The Rewards Of Not Panicking

Mike Stobe

When you look at the success of a team's upper management you obviously take a look at the moves they've made that have worked out and the moves they make that will be looked back on as mistakes.

For Glen Sather the record shows both sides of the coin.

Wade Redden contract? A huge mistake. Chris Drury and Scott Gomez? Mistakes. The Oscar Lindberg trade? A success. The Ryan McDonagh trade? A success so high you would be hard-pressed to find a better trade in the past 10 years.

But sometimes a general manager (or an owner if they're involved) should also be praised on the moves they don't make. Or, rather, how they make the moves they do.

What I'm trying to say is panicking never solves anything. Last year Glen Sather knew what he wanted when the New York Rangers were laughed out of the playoffs by the Boston Bruins. He needed change. So he axed John Tortorella and gave himself an opportunity to pick his top coaching candidate -- Alain Vigneault, obviously -- and give the team an entire summer and training camp to adapt to the change to help ease the transition. There's always going to be growing pains (the preseason and season opener come to mind) but it makes it easier when both sides have had time to get to know each other.

Why are we talking about this now? Because on Tuesday night the Philadelphia Flyers cut ties with Peter Laviolette after an 0-3 start. The panic in that move? Mike Holmgren told the press Monday he thought of firing Laviolette at the end of last year, but wanted to give the team one more chance. That chance lasted all of a training camp, preseason and three games.

Notice the difference in approaches? The Flyers are changing their thinking here as well. They're focusing on their work away from the puck along with their defense. Except they're doing it three games into a season, with pressure mounting on a team that hasn't found a win in three games and just fired its head coach.

That's not the say the change won't work. There's just a better way to go about it. I think the Rangers made the right decision by not panicking and giving themselves some time. The Flyers probably should have given themselves more time. They didn't. They panicked.

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