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.”
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
In Montreal in 2010 you were either with Carey Price or Jaroslav Halak. Now they’ll face each other tonight at Bell Centre. (All Habs, Post-Dispatch)
If you’re wondering if Montreal regrets sticking by Price while trading away Halak, they don’t. (Montreal Gazette)
Jaroslav Halak is still a hero to many, however, for his heroic play during the 2010 playoffs getting the Habs to the Eastern Conference finals. (Sun Media)
Donald Fehr doesn’t think the realignment block the NHLPA pulled out will affect the next CBA. Let’s hope not. (TSN)
Blake Wheeler’s return to Boston with Winnipeg sees him as an important guy for the Jets. (Winnipeg Sun)
Derek Roy pays no mind to the latest batch of trade rumors. Seriously though, he should probably be nervous. (Buffalo News)
Blue Jackets players were actually shocked that Scott Arniel was fired yesterday. You would be too if it took that long. (Puck-Rakers)
The Leafs call Dion Phaneuf a “one of a kind” captain. That’s about right in a lot of ways. (TSN)
Corey Potter signs a two-year extension with Edmonton. (Edmonton Journal)
The Sharks might be playing their best hockey of the season right now. It’s a shame it’s not the playoffs in that case. (CSNBayArea.com)
You can make it seven.
Scott Arniel is the seventh head coach to be fired this season as the Blue Jackets have decided to let Arniel go after leading Columbus to the worst record in the NHL. Aaron Portzline of The Columbus Dispatch reports that assistant coach, and former Wild head coach, Todd Richards will take over as the interim head coach for the remainder of the season.
Arniel’s record with Columbus this season finishes at a miserable 11-25-5 with just 27 points in the standings. Through one and a half seasons in Columbus, Arniel finishes 45-60-18.
This summer, the Blue Jackets spent big to get James Wisniewski and Jeff Carter and tried to set things up for a possible run at the playoffs. Instead it saw suspensions and injuries get the worst of things on top of miserable goaltending by Steve Mason as well to see the Blue Jackets fall to the bottom of the West and 20 points out of eighth place in the Western Conference.
Arniel also struggled to figure out just what he wanted to do with his lineup and had his ups and downs in handling the team’s potential young stars. The most obvious situation came when Derick Brassard ended up in the doghouse leading to his agent pointing the finger for Columbus’ struggles at Arniel just last month.
A ton of blame falls on Arniel for not being able to figure things out, but now it’s on GM Scott Howson to figure out how to save his own job as well. This is a situation that isn’t going to change overnight the way it did in St. Louis.