On the one hand, there’s not much surprising about the Islanders’ firing coach Ted Nolan. It was no secret Nolan and GM Garth Snow didn’t get along very well. The surprising part is the timing of the firing. First, it was over two weeks into free agency and over a month after the end of the season. Why not fire Nolan when the season ended? Why not grab a new coach when you have the most options? And why not wait for Nolan to truly fail as a coach? Basically, it seems like Nolan was fired for acting like he won’t play the Isles’ youngsters, more than for his performance.
It looks like the Isles might have delayed firing Nolan in the hope he would find another coaching job. The Isles gave Nolan permission to interview with other NHL teams. Nolan didn’t get any offers, though, perhaps because everyone was under the impression he already had a job.
In a lot of ways, Nolan might be better off, though. It sounds like he was really micro-managed on Long Island, with management even requesting certain defensive alignments from him.
The usual coaching suspects (Bob Hartley, Paul Maurice and John Tortorella) are expected to be given coaching interviews. I don’t see Tortorella fitting in with the Islanders cooperative approach to everything. Hartley would be perfect to take the Islanders various parts and cobble them into cohesive lines, but I have to wonder if he’s desperate enough to take a job in this dysfunctional organization. Moving from Colorado to Atlanta to the Isles doesn’t exactly scream upward career trajectory.