Thursday, October 4, 2007

Who gets The Axe First?

    1) With the season (underway) about to start the inevitable discussions will commence as to what coaches are on the proverbial 'hot seat'. With that in mind we figured we'd go through the 30 current coaches and discuss who is pretty secure (as NHL coaches go), who is teetering on the brink, and the rest in between.

    2) We'll simply go alphabetically from East then West: To simplify/quantify this we will use a scale 0-10. 0-being very safe, and 10-being half way out the door. At this stage there are no 10's(yet).

    • Bob Hartley (Atlanta Thrashers)- (8) He is on the hot seat! If this team gets off to a horrendous start he could be the first coach to get the axe. One of our least favourite GM's Don Wadell who is also on the hot seat, will not hesitate to find another coach if he sees the season slipping away

    • Claude Julien (Boston Bruins)- (3) Got screwed by Lou i Jersey last year. Deserved a better fate than to be replaced with 2 weeks left in the season where arguably he was an Adams candidate. Fortunately for Claude after a year on the inept Dave Lewis anyone else will seem like an improvement. Unless the B's fall part, he should survive the year.

    • Lindy Ruff (Buffalo Sabres)-(2) The Adams-runner up(He won the award 2 years ago) is as safe as any East head coach. The team has fallen short of the Finals the last 2 seasons, but management is happy with his job performance. Unless they fal apart and fail to make the post season, Lindy's job is secure

    • Peter Laviolette (Carolina Hurricanes)(3) Peter, unless the Canes are among the leagues worst, is pretty secure in Carolina. Having won a Cup a couple of seasons ago, and playing in the less than hockey crazed section of North America, he is under little pressure other than making the post season.

    • Jacques Martin (Florida Panthers)(6) Time may be running out on the former Senator coach. Another non-playoff season may be the final straw. Even in South Florida they notice when their team sucks perennially. The problem is he is also the team GM, so he either will be 'persuaded' to leave the coaching to someone else, or they will clean house entirely. All presupposing the big cats are again runner ups to the playoff dance in April.

    • Guy Carbonneau (Montreal Canadians) (5) The folks in Montreal, much like Toronto are not the most patient. Amazingly its been a long drought(for Montreal standards). Missing the playoffs like last year will not be tolerated. The pressure will be on Guy to get back to the post season. If they get off to a horrendous start he may find himself in need of work

    • Brent Sutter (NJ Devils)(4)- Normally a new coach would be an automatic 1-3, but with Lou, no one is safe, even if they seem to be doing well. That said, unless Brent surprisingly looks like a rookie coach, and has players talking behind his back negatively, he should be secure for a season (as much as a Devil coach can be) Any team with Brodeur in goal won't ever be far from playoff contention

    • Ted Nolan (NY Islanders)- (1) Got a raw deal last season by his Adams snub. Got more than most anyone expected from last years team. Lost key personnel this year so expectations are not high. Even a bottom in the conference finish wouldn't cause Wang to remove the native Canadian from the head job.

    • Tom Renney (NY Rangers)-(4) Two years ago he may have been a 6-7, but the Rangers put together an impressive recovery to respectability. Expectations are now high though, and a significant fall would make him very vulnerable.

    • John Paddock (Ottawa Senators)(4) A team that fired its GM after getting to the Finals is apparently not a place for a coach to feel safe. Expectations in Ottawa are sky high. Anything less than a division title and another finals appearance would make Paddock fodder for replacement rumours.

    • John Stevens (Philadelphia Flyers)(5) Stevens did a decent job replacing Hitchcock, but with the high payroll there will now be expectations to win. If they are out of it early on Stevens will be job hunting early.

    • Michel Therrien (Pittsburgh Penguins) (3) We aren't big fans of Therrian, and believe the team succeeded despite him. Now that expectations are higher in Steel-town, if they falter he may be replaced, especially if he loses the respect of his resident superstar, Sindey Crosby. Its not likely. Michel's biggest issue this year may be how he handles his goalies.

    • John Tortorella (TB Lightning) (6) His act seems to wearing thin. Their Cup championship seems like its a LONG time ago. He has been prone to rip his goalies and with their current tenders, its again likely. He got the team's support last year when the squad was underachieving. Don't look for Feaster to give John the same amount of rope this year if things don't go well

    • Paul Maurice (Toronto Maple Leafs) (5)- Another non-playoff year for the Leafs, especially after their roster upgrades could spell the end of Mr. Maurice's latest coaching position in Hockey's capital

    • Glen Hanlon (Washington Capitals)- (5) After 2 seasons of 'rebuilding' there are now expectations to win in DC. Glen could survive a near miss, but if they fall out of it like last season, his days may be numbered.


    • Randy Carlyle (Anaheim Duck)(1) Probably has the safest job in the league. As the reigning cup champ's coach. Expectations are to repeat, but its extremely doubtful he'd lose his job if they fail. He and Burke have similar Burke have similar philosophies which should help cement his position

    • Mike Keenan (Calgary Flame)(4) As we mention in our preseason predictions, Iron Mike usually in the short term, gets the most from his players, but his tactics wear thin, especially with a veteran club. Mike especially has been known to screw/play mind games with his goalies. That won't go over well with the veteran Kipper. This team is ready to compete for a Cup, so if they falter Mike may have a short stay in Cow-town.

    • Denis Savard (Chicago Blackhawk)(2) Low expectations coupled with the fact that the Witch is dead(William Wirtz) and that Savard is a BlackHawk fan favourite mean that Denis's job is probably safe despite an anticipated non-playoff year in The Windy City.

    • Joel Quenneville (Colorado Avalanche) (5) Entering his 3rd full season behind the Av's bench the pressure will be elevated this season coming off the franchises first non-playoff year since their move from Quebec. The addition of Smyth and Hannan have folks expecting a playoff spot, if not more.

    • KEN HITCHCOCK (Columbus Blue Jackets) (2) No one expects much from the Jackets this season. With a new GM and coach they will merely have to show improvement/development of their youngsters. The pressure will mount next season.

    • Dave Tippett (Dallas Star) (8) Amazingly this will be Tippets 6th season behind the Stars bench. The Stars have done exceptionally well under Tippett's tenure during the regular season, but have won only one playoff round under his guidance. Given how two of those playoff losses were in a measly five games, one could conclude that Tippett doesn't have the right stuff to win in the playoffs. The pressure is on!

    • Mike Babcock (Detroit Red Wing) (3) Expectations are always high in Hockey town. So far Mike hasn't won it all in Mo-town, but has still had good regular season, and some playoff success. Enough to ensure stability for this season unless the wheels fall off.

    • Craig MacTavish (Edmonton Oiler) (8) Coming into his 7th season as the Oliers coach their Finals appearance of 2 years ago must seem like a century ago to he and Oiler fans alike. Few expect the Oil to repeat that feat, but another dismal season could spell the end of Craig's tenure with Edmonton

    • Marc Crawford (Los Angeles King) (5) His second year in Tinsel town. The first was forgettable. He can't afford a repeat of that else he'll be gone. Any improvement will probably mean he'll survive for another season. All he needs to do is make sure they stay in contention most of the way.

    • Jacques Lemaire (Minnesota Wild) (2) The "Gum Chewer" as we at FAUXRUMORS affectionately call him has brought his defense-first style to the Wild and given the young franchise a modicum of success in their short time. It has caused some consternation among his forwards, but as long as they stay on board, and the team is a playoff contender, Jacques's job is safe.

    • Barry Trotz (Nashville Predator) (4) The only coach the franchise has ever had. We are not fans of his, but somehow he's managed to endure. With lowered expectations and ownership in flux he'll probably survive yet another season in The Music City.

    • Wayne Gretzky (Phoenix Coyote) (3)This figures to be another bad season in the desert for TGO. As part owner its not known if he can be fired. It certainly wouldn't be good for PR to fire the greatest player in league history. More likely he'd step down voluntarily("To spend more time with his family") That may be a good thing as we're not fans of Wayne as a coach

    • Andy Murray (St. Louis Blue)(2) Seemed to turn things around when he took over mid way last year. Should be fairly secure with the rebuilding Blues

    • Ron Wilson (San Jose Shark) (8) The pressure is clearly on Wilson this year. Anything less than a trip to the finals will be considered failure in SJ. A first or second round playoff loss almost certainly will cost him his job

    • Alain Vigneault (Vancouver Canuck) (2) The reigning coach of the Year winner, his job is probably quite secure. Only a miserable regular season and or player(Luongo/Sedin) discontent would be a problem for the affable Quebecer


    JP said...

    Long post but I liked the way you go through each team and give a rating. Too many for me to discuss as my day job is calling but i agree with your chicago prediction. Savard is pretty safe here almost no matter what we do this year

    Antzmarching said...

    I like the new graphics, Faux... The pictures really spruce up the presentation... Like JP, though, I don't have time to go through all your comments right now... I will say that, while I expect the Rangers to make it to the Finals, if they should falter, Renney WILL be in major trouble...

    Also, Glen Hanlon cannot rest on his "We gave a good effort" laurels again this year... Put up or shut up, Glen!!!

    Antzmarching said...

    Are you implying that the toddler eating cake is a COWN? What is a COWN, btw?

    FAUX RUMORS said...

    1) JP: We understand when we write long posts it may take a few days for all our readers to fully digest the content.
    2) Antz: We agree to some extent that both Hanlon and Renney will have some pressure to produce, but neither are close to being on the hot seat unless their team seriously underachieves
    3) In the case of the caps that would mean not be in the playoff race past the trade deadline(2/28) In the case of the Rangers that would mean not winning a playoff series.
    4) Renney can survive not winning a Cup, and Hanlon could survive another non-playoff season

    FAUX RUMORS said...

    1)Antz: Sources have exclusively told FAUXRUMORS that the child in the photo has a keen eye to pick out a cown wherever they appear! Beware of the Cowns!

    Antzmarching said...

    Cowns are terrifying! Maybe I need to spend some more time around this highly intelligent child - he can even quote Marie Antoinette...

    La Grenouille said...

    Mon Habs sera non bon cette année. Je n'aime pas que l'entraîneur et espère qu'il est bientôt vidé

    FAUX RUMORS said...

    1) LaGren.., sorry this is an English only blog. ; )
    2) We're told FAUXRUMORS2 is back in the mix and will resume their power rankings. They tell us they plan to publish them about once a month. Great to have ya back FR2!
    3) Some GM discussions/trade possibilities, but nothing of the blockbuster variety. Basic 4th line/AHL type movement. We're told to not expect much in the way of any big deals until after Thanksgiving at the earliest. We'll keep a listen for everyone!

    vakfan said...

    Nice rundown. I think Tippett will be the first one to carry his head under his arm. Didn´t believe he will start his 6th season in that snakepit... Had to look it up.

    FAUX RUMORS said...

    1) VAK: Depending on whom of the most vulnerable coaches gets off to a poor start, there are a few who may be gone before 2008
    2) To summarize the guys most likely to not survive a poor first half of the season:
    Ron Wilson
    Craig MacTavish
    Dave Tippett
    John Tortorella
    John Stevens
    Jacques Martin
    Bob Hartley

    Antzmarching said...

    Faux, you are missing the Tom Renney angle... He was on the hot seat prior to the playoffs last year - a first round loss to Atlanta would have been his head... If (hypothetically) the Rangers lose 10 of their first 15-17 games, how could you think he's not in HUGE trouble??? The Rag$ have extremely high expectations this season, which include winning the Stanley Cup - underachieving coaches typically get the axe... I tend to agree with your list, but Renney is on a short leash, in my opinion...

    Also, the ONLY reason Glen Hanlon could survive another below .500/out of the playoffs season, is because his bosses have no idea what is going on around them... Fat Ted and Georgie McFly are beyond incompetent...

    FAUX RUMORS said...

    1) Antz: We don't disagree that Renney could be in trouble if the team gets off to a horrible start, but in our opinion his job is not quite as tenuous as the others listed.
    2) Hanlon will last the season unless the team crumbles. He won't last until next year IF the team falls out of the playoff race early.

    Antzmarching said...

    Ok Faux, we have achieved consesus... I agree with you...

    The Co-Pilot said...

    Crawford is safe here unless we have another terrible year. The fans and I think most of the players like him.

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