Endangered Species: NHL Coaches Like Renney, Therrien, Savard...

Martin AverySenior Writer IFebruary 24, 2009

New York Rangers Coach Tom Renney was the sixth NHLer to be fired this season. Granato, Carbonneau, MacTavish, even Gretzky could be next.

Tom Renney is the most recent coach getting sacked. Renney was let go after the Rangers lost 3-2 to the Leafs in overtime on Sunday.

Five other NHL coaches have been fired this year. Michel Therrien was dismissed a day after the Leafs defeated the Penguins, 6-2, on Valentine's Day.  Chicago's Denis Savard got the boot four games into the season at (1-2-1), Barry Melrose was just 16 games into his Tampa sojourn. Peter Laviolette, whose Canes missed the playoffs in 2006-07 and '07-08, is gone. And Craig Hartsburg (17-24-7) was let go after 48 games with the Senators in Ottawa.

The Rangers came on so strong at the beginning of the year, many believed the Rangers could march all the way to the Stanley Cup. Since then, the Rangers analysts predicted the only way to bring this New York team back from the brink is to bring back bad boy Sean Avery.

Who will be fired next, after Renney and Therien? Here's a potential hit list:

1.  Tony Granato, Colorado:  The once great Avalanche (28-31-1) own last place in the Western Conference this season. The talent level is down from the glory years, but who expected them to be this bad?

2.   Guy Carbonneau, Montreal:  The Canadiens (31-22-7) were favoured to go all the way this season, the franchise’s 100th anniversary. Many think Carbonneau will only be fired if Montreal fails to make the playoffs, but his exit could come sooner than that.

3.   Craig MacTavish, Edmonton: (29-25-5)  Back in October, Craig MacTavish said he had visions of his team being division contenders this season. Now the Oilers are facing yet another fight to the finish with every point crucial. They haven't been playing with much intensity lately, though.

4.   Wayne Gretzky, Phoenix:  (27-28-5) The Coyotes franchise is taking a financial beating, and the on-ice product isn't doing much to help its cause, according to the Arizona Republic. "You need to score goals," Gretzky said recently. "It is the time of the year where we count on guys to score big goals and we're not getting them."

The coach can blame the players, but the GMs tend to fire the coach.