I'll let everyone make their own assessment of this post over at Canes Now., but here's some snippets of what owner Peter Karmanos told Chip Alexander about ex-coach Peter Laviolette:
- "I didn't like the old coach. His public persona and private persona were two different things."
- "We had the perfect storm in the year we won the Stanley Cup. We played this all-over-the-ice kind of style of hockey. It took about three-quarters of the season for people to catch on. If everybody remembers, the last part of the season, even the Stanley Cup year, we had a pretty tough go of it. We had a goalie who stood on his head. Martin Gerber had a career season with us and kept us in games, but pretty soon as the other coaches got used to the new rules and they figured out ways of defensing us, we didn't change much."
- "Peter would make, I think, too quick an evaluations of players. From time to time we had players who Peter, when they first came into our organization, would say, 'Oh, this guy is a fourth-line center.'"
OK, I actually can't just leave this totally alone.
- This seems like a personal attack, one that does no one any good. Nothing but raising eyebrows is accomplished by this.
- To me, this is an insult to the players that accomplished the feat. To say it was basically smoke and mirrors and a hot goalie is, to me, a slap in the face to everyone who had a part in the team winning the Stanley Cup.
- I can't speak to this because I'm not in the room when decisions are made. But seeing this is the first time Karmanos has spoken about the change, he's not in Raleigh enough to be in the know either. If he's relaying information told to him by GM Jim Rutherford, then say so.
Of all these, No. 2 bothers me the most. The personal criticism of Laviolette could maybe be chalked up to sour grapes, the boiling-over disappointment of an owner who's forced to pay someone who is still not with the organization. Alexander even reports that Karmanos called Laviolette a "nice person," so I'm willing to somewhat write off statement No. 1.
But to say, in a nutshell, that the Cup victory was a case of lightning in a bottle is not only an insult to the players and Laviolette, but also Rutherford and the entire organization. It's easy to pile on when things go bad, but Karmanos signed off on Laviolette's extension in the summer of 2006. If he saw a coach unwilling to adapt with a changing game during a Stanley Cup run, what did he think would happen if things didn't go so well? He also met face-to-face with Laviolette this past May to discuss the team's struggles the two previous seasons, with Rutherford — who was at the meeting — saying, "They had a really good meeting. Everything is the same. [Laviolette's job security] became a bigger issue than it needed to be."
So if we're to believe Karmanos that he felt teams were catching up to Carolina three-quarters of the way through a season when they won a championship, why did it take more than two years to make a change?
The 2006 extension? Even if Karmanos was against having Laviolette return, it would've been a brutal public relations move that a small market team can't afford. But if he was so skeptical of Laviolette's ability to lead this incarnation of the Hurricanes, there's no excuse for allowing him to start this season behind the bench.
Karmanos wants to have it both ways, but he can't. If he wants some credit for the glory, he has to take some blame for the shame.
Joe Ovies has a bit more about this on 850 The Blog.