Sometimes a coaching change will jar a team to the Next Level of play, as we saw when Ken Hitchcock took the helm of the Blues.
And sometimes change doesn’t help a bit. We saw this in Carolina, where newcomer Kirk Muller lost his first three games as coach.
We saw this in Washington, too, where the Capitals lost three of their first four games under Dale Hunter. There is no magic wand in coaching.
“When you’re not winning, it’s no fun. You lose some confidence,” Hunter told Washington reporters after earning his first victory. “But they worked hard. The last three games since I’ve been here, they’ve busted their butts and usually you get rewarded for it. And it happened.”
But the Caps staggered to a lopsided defeat in their next game, at Florida.
Meanwhile, the Hurricanes, winless in six games, headed out on a Canadian road trip to regroup. Or so Muller hoped. He and new assistant coach John MacLean, the ex-Devils coach, will get a chance to learn more about their charges.
“We can get out of the office and get out here and sit down with the guys and get to know them,” Muller said. “I believe in a real team bonding and that will be my big objective, to really get to know these guys ... and just jell.”
Muller will lean heavily on top center Eric Staal while trying to get this team back on track. Staal played a staggering 26 minutes, 57 seconds in Carolina’s most recent loss.