Atlanta has fired their head coach Bob Hartley after the team suffered through six regulation losses to open the season. This has huge repercussions on the fantasy world.
Let's ignore whether or not the firing was fair (myself, I would have given it three more games) and let's focus on what this does to the team.
Marian Hossa will be the same player with or without Hartley – he's just that kind of star. As he gets back to 100 per cent, his numbers will come and with his numbers, Todd White's and Slava Kozlov's will come too.
Ilya Kovalchuk, on the other hand, strikes me as a player who is in need of a new environment. That means either a trade or a new coach. A new coach will now come in. GM Don Waddell will be the temporary coach, but whoever it ends up being – Kovalchuk will be treated like a king. He'll respond as such, too. He is a 100-point player and now you will see him play like one. At least for a dozen games!
The other big change is this – Hartley was a little reluctant to play the younger players…but he was very reluctant to play smaller players. See Paul Kariya for details. With him out of the picture, Brett Sterling should see a lot more ice time (plus he's Waddell's pet). Ditto for Tobias Enstrom. AHL star Darren Haydar may actually get a chance now and is worth taking a flyer on. The only thing that can stop these players from producing now is if the team brings in Pat Quinn – who is just as reluctant to play the young guys and just as reluctant to play the small guys. See Steve Sullivan for details.
Overall – this is a good thing for owners of Atlanta players.
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