On Tuesday, the New Jersey Devils management announced that they had relieved head coach John Hynes of his duties after a brutal 7-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres the night before. The loss dropped the Devils to a 9-13-4 record and into sole possession of second-last place in the NHL. Following the firing, the Devils announced that assistant coach Alain Nasreddine will take over as the interim bench boss for the time being. Hynes becomes the third head coach this NHL season to be fired, after Mike Babcock was fired from the Maple Leafs after a six game losing streak, and Bill Peters was let go of his position in Calgary amid the Akim Aliu allegations.
With these three former head coaches now without jobs, one can only wonder which coaches could be the next ones to become unemployed. Here are the top three current NHL coaches that may be in hot water.
3. Jeremy Colliton
The Chicago Blackhawks were not chosen by many to make the playoffs this year, but despite this, they are definitely not playing up to their potential. The Blackhawks currently sit second last in the Western Conference with a 10-12-5 record for 25 points through their first 27 games. The Blackhawks have behind the helm the youngest active coach in the NHL, Jeremy Colliton, who is only 34 years of age. To put this into perspective, there are three players on the Blackhawks roster (Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, and Corey Crawford) who are either older than or the same age as their own coach. Since Colliton was hired the Blackhawks have been a .500 team, posting a 40-40-14 record under his leadership. Colliton’s job seems relatively safe for now, but if the Blackhawks slide further down in the standings or can’t make up ground in the competitive Western Conference, his job may be in danger.
2. Claude Julien
On Tuesday night, the Montreal Canadiens finally put an end to a dreadful eight game losing skid by beating the New York Islanders 4-2. This win means that head coach Claude Julien’s job is probably safe for now, but if the Habs rack up a few more losses in their upcoming games, he may be back to walking on eggshells. But the Canadiens are by no means out of it yet. Despite losing eight in a row, they still have a winning record at 12-10-6, and after beating the Islanders they sit one point back of the Buffalo Sabres for the third spot in the Atlantic Division. The Canadiens have the fire power on their team to be successful, they just need to be more efficient at utilizing it. If Julien can right the ship and steer this team this a few wins in a row, his job will be safe. But if the Habs lose enough to drop their record below .500, they may be looking for a new bench boss. Julien most likely feels a little uneasy, as GM Marc Bergevin recently spoke to former NHL coach Bob Hartley about a possible coach’s position. Stay tuned to see how the Habs coaching situation plays out.
1. Jeff Blashill
The Detroit Red Wings have been inexplicably awful this season, in fact they’ve been so bad that there’s hardly anything good to say about them. The Red Wings are stuck in the basement of the NHL standings with a dreadful 7-20-3 record for a league worst 17 points through 30 games. They have gone 0-8-2 in their past 10 games in the midst of a 10-game losing streak, and they have a league worst -56 goal differential. Minus 56, people! That’s outrageous! To put that into perspective, the team with the next lowest goal differential is the New Jersey Devils at -32. Half of the Red Wings’ losses during this skid have been blowouts, recording 5-1, 6-0, 6-1, 5-2 and 4-1 defeats. For a team that is searching for their first victory since November 12, you have to wonder how much more time head coach Jeff Blashill has behind the bench. It’s only a matter of time before GM Steve Yzerman will need to stop the bleeding and relieve the fifth-year head coach of his duties. Blashill will need to figure things out with his team very soon or he will be unemployed by Christmas.
For these three men, every game is important. Their jobs get more and more insecure with every loss. It will be very interesting to see who will be the fourth NHL coach to be let go this season.
Featured photo courtesy of Ed Mulholland / USA Today Sports
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