November 25, 2011
As we reach the quarter pole in the 2011-12 NHL season, we've had one coaching change (Ken Hitchcock in for Davis Payne with the St. Louis Blues) and several other teams thinking about a change.
This got us thinking about how often — and when — coaches get canned in-season, and how it affects their teams. Via Puck Daddy's Master of Graphics Dan Gustafson of Sixteen Wins, here's an Illustrated Guide to NHL In-Season Coaching Changes Since 2005-06 (and through Nov. 24):
Here's the standalone image.
It does, at least short-term, seem to work (bumps in Winning percentage and Points). Getting to the playoffs, however has a lesser success rate, 44%. And only one time has it worked to change coaches and win a Stanley Cup (Pittsburgh 08-09). Another odd thing is, the majority of the changes seem to be in the Eastern Conference (10 of 14 teams). And only one west coast team made a mid-season change (Kings) otherwise the furthest team west is the Blues (3 changes though!).
The success rate, one imagines, could be due to teams changing coaches after it was too late to affect their seasons. That plus-13 average point change tells us that GMs are better off pulling the trigger sooner than later in many cases.
(Dan will be working with Puck Daddy on creating some whimsical and informative NHL graphics throughout the season. If you have any requests, email us at email@example.com. Visit Dan at Sixteen Wins and follow him on Twitter here.)
Previously on Puck Daddy:
• Illustrated guide to NHL No. 11s on 11-11-11
• Illustrated guide to NHL realignment history
• Illustrated guide to Brendan Shanahan's NHL suspensions (so far)
• Illustrated guide to the Bruins' $156,679 Foxwoods bar tab