Tuesday, March 21, 2006

“It's a little odd that we're nine games over .500 and we're making a coaching change.”

Yup, Dave tis true. Your team has a winning record, they’re in the midst of a dogfight for a playoff spot and you decide now is the time to dump the coach. What happens next is anyone’s guess, as hockey in Hollywood has always been a little bit different, once again the Kings have stepped up and made one of those decisions that have people shaking their heads.

The LA Kings handed Andy Murray and John Van Boxmeer their walking papers on Tuesday, as General Manager Dave Taylor decided the time for a “new voice” was at hand.

Taylor hollered out to John Torchetti to take control of the bench for the remainder of the regular season and any playoff games to come, should the Kings manage to make their spot in the final berths in the Western Division.

Torchetti is quickly getting a reputation as the interim coach at large; he last was behind the bench in Florida when he filled the spot on an interim basis. This year he had been a scout at large, apparently having provided Taylor with enough information to warrant a shot behind the bench in LA.

The Kings have slid down the standings for the last couple of weeks, having the double agony of watching their cross town rivals the Mighty Ducks move past them and up the standings to hold down sixth place in the West. If the playoffs were to start today Southern Californians would be following the Ducks on the path to Stanley, while the Kings cleaned out their lockers and booked their tee times.

Taylor says he’s been thinking of making the change for the last 20-25 games, but it was only with the recent slide that he felt things had deteriorated to the point of no return. There’s the old saying that you can’t replace the players, so you have to replace the coach.

The next four weeks will be a wild ride in LA, a new coach walking into a dressing room that seems to have lost its way. Somehow you think that the Kings have just given themselves an excuse for failing to make the playoffs. A change made in February might have been a smart one, but in this instance one suspects it’s more of a panic move than any thought out plan for success.

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