Columbus Blue Jackets Fire Head Coach Pascal Vincent

Former CBJ head coach Pascal Vincent
Paul Vernon | AP Photo

Earlier today, General Manager and President of Hockey Operations Don Waddell revealed that the Columbus Blue Jackets are moving on from Head Coach Pascal Vincent. According to the Blue Jacket’s PR team, they will start searching for a new coach immediately. Vincent wasn’t given the best preparation to start this past season. Originally joining the Blue Jackets as an associate coach in 2021, he was thrust into the head coaching position after Mike Babcock resigned due to controversy just weeks before the start of the season. Without getting a full training camp under Vincent, the players seemed to have a hard time playing cohesively at the beginning of the season. There was improvement by the end but it was too little too late.

Don Waddell had this to say about Pascal Vincent,

“As I spent time with Pascal over the past few weeks, I found him to be an outstanding person and smart hockey coach who worked very hard last year under trying circumstances, but I believe a change behind the bench is in our team’s best interest. On behalf of the organization I want to thank Pascal for his work ethic, professionalism, and contributions during his three seasons with the Blue Jackets.”

In his only season as an NHL head coach, Vincent led the team to 27 victories, 43 losses, and 12 losses in overtime for 66 points. The Blue Jackets had their fifth-lowest points percentage at .402 and finished last in the Metropolitan division for the second year. Vincent previously served as head coach for the Manitoba Moose in the AHL after being an assistant coach for the Winnipeg Jets.

Including Babcock, this will be the Blue Jacket’s fifth coaching change in five seasons. Someone who can be behind the bench long-term is desperately needed. The team could benefit from not having to learn new systems and styles of playing every year. The Jackets haven’t had a consistent coach for more than two consecutive seasons since John Tortorella. They also haven’t made it to the playoffs since Torts either.

When Waddell signed on with the Blue Jackets he seemed intent on changing the Blue Jackets and creating his own culture. He has already started to do that with moving on from Pascal Vincent. Originally Waddell had said that no major changes are coming the Blue Jackets way but things can change quickly.

You don’t walk into a new place and make changes without a reason to change.” – Don Waddell

With Pascal Vincent vacating his position and the recent news about Patrik Laine requesting a trade, there could be more major changes than anticipated. The next big question is who will be behind the bench for Columbus next season. There are many candidates available. With where the Blue Jackets are right now, a coach with experience winning a Stanley Cup or making deep playoff runs could be what they need to succeed.

It’s far too early to speculate what direction Don Waddell will want to go but I will anyway. Some experienced candidates like Craig Berube, Lane Lambert, and Sheldon Keefe have recently been picked up by other teams but some quality candidates remain. A few experienced names that could come up in the search are Gerard Gallant, Bruce Boudreau, or even someone like Claude Julien.

Keep an eye out for more details in the coming weeks as the search for a head coach begins for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Lance Schrock

Credentialed Writer covering the Columbus Blue Jackets. Host of the BrewJackets Podcast.

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