FILE - This Feb. 6, 2014 file photo shows Washington Capitals head coach Adam Oates on the bench in the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets, in Washington. Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals are fading. Ovechkin has gone without a point in the last four games, and his team has lost five of its past six to drop to 10th in the Eastern Conference. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Twisting in the wind: Oates, Carlyle, Torts still facing uncertain futures


Three head coaches on three high-profile teams that missed the playoffs have yet to receive a vote of confidence or, failing that, official word that their services are no longer required.

Adam Oates, Randy Carlyle and John Tortorella all faced extensive criticism this season in Washington, Toronto, and Vancouver, respectively. The Caps missed the postseason for the first time since 2007, the Canucks for the first time since 2008. The Maple Leafs suffered an epic collapse, winning just twice in their last 14 games. Suffice to say, expectations for all three teams were considerably higher.

Granted, not all the situations are the same. The Canucks, for example, still need to hire a new general manager after Mike Gillis was fired. The Capitals may need to hire a new GM as well, with George McPhee’s seat arguably as hot as Oates’. It may be those decisions are made before the coaching ones.

Earlier this month, Washington owner Ted Leonsis promised to “conduct a comprehensive review of what transpired this year,” after which the “necessary adjustments” will be made.

In Toronto, meanwhile, Brendan Shanahan was only just hired as the club’s new president. And that move came just days after Trevor Linden took over hockey operations in Vancouver. Both those two will need to get fully up to speed before they make a decision as big as the coaching one.

Still, there’s something to be said for not letting the process drag out. If the decision is to keep the coach, fine, then time will need to be spent making adjustments for next season, because obviously adjustments need to be made. If the coach is fired, then time will need to be spent hiring a new one.


Has McPhee’s ‘adversarial relationship with player agents’ cost the Caps?

Leafs rise to coach Carlyle’s defense

Torts calls Canucks ‘stale,’ says it’s not 2011 anymore

Commodore rips into Babcock on social media

Mike Commodore
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Former NHL defenseman Mike Commodore may have been coached by Mike Babcock, but that doesn’t mean he’s a fan of Mike Babcock.

Commodore played in just 17 games for the Detroit Red Wings during the 2011-12 season and that was enough for him to muster up some pretty harsh feelings toward his old coach.

As Babcock’s new team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, were being embarrassed in Detroit on Friday, Commodore took to Twitter to show fans just how much he was enjoying his former coach’s struggles.

Things got especially interesting after Red Wings rookie Dylan Larkin scored just 20 seconds into the second period to give Detroit a 3-0 lead.

“3-0 nothin Babs you posing arrogant piece of (bleep),” said Commodore via his Twitter page. “Welcome back to the rink where everyone that met you hates you.”

Commodore wasn’t done there:

And there was much, much more.

To get a look at all of Commodore’s Babcock-bashing tweets, click here.




Friday’s loss serves as ‘harsh lesson’ for Blue Jackets

Jasper Fast, Nick Foligno, Henrik Lundqvist
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Late in the third period of Friday’s game against the New York Rangers, things were looking good for Columbus.

Brandon Saad, who the team acquired from Chicago this off-season, scored his first goal of the season to give his team a 2-1 lead with under four minutes remaining in the contest.

Unfortunately for the Jackets, that’s as good as it would get.

The Rangers responded with three unanswered goals from Oscar Lindberg, Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello to spoil Columbus’ home opener.

“When something like that happens at the end, I think we’re gonna be a better team because of it,” defenseman Ryan Murray told reporters after the game. “It’s a harsh lesson, but it’s a good one.

Luckily for Columbus, they won’t have to wait very long to try and get their revenge.

The Blue Jackets and Rangers will finish off their home-and-home series at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, which might not be such a bad thing for Columbus.

“It’s good that we get another chance tomorrow,” Saad said after Friday’s game. “We were high on emotions (after the go-ahead goal) and they scored and it took the wind out of our sails, but we have to keep playing. We have to learn to keep doing our thing, regardless of the score.”