Head coach “TBA” ended up being John Hynes. Why are the Nashville Predators making such decisions behind their coaching change?
On Monday, the Nashville Predators went ahead and fired head coach Peter Laviolette. At 19-15-7 and out of a playoff spot, the firing of Laviolette wasn’t surprising. What was surprising was the initial answer as to who would replace him.
Most of the time when teams have an in-season coaching change, they already have a replacement lined up. Most of the time it might be a promoted assistant or AHL coach with the interim tag.
Rarely is the in-season coaching change a new hire from outside the organization. The Predators broke precedent by not naming an immediate successor.
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Nashville was playing with fire not having a successor, even a temporary one, lined up for immediate hire. Speculation was that they were trying to court an outside name and they still needed some convincing. If their candidate said no, the Predators would have to go back to drawing the board. Not to mention the Predators have a game Tuesday night, just about 24 hours after sealing Laviolette’s fate.
Luckily for Nashville they were able to bring aboard a new bench boss before their 8:00 am match up with the Boston Bruins. There was no guarantee, but speculation, that their new coach would attend the morning skate.
While Nashville answered one question in the announcement of Hynes, they brought up a few others. Hynes’s Devils, like Laviolette’s Predators, had a seemingly successful off-season. Ironically moving P.K. Subban was a part of both of them.
Lack of production from under-producing superstars and below-average goaltending are the two main factors holding Nashville back. Those were also two of New Jersey’s main problems that lead to Hynes’s firing. While the Devils are still far from a successful team, they began to solve and prove those problems under interim coach Alain Nasreddine.
There are no indications that Hynes was Nashville’s fall back choice or second choice to fill their coaching vacancy. Almost as quick as Laviolette was sent to pack his bags, analyst Kevin Weekes was quick to tie Hynes to the Nashville coaching gig. How much progress they had with Hynes at the time Laviolette was “officially” fired remains a mystery.
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Nashville is too good of a team to be in the bad situation they’re in. Even if Laviolette wasn’t getting his team up to potential, is John Hynes the right man for the job? Hynes is reported to be excited, but also anxious and nervous for the opportunity. An opportunity arrived for the recently fired coach before anyone else expected.