Eddie Olczyk was one of the worst coaches ever. If you can't tell by his subpar color commentary...it was unclear if the Penguins even had practices while he was the coach...the last of the Country Club coaches...
He had a poor roster, but he really made it worse...he had no business being behind an NHL bench, I think he was with USA Hockey too..oh all those poor, young hockey players out there...
Ned Harkness, coach and GM of Red Wings during the DeadWings era
Quote from Abel, as he resigned as the Wings GM, pulled from SI article called "Poor Broken Wings"
Originally Posted by Sid Abel
"I can't accept Harkness as a coach," he added later. "I can't even assess him as a coach because he isn't one. He can't coach. This club is capable of being in the playoffs, and with proper coaching it will be in the playoffs. Right now it is by far the most disorganized Red Wing team I've ever been associated with."
Didn't Don Cherry lead a QMJL team to a terrible season?
OHL. Mississauga Ice Dogs. Cherry was part-owner & GM, Coached during the 2001/02 season. Refused to participate in the CHL Import Draft, Europeans need not apply. First 3yrs of 68 game schedules wins all of 16 games under 6 different Coaches, including Rick Vaive (3/56) in 00/01, who Cherry himself replaced for the 01/02 season, winning 11, losing 47, and that year allowing imports to play for the Ice Dogs for which he took a lot of heat having so stridently claimed local, good ol' Ontario boys can get the job done. Team was eventually sold to Eugene Melnyk I believe & moved after 6 forgettable seasons.
As for the "Worst Ever" at the NHL level, lots of candidates, but I reckon Ned Harkness in Detroit pretty much takes the cake; a successful college Coach & GM in the States, he's hired by the Wings around 1970, a pretty radical move at that time as NCAA wasnt widely respected as a proving ground for players let alone Coaches. That summer, Ned apparently shows up at Gary Bergmans house, and proceeds to rearrange the furniture in his living room as if couches were nets, chairs players & so on, Gary standing there gap mouthed & stunned, the wife more or less freaking out. Harkness then gets into a spat with Bergman about the length of his hair, demanding he get it shorn into a brushcut, and meanwhile, expects Gordie Howe & everyone else to act like their 17, all "collegial" with rahs rahs & pom poms, just on & on.
The last straw was in a game against Toronto the Wings lost 13-0. In between the 2nd & 3rd Periods, Ned sinking to his knees in the dressing room, pleading with the players, asking "Why oh WHY wont you play for me"?. Sid Abel, then GM caught this act apparently & wanted to fire Ned on the spot but was held back by Norris & one of his sycophants. A Petition was then drawn up, every player signing it, FIRE HARKNESS NOW. Instead, he was replaced with the Wings top farm clubs Coach, Abel demoted to the farm, Harkness retained and bizarrely then appointed General Manager! Howe retires early, cant take it anymore. It took Detroit nearly 20yrs to recover from the Darkness that was Harkness, the sale of the club to Ilitch, Yzermans arrival & so on....