It's the best time of year!
Posted by Ryan Porth Labels: Top 5
1. Ken Hitchcock, Columbus
Who would have expected to see Hitchcock in this situation after leading Columbus to its first playoff berth in franchise history just nine months ago?? Well it’s a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league, and the Blue Jackets’ back end has been terrible this season. Hitchcock-coached teams always have structure and play a tight defensive game. This doesn’t look like a team that is directed by Hitchcock. The team’s goals against is up by almost half a goal from a season ago. Is he losing his touch?? Maybe. If they fail to show any sort of life down the stretch, Hitchcock will be shown the door. Expectations have spiked in Columbus, so it’s time to fulfill them.
2. Rick Tocchet, Tampa Bay
The Lightning have a lot of talent and have spent gauds of money the last couple summers to try to improve the on-ice product. The results aren’t there yet – and I don’t know if they’ll reach that potential with Tocchet behind the bench. This team is so inconsistent that it is hard to imagine in the playoffs this year; the last two weeks have shown it. I don’t think Tocchet is that great of a coach, and a year and a half is more than enough time to prove otherwise. He is 38-53-24 since taking over for Barry Melrose early on last year, and I don’t foresee it getting much better.
3. Ron Wilson, Toronto
Brian Burke recently gave Wilson the usual vote of confidence, saying he won’t fire him. Could he be waiting until after the Olympics to fire him?? I wouldn’t put it past him. Remember… Burke and Wilson are leading Team USA together in Vancouver. Wilson hasn’t been able to snap the Leafs’ playoff drought in his short time; and if that doesn’t change this spring, he his job could be in jeopardy. He’s a smart veteran coach, but doesn’t seem to be the best fit (that’s just me). He and Burke are long-time friends, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Wilson behind the bench to start next season.
4. Paul Maurice, Carolina
The closer the Hurricanes come to being in the running for a top two selection in the draft, the closer Maurice should come to being axed. This is a move GM Jim Rutherford has to make. Although Maurice led the team to a great playoff run last spring, they’ve been horrible this season despite the injuries. Plus, he has a pretty bad career record as coach. In my opinion, with one of the top draft picks this summer, the franchise should start a new chapter beginning next year. Eric Staal and Cam Ward can still lead the way, but they have a lot of prospects on the horizon for the long-term. An up-and-coming AHL coach would be a quality hire.
5. Pat Quinn, Edmonton
I feel bad for Quinn… I really do. He’s pulling his hair out and trying everything he can to get the Oilers on track – and it’s not working. Injuries have been a big factor in the Oilers’ collapse, so that alone could keep him around for another year. But good golly, they are bad! You almost wonder if Quinn is the right fit or not. The Oilers are primarily a younger team, so it may be beneficial to have a younger coach leading the way. We’ll see what happens in Edmonton as the season progresses, as changes are going to happen.
at 12:15 PM
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