Monday, October 10, 2011

Who gets The Axe First? 2011 Edition

1) A popular annual post we do here at Fauxrumors is our annual 'Who will Get the Axe First. With the season underway the inevitable discussions will commence as to what coaches are on the proverbial 'hot seat'. With that in mind we'll 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) If this season is anything typical, about 25-30% of the current head coaches will no longer have their jobs by this time next season. Like in previous years, we'll simply go alphabetically in the East then in the West: To simplify/quantify this we will use a scale 0-10. Zero-being very safe, and 10-being close to out the door. At this stage there are no 10's (yet)


Claude Julien (Boston Bruins)- (1) The reigning Stanley Cup winning coach, Claude is as safe as he has been in any season since he started coaching in the NHL. Barring an incredible collapse he should have little trouble finishing out the season as the B's bench boss

Lindy Ruff (Buffalo Sabres) (2) Entering his 14th season behind the Sabres bench, the longest tenured NHL coach is pretty safe as he has the full backing of the new owner and his long time GM partner Darcy Regier.

Paul Maurice (Carolina Hurricanes) (5) Entering his 11th NHL season, the leagues most over rated coach is guiding a team that could go either way. If its south, then Paul might not make it through the season before Rutherford cans him. If they stay in contention for the playoffs Maurice should stay safe

Kevin Dineen (Florida Panthers) (2) The highly successful AHL coach enters his inaugural season the NHL. Few expect the Cats to make the playoffs(outside their most rabid fans) so as long as the team doesn't completely fall apart Kevin should complete his first season

Jacques Martin (Montreal Canadians) (4) Seldomly are Habs' coaches less than a 4 as they play in the hockey pressure cooker known as Quebec. They always expect to make the playoffs, but few are expecting a Presidents trophy so as long as they hang around the top 8 or so, Jack should be safe

Peter DeBoer (NJ Devils) (6) Usually a rookie coach gets a bit of slack, but these are the Lamarelo Devils where no coach is safe no matter the record it seems. DeBoer is a good coach who may be entering his 2nd stint where he will ultimately get screwed. If the Devils don't stay in the top 8 and appear destined for a bottom finish Peter won't see April

Jack Capuano (NY Islanders) (3) There are some expectations now, but realistically as long as the team competes hard and doesn't embarrass themselves early on with a long losing streak, Jack should be OK.

John Tortorella (NY Rangers) (3) Usually Ranger coaches had been always in jeopardy of losing their jobs, but Torts is highly regarded both within the organization but also throughout the league. AS long as the BlueShirts stay in the top 8 John should be safe

Paul MacLean (Ottawa Senators) (5) Another rookie head coach who theoretically should have few expectations, but with a desperate GM(Murray) playing in Canada's capital city someone may have to be the scape goat if (as we expect) the team sucks

Peter Laviolette (Philadelphia Flyers) (2) Yes, high expectations but the team players and management alike respect Peter. Unless he loses the team (pisses off Jagr/Bryzgalov) or for some reason the team goes below .500 by the holidays, Laviolette's job is secure

Dan Bylsma (Pittsburgh Penguins) (0) Probably one of the safest coaches in the East. The current Jack Adams winner runs a tight, loyal and successful team. Liked equally by the stars and grunts. Not an easy task! We can see no scenario where Dan loses his job before season's end.

Guy Boucher (TB Lightning) (2) The only situation we can see that would make Guy vulnerable is if the Bolts ascendancy suddenly collapses. Unlikely even if we believe they will not be quite as good as last season. 'Scar' should make it through the season unscathed.

Ron Wilson (Toronto Maple Leafs) (5) Even his pal and superior Brian Burke can't save his job if the wheels fall off early in TO. Ron's job will be as safe as his goaltending will allow. Simple as that.

Bruce Boudreau (Washington Capitals) (5) Even in town-mediocrity, they expect a winning season every now and then. If the team has a similar issue as last fall when the team suffered through a very rough patch, it could cost Gabby his job. Else, his job will be safe for the regular season anyway

Claude Noel (Winnipeg Jets) (2) The rookie head coach in the city's first season back with hockey should be safe unless the team slides deeply out of contention and doesn't compete hard nightly. Else expectations should be relatively low


Randy Carlyle (Anaheim Duck) (2) The team apparently believes in The former Norris Trophy winner as they gave him a 3 year extension this summer. We can't see the team letting him go unless they struggle mightily early on

Brent Sutter (Calgary Flame) (7) With his brother already gone Brent's job is now clearly on the line this season. If the team struggles early the Flames may be forced to dismiss their home town guy.

Joel Quenneville (Chicago Blackhawk) (1) The former Cup champ coach entering his 15th season in the league has one of the safer positions. With his league wide respect and recent success it would take tons to see him gone

Joe Sacco (Colorado Avalanche) (5) Teams that are rebuilding only stay patient for so long. In Denver they may not expect to be Cup contending, but certainly playoff contending this season. If they appear destined for another bottom finish Joe's job could be on the line

Scott Arniel (Columbus Blue Jackets) (5) Scott in a tough situation. The team tried to make a splash with off season moves AND they have a GM(Scottt Howson) who himself is under the gun. Coupled that with not having the horses to win a playoff spot, we wouldn't be shocked to see Scott be on the chopping block before season's end

Glen Gulutzan (Dallas Star) (2) Anther of the incoming coaching freshmen. Unlike the other rookie coaches Glen hasn't either played or coached in the NHL at any level. Few expect the team to win this year, and with ownership in flux its unlikely he will feel the heat if things don't go too well

Mike Babcock (Detroit Red Wing) (1) Entering his 7th season guiding the Motor city sextet, Mike is one of the best in the business. Almost no doubt he will guide his veteran team without chance of being 2nd guessed/replaced

Tom Renney (Edmonton Oiler) (4) His 'good teacher' persona will be tested big time this season as Edmonton will have one of the most inexperienced rosters in the NHL. It may be exciting to the fans but management wants to see the team show signs of improvement. A bottom overall finish won't sit well.

Terry Murray (Los Angeles King) (5) The other Murray brother will be entering his 15th season behind an NHL bench. The Kings have lofty expectations this year so anything short of divisional/Cup contention and it might be Murray's last

Mike Yeo (Minnesota Wild) (2) Much like Gulutzan in Dallas there should be a honeymoon period in Minny. However it won't be quite as long or forgiving as in Big D, as the Wild added some talent and the fans up north are as rabid as the come south of the border

Barry Trotz (Nashville Predator) (3) The only coach the franchise has ever known. Despite low playoff success he still manages to get his team to the post season despite a cap flor payroll and an anemic offense. The organization will probably only consider a change if they appear to be taking a huge step back.

Dave Tippett (Phoenix Coyote) (2) Despite the team likely taking a step(or 2) back from the past few, we believe the combination of that recent success coupled with the continued franchise ownership turmoil will make Dave';s job safe through the season

Davis Payne (St. Louis Blues) (4) Unlike the past 2 years the pressure will be elevated this season. Fans are getting restless for the interminable 'rebuild' to end. Injuries have hurt but management will only let that excuse work for so long. If the Blues fail to compete, Davis will be gonzo

Todd McClellan (San Jose Shark) (2) Highly unlikely that Todd is replaced as coach. They struggled out of the gate last season, but still won their division. WE can't see the team losing patience but if they lose in the first round, that patience will be highly tested

Alain Vigneault (Vancouver Canuck) (1) The Cup/Adams runner up will probably survive almost any calamity that is thrust upon him this season. Unless The Twins' ask him to be fired(not gonna happen) his job is safe for the season!

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