Whether or not it’s fair to Claude Noel, the question has to be asked? How long before Randy Carlyle is (a) hired by the Winnipeg Jets and (b) how long before Carlyle takes over from Claude Noel as coach of the Jets?
The former is anyone’s guess. While the Jets will probably deny any interest in Carlyle, the fact remains that he is beloved by both chairman and owner Mark Chipman and the team’s assistant GM, and Chipman’s close confidant, Craig Heisinger.
That’s not a bad thing. Carlyle is a terrific hockey man and his presence in Winnipeg as say, vice-president of operations or assistant to the chairman or some other nebulous title (not, director of media relations, however) would certainly not hurt the Jets. Unless, of course, you happened to be Noel.
The head coach of a team that missed the playoffs last year and is 9-11-4 heading into a game against the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday night, hardly needs a new guy in the organization, a guy that even Noel knows is revered by the owner. It’s like having the executioner walk around Death Row in his robes.
However, while the Jets’ organization refused to hire other people they liked a lot (Mike Keane, Kris King etc.), they once hired Carlyle — after he was the Moose coach and then left to be an NHL assistant — to be an executive with the Moose before they eventually named him head coach.
Now, before anything happens, Carlyle will take a bit of time off and then see if a legitimate coaching job in the NHL exists right now. He did win a Stanley Cup in Anaheim and he is a good coach, despite what happened in Anaheim this season.
However, if a job isn’t out there, the Jets could be an alternative for Carlyle. As a front office executive, of course.
Because as we all know, Claude Noel — the No. 1 choice of the organization this past summer — is the head coach.