Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Who Gets The Axe First?- 2014 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. 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 totally safe, and 10-being close to out the door. At this stage there are no 10's (yet).  


Claude Julien (Boston Bruins) (2)-  Entering his 8th season behind the B's bench the Quebec native brings an impressive .650 winning %.  More importantly he has had post season success as well. Barring  collapse (unlikely in the weak East) his job should be secure 

Ted Nolan (Buffalo Sabres) (4)  With the interim label removed Ted officially starts his second tenure as Sabres coach with a 'brief' 16 season hiatus.  While there are few expectations to make the playoffs, management won't take kindly to another bottom finish, especially if there are any dressing room 'issues' 

Bill Peters (Carolina Hurricanes) (6) He has a good resume as a Memorial Cup winning coach and guided the Hawks farm team  to success as well. Unfortunately the rookie NHL coach arrives in a less than ideal circumstance. A franchise in a bit of a disarray and not particularly strong at any position.  He might not make it out of his rookie season.

Todd Richards (Columbus Blue Jackets) (3) Todd enters his 3rd season in Ohio.  His teams have improved, and the team took a nice jump last season into the playoffs and won their first post season game.  That said, there are now expectations so if they falter Todd could be the scape goat   

Mike Babcock (Detroit Red Wing) (2) The dean of NHL head coaches.  There since 2005, and at this time is a lame duck coaching without a contract next season.  With a .630 winning % he wouldn't be a free agent long. In fact rumours abound about his next destination.  That said, his job is probably safe despite the downward trend of the team  

Gerard Gallant (Florida Panthers) (5)- Not a rookie in the NHL, but its been 8 years since Gallant was fired by Columbus.  Like his last job, he finds himself in a tight spot. A team that despite playing in the weak East is not particularly strong.  So unless Luongo has a Vezina callbre season, Gallant may not last a full season in Miami 

Michel Therrien (Montreal Canadians) (3) No head coach in Montreal is ever safe.  That said, the Habs appear to have a very solid team and it help;s too that Michel speaks French, right?  Barring locker room turmoil/tons of injuries/losses, Michel should survive the season 

Peter DeBoer (NJ Devils) (6) A very underrated head coach who is entering his 4th season in Jersey.  In a tough spot as he coaches the oldest NHL team and is one injury (Schneider) away from getting fired.  If they get off to a slow start Peter could easily find himself getting that dreaded call for Mr. Lou! 

Jack Capuano (NY Islanders) (4) Amazingly is the senior coach in the Metro division.  Well liked by his players and has been able to withstand some ups and downs on the Island.  That said, his boss (Snow) with the recent trades/acquisitions, has gone 'all in' on this season so anything but a playoff berth and Cappie is gonzo 

Alain Vigneault (NY Rangers) (2) The reigning Eastern Conference champion coach appears safe, and barring a complete collapse should survive the season unlike the coach he was 'traded for' (Tortorella).   

Paul MacLean (Ottawa Senators) (3) Coming into his 4th season as the Sens coach the affable moustached coach should withstand a near miss from the post season BUT not a bottom 5 type season either!

Craig Berube (Philadelphia Flyers) (4). After taking over for Peter Laviolette the Flyers finished well and made the playoffs losing in 7 games to the Rangers.  A long time NHL enforcer, The Chief best keep his team in the playoff hunt else he will land where his predecessor ended up, on the unemployment line

Mike Johnston (Pittsburgh Penguins) (5) has a very tough job. Trying to convince players who have little respect/regard for him to buy in to his system. Added to that he didn't choose his assts, one of whom (Tocchet) is best buds with the owner (66). If the pens don't play like a Cup contender, Johnston's tenure might be brief

Jon Cooper (TB Lightning) (2) 'Coops' enters his second full season guiding the Bolts. If not for an injury to his #1 goalie, he might have found himself in the finals.  The team appears ready to get back to that spot again, and unless the wheels come off his job is safe.

Randy Carlyle (Toronto Maple Leafs) (6) Many were surprised to even see the former Norris trophy/Cup winning coach still in TO.  His asst coaches were replaced. The roster is essentially unchanged.  His job is clearly on the line and anything other than a playoff berth and Randy will be gone

Barry Trotz (Washington Capitals) (2)  The long time (only) Preds head coach will try to mold a middle aged roster of players to get back into the playoffs.  If his goalie Holtby regains his confidence it should be enough to get a 7th or 8th spot in the relative weak East.  If the captain (8) is unhappy, Trotz is toast.

  Bruce Boudreau (Anaheim Duck) (3) Gabby, like he did in DC has an impressive regular season mark (.650) but has failed to achieve post season success.  His team is good enough to be in the top 8 of the competitive Wes, but Bruce will be in trouble if the Ducks fail to win in the NHL 'second season'

Dave Tippett (Arizona Coyote) (4) Amazingly Dave enters his 6th season as the 'Yotes head man. His record considering the teams turmoil is impressive (.590) However, we believe the team is due to have a down year, and feel that Tippett if things really turn sour could be the scape goat in the desert

Bob Hartley (Calgary Flame) (4) Bob enters his 4th season as Flames head man.  The team is well into 'rebuilding' so few expect them to compete for a Cup this season, but management led by the truculent Brian Burke want to see fight in these Flames, so they better be competitive if Bob wants to stay

Joel Quenneville (Chicago Blackhawk) (1). Probably next to Sutter the safest NHL head coach. Not only has Joel won 2 Cups in Shytown but possesses one of the best lineups in the league.  Can't imagine a scenario where he doesn't complete his 7th season behind the Hawks bench

Patrick Roy (Colorado Avalanche) (1) While there are expectations to win in Denver, we still believe the honeymoon with Patrick is still on. Thus that it would take a huge down turn to see Roy not complete his second season in Colorado 

Lindy Ruff (Dallas Star) (2) The most veteran of all current NHL coaches comes into his second season with the Stars. A team many are expecting big things from after a busy off season.  Unless the team far underachieves  we feel that Lindy's job should be safe

Dallas Eakins (Edmonton Oiler) (6)- One of several NHL head coaches who's job is clearly on the line. He will NOT survive long if the team gets off to a slow start. Fans liked his honest approach, and despite widely regarded as an AHL coach his NHL team better show signs of life quickly else he may be back in the minors!

Darryl Sutter (Los Angeles King) (0)  No coach is probably safer than the 2 time Cup winning/reigning champ coach Sutter.  Even an implosion would unlikely cause management to make a change here.  Darryl is not going anywhere. but if he were fired he'd be snatched up in hours!    

Mike Yeo (Minnesota Wild) (4) Entering his 4th season in the Land O Lakes, Mike we believe will stay as long as he can get goaltending. It the hotly contested West, thats a necessity. The team has talent everywhere else.  Ownership will NOT take kindly to a near miss, and you can bet you bippy that if the Wild sink, Mike will be toast in Minny!

Peter Laviolette (Nashville Predator) (3) Uncharted territory for the Preds. Their first season without Trotz as coach. The fiery Laviolette comes to his 4th team. Having had good/decent success at all his previous stops(including a Cup in Carolina) That said, the Boston native (like his fellow Bostonian Tortorella) have a limited life span after which their teams tune them out. 

Ken Hitchcock (St. Louis Blues) (4) Hitch's team is expected to compete for a Cup. Another great regular season and early exit might be the last straw for Blues management. Barring injuries and poor net minding, the Blues should be able to get through the season as a top 5 team out West. Its the second season that will foretell Cpt Kangaroos future

Todd McClellan (San Jose Shark) (6) Certainly is on VERY thin ice. Like Randy Carlyle, few expected Todd to survive this past summer.  This is probably his last shot and anything less than a Final 4 appearence and  he will be looking for work despite winning 65% of his games in the regular season since 2008

Willie Dejardins (Vancouver Canuck) (1) The highly recruited former AHL coach of the year enters his first NHL season with a team that admittedly, unlike in past seasons, isn't expected to win.  His job is therefore likely very safe unless the 'Nucks are a clear cut lottery team. 

Paul Maurice (Winnipeg Jets) (6)  WE are perpetually amazed that Paul always seems to find work.  Amazingly he has coached over 1100 NHL games and is barely over .500 all time. having missed the playoffs far more than making them.  While the Jets did few things to improve this off season fans do NOT want another bottom finish. How long will management be patient?  Paul might find out sooner rather than later! 

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