Three are down...and how many more to go?
We're just over the quarter mark of the NHL season and three head coaches have already been axed.
In St. Louis, the Blues' sluggish 6-7 start was enough to ship Davis Payne out to bring in Ken Hitchcock. The 40-year-old Payne was the second-youngest coach in the NHL but got only one full season with St. Louis after being hired in January 2010.
Then that number tripled on Monday.
First came news that the Capitals had cut ties with Bruce Boudreau, who just became the fastest head coach to reach 200 wins in modern NHL history. A blazing 7-0 start to the year faded into a struggle and the team had lost six of their last eight games. The Capitals are now a point back of the last playoff spot in the East and Dale Hunter will try to turn the fortunes around in Washington.
As that news was being digested, the Hurricanes then announced that Paul Maurice had been relieved of his head coaching duties in Carolina for the second time in his career.
The Hurricanes - who had just eight wins in 25 games to start their campaign and are 14th in the Eastern Conference - hope that Kirk Muller can right the ship in his first chance behind the bench in the NHL.
With so much time left in the regular season, it could just be a matter of time before another team decides they need to shake things up.
So here was Dave's question to you - "Who should be the next NHL coach fired?"
Here are some of the best responses:
"It should be Jacques Martin, for continuing to play Scott Gomez when he was healthy. He's not Ovechkin - you won't get fired if you bench him, but you will if you don't." - Corey
"Jacques Martin should be the next coach fired and then Kirk Muller can replace...oops! Too late." - Brian
"Joe Sacco in Colorado should be the next to go, so Patrick Roy can be hired." - Hoang
"How is it that the Columbus Blue Jackets have been the league's worst team from the start and three coaches have been fired ahead of Scott Arniel?" - Harry
"Never mind this talk of trades involving Iginla and Ryan, why doesn't Calgary trade Brent Sutter to Anaheim for Randy Carlyle?" - Mike
"I'll bet no one has said Ron Wilson and that's no longer a surprise." - Scott
Dave's reply to all:
Before my answer, I want to talk more about the question. Is it wrong to apply a death watch to the coach of every losing team? At the very least, it used to be insensitive, but now it's so matter of fact that coaches on the hot seat are there to be fired that I can't remember the last fired coach who could be described as "utterly devastated." Or maybe I should have checked first with Marc Crawford, but their contracts are honoured, many will say their first reaction was one of relief, and most say they understood what had to be done, and they're immediately in line to replace the next fired coach or the next TV panelist who does that.
You've heard the obvious answers to our question, so I'll just say this: there was no way of knowing, when Bruce Boudreau's Washington Capitals were the NHL's last team to lose a game in October, that he would be fired in November. So in the new year, there's liable to be a hot seat that isn't even warm yet.