I saw Laviolette's time coming to an end, but to bring back the previous, ineffective coach is beyond anything I could have imagined. WILL SOMEONE PLEASE FIRE GENERAL MANAGER, JIM RUTHERFORD. This is a horrible decision. Maurice wasn't right for the team before the lockout and he sure isn't the right coach after being fired by Toronto. I have nothing personal against Paul Maurice, but his style of coaching is much too defensive. There was a noticable increase in offensive play after Laviolette took over the coaching reins from Maurice. It's Laviolette's coaching that got us the Stanley Cup. I've been a full season ticket holder for several seasons. The 'Canes finally went on the positive side of the "goals for" vs. "goals against" ratio under Peter Laviolette. I don't think they managed that once during Maurice's reign as head coach in NC (not sure about this stat when the team was still in Hartford). I saw the 'Canes lose too many games under Paul Maurice because we had a 1 or 2 goal lead and then started playing a defensive trapping style of play and stopped putting pucks on the net (or even taking the puck into the offensive zone) - dump the puck and bring out a fresh line. Before long the other team would score goals and force OT or outright win in regulation when the 'Canes SHOULD have had it locked up as a win.
A change in the coaching staff was inevitable. The team has not lived up to their potential since winning the Cup in 2006. I think Laviolette should have had more "punishment" styled practices when the team started to falter - maybe that would have woken them up a little more. I just don't see how bringing back a former, INEFFECTIVE coach is going to help this team. Jim Rutherford has a really bad habit of bringing players (and now coaches) back and giving them another chance when he should just continue looking for someone else to fill a position. I bring up David Tanabe and Joseph Vasicek as additional examples. Neither did very much positive for the team and were eventually traded away. Yet Jim Rutherford brings them back again and they still don't make a positive impact on the teams play.
Most of the team seems to lack a good work ethic. It's there some days, but almost completely absent on others. Maybe salaries should be based on performance during the season. Chad LaRose is MORE than earning his relatively small salary while Eric Staal is being WAY OVERPAYED for his contributions this year. At Staal's current scoring rate, he won't even have 60 points at the end of the season this year - some super star!?!
I'm still upset about losing Erik Cole over the summer - another Jim Rutherford decision. I'm not upset with Joni Pitkanen's play, but I don't think he was worth losing an excellent power forward like Erik Cole. Cole is accident and injury prone, but so is most of our team - so it seems. Our biggest problem this year has been goal scoring, especially on the power play. It's been anemic at best. Erik Cole worked hard and scored some amazing goals in his time here in Carolina. Pitkanen is a very good defenseman, but he isn't a replacement for Erik Cole. We need more offensive punch!! Maurice isn't going to fix this with his defensive style of play.
Unless Rutherford is relieved of his General Manager duties, I foresee the Hurricanes leaving NC within the next ten years. I say this because he's not making any changes that are improving the Hurricanes. In this market (NC), unless the team is winning a good majority of their games (especially at home), you aren't going to sell tickets. Ticket sales and attendance has been dropping off again this season, and has dropped off overall since we won the Stanley Cup. How long will this be allowed to continue before the owner decides to move the franchise somewhere else? The Hurricanes need to win and continue to win if the franchise is going to prosper. If attendance keeps dropping, the team will not qualify for revenue sharing and Peter Karmonos is not going to let the franchise bled him dry in NC for too many more seasons.
I will likely continue to keep my season ticket (I love the game and I love the 'Canes), but I'm very disappointed in the teams' management decisions over the last three seasons. Rutherford has got to go.