Odd Men Out

One thing is kind of strange about this off-season: all three former Colorado Avalanche coaches are currently unemployed.  Bob Hartley, Marc Crawford, and Joel Quenneville are all without an NHL team to lead.

Not good for them is the fact that most of the vacancies are now gone.  Colorado's own vacancy was filled by the fourth former head coach, Tony Granato, who gets another chance to lead the Avalanche.  Toronto hired former Sharks coach Ron Wilson, while San Jose filled Wilson's old position with Detroit Red Wings assistant coach Todd McLellan.  Florida went the junior league route, snapping up Kitchener Rangers coach Peter DeBoer from the OHL.  And now the Senators, once rumored to be on the verge of hiring Hartley, went with similarly-named Craig Hartsburg, who has coached Anaheim and Chicago, but was previously with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL.  Hartsburg has also coached the Canadian national junior team to two straight world championship titles.

These interesting hiring choices have not escaped the attention of Terry Frei.

So that leaves just Atlanta,Tampa Bay and Los Angeles without head coaches.  Tampa Bay was rumored to be hiring former coach and current ESPN commentator Barry Melrose, but that doesn't look like it's going to happen.  Or maybe it is.  Nobody seems to know, including Melrose.  Marc Crawford is obviously out of the running for the Kings head coaching job, since, you know, he just got fired from it.  And Hartley recently got fired from the Thrashers job, so he's not going back there.

So that leaves three teams with a lot of potential candidates, including former Cup winners Pat Burns and John Tortorella (not to mention Hartley and Crawford).  The real question now is who will be the odd man (men) out?  I have a feeling we may be seeing the final days of three former Avalanche coaches in the NHL (at least for now).

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