7 NHL Coaches and GMs Who Will Not Make It to Next Season
The NHL season is finally in full swing. Some teams are exceeding expectations (hello, Toronto Maple Leafs and Dallas Stars) while others are falling faster than the stock market (Columbus, we're looking at you).
Unfortunately, that means that some head coaches and front office personnel will soon be looking for work.
Here's a sneak peak at which teams might be hiring in the near future.
As always, comments are welcome and appreciated. Enjoy!
No. 7: HC Claude Noel, Winnipeg Jets
The move from Atlanta to Winnipeg didn't magically make Claude Noel a better head coach or the Jets a better team.
Zach Bogosian is still a disappointment, Evander Kane is still wasting his talent, Dustin Byfuglien still hasn't learned to play positional defense, and the team still isn't winning, or scoring, for that matter.
Things need to change in Winnipeg. Unlike in Atlanta, the people in Winnipeg actually know they have a professional hockey team and would like to see it win.
This time, that means that Mr. Noel will soon be exploring other career options.
No. 6: HC Peter DeBoer, New Jersey Devils
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that Peter DeBoer doesn't make it through the season.
It's not that the New Jersey Devils don't have talent—they do. It's not that the players are wildly selfish and refuse to play in a system—most of them do (I'm looking at you, Mr. Kovalchuk).
It's just that the only coach that ever seems to make this team work is Jacques Lemaire; and he retired. Again.
Here's how this plays out: the Devils start to lose. A lot. DeBoer is fired, Lemaire rides back into Prudential Center on a golden horse, and the season is saved.
The Devils capture the eighth seed in the playoffs, Lemaire retires again and DeBoer takes an assistant coaching or commentating job.
Sounds about right.
No. 5: GM Scott Howson, Columbus Blue Jackets
Things have not been going as planned for the GM Scott Howson and the rest of the Columbus Blue Jackets organization.
This past offseason, Howson finally addressed the franchise's need for a top-line center, acquiring talented but much-maligned center Jeff Carter from the Flyers for the team's first-round selection (which became Sean Couturier), talented Czech forward Jakub Voracek and a draft pick.
He also shelled out major money for puck-moving ex-Candien defenseman James Wisniewski. The result? The Blue Jackets are 0-7-1 through their first eight games, Carter is injured, and things are not getting better.
In short: Howson's career with the Jackets is getting shorter.
No. 4: HC Todd McLellan, San Jose Sharks
Here's a question: How many "we're almost there's" does Todd McLellan have left with the Sharks?
They're like the Washington Capitals of the West, only a little better. They almost always manage to finish near the top of the standings, they make the playoffs, win a round or two, then forget how they got there and lose. It is mind-boggling.
First, the excuse was the forwards; then it was the goaltending; then it was the defense.
Fortunately, we're out of positions for the Sharks organization to improve. Unfortunately, that leaves the head coach and general manager on the chopping block.
I'm betting that if the Sharks suffer yet another premature playoff exit, the excuse will be McLellan.
No. 3: GM Pierre Gauthier, Montreal Canadiens
There is no faster way to being fired than to fail to turn around a beloved organization due to poor decision making. Unfortunately for Mr. Gauthier, that's exactly what he's done.
The Erik Cole signing? Nice in theory, absolutely awful in reality. The Habs overpaid in a big way for the aging power forward, and the early returns are disappointing. Through eight games, Cole has registered two points (one goal, one assist) and is a minus-four.
The other "marquee" offseason acquisition Chris Campoli is once again on injured reserve.
In short: the Habs are a marginal playoff team with a GM who doesn't seem to know how to take the organization to the next level. And while Montreal fans are far more forgiving than Toronto fans, they still lack the patience of Job.
No. 2: GM George McPhee, Washington Capitals
There is no doubt that George McPhee is a tremendous GM.
He's built a number of regular-season juggernauts; he made what many to believe the deal of the century in signing goaltender Tomas Vokoun for $1.5 million; he managed to extort a first and second-round pick from the Colorado Avalanche for malcontent goaltender Semyon Varlamov—without a gun.
But for all of the good, there is the bad: he just doesn't know how to build playoff-caliber teams.
Those regular season champs? They double as postseason chumps.
No. 1: HC Bruce Bodreau, Washington Capitals
Bruce Bodreau is, without question, one of the best regular season coaches in the NHL today.
The problem? Come April, he's awful. Not just bad. Absolutely, undeniably A-W-F-U-L.
Here's how this will play out: the Capitals will have another phenomenal regular season, they'll rack up well over 100 points, they'll be the top seed in the Eastern Conference, then they'll bow out in the first round to an upstart team like Toronto, New Jersey or Buffalo.
When that happens (AGAIN), enough will be enough. The Capitals ownership will see the light. They'll realize the problem isn't the players, it's the coaching and management. They'll make the tough decision, do what they should have done two years ago and fire Bodreau.
Or, they'll sit back, count their profits and stick with the LeBron James of coaches for another season.
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