NHL Coaches On The Hot Seat

NHL Coaches On The Hot Seat
© USA Today

American Thanksgiving is Thursday, and as hockey fans, we can be thankful that no coaches have been fired yet. However, there is time to see a coach get the hook between now and then.

Some coaches find themselves on the hot seat because of their team’s performance, or lack thereof. Some are in this position because of their decision-making. And in some cases, it can be a combination of both.

Is everyone ready to fire things up a little more? Let’s go!

Dallas Eakins - Anaheim Ducks

Dallas Eakins enjoyed a somewhat better week as the process continued in Anaheim. Eakins and Anaheim management seem more content to let this all play out. 

Anaheim is now 5-10-1, has a -25 goal differential, and their metrics still lag behind even the worst teams. Maybe personnel changes happen before coaching changes? That feels increasingly likely.

D.J. Smith - Ottawa Senators

The Ottawa Senators won two out of three games last week, but the performance against the Buffalo Sabres was more complete. Ottawa has a way to go to climb back into playoff contention, but that team effort bodes well for D.J. Smith.

The Senators’ management has a more keen eye on what is going on with the team, and Ottawa has had its share of “meetings.” 

From the top of the organization, Ottawa is still preaching patience. Let’s see what happens next. After a home game against New Jersey on Saturday, the Senators go west for four games. We should find out more about this Ottawa team on that trip. 

Bruce Boudreau - Vancouver Canucks

Bruce Boudreau and the Vancouver Canucks were starting to look a little better after going 4-2-1 during a seven-game stretch. Naturally, the Canucks lost three of four to put Boudreau squarely on the top hot seat again. 

The problem with blaming the coach is Vancouver still needs some players back, Thatcher Demko needs to make some saves, and Vancouver must kill more penalties while taking fewer of them. Killing penalties at less than a 64% rate is a problem.   

Is a trade imminent? It’s beginning to look possible. 

Dean Evason - Minnesota Wild

Dean Evason keeps seeing Minnesota sputter around. One night, the Wild cannot score goals at all. The next, Minnesota scores and cannot stop the opposition. They lost to Nashville by a 2-1 score and then against Pittsburgh 6-4. As hard as it is to believe, Minnesota is 7-8-2 on the season.

Minnesota allowing 53 goals is not so bad, but scoring 47 goals is unexpected. Consistency and depth scoring is vital, but the penalty kill again is still susceptible to bad games. Worse, their shooting percentage is just 8.3%. The league average is just about 10%. 

What is next in Minnesota? The clock is ticking! 

John Hynes - Nashville Predators

The Nashville Predators have won three straight games on this long homestand. That has helped the Predators get back to the .500 mark. It almost takes John Hynes off the hot seat. Almost. 

Nashville still needs to look completely like itself. However, they won each of these games so far by one goal and in regulation. Wins are wins at this point.

Saturday becomes a critical test for Nashville as they entertain Tampa Bay.

Brad Larsen - Columbus Blue Jackets

The Columbus Blue Jackets, for better or worse, have just five wins in 15 games. Columbus split overtime games this week. The Blue Jackets beat Philadelphia after losing to New York. That defense is still a mess after giving up eight more goals.

This still feels like a very fluid situation with a team that sees injuries mounting and play worsening. Larsen’s job, along with some players, is not safe. 

That is all for now. See you next week, and yes, thanks for reading!