Something that seemed to be in the works for quite a while finally happened yesterday as Ted Nolan stepped down as head coach of the Islanders yesterday. Nolan and general manager Garth Snow cited irreconcilable differences as the reason for the parting.
In addition to sort of looking like Tom Berenger, Nolan is one heck of a head coach. He always manages to keep his teams competitive despite the fact they might not have the best group of talent. Despite that, he doesn't always seem to play nice with others.
He was shown the door in 1997 as the Sabres coach despite winning the Jack Adams Award. His feuds with general manager John Muckler and goaltender Dominik Hasek led his dismissal there. Public disagreements with Snow and Islanders players pretty much led to the same result on Long Island.
Assuming the Islanders don't replace him with someone like John Tortorella or a reincarnation of Toe Blake, the Penguins won't exactly miss seeing him either. During his two seasons on the Island, Nolan's Islanders allowed the second-fewest team points to the Penguins. A look at the Penguins' numbers against the other teams in the Atlantic Division over the past two seasons:
(We're still trying to figure out how to do tables properly in this new format. Excuse us if they look a little clunky for the time being.)
Granted, those are hardly overwhelming numbers on the Islanders' behalf but considering the Rangers and Flyers have far better financial resources than the Islanders, they're not bad either.
So who do the Islanders bring in to replace him? Lord knows with that organization. Don't forget, until the Lightning's new owners came along, the Islanders kind of had the market cornered on crazy hirings or movements. And given that they've hired seemingly every former Islanders goaltender to some sort of position with that team, we're betting Mark Fitzpatrick is keeping his day planner clear next week.
(Photo: Ed Betz/Associated Press)
EMPTY NETTER ASSISTS
-What if there was no David Volek?
-The Rangers traded rugged forward Ryan Hollweg to the Maple Leafs for a fifth-round draft pick. The pick Toronto gave up was acquired from the Penguins at the trade deadline in exchange for Hal Gill.
-The Lightning signed goaltender Mike Smith to a two-year extension. Smith, who was acquired from Dallas at the trade dealing in a exchange for Brad Richards, is expected to be Tampa Bay's top goaltender next season.
-The Hurricanes re-signed former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins forward Joe Jensen.
-Capitals fans are mad their team will be bringing in cheerleaders next season. Capitals owner Ted Leonsis says his team needs them to bring in revenue and to pay the players.
-St. Louis also signed former Wild forward Matt Foy.
-The Avalanche re-signed forwad Cody McLeod.
-The Star gave head coach and former Penguin Dave Tippett a two-year contract extension.
-Are the Ducks using their Web site to continue their feud with the Oilers?
-It looks like the NHL's 2008-09 schedule will be released on Thursday.
-James Mirtle takes a look at the restricted free agent market.