasoning for leaving Andersen in net for all seven Tampa Bay goals, two of which came late in the third period.
“I want him to play. He’s my guy. I want him to play,” said Babcock, as per Jonas Siegel of The Canadian Press. “So I could pull him and then say, ‘Okay I showed you!’ But what did I show him? To me, dig in there with the rest of the guys, make the next save and give us a chance to come back and win the game. You can’t do that sitting on the bench.”
The Maple Leafs face the Florida Panthers on Thursday. Florida’s goalie Roberto Luongo knows all-too-well about the pressures that come with playing the position in a Canadian market.
It is early in Andersen’s Toronto tenure.
But Babcock will likely be facing a similar line of questioning until his goalie turns it around.