Thrashers fire Hartley after 6 straight losses
Vail, CO Colorado
ATLANTA ” Bob Hartley was fired Wednesday as coach of the Atlanta Thrashers, who have lost their first six games and are the only NHL team without a victory.
General manager Don Waddell will be the coach until a replacement is found. He has no timetable for a hiring.
“We felt after six games the direction we were going was not the direction we wanted to go,” Waddell said at a news conference in announcing the first coaching change of the NHL season. “We couldn’t let it go any further.”
Waddell already has one stint as an interim coach, following his firing of Curt Fraser during the 2002-03 season.
Hartley, who won a Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche in 2001, was in his fifth season with Atlanta.
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“It was a shock,” Thrashers defenseman Garnet Exelby told The Associated Press. “I don’t think anybody saw this coming. It’s only six games.”
“Sometimes changes need to be made,” he added. “At the same time, it tells all of us it’s a big wake-up call and we need to fix this.”
The Thrashers have been outscored 27-9 this season, and their winless start comes after they won the Southeast Division last season. Atlanta lost four straight to the New York Rangers in the first round of the playoffs last season.
It was clear after Tuesday night’s 4-0 loss to Philadelphia that Hartley was aware of building pressure for him to go.
“You know what? If anyone is not satisfied with the team effort, I don’t agree,” Hartley said. “I think those boys work hard. … Let’s keep working, let’s get a couple of breaks going our way and we’re going to turn this thing around.”
“The last thing that those guys need right now is to be hard on them,” he added. “It’s hard enough right now. When people don’t have great confidence you don’t step on them. I’m part of this. We have to find solutions, we have lots of young players, we have lots of new faces, and to get in those guys face and to start yelling and throwing stuff, I think that we would go backward.”