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Tailing the Komets

Kaminski fired in Mississippi

The Mississippi RiverKings of the Central Hockey League (CHL) today announced that Head Coach/Director of Hockey Operations Kevin Kaminski has been released from his position and has been replaced by Paul Gardner.

"We needed to move in a different direction," said RiverKings Director of Business Operations Ab Mattice, "and we think our fans deserve better than what has been produced the past two years."

The 54 year old Gardner brings playing and coaching experience at several levels of professional hockey to the Mid-South.  Most recently, he has been coaching in the German Elite League (DEL) at Hamburg, and before that in the Russian Super League (KHL) at Yaroslavl.

From 2008 to this past April at Hamburg, Gardner had been head coach and assistant sports director, taking a 14th place team the previous year to an eighth place finish, then leading the Freezers to the second round of the league playoffs.

Prior to that, Gardner was with the Nashville Predators for seven seasons from 1997-2004.  He spent five seasons as an assistant coach for the Preds and two more as a professional scout for the NHL team.  In his first year in Nashville, he scouted extensively in preparation for the team's inaugural season. 

Posted in: Komets


Tue, 12/14/2010 - 1:15pm

They're .500 and fire their coach? WOW. Any news on the supposed changes, Blake?

Tue, 12/14/2010 - 1:31pm

Excuse the sarcasm, but I guess we DON'T need a change of direction as it seems that Al is untouchable. I stand by my previous posts that change needs to start at the top. Especially when we are questioning certain characteristics of a Team like "heart", "desire", and "leadership".

Tue, 12/14/2010 - 1:49pm

You think Al is being treated as untouchable? Even Blake said to fire him right now would be ridiculous. If after this season he proves he can do nothing more and they still say his job is safe...then that would be closer to what you are saying. They are giving him the chance to prove he can pull things together, if the past 3 years had been flops I don't think he would still be here. Heart and desire is a team problem as well as an individual effort.

Tue, 12/14/2010 - 2:54pm

There's only one place to go. That's up. If Al can't manage that then we might see a change fo a coach. Really i think it's up to the players. They Komets still have a shot at the playoffs. Granted, I don't think it's much of one, buit one none the less.

Tue, 12/14/2010 - 2:57pm

Why is firing Sims ridiculous?

The team is floundering. Whats the worse that can happen?

Some may feel that we "owe" it to him... but using the term "ridiculous" isn't all that justified.

No-Touch Icing
Tue, 12/14/2010 - 3:00pm

I would agree the past three years have bought Sims some credit, but emotion cannot be the decision maker when it comes to running a business. I don't care how well you like a guy, if he doesn't produce, he isn't valuable. It's that simple. Leave the emotion out of it. I'll say this, Sims has some time left, but if things continue, he has to go. No questions asked. It's a business decision, not a high-school-sweetheart-breakup. Just sayin'.

Blake Sebring
Tue, 12/14/2010 - 3:19pm

I guess some of you should just be thankful your bosses aren't as harsh on you as you would be on others.

Tue, 12/14/2010 - 3:19pm

I guess, JM, the question would be, is the team floundering because of lack of talent (which would necessitate a change in the roster) or because of a lack of motivation (which would necessitate a change in coaching)?

Mike in Toronto
Tue, 12/14/2010 - 3:28pm

Riverkings won the regular season and Kaminski was Coach of the Year in '08-'09.
The question is, "Do you have the talent the coach needs to be successful?"
If you answer that question with a yes then it is pretty clear the direction you could take.
I personally don't think this is an "Al" issue at this point.
Three championshps give you some consideration, at least a year.
I have stated before the quality of this league was underestimated. I know that is not a view shared by all.
A lot of underacheiving going on. Now we hear "heart" "tenacity" called into question.
These shouldn't be traits a coach needs to instill in or harp at a hockey player to demonstrate.

Tue, 12/14/2010 - 3:31pm

JungleMonkey doesn't have a boss.

Greg, thats the million dollar question. I use Blake's words as my guide. Based on the pre-season roster and everyone else's he predicted the Komets would walk away with the conference title. He's also state that the talent in the CHL isn't superior to the IHL2. Based on that, I'd say that the roster that was assembled should have been at bare minimum, competitive. The fact that the team often comes out flat, floats, and plays uninspired tells me that there is more to it than a simple lack of talent.

Tue, 12/14/2010 - 3:33pm

I get to a point that the talent in the league has been underestimate. How does that translate to the Komets? Does that mean the Komets are not talented enough or does it mean they are not motivate to play against the caliber of play?

No-Touch Icing
Tue, 12/14/2010 - 4:09pm

If my boss seen that I wasn't producing anything, what would be his/her motive to keep me? If you're non-productive in a process that needs production to begin with, what value do you have? If business was a personality contest, then life would be a lot easier, now wouldn't it?

Tue, 12/14/2010 - 4:14pm

In the long history of the Komets a coach has been fired mid-season only twice, both by the Frankes. So they have demonstrated they are capable of doing it, but is it the best move? How did the team fair after those firings?

'94-95 season they fired Boudreau after 39 games. His record was 15-21-3 (OTL). He most definitely was a fan favorite and they took flack from the fans for doing it.

He was replaced by co-coaches Colin Chin and D-Ray. They coached for 42 games and went 19-18-5. They did make the playoffs but were taken out first round.

In the '96-'97 season they fired David Farrish. After 24 games his record was 6-13-5. He was replaced by Torchetti who for the remaining 58 games went 22-34-2 and failed to make the playoffs.

In both cases the firing of the coach didn't make a drastic change in direction for the team. In both cases the coaches went on to bigger and better things but that happens often.

Tue, 12/14/2010 - 4:43pm

In business, if you get rid of every employee who lets you down, you'll quickly find yourself with a staff of 0. Part of being an effective leader in business or elsewhere is knowing how to work with people and stroking egos when needs be to motivate them. And of course being very, very patient.

Tue, 12/14/2010 - 4:44pm

Getting rid of people is always a last resort.

Tue, 12/14/2010 - 4:53pm

If you're too patient and too loyal you'll go out of business..

Tue, 12/14/2010 - 7:01pm

It's not personal it's business. In my business, if employees functioned like our team is functioning, or maybe I should say is not functioning, they would be called in for a one-on-one discussion to see if there was a reason for the lack of performance. They would be given any tools necessary and any assistance or coaching necessary to improve their performance. After a decent interval, filled with follow up and open ended discussion, if there was not satisfactory performance, they would be demoted or terminated. It's not personal in the business world; it's just business.

Tue, 12/14/2010 - 7:52pm

GM: Of course. That's why I said it's a last resort. But typically bosses agonize over getting rid of people. Rarely are employees "asking for it" enough to make the decision an easy one.

Wed, 12/15/2010 - 11:12am

Bring Kevin back to play!

...can't be any worse than Woods last year...