Monday, October 22, 2007

Thrashers Replace Bob Hartley With Howard Borden

Atlanta, GA (Oct. 22) - In a move that Atlanta Thrashers GM Don Waddell said was "completely coincidental," the team has hired Howard Borden as its new coach.

Borden replaces Bob Hartley, who was fired last week after an 0-6 start. Waddell had been coaching the team on an interim basis.

Hartley, the former Colorado Avalanche coach (and Stanley Cup winner in 2001), shares the same moniker as the fictitious psychologist played by Bob Newhart on the successful TV show of the 1970s. And now the Thrashers bring in Borden, who shares the same name as Newhart's co-star, Bill Daily's offbeat patient on the series.

"Completely coincidental," Waddell said as he announced the hiring of Borden, who had been a minor league coach "somewhere." Borden's resume wasn't made immediately public, leading to speculation that his hiring was more of a nod to the lovable TV character and less because of his actual hockey coaching experience.

This, apparently, is NOT the Thrashers' new coach, but questions remain

Why the team would repeat the practice of hiring a TV character name was unclear, because the Thrashers hadn't won much of anything under Hartley. The team had a nice regular season in 2006-07, but were swept by the New York Rangers in the first round of the playoffs -- a series in which they never led in any game, never came close to leading in any game, and in fact were even down, 1-0 before Game 3 even started (a first in the NHL).

Borden wasn't with Waddell when the GM announced his hiring. The team said Borden would be made available "soon", leading to more head-scratching.

Attempts to reach TV star Daily were met with a spokesman for the actor, who said Daily was "out of town indefinitely." This led to more chatter that the Thrashers had in fact hired Daily and not someone really named Howard Borden.

The Thrashers were 1-1 under Waddell.

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