NHL Coaches on the Hot Seat
Here at gambling.com, we look at those NHL coaches who could be in trouble as soon as Monday. The NHL Version of “Black Monday” has some worthy possibilities, but will that happen?
Coaches stepped up, and some coaches faltered. Let’s take one last look at those who are on the hot seat.
Darryl Sutter - Calgary Flames
Despite a 38-27-17 mark, Calgary missed the playoffs by at least two points. For a team that won the Pacific Division this season, there were expectations of a 100-point campaign even without Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau. After winning five of their first six games, hopes rose.
Calgary could not hold leads. Jakob Markstrom could not stop a beach ball. Darryl Sutter had a viable option in the AHL. Dustin Wolf played the last game of the season, and the Flames easily won.
In the end, Calgary could not put a run together. The decision to put Nick Ritchie in the shootout on Monday against Nashville may mean the end for Sutter in Alberta.
Peter Laviolette - Washington Capitals
Peter Laviolette waits for the inevitable hammer to fall. Ted Leonsis cannot be happy with Washington after the players threw up the white flag. Even Alex Ovechkin opted for “rest” over trying to play with an injury. If that is not a sign, I do not know what is. Washington managed to be in a playoff position in January. That feels like a distant memory.
Washington finished ten games over .500 during the second half to end up below .500 for the season. That seals Laviolette’s fate as the Capitals likely opt for more drastic changes next season. Washington is one of the oldest teams in the NHL, with an average age of 30.9. It’s time for a new voice.
Mike Sullivan - Pittsburgh Penguins
Now, things get spicy. Some will point to the obvious. The Pittsburgh Penguins' 16-year run of making the playoffs is over. Okay, most of that blame rightfully heads in the direction of Ron Hextall. Hextall put this team together as he kept the band together. Furthermore, he acquired Mikael Granlund at the deadline, which made no sense.
However, this is a business, and the argument is Mike Sullivan coached this team to the point of madness. Pittsburgh looked like a contender for stretches and then an AHL team in others. The problem is that the past few seasons have seen a below-average power play as the top players decline in effectiveness.
The red flags for this season were there from the beginning. From the Vegas props set at 101.5 points to some players tuning Sullivan out, sometimes this is how runs in a town end, sadly.
Brad Larsen - Columbus Blue Jackets
Does anyone believe Columbus still has two games left in the season? That’s correct. Brad Larsen probably has two days to pack up his things and prepare for an exit in the offseason. That exit figures to be permanent unless Jarmo Kekalainen knows something we do not. Columbus is awful amid a 57-point season, and they are not even sure to draft Connor Bedard.
Injuries could be used as an excuse, but too often, Columbus is a team that looks rudderless and full of individuals on a sinking ship.
Dallas Eakins - Anaheim Ducks
Anaheim has lost 12 straight games; it could be 13 come Friday morning. That seals the tank and the job of Dallas Eakins. While the coach is great from a development sort of role, as a head coach, he is not.
Anaheim could move Eakins back into a developmental role, but those chances are less than 50-50. Either way, the bags may need to be packed here.
John Hynes - Nashville Predators
The case for and against John Hynes is fascinating. Nashville was finally eliminated with a Winnipeg Jets win on Tuesday night in Minnesota. Now, the fact that it took this long is a testament to the Milwaukee Admirals. With so many injuries, Nashville’s young core stepped up. Despite some inconsistency, the Predators found ways to stay in the mix.
Unfortunately for Hynes, maybe Karl Taylor should take over this team. Taylor has a better system for how Nashville should play. With Barry Trotz taking over fully for David Poile soon enough, maybe the Predators do look within.
Craig Berube - St. Louis Blues
With the St. Louis Blues expected to retool this offseason, does management make a change from Craig Berube?
Even though the Blues climbed back to .500, this team has a massive disconnect. Part of that must fall on Berube. His style worked great in 2019, but this is now. Decision time is coming in St. Louis.
That is it for now! Next week, it’s the Stanley Cup Playoffs! We need not say more!
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