2010-11 NHL Three Head Coaches Sitting on the Hot Seat

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2010-11 NHL Three Head Coaches Sitting on the Hot Seat
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On the hot seat

Fact of life for an NHL head coach is that if you're not winning, you must be losing.

Most experts say that parity is good for the NHL game, the ability for any team to win on any given night is exciting to the fans.

Except if you're an NHL head coach.

Entering play in mid November, three coaches have endured losing stretches that are not exactly that of the "parity" world.

Scott Gordon was the league's first coaching casualty this season. Gordon, who was fired by the New York Islanders after enduring a 10-game losing streak still has some time left on his contract.

Gordon will assist Islanders GM Garth Snow on this such as scouting and details for the 2011-12 NHL schedule.

Three coaches who are on the hot seat:

 

Randy Carlyle, Anaheim Ducks

After losing their first three games of the season to Detroit, Nashville and St. Louis, the Ducks reeled off their first win against Vancouver on Oct. 13.

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A shoot-out lose to Atlanta followed by a win against Phoenix would begin that "parody" period for the Ducks who would trade wins and loses between Oct. 17 and 26.

Winning against Phoenix, Philadelphia and Dallas before losing to Columbus, Detroit and New Jersey. They would follow it up by losing to San Jose.

Sitting with a 4-8 record alone placed Coach Carlyle in deep water.

Reeling off a six straight wins placed the Ducks up the extremely tight Western Conference standings. The Ducks have lost their last three games, two of which were to Chicago and Minnesota in OT.

Pressure will be on Coach Carlyle to keep the Ducks in the playoff picture in the West, after action on Wednesday, five points separate the top 11 teams.

Carlyle can not afford another losing streak.

Potential replacement: Current assistant coach Dave Farrish is a former NHL player and has coached in the AHL and ECHL, Farrish has been with the Ducks for five seasons and won a Stanley Cup with Anaheim in 2007.

 

Brent Sutter, Calgary Flames

Sitting with a 7-10 record doesn't sound all that bad, but if you consider that your club is sitting in 14th place in a 15-team conference then some things may need to be considered.

Brent and Darryl Sutter for that matter have their collective backs against the wall. The team has salary cap concerns and has underperformed. Although only 11 points out of first place in the Western Conference, the Flames will have an interesting schedule ahead of them.

Games between conference rivals Chicago, Detroit and Minnesota are all ahead for the balance of November as well as a four-game road swing through New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania (Rangers, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh).

Flames recently traded Brett Sutter and Ian White to Carolina for Anton Babchuk and Tom Kostopoulis.

If this trip isn't deemed a success, then the brother Sutter could be looking from the out side.

Potential replacement: Jim Playfair current head coach of the Abbotsford Heat of the AHL. Playfair is a former player and had spend two seasons as Flames associate coach. Playfair won the Calder Cup with Saint John Flames in 2000-01.

 

Ron Wilson, Toronto Maple Leafs

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Wilson has had a tough time in Toronto trying his best to keep the SS Leafs Nation afloat, let alone into contention for a division championship or playoff spot.

Wilson and the Leafs recently beat the Nashville Predators after going 12 games without a win (the Leafs did pick up points against Washington and Buffalo, both shoot-out loses and an OT lose to the Islanders).

The Leafs currently are only four points out of a playoff spot.

Their schedule had them playing New Jersey, Montreal, Dallas, Buffalo, Ottawa and Tampa Bay to finish the month of November. The Leafs will need to build on that come-from-behind win against Nashville and try and go .500 against these teams. If not, the Leafs season and their coaching staff's season could be over.

Potential Replacement: Dave Poulin is currently the vice president of hockey operations of the Leafs. Poulin is a former player and coach of the Notre Dame Irish NCAA Division-I hockey club.

Other consideration could go to Leafs long-time assistant coach Keith Acton or current Leafs pro scout Steve Kasper who briefly coached the Boston Bruins in 1996-97.

 

Other coaches to keep an eye on are Lindy Ruff in Buffalo and Barry Trotz in Nashville. Two of the longer serving coaches in the NHL.

 

Mike MacDonald is a Featured Columnist covering the NHL and Nashville Predators.

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