The Atlanta Thrashers have lost their first 6 games in regulation, being outscored by opponents 27 goals to 9. And now Head Coach Bob Hartley has lost his job.
Every game matters in the NHL. Every game. And you can't at any point in the season to drop six consecutive games, and expect it not have it make a significant effect on your post-season chances. The seasons only begun, and already the Thrashers will have to go 44-38 just to reach .500.
The facts are, like it or not, the Thrashers are not a very talented team. Last year they won their conference, the very uncompetitive Southeast Division, but showed just how they matched up against the other teams in the east by falling in 4 games to the New York Rangers.
A new coach is probably not going to lead this team to the playoffs, but the franchise has made it clear it will not accept the performance they have seen thus far this season. One thing is for certain, just because the head coach is packing, doesn't mean the pressure is off. General Manager Don Wadell will feel it from above and could be the next casualty of NHL season.
Hartley replaced Curt Fraser as Thrashers head coach halfway through the 02-03 season. Under his watch the Thrashers have improved there points total for 3 consecutive seasons, and last season they made their first franchise playoff appearance. Prior to coaching for Atlanta, Hartley coached for 4 seasons with the Colorado Avalanche, including during their 00-01 Stanley Cup Championship.
For now Don Wadell will step behind the bench, while the long list of potential suitors is reviewed. Names like Pat Quinn or even Igor Larionov have been thrown around, but as far as I'm concerned Kevin Constantine is the most promising candidate not coaching in the NHL.