By: Henry Whitfield
Monday morning my world was rocked and fans were left with a mixed feeling of euphoria and the feeling you get after being punched in the stomach.
Bobby Smith had finally stood up and rid Moose Country of Head Coach Cam Russell, or so we thought.
In a move that would shock the most outlandish sports fan, Smith demoted Cam Russell to an assistant coach in charge of the defense, while keeping the former NHL player as his General manager.The punch in the stomach? Majority owner Bobby Smith himself taking over behind the bench as Head Coach.
Many fans had hoped that when Russell was booted out of Moose Country, that not only would be gone for good, but the team would bring in a proven coach with real pedigree.
Don’t get me wrong, Bobby Smith has a wealth of experience, with his 15 years in the NHL split between the Minnesota North Stars and Montreal Canadiens combined with 5 season’s as the General Manager of the Phoenix Coyotes, just none behind the bench.
So while many fans were hoping for a proven coach behind the bench, we’re getting an owner who thinks the time is right for him to step behind the bench.
To be fair, he can’t do much worse than the last two seasons with the team finishing last in the league and has shown lacklustre performances over that time period.
Chris Cochrane of the Chronicle heralds wrote today that he though that this may be a needless distraction and that the results on the ice were largely not Cam Russell’s fault, however someone has to be held accountable for the lack of passion on the ice.
Whether or not the roster was thin, there is no excuse for a team to continually come out flat in a third period, no excuse for continually making the same defensive mistakes and no excuse for a lack of passion on the bench.
One thing is clear, Bobby Smith is a passionate owner who cares about this club and if it means that we finally have someone behind the bench that won’t just stand with his arms crossed and ignore his players during a TV timeout, then I’ll be a happy fan sitting in the bench.
Smith will bring that fire into the dressing room and one can only hope that the fire and energy from the owner will show in the play of the team on the ice.
Henry Whitfield is an avid Mooseheads fan and you can find his thoughts on sports and more on his blog, or follow him on twitter @HenryWhitfield. You can also listen to him on air as a regular contributor to the Bill McLean Sports show on 88.1 CKDU.