Negative Nancy — Coaches on the go?

Excitement has stormed the NHL!

Free agents signings, new rule changes, a salary cap. So many diffrent and new ideas entering this league.

But why focus on the positive when one can just as easily focus on the negative.

That’s right, I’m talking about the annual predictions of which NHL coach will lose his job first.

Will it be Pat Quinn? Can he keep his new look leaf team afloat?

How about Eddie Olczyk? The Penguins are a revamped team, will their coach be up for the challenge?

Or maybe even Bryan Murray in Ottawa. As much as Jacques Martin failed he still succeeded during the regular season… mighty big shoes to fill.

Allow me to analyze and comment on all thirty NHL coaches this season, starting with the first 15 in alphabetical order.

Mighty Ducks of Anaheim: Randy Carlyle

Expectations were high after these Quackers made it to the Stanley Cup finals in 2003. But they failed miserably the next year for a few reasons. (One being the loss of Paul Kariya and also the poor, inconsistant play of Giguere) Look for rookie coach Carlyle remain in place all year and with the addition of Neidermayer it can only help his cause. Also look for Giguere to take a hard hit considering the goaltenders equipment will be reduced in size. (No matter how you say that it sounds wrong).

Atlanta Thrashers: Bob Hartley

People have commended Bob Hartley ever since he has taken over this new Atlanta franchise. Not only has he improved the team, better players coming in should continue its success. Unless Hartley’s team takes a nose-dive out of the gate he is easily the head coach of this team for the rest of the year and for a few more years to come.

Boston Bruins: Mike Sullivan

An improved Bruins team equals a more disappointing playoff experience. Sullivan is easily on the hotseat this season, especially after a playoff disappointment two seasons ago where the much stronger Bruin team lost to the Canadiens after a 3-1 series lead. The success of the Bruins this season consists on two things: Andrew Raycroft’s softmore year and Mike Sullivan’s ability to coach in front of very skepital Bostonians.

Buffalo Sabres: Lindy Ruff

Lindy Ruff has easily overstayed his welcome in Buffalo. He was such a success in Buffalo over his first 5 seasons (32 playoff wins) that the “what have you done for me lately” theory really comes into play. Buffalo, again, looks like a non-contender for the playoffs and though Lindy Ruff isn’t to fully blame for this, he just may need to be canned to give the Sabres a new look behind the bench and a new style of play. Lindy Ruff is one of my canditates to be fired this season.

Calgary Flames: Darryl Sutter

How can you deny the success Darryl Sutter has had in Calgary? You can’t. He single-handedly created the team the Flames are today and the way they play on the ice really demonstrates how much they respect their coach. Though I personally do not think Calgary will be as success as they were two years ago I fully believe that even if they miss the playoffs Sutter is as safe as celery in Star Jones’ fridge. (Low…I know..)

Carolina Hurricanes: Peter Laviolette

Not even Scotty Bowman could help the Hurricanes team today. Laviolette really doesn’t have much to work with so a 25-win season really would be a success. Yes, they do have Cassels, Brind’amour, Whitney and now Tverdovsky. But in the ultra-competitive east, when playing Tampa and Florida (Luongo) 8 times each, these lowly Hurricanes really don’t stand much chance to succeed. Laviolette, however, will reprise the coaching duties for next season on the thought of future. It would be too premature to relieve him of his duties based on the state of Carolina as a whole.

Chicago Blackhawks: Trent Yawney

Yawney will be under extreme pressure this season considering the Hawks bulking up during the offseason. He isn’t new to the Blackhawk’s young players since he was the head coach for their affiliate AHL team. I personally cannot say much about his coaching style because I haven’t witnessed much from him. The Blackhawk fans, players, management and I am expecting a playoff team and a possible contender for a series win. Will Yawney provide the direction for this desperate hockey team? I hope so, but there will be critics at his throat when if his team chokes even the slightest to start off this season.

Colorado Avalanche: Joel Quenneville

In my opinion Joe Quenneville is going to be a keeper for the Avalanche. Even if they have lost great players like Forsberg and Foote they still have Sakic and Blake, not to mention Tanguay and Hejduk. Quenneville has dealt with the pressure to win before in St. Louis and has dealt with high profile players by the many also. (Pronger, Weight, Tkachuk). I am not expecting huge things from the Avalanche this season but I do see Quenneville guiding his team to solid numbers and a respectable playoff appearance. Enough to keep this coach in his place.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Gerard Gallant

Gerard Gallant is really only expected to coach this team to improvement. I’m sure the Blue Jackets would love to fight for a playoffs spot but I hardly expect it to come out into reality. Columbus is in a tough division with the always threatening Red Wings and then newly strong Blackhawks so even coming in third in the division would be a great accomplishment. Gallant should be relieved that he now has a great, strong blueliner in Adam Foote and then complimenting him with Bryan Berard. Then again can Nash repeat his 41 goal season, or will his garbage goal style suffer under the new way of the NHL. Expect the Jackets to improve under Gallant for a full year but I can’t imagine a playoff team in this.

Dallas Stars: Dave Tippett

Marty Turco. Those are the two words that will decide Tippett’s future. Turco is a great regular season preformer but he chokes like no other in the playoffs (see Colorado series, 2004). Dave Tippett will lead this team into the playoffs but the success really depends on Turco’s ability to excel under pressure.

Detroit Red Wings: Mike Bab*****

Year after year Detroit proves to be one of the superior teams in the Western Conference and this year should be no different. (Unless Holland fails to sign Datsyuk and Zetterberg) I can’t really expect Detriot to win the Cup but they should challenge and it does help that Bab***** is as experienced as he is at such a young age. Osgood should be a question mark but Manny Legace can cover at any time. Bab***** should coach this team through a round or two of the playoffs and should stay in Detroit for a few more years to come.

Edmonton Oilers: Craig MacTavish

Another coach that will be under the pressure of a newly strengthened team. With the addition of Peca and Pronger, MacTavish now has some real matured talent to work with but whether he can handle it and guide them is still to be seen. I’m expecting a solid year from the Oilers, one that will still consist of a chase of a playoff spot, but this time actually succeeding. This will be the make or break year for MacTavish, after being head coach for 5 years his team has to make a big splash in the playoffs.

Florida Panthers: Jacques Martin

The smartest moves made in the last two years were made by the Florida Panthers. Having Mike Keenan as GM and Martin as head coach. Keenan has always been a favourite of mine and he is incredibly hockey-smart. His signings of Roberts and Niewendyk prove that. Florida is such a young team with so much potential and who better to help than Jacques Martin, who helped players like Alfredson, Hossa, Chara, Redden and Spezza explode into great powers in the league. Having Roberts and Niewendyk as mentors can only improve the chances of a powerhouse of the future. I expect a strong push for the playoffs by the Panthers. Martin is here to stay.

Los Angeles Kings: Andy Murray

No matter how experienced a coach is it won’t matter if players are always injured. There is no other bad luck story like the LA Kings of the last few years. Injuries to Allison, Deadmarsh and Palffy smacked this team in the face and really prevented them for any success. Andy Murray now has Roenick, Demitra and Conroy at his disposal and hoping that these guys could help the team get back in place, into the playoffs. One major question mark is their goaltending with Garon. No matter what, we all should hope that the Kings can regain their form and stay healthy to compete in this new age NHL.

Minnesota Wild: Jacques Lemaire

Jacques Lemaire’s team will not work this year unless Lemaire changes his style of coaching. Lemaire has taken this team to the Western Conference finals but then failed to make the playoffs the next year. His team’s style will cause nothing but penalties and an attempt to salvage defensive game in this offensive NHL (I hope anyways). Also with the loss of Brunnette the Wild lose a solid scoring winger which is a rare treasure in Minnesota. With the pressure to win in Minnesota, which is basically another Canadian team, Lemaire will be under major scrutiny and the losses that will ac*****ulate with an attempt to revive the trap, Jacques Lemaire’s days in Minni are most certainly numbered. Jacques Lemaire is one of my candidate to be fired this season.

The next 15 teams will be posted as soon as possible. Patience is key. These are the teams and coaches to look forward to.

Montreal Canadiens: Claude Julien

Nashville Predators: Barry Trotz

New Jersey Devils: Larry Robinson

New York Islanders: Steve Stirling

New York Rangers: Tom Renney

Ottawa Senators: Bryan Murray

Philadelphia Flyers: Ken Hitch*****

Phoenix Coyotes: Wayne Gretzky

Pittsburgh Penguins: Ed Olczyk

St. Louis Blues: Mike Kitchen

San Jose Sharks: Ron Wilson

Tampa Bay Lightning: John Tortorella

Toronto Maple Leafs: Pat Quinn

Vancouver Canucks: Marc Crawford

Washington Capitals: Glen Hanlon

21 Responses to Negative Nancy — Coaches on the go?

  1. pie_man says:

    My apologies everyone. Andrew Cassels is not on the Hurricanes. I had a bit of a braincramp.

    He just recently signed with the Capitals.

    Sorry again.

  2. saiklo says:

    Ed Olczyk isn’t going anywhere. He is cheap, and will deploy his players however Mario wants to. Thus, the perfect coach from the perspective of Penguins management.

  3. big_booty says:

    I think Ruff will be the first to fall. If not him then Tom Renney.

  4. flyersfan_92 says:

    LOL cant say the rest of hitch’s name!!

  5. 19Yzerman says:

    Its the system which put these **** in place of what it figures to be profain. Use spaces and it comes out Like this HitchC O C K.

  6. habsoverserver says:

    I don’t see Risebrough firing one of the top hockey minds who took at below average team to the conference finals.

    The main reason the Wild missed the playoffs was Gaborik’s holdout. It had nothing to do with Lemaire.

    If Lemaire gets fired and I don’t see that happening, he can have almost any other coaching job in hockey.

  7. theleaflunch says:

    The success of the Bruins this season consists on two things: Andrew Raycroft’s softmore year and Mike Sullivan’s ability to coach in front of very skepital Bostonians.

    And just what on Earth is a softmore year?

    Anyone…? Perhaps I am illiterate, or maybe you meant to write sophomore.

  8. jack_mahogoff says:

    “Edzo” will not be fired as the Pens coach. Unfortunately. He never reached his pre-draft potential (hype) as a player and will never be more than mediocre as a coach.

    The reason that he will not be fired is that he is a puppet. Mario and CP work the strings. Lemieux does not like having a coach that’s in control and will tell him what to do. This is not to take anything away from Mario. He is one of, if not the greatest players ever. He just has coaches run out of town if they disagree with him.

    It’s just a shame to think what the Pens might be able to achieve if they had someone who really knew the game and could be a take charge guy behind the bench. But that won’t be happening as long as 66 is on the ice.

  9. pie_man says:

    Oh Damn… I’m sorry again. I wrote that this at 2:30 a.m…. I didn’t even bother giving it a look over.

  10. pie_man says:

    If the NHL truly cuts down clutching and grabbing and all obstruction they’ve been talking about, Lemaire’s club will easily be the most penalized of any other 29.

    He must use the awesome speed his team has, rather than try to throw them into a defensive box.

    Then again, I’m only assuming the NHL really takes action with the new rule changes.

  11. habsoverserver says:

    Funny you say that. Lemaire’s teams have always been among the five least penalized teams in the NHL.

  12. dudemar says:

    I agree to an extent but I would have to say Jagr was the one that ran the coaches out of town. Keho(sp?) was the last coach the Pens had before Olcyk and you may as well have had a cardboard cutout of the guy. He was terrible. Had no flare.

  13. jack_mahogoff says:

    You’re right, Jagr is just as guilty. However, I was more reflecting on the current situation. Edzo is the perfect fit – the Pens want someone who won’t think for himself. Yes, Kehoe was a joke as well.

    I miss the days of “Badger” Bob Johnson and Scotty Bowman. Perhaps we’ll see another great here, someday.

  14. pie_man says:

    I never once said the the Wild were the most penalized teams in the NHL, I just said I think that if the NHL officials actually start calling by the book they will be up there.

  15. dudemar says:

    I miss those days too….trust me.

  16. hoffman900 says:

    Babi.t.c.h is censored as well…

  17. SkruinBruin says:

    Bostonians, as well as the rest of New England, will accept nothing less than a solid performance, from both Team and Coach.. In the last 5 years we have multiple superbowls and a world series to boast about…

    We have already chased out one of the best coaches in NHL (Pat Burns), and have used our coaching staff as a scape-goat in the past… ex- Rick Bowness- tells Janney and Bob Sweeney to take off their jerseys and go to the locker room,,, only to be fired- and see both traded away anyway (during Ricks last year they beat the sabres, and swept the Habs- all this without Cam.. then were swept by the Pens)…. and what does he get? Fired!!!

  18. pie_man says:

    Actually it’s BabC–O–C–K.

  19. Beerios says:

    Sophomore year?

    second year typically.

  20. EmptyNetter says:

    “Um. . . I don’t like to talk about my flair. Can we just talk about something else?” — Jennifer Aniston, Office Space

    Sorry, just had to be said.

  21. EmptyNetter says:

    I’m most curious about Mike Babc@ck guiding the Red Wings. The team has lost some key players and may still have trouble fitting under the cap. Add that Bab***** is a defense minded coach heading into an offense minded NHL and I see a scapegoat in the making.

    As a plus I think his temperament is closer to Scotty Bowman’s than the player’s coach/buddy Dave Lewis was.

    As for Dallas, I think Tippet will also need to get the most out of guys like Modano and Guerin. They’ve got a reputation for being inconsistent.

    Well written article! I’ll be looking forward to part deux.

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