Paul Maurice’s contract is up at the end of this season and it could be time for the Carolina Hurricanes to part ways with the head coach for a second time.
Earlier this season, GM Jim Rutherford mentioned to the press that he was not going to fire Maurice after his slow start to the season, but maybe he should rethink that because the firing talks are only going to heat up if things don’t change quickly in Carolina. The Hurricanes are currently 6-9-3 on the season and only the New York Islanders and Columbus Blue Jackets have fewer points than the Canes. Also, the Hurricanes’ -17 goal differential and 3.44 goals against per game is second worst in the NHL behind the Blue Jackets. Those stats are pretty ugly, but it doesn’t end there.
On the specialty teams, the Hurricanes are 26th in power play percentage at 12.3% and are 18th in penalty killing with a 81.9% entering Wednesday night’s game against the Montreal Canadiens. Captain Eric Staal has the worst plus/minus rating in the NHL with a -17 and former coach Peter Laviolette, who brought the Stanley Cup to the tri-state area in 2005-06, is coaching the 4th best team in hockey even after trading captain Mike Richards and center Jeff Carter this past off-season. However, following the Stanley Cup Championship, Laviolette did miss the playoffs the next two seasons with the club before he was eventually fired and signed with the Philadelphia Flyers. Laviolette picked up the 5-3 victory against his former team last night.
Maurice did take Carolina to its first Stanley Cup Final against the Detroit Red Wings in 2002 but it’s time for the Hurricanes to move on. With all the talent Maurice and Rutherford were able to attract this off-season, it is inexcusable to be one of the worst teams in hockey. There is definitely enough talent in Raleigh but maybe not the right man on the bench calling the shots. If he isn’t on the hot seat now, he will be shortly if the slump continues in Carolina.
Fun Fact: After firing Laviolette, he was hired by the Flyers and led them to a Stanley Cup Finals berth before eventually lost to the Chicago Blackhawks. He picked up Hurricanes’ backup goaltender Michael Leighton off waivers and started him throughout the playoffs when they finished as runner-ups. Laviolette also has more wins than any other American-born coach in NHL history.