First Year Coach Takes the Heat for Abysmal Season...
By Jason Kasiorek
A difference in philosophies led to the departure of Griffins head coach Greg Ireland last summer. Despite a winning record and a proven track record of developing NHL-ready players, the parent Detroit Red Wings took over the responsibility of hiring the coaches and brought in their own man. The results? A team record setting season of frustration culminating in missing the playoffs. The Griffins did not show much life or passion under coach Stothers until late in the season, and the same players were making the same mistakes from beginning to end showing little improvement. His methodical, low-key approach did not seem suited to his charges that lacked motivation and heart until a visit by NHL'er Darren McCarty. To add insult to injury, the team also watched its former coach take a doormat San Antonio team to its best record ever and a postseason berth.
With the announcement that Grand Rapids would be taking over the decision-making authority over it's own coaching staff today, that mistake was partially rectified. Coach Stothers will not return, and the franchise can look to start over again, both in terms of leadership, and on-ice talent. Don't feel too bad for Stothers' though, he did manage to get a Stanley Cup ring out of the deal, helping out in Detroit during their triumphant run. And he will have some paid time-off to look at what didn't work, and make changes for his next pro coaching gig.
Assistant coach Jim Paek will return for his fourth season behind the bench in Grand Rapids, and GM Bob McNamara has already begun his search for the next head coach.