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Columbus Blue Jackets In Another Off-Ice Headline Remove Head Coach

Well Don Waddell has had a busy offseason already. Today he fired the Columbus Blue Jackets (now former) Head Coach Pascal Vincent. Pascal Vincent’s tenure at the helm of the Columbus Blue Jackets was short-lived. He only spent one season as head coach, but it was a disappointing one.

The Columbus Blue Jackets Fire Head Coach Pascal Vincent

Furthermore, the Blue Jackets had aspirations of having a strong 2023-24. The high hopes came from a decent group of NHL level forward prospects, mixed in with a couple veterans. With players like Johnny Gaudreau, Zach Werenski, and Boone Jenner to lead the group, it was reasonable to have high expectations at the beginning of year. However, a couple of prospects that needed more time developing and two of their better forwards missing a good portion of the regular season, mixed with inconsistent high-end scoring, and it just wasn’t pretty in Columbus. They finished dead last in the NHL’s Metropolitan Division with a 27-43-12 record under Pascal Vincent’s guidance behind the bench. Also, they were 31st in goals allowed. Never a rating that leaves a coach looking effective, regardless of the goaltending. In other words, with Waddell coming in, and wanting to do some housekeeping, that was a first, easy decision.

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What Will the Future Bring

For Vincent, there shouldn’t really be many hard feelings. For starters, he has never had an NHL head coach role prior to this job. He was the assistant coach for Columbus the two years previous on Brad Larsen‘s staff. However, he was kind of thrust into the role, after replacing Mike Babcock in the fall. So, even though he very well may have been qualified, it wasn’t a great fit, and the poor season standing was enough evidence for Waddell.

Also, Waddell likely wants to come in with his own coaching staff. He has many connections around the game, so he could have a name in mind already. As a follow up, it appears the rest of the staff is staying on, so Mark Recchi, Steve McCarthy, and Niklas Backstrom. It would be a good guess that Waddell looks for someone with experience to take over, Dean Evason is still available. A few other available names include Todd McLellan or Gerard Gallant. In any case, it will be interesting to see after the big shake up in Columbus how the on-ice performance reacts in the fall.

Main photo: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports


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