November 2, 2007

Who's the Next Coach To Go?

Bob Hartley was the first casualty of the NHL season. Of course, with the picture becoming clearer and clearer, the obvious question is, “Who’s next??” Well, I’m not one with inside knowledge, but here’s some names I think that could come up in unemployment line when all is said and done.

John Tortorella, Tampa Bay Lightning

Tortorella’s name seems to have been dangling out there for some time and it doesn’t help that the Bolts have been off to a slow start, with the exception of Vincent Lecavalier. The lackluster performance from his defense and goaltending will surely spell the demise of Tortorella if it does not improve. To that end, you have to wonder if the clock is ticking on GM Jay Feaster, as well, especially with Doug MacLean in the fold with the new ownership group that will take over the Bolts.

Though the Stanley Cup run, his quotability, and numerous FCC violations will be his shining moments in Tampa, the inability to keep the team at that high level of play will be the ultimate downfall.

Barry Trotz, Nashville Predators

Trotz has been the man for the Predators since the inception of the team. However, sometimes a change is for the better. In this case, a fresh new start all around for the Predators may be what the doctor ordered. Especially considering that there could be new ownership on the horizon (or not), Trotz may be on the hook if his team can’t turn out a better performance on the ice.

Granted, it’s not all Trotz fault. The exile this summer of Kimmo Timonen, Tomas Vokoun, and others were a cost-cutting measures with the uncertainty of the team in the summer. Yet, Trotz has been unable to motivate the team in a way to put them in a good position for a first-round ouster for a fourth straight season. Of course, the first-round defeats could be another reason why Trotz is let go.

Tom Renney, New York Rangers

The only reason I’m including Renney is because of the lack of scoring from the Rangers and the new core of guys. It has absolutely nothing to do with coach-killer Jaromir Jagr and his possible bi-polarity when it comes to when he wants to play or not. Though I must say, it’s a daunting task to be able to coach while trying to appease the big name talent on the team.

That all said, the additions of Chris Drury and Scott Gomez haven’t gone as well as many had hoped, but once those two are able to work into the system; things should be better and Renney’s job could be safe…assuming he’s still there when they finally turn things around.

Craig MacTavish, Edmonton Oilers

Ever since the Ryan Smyth deal, the Oilers haven’t been the same and many are point the finger behind the bench. Though he shows a passion for his position and has been trying he damnedest to get his team motivated, it seems they aren’t prepared to answer the call; a big sign that the coach could be on his last legs. Now, with injuries rearing their ugly head again, it could be curtains for MacTavish in the City of Champions.

That said, I don’t think many people would be able to do as much as MacTavish. There’s only so many times you can call out Ales Hemsky for not shooting more and Dick Tarnstrom for sucking at life before it gets old and the realization kicks in that there’s nothing you can do.

Wayne Gretzky, Phoenix Coyotes

This will get letters, but let’s be honest—the Coyotes are one good coach away from being a possible playoff club. I’m sure once Rick Tocchet comes back from his suspension, you’ll see some possible rumors about Tocchet getting the head coaching spot over Gretzky since Tocchet seems to have a good relationship with the Coyotes players and should be able to nurture the youth of the Coyotes franchise and mold them into big-time players.

The big hurdle will be getting Gretzky, an owner of the club, to step down from the position. It’s hard for Don Maloney to fire Gretzky since in the grand scheme of things; that is his boss and he signs the checks at the end of the day.

Ballhype: hype it up!

1 comment:

Sean said...

I would think Renney is top of the list because of the money spent. Though, you can turn that around and say Glen Sather should be on the hot seat, but he should have been fired years ago and was only saved by the lockout.