November 08, 2011
Scott Arniel has officially entered the Milton Waddams phase of his coaching demise, saying things like "I'll keep showing up here until somebody tells me I'm not supposed to" and worrying about the well-being of his red Swingline stapler.
And yet, GM Scott Howson and president Mike Priest have moved him down to the boiler room rather than out the door ...
Consider, even if for a moment, if that means Columbus is staying the course with Arniel.
At 2-11-1, it's almost inconceivable, but maybe they want to give him another chance with a full lineup. If the Jackets start winning games, make things respectable, they don't have to pay two coaches this season and can make a change in the summer. Or they get Jeff Carter(notes) and Kristian Huselius(notes) back and keep losing, finding another deeper level of rock bottom located somewhere around the Earth's core and forcing a coaching change.
(Unless, of course, the Blue Jackets don't want to pay two coaches this season.)
The assumption is that Arniel will follow Davis Payne as the next coach fired in the National Hockey League this season. But there are others nervously adjusting their collars like Rodney Dangerfield after a punchline, feeling the heat in the second month of the season.
Who is the next coach to get the hook? You know, besides Scott Arniel?
Paul Maurice, Carolina Hurricanes
The Hurricanes enter their Tuesday night game against the New Jersey Devils with a 5-6-3 record and 13 points, good for 13th in the conference. They're minus-8 in even strength goal differential; their power play is sputtering along at 14.5-percent on 69 chances in 14 games, the highest average power play chances per game in the NHL this season.
Would a coaching change make a difference? Chip Alexander of Canes Now asked GM Jim Rutherford about it:
On Friday, Canes owner Peter Karmanos Jr. strongly praised coach Paul Maurice and his staff. Rutherford said that in watching practices, he believes the staff has had the team "well-prepared" for games.
"They've done a good job," Rutherford said. "The easiest thing when you've lost a couple of games as bad as we lost them is to start pointing at the coach or the coaches. It takes everybody when it comes time to win, and it takes everybody when it comes time to lose. We need to get back to work and get back to playing to our team playing the style of game it did when we were winning games.
"Now, if we're talking again in a six- or-seven game losing streak, I'll probably be in a different frame of mind and answer those (coaching) questions differently. Let's get back on track. If not, I'll look at all the situations differently."
The Canes have lost two straight.
Hey, remember how the Blues fired Davis Payne right when they had a long stretch of games at home coming up in order to get some momentum?
Beginning Saturday, the Hurricanes play nine of their next 12 games at home.
Terry Murray, Los Angeles Kings
Murray's always been a tough one to figure. He obviously has found success with this team in the last two seasons, getting the Kings to the playoffs twice. After their loss to the Sharks on Monday night, the Kings are 6-5-3 on the year, with 15 points and the No. 8 seed in the West. They're an average team … built to be an elite team in the offseason.
Via Helene Elliott of the LA Times:
"To those calling for Terry Murray's firing: Lombardi has been very loyal to him, didn't waver thru 2-10 slump last season, but this is supposed to be a better team. They're spending near cap for first time. I have to think a jolt of some kind is coming."
There have been calls to fire Terry Murray here and there for the last year, but it's been hard to establish why it should happen. Most of the criticism is theoretical: This team is better on paper than it is on the ice, so therefore it's the coach's fault.
Come to think of it, that's why Ken Hitchcock is now in St. Louis …
Kings blogger Bobby Scribe tried to quantify one of Murray's greatest shortcomings, which is his offensive philosophy on shooting the puck. Check out this diagnosis on what ails the Kings.
When Murray is "happy" with the Kings' game (as he was with the Pens loss) and when he writes off a loss to "not getting the bounces," I'm starting to think that these things aren't empty platitudes. Because his whole methodology/strategy/whatever appears to be based on playing percentages, the law of averages...bounces. Sometimes the bounces go your way (you win) and sometimes they go the other way (you lose).
Quisp also writes that Marc Crawford and Andy Murray would be better coaches for this team.
Yeah, it's gotten that bad for some Kings fans.
Jacques Martin, Montreal Canadiens
Seems like it was just last week when Jacques Martin was on the firing line. Actually, it was two weeks ago.
Since then, the Habs got on a four-game winning streak that was stopped by the New York Rangers on Saturday. Assistant Perry Pearn was sacrificed during Montreal's poor October, and the team turned its fortunes around. (#BlamePearn evidently.)
Unless the Canadiens find consistency, Martin's name will remain on this list. But it's time to start considering the fact that Pierre Gauthier's dramatic dismissal of one of Martin's assistants — as well as minor moves like adding Nokaleinen and Bluden — may have kept his head coach in a job.
Jack Capuano, New York Islanders
We hope we're wrong here as unabashed Cap fans, but the Islanders are in a 3-5-2 slide and are now last in the Eastern Conference. They're also the worst offensive team in the NHL, at one point having the slowest offensive start in the 40-year history of the franchise.
The effort wasn't there again against the Boston Bruins on Monday night, with Capuano saying "we just had some guys that didn't show up" and implying that Frans Nielsen(notes), P.A. Parenteau(notes) and Brian Rolston(notes) were the players that didn't.
Again, he was just given the keys this summer, so it's hard to imagine the Islanders will yank them away. Maybe Capuano could better get a handle on things if he wasn't juggling three goaltenders every night.
Brent Sutter, Calgary Flames
Sutter is on this list because the Flames are 6-6-1, which puts them one losing streak away from trouble in the West.
But Sutter shouldn't get the blame if the wheels come off. He's been proactive, shifting around his lines to try and get Jarome Iginla rolling, for example. They're even in five-on-five hockey (20 goals for, 20 against through Tuesday).
The blame will be placed on the construction of this team if it goes off the rails, as Dome Beers notes in a post on Jay Feaster and Ken King:
If Ken King and Jay Feaster sold ownership on this team being a good one, then that is on King and Feaster, not on the players. The players are who we think they are. They have been for at least two seasons. If management still has unrealistic expectations for them, or if they kept their jobs in the offseason by selling those expectations, that speaks to the talent and ability of the management, if you ask us.
Sutter should be safe to continue to be the most beautiful man in Calgary.
Randy Carlyle, Anaheim Ducks
But c'mon: Carlyle signed a spiffy 3-year deal last summer. He's become a West Coast Lindy Ruff, surviving all the struggles of his team and usually working things out in the end. He's not going anywhere.
But it just wouldn't be a coaches' hot seat list without him, would it? It's an annual rite, like the return of the McRib.