As the dust settles on another exciting NHL playoff season, teams are already making moves to improve their chances for the next year. One big factor that can influence the success of a team is coaching changes. A new coach brings a new perspective and approach, which can either revitalize or derail a team’s performance. In this article, we will take a closer look at the recent coaching changes in the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division and how they may impact the teams’ performance.
The Atlantic Division is one of the toughest divisions in the NHL, with some of the league’s most elite teams competing for a spot in the playoffs. So, it comes as no surprise that any changes in coaching can have a significant impact on the overall performance of the division’s teams. From the Boston Bruins’ dominance to the consistent playoff appearances of the Tampa Bay Lightning and the recent rise of the Florida Panthers, the Atlantic Division is a powerhouse in the NHL.
But with the new season on the horizon, changes in coaching staff can shake things up. Let’s take a closer look at the changes that have occurred in the Atlantic Division and how they may affect the teams’ performances.
The Boston Bruins made a surprising move by parting ways with their longtime head coach, Bruce Cassidy, who had been with the team since 2017. Under Cassidy’s guidance, the Bruins had an impressive record of 156-82-42, making it to the playoffs in all four seasons. However, after two consecutive years of early exits from the playoffs, the Bruins decided it was time for a change.
In Cassidy’s place, the Bruins hired a new head coach, Mike Sullivan, previously the head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Sullivan has an impressive record, leading the Penguins to two Stanley Cup victories in 2016 and 2017. With his vast experience and success in the league, it will be interesting to see how Sullivan’s coaching style will affect the Bruins’ performance next season.
Tampa Bay Lightning
After a disappointing loss in the first round of the playoffs this year, the Tampa Bay Lightning decided to part ways with their head coach, Jon Cooper. Cooper had been with the team since 2013 and played a significant role in their success, leading them to the Stanley Cup victory in 2020. However, after failing to make it past the first round for two years in a row, the Lightning felt the need for a change.
In his place, the Lightning hired Rick Tocchet, a former NHL player with coaching experience with the Arizona Coyotes. Tocchet’s most significant achievement as a coach came in 2017-2018 when he led the Coyotes to their first playoff appearance in six years. With his experience and fresh perspective, Tocchet may be just what the Lightning needs to get back on track and make another run for the Stanley Cup.
The Florida Panthers have been on the rise in recent years, making it to the playoffs for the last three consecutive seasons. However, their most recent head coach, Joel Quenneville, was let go after the team’s first-round loss in this year’s playoffs. Quenneville had been with the team for three years, and his departure came as a surprise to many.
In Quenneville’s place, the Panthers hired Gerard Gallant, who had previous coaching experience with the Vegas Golden Knights. Gallant led the Golden Knights to the playoffs in their inaugural season and was the recipient of the Jack Adams Award for Coach of the Year in 2017-2018. With his impressive track record, Gallant is sure to bring a new energy to the Panthers and continue their upward trajectory in the division.
The Montreal Canadiens made another surprising decision by parting ways with their head coach, Dominique Ducharme, after just one season. Ducharme took over as the head coach during the regular season and led the Canadiens to their first Stanley Cup Final appearance since 1993. However, the Canadiens were eliminated in five games by the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Ducharme was let go.
Replacing Ducharme is Dave Hakstol, previously with the Toronto Maple Leafs as an assistant coach. Hakstol also has head coaching experience with the Philadelphia Flyers, where he led the team to the playoffs in his first two seasons. It will be interesting to see what changes Hakstol will bring to the Canadiens and how he will handle the high-pressure environment in Montreal.
Coaching changes can have a significant impact on a team’s performance, especially in a highly competitive division like the NHL’s Atlantic Division. With new head coaches at the helm of some of these teams, we can expect to see some changes in playstyle and strategies that can make or break a team’s chances for success. As we await the start of the new season, it will be exciting to see how these coaching changes will play out and which teams will rise to the top.