From the looks of things, the not-so-Merry-Christmas feeling among coaches might extend beyond fired New Jersey Devils coach John MacLean and Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff (who looks to be without important center Derek Roy for some time).
Columbus Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel will go into the brief Christmas (or “holiday”) break fuming, at least if his post-game comments following his team’s 7-3 loss against the Vancouver Canucks are any indication.
It’s hard to blame Arniel for being so embarrassed after this game. Vancouver stormed out of the gate with a 3-0 lead in the first period and scored the first six goals before R.J. Umberger finally got the Blue Jackets on the board late in the second.
Arniel’s frustration must be building at this point. After opening the season with their best start ever, the team is plummeting back to earth in a dramatic way. Perhaps losing back-to-back games against the Detroit Red Wings when they were close to taking a Central Division lead deflated the team, because they’re 3-8-3 since that first game on Friday, November 26th. Here’s what Arniel said, via the Associated Press.
“It didn’t look like we really wanted to play tonight in the first period, let alone the rest of the game,” Arniel said. “It was an embarrassing game. I want to apologize to the fans. Professional athletes are paid to perform and when you don’t do your job you’re going to get criticized.”
“There were a ton of things that bothered me very early in that game,” Arniel said. “The turnovers, the no compete and lack of professionalism bothered me, and that wasn’t just the first period.”
Thomas Reed of the Columbus Post-Dispatch captured a little more of Arniel’s anger.
Harsh, but fair. The question is: can Arniel build them up from pee wees to the varsity and then finally back to a professional hockey team? If not, he might get some free time to coach real pee wees in the near future.