Predicting the Next 5 NHL Head Coaches to Get Fired

Alex H@Alexhoegler27Correspondent IJanuary 27, 2013

Predicting the Next 5 NHL Head Coaches to Get Fired

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    Being an NHL head coach is a tough job. Dealing with a large group of players and pleasing a fanbase that has little patience have proven to be difficult. Few coaches are able to do it consistently.

    Some general managers have more patience than others, and that means some coaches are kept longer than they should be, while others may be fired too soon.

    There are plenty of head coaches in the NHL that don't have much experience, therefore they have lots of time to turn their teams around.

    However, some coaches have had the luxury of coaching talent-loaded squads for a long time—and have not taken advantage of it.

    Here are the five head coaches that could very well be shown the door at the conclusion of the 2013 NHL season.

5. Peter Laviolette

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    Laviolette took over for the Flyers on December 4, 2009. That same season, he led the Flyers to the playoffs on the last day of the regular season, and went on to lose in the Stanley Cup Final to the Chicago Blackhawks.

    The Flyers have made the playoffs the past two seasons, but have been ousted in the second round both those years.

    The Flyers' fanbase is impatient to win its first cup since 1975. There is no excuse to keep coming up short with a roster as talented as the one he currently possesses.

    If the Flyers miss the playoffs or can't make it past the second round, then it will be time to cut ties with him and find a new head coach.

4. Jack Capuano

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    Jack Capuano took over the New York Islanders in November of 2010. 

    Capuano has coached the Islanders to a mediocre 60-66-21 record during his tenure. The Islanders are a young team on the verge of completing a rebuilding process.

    Young stars John Tavares, Kyle Okposo, Franz Nielsen and Nino Niederreiter should be able to take this team to the next level in the next couple of seasons.

    However, if the Islanders are once again in contention for a top-five pick in the draft, it will be time to let go of Capuano. The Islanders have missed the playoffs the last five seasons, and if they don't show any signs of improvement this season, then it may be in the best interest of GM Garth Snow to find a new bench boss.

3. Joe Sacco

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    Colorado Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco has led his team to a respectable 114-109-23 record in three seasons behind the bench, and that was during a rebuilding stage.

    However, the Avalanche have a group of young players, most notably Matt Duchene, who are entering their prime. 

    The Avalanche have a team with enough talent to make the playoffs, but coming up short year after year means something is wrong. That problem might be the head coach.

    He's done a poor job shuffling lines and hasn't been able to help his team beat divisional opponents, which is the main reason they're underachieving.

    Sacco may have been awarded a two-year extension last April, but that doesn't guarantee a comfort zone by any means.

    If the Avalanche miss the postseason for the third consecutive year, then hiring a new head coach with more patience and experience may be beneficial for the up-and-coming Avs.

2. Todd McLellan

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    During his four-year reign as head coach of the San Jose Sharks- Todd McLellan has coached them to a 195-92-41 record. The Sharks have won a Presidents' Trophy, three Pacific Division titles and have made the playoffs all four seasons.

    So why is he on the hot seat?

    Because the Sharks have won just four playoff series under him.

    The team has been blessed with talent most teams would die for. Star players such as Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Dany Heatley, Brent Burns, Dan Boyle, Joe Pavelski, Rob Blake, Evgeni Nabokov and Antti Niemi have not been enough to lead the Sharks to the cup final.

    That is simply inexcusable. Previous Sharks head coach Ron Wilson was fired simply for a lack of playoff success. The Sharks have improved as a team since McLellan took over, so why would they give him more chances?

    McLellan has had more than enough time to lead his team to the cup final, and if they don't get there this year, it's time to bid farewell.

1. Lindy Ruff

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    Lindy Ruff is the longest-tenured head coach currently in the NHL. He has coached the Buffalo Sabres since 1997-98. The Sabres have compelled a 556-442-78 record, making the postseason eight out of 14 seasons during that span.

    However, the Sabres have missed the playoffs six out of the last 10 seasons, including two one-and-dones.

    Sabres management obviously loves keeping him, despite only making the Stanley Cup Final once.

    I have no idea how he's been around this long. If the Sabres don't win a playoff series this season, and Ruff is still employed, I would be absolutely shocked.

    Sure, he's done plenty of good things for the franchise, but as sports have shown, it's purely business.

    It's a make-or-break year for Lindy Ruff.