NHL head coaches are always in the line of fire, because if their team struggles, they are the first to blame, and in a shortened season, it is easy to make the prediction that there are a few bench bosses who could be axed if their team under performs in 2013.
Recently, coaches like Ron Wilson, Paul Maurice, Bruce Boudreau and Randy Cunneyworth were fired by their respective teams because of poor performance, and to date, Boudreau was the only one who found new employment.
Coaches like Mike Babcock and Barry Trotz are tenured coaches with job security, but here are some coaches that are currently on the hot seat.
Joe Sacco, Colorado Avalanche
Joe Sacco is a coach that has been on the hot seat for quite sometime now, and a slow start in 2013 could signal the end of his time in Colorado.
The Avs have only made the playoffs once under Sacco's watch, and he will be held accountable if the team does not step up to the plate early on.
Lindy Ruff, Buffalo Sabres
Ruff is currently the longest-tenured coach in the NHL, but in the last five seasons, the Sabres have only made the playoffs twice.
His time in Buffalo can be described as erratic because of the trends of making and then missing the playoffs. This chart from Wikipedia paints a poignant picture.
If the Sabres miss the playoffs in 2013, Ruff surely will get the axe because of a continuing trend of inconsistency.
Jack Capuano, New York Islanders
This will be Capuano's third season as the Islanders' bench boss and with the Islanders ready to move to Brooklyn in a few short seasons, it is safe to assume that ownership will want to install a coach to cultivate a winning environment
The Isles could be bringing in prospects like Ryan Strome this year or next year, so short of a playoff appearance by Capuano, it would make sense to replace him with a veteran coach with experience.
Todd McLellan, San Jose Sharks
McLellan has been the Sharks bench boss since 2008, and despite three division titles and two conference final appearances, the Sharks' roster is too talented to not come through during the playoffs.
With the salary cap set to go down to $64.3M in 2013-14, there could be a revamp in the roster via trades or compliance buyouts. If the Sharks do not have a successful season and playoffs, McLellan could be out of a job, and it could signal the start of changes to come in San Jose.
Joel Quenneville, Chicago Blackhawks
Quenneville helped guide the 'Hawks to their first Stanley Cup since 1961 in 2010, but since then, the Hawks have finished in the bottom portion of the division and they have been eliminated in the first round in consecutive years.
While Quenneville is a good coach, he is in the same boat as McLellan in the sense that the roster has too much talent to not succeed.
The experienced coach will be on the hot seat in 2013 as Chicago looks to rebound, but if they fall short, Quenneville could be in the unemployment line.
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