It's the best time of year!
Posted by Ryan Porth Labels: Brent Sutter, Coaches, Jack Capuano, Jacques Martin, Joe Sacco, Randy Carlyle, Scott Arniel
Many hockey fans woke up to the news this morning that Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau and Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice had been fired. The time had come for both of them to exit stage left (we’ll have more on that later).
With Boudreau and Maurice receiving the pink slip, that means three head coaches have now been fired in the season’s first two months. Which NHL head coaches should be leery of answering their phone? There are numerous candidates that could see the chopping block before the season ends.
Randy Carlyle, Ducks
It seems like every year at this time we have the conversation about whether the Ducks will fire Carlyle. The Ducks have been notorious slow starters in recent years, but it hasn’t been this bad. Even with the likes of Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Bobby Ryan and Teemu Selanne, this is a team that has won twice in their last 18 games. At 6-13-4, they are just one point out of the NHL cellar. Would GM Bob Murray fire Carlyle, who in August signed a new extension through 2014? Or would Murray opt to make a shake-up trade instead?
Scott Arniel, Blue Jackets
The rumors of Arniel and GM Scott Howson getting axed in Columbus have died down. With the roster getting healthier, the Blue Jackets are playing better hockey and, for the moment, have righted the ship. But that doesn’t mean Arniel’s job is totally safe. Expectations are higher than they’ve ever been in Columbus, and if the team goes through another prolonged funk, Arniel’s seat will once again be hot.
Jacques Martin, Canadiens
Talk was rampant in mid-October that Martin would be ousted in Montreal. Instead, the organization fired assistant Perry Pearn, which has acted as a bit of a wake-up call for the Canadiens; since that point, the team is 9-4-2. However, everything seems stale with the Habs and their potential doesn’t have a high ceiling under Martin’s direction. Like Arniel, Martin is one losing streak away from going right back on the hot seat.
Brent Sutter, Flames
It is semi-amazing to me that Sutter still has his job in Calgary. GM Jay Feaster keeps giving him a vote confidence, yet the team continues on its slow downward slide from playoff contender to annual lottery pick. As we profiled recently, major changes are needed in Calgary – and that included the dismissal of Sutter. Other than for a three-month stretch last year, he has yet to get best out of his club. A riff between Bruce Boudreau and his captain was the precursor of a firing; could something similar be the beginning of the end for Sutter?
Joe Sacco, Avalanche
Many were surprised this summer that Sacco survived in Denver after winning just five of the team’s final 33 games a season ago. After a surprise visit to the postseason in his first year, Sacco seemed to have lost his team in the second half of last year. The Avalanche got off to a nice start this season, going 5-1-0 in the first six games, but are 5-11-1 ever since. I would think he’d keep his job for a while longer, if not through the rest of the season; but if the losing continues, you’d have to assume management will want to make a change.
Jack Capuano, Islanders
There’s been recent speculation that Capuano’s job could be in jeopardy, as the Islanders are 3-10-4 in their last 17 games. Capuano, as you remember, replaced Scott Gordon at this time a year ago. With that in consideration, I find it hard to believe GM Garth Snow would make another change so soon. Plus, Capuano got more out of the Isles than Gordon ever did. But, as I’ve mentioned with the others, if the Isles keep losing…
Photos credit: Getty Images
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