Monday, November 19, 2007

Who's On The Firing Line Today?

1) In a follow up to our preseason question of who-gets-axe-first. We decided it may be time to update that list and get the latest of who may next be looking for work.
2) Here are the coaches that right now should not get too comfortable in their surroundings as their next game could be their last:

  • Mike Keenan (Calgary Flame)- Is anyone surprised with this turn of events? 'Iron Mike' has not been successful since leading the Rangers to a Cup 13+ years ago! As we wrote here exclusively 2 weeks ago there has been trouble-in-alberta. long before today. It started from day 1 of training camp and has worsened from there. The team is in veritable free fall, and our sources tell us that Sutter is contemplating doing what he dreads; Firing Keenan and becoming the interim head coach. However, waiting a few more weeks could place their playoff hopes in jeopardy. The season is still very salvageable as of now, but that can change if Sutter waits a few more weeks.

  • Glen Hanlon ( D.C. Crapitals)- Even in the usually sedate, almost apathetic(except for a few well informed bloggers) Nations' capital the heat is being turned up on head coach Glen Hanlon. The team is off to an awful start. Actually they started off to an improbable 3-0 beginning and have gone a pathetic 3-12-1 since. Plummeting them into the basement not only of their division, but also the Eastern Conference and entire NHL! Many had this team as a dark horse playoff team after their off season additions. While some point to injuries, (They lost Semin and Clark for long stretches) it still doesn't explain away such a record AND more ominous the lack of effort for a full 60 minutes; Their trade mark the previous 2 seasons under Hanlon. A change could come as early as this week if they have a poor home stand against opponents that are not in the top 8 either. Bruce Boudreau, their coach with their AHL affiliate Hershey Bears is the most likely candidate to replace Hanlon.

  • Brent Sutter (N.J. Devil)- No coach is EVER safe in Jersey. Ask Claude Julian. He was having arguably a Coach of the year type season last year only to be cut down by Lou Lamarello a few short weeks before the playoffs. (Claude has been vindicated by the Devils early playoff ouster as well as his success in Boston) The early slow start in NJ was attributed to their long road trip to start the season(To put finishing touches on their new arena in Newark). However, since the team has returned home, they have NOT turned things around. In fact they are 3-4 at The Rock, and hovering in 10th in the East. In Sutter's defense, the team he was given was hardly a playoff team on paper. Their defense continues to be gutted with each off season. Broduer is not playing Vezina goal, and team captain Patrick Elias seems to have lost his touch. However as we have already pointed out team GM/president Lamarello doesn't care for excuses, but only results. How much longer will he let his team be coached and look mediocre? Our guess is that Sutter has until Christmas at most to turn things around, else he'll be back in Alberta by the New year!

  • Craig MacTavish (Edmonton Oiler) No one expected the Oilers to be very good, so perhaps its not fair to place Craig on this list. However, the Oilers are at the bottom of the conference and as one scout told us recently, 'many nights play uninspired hockey'. That's the thing that will get upper managements attention, fast. Kevin Lowe, already under the gun himself for his off season antics of almost guaranteeing to fans he'd make a block buster trade/addition, only to be rebuffed/the Penner RFA acquisition, may not wait too long to make a switch if things progress as they have. The team is not only a dreadful 3-6-1 in their last 10, but a horrendous 3-6 at Rexall. Nothing gets attention of management faster than teams losing at home! Craig may not last the season, or even the calender year if things don't improve.

  • Dave Tippett (Dallas Star) Don't think for a minute that the firing last week of Doug Armstrong saved Tippett's butt. It may have given him a short reprieve, but he is clearly still under the gun. It may take new GM's Brett Hull/Les Jackson a few weeks to sort things out, but once they get settled and the team continues to sputter/struggle look for one of their first duties to be to replace Tippet with new blood/their own guy. An aside to this; A well placed source in Dallas tells FAUXRUMORS that the duel GM job is temporary until Hicks feels Hull is ready to assume the position full time himself. Hull felt he wasn't yet to be the top guy, but will likely be named the team's full time GM after the season.


PowerPuff said...

Keenan needs to go. I don't know why we ever brought him in in the first place. He's a bully! I hope Sutter fires him soon.

Duncan N. Komani said...

Thare is a name missing that you may want to give consideration. The Penguins aren't my team, but I follow them close. Their coach's name I can't recall. Its something French. They were so good last year, but can't win too many so far this year. Perhaps they need to change there coach?


1) Puff: You may get your wish sooner rather than later. We feel for you guys up in Alberta. So far it hasn't been a good year for either team there
2) Duncan: Your point is well taken.. the Pitt coach of course is Michel Therrien. We agree that: one he didn't deserve a coach of the year nomination last year, and two his true colors are showing through so far this year. We haven't heard any rumblings about an imminent change in Steel Town, but if they are out of playoff contention early on, changes may arrive before season's end

Pablo said...

I no like Hull as the Gm here. He great player but that don't mean he know the game like other guy. I can see Tippet get fired soon. Why didn't they fire him at same time as Armstong?

Ron said...

Ya know what, why not put Shero on this list now! I'm figgin pissed we didn't pick up Bryzgalov from the Ducks. They were freakin giving him away for nothing for crying out loud! Are you gonna tell me that we couldn't afford to give up a draft pick to get him over here? Our goaltending hasn't been horrible, but it hasn't been good either.


1) Ron: As we discussed with you yesterday we believe Burke may have decided to NOT trade Bryzgalov for a mere pittance. Trying to not look desperate as this could affect his ability to make subsequent trades later on. We DO agree with your sentiments though. Pitt would have benefited from such an addition
2) Pablo: We'll withhold judgment on Hull for now. Recall how many were ridiculing the Islanders hiring of Garth Snow last summer. He's turned into a decent/respected GM. Its unknown why Hicks decided to retain Tippet and not 'clean house.'

Jes GÅ‘lbez said...

Keenan's not the only problem in Calgary. Kiprusoff has been one of the worst goalies in the league this season. I know Keenan jerks the chain way too often, but he can't stop the puck.

As for Hanlon, he was given a team with a very cruddy, young defense and very little depth. Few coaches can get wine from that water.


1) Jes: We don't doubt that Kipper's been off his game, much like Marty hasn't been at his best in NJ, but its the coach that will first feel the heat.
2) In D.C. they may have prematurely believed they were ready to compete for the playoffs, BUT no one including the owner/GM thought they'd regress to the point where they are the worst team in the NHL through 20 games, and almost eliminated from the playoffs before November is over

vakfan said...

Faux, how about Dale Hunter coaching the Capitals?


1) Excellant question Vak. Others have suggested his name in the past. From what we understand he is content in his current situation:
2) As part owner with his brother Mark, of the London Knights, a team in the OHL. He also happens to be the team president and its head coach
3) A similar situation that Brent Sutter had with the Red Deer Rebels in the WHL. Hunter would seem to be a better choice than simply bringing in the teams AHL coach Bruce Boudreau, but neither have NHL coachig experience, and thus far Sutter hasn't looked all that good either

vakfan said...

Thanks Faux, your wisdom is overwhelming.

Shmee said...

I dont know about firing Hanlon...he has had a really tough team to work with the past couple seasons, and I would argue that he has some players this year who consider underachieving a full time job.

Keenan has got to reason the Flames should be playing like that.

V. thorough post!


1) Shmee: We would agree that the players themselves have to take the brunt of the responsibility Loved hearing Ollie's post game comments to that effect last night, BUT at some point Hanlon has to also take considerable heat for the immense amount of underachievement that we've seen in DC this fall
2) They are on an amazing 53 point pace! As the old saying goes, you can't fire/replace 20 guys, but you can, one. However, having said that, simply replacing Hanlon with yet another former AHL coach probably would be a lateral move. This team needs a guy with credentials. Someone who would get instant respect from the vets
3) Who would that be? The guy we keep falling to is Pat Burns, but its an unknown if he's healthy/wants to return to coaching.
4) A we've seen in Columbus and the Island, a good coach can make a huge impact

DMG said...

I think Burns or Boudreau would be good for the Capitals. I wasn't sold on Boudreau until I looked him up and saw his record and reputation. Solid enough to give him a shot, at least on an interm basis.

I am a little wary of the idea of Hunter. I know people in D.C. love him from his days as a player and he's had success in the OHL but I just think that 3 1/2 years as a head coach in the OHL is not the kind of experience you look for in an NHL coach. Plus he's been in trouble more than once for sending players off the bench to start fights - that might work to rile up 18 year olds but NHL vets are going to see it as a bush league move most of the time.

I dunno, I'm just confused some people who don't like the idea of giving Boudreau a shot because he's never coached in the NHL but are willing to give the job to Hunter.

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