Goodbye, Bob Hartley. When he was hired to coach the Thrashers in January, 2003, a lot of people speculated this was GM Don Wadell’s last chance to make some kind of success of his franchise. Hartley brought Atlanta into the playoffs last season, and then had a spectacular, goalie-swapping meltdown that led to a first-round sweep out of the playoffs. Then, Atlanta failed to win a game in the first six of the season, and Hartley was gone.
Jeff Schultz alludes to some problems in the Thrasher locker room, with rumors some of the players didn’t like Hartley. And things are always tough when you have Bobby “Shoot from the Hip” Holik on your team. He’s never going to not share his opinions with the press. But even with all of that, Wadell, as Schultz points out, never built a competitive team. But Hartley was a good enough coach to take the heat off of Hartley, and then, when the pendulum swung the other way, Hartley was thrown under the bus.
Hartley is a great coach. His time in Atlanta had moments of genius, and moments of conceptual misfire. I’m sure he’ll be back in the NHL.