The firing line strikes close to home for Nick Foligno

DALLAS, Texas – In his four seasons as an Ottawa Senator, Nick Foligno has already seen two coaches get fired: Craig Hartsburg and Cory Clouston.
Most of the time, it doesn’t seem to bother players a whole lot. They say the obligatory, that they’re sorry to see a coach lose his job. But mostly that stuff is pretty hollow because they’re the ones who got the coach fired through their poor play.
But it came home to Foligno on Thursday morning when he found out that his father Mike, an assistant coach in Anaheim, had been fired in a housecleaning that started with head coach Randy Carlyle and continued through assistant Dave Farrish and video coach Joe Trotta.
With just two wins in 18 games before Wednesday’s game against the Canadiens, Carlyle could read the tea leaves.
But he must have thought he had a reprieve after the Ducks beat the Canadiens 4-1. Er, no. Minutes after the game, Carlyle and staff were fired.
So Nick was asleep in his Dallas hotel when his father called and left a message. When Nick woke on Thursday morning, he saw the message and learned the news.
“Unfortunately, I’ve seen it with coaches we’ve had here in the past,” he said.
“Then it kind of hits home that it’s your own father.
“But he understood the risks and rewards when he signed up with that, and I don’t think he’d have it any other way. He enjoys coaching, he loves it, it’s what he really wants to, it’s what he was made to do.
“Our family’s kind of excited to get him back home and around us, especially with the holidays coming up, so he can enjoy family time. But I don’t think he’ll be sitting around long. He’s not the kind of guy to do that.”
Mike Foligno became an assistant in Anaheim in June, 2010, after seven years as coach and general manager of the Sudbury Wolves. The year before, in July, 2009, his wife Janis died of cancer.
With all four children – Cara, Lisa, Nick, and Marcus – out of the house, it was as good a time as any to get out of the house and return to the NHL.
His playing career finished with 39 games for the Florida Panthers in 1993-94.
Carlyle was replaced by Bruce Boudreau, who had only been sacked by the Washington Capitals on Monday, prompting this from his former boos: “That didn’t take long, as I noted,” Capitals owner Ted Leonsis wrote in his blog, Ted’s Take. “I am very happy for Bruce and his family. And I am glad he is out West and not in our division, too.”
And in an irony for Nick, former Ottawa assistant Brad Lauer, an assistant for the Ducks’ AHL affiliate in Syracuse who was fired last spring along with Clouston, was hired to be one of Boudreau’s assistants.
But Nick predicts his father won’t be unemployed for long.
“It was just unfortunate it didn’t work out there,” he said.
“But he’s a great coach and a great hockey mind, so there’s no doubt he’ll be back in the league in no time.
“I know he’s disappointed. He was enjoying it there. I think he was just enjoying being back in the NHL.
“But I’m sure he’ll be back in the NHL soon enough.”

What do you think? Leave a comment