How badly do coaches lose right before getting fired?

How badly do coaches lose right before getting fired?

The Minnesota Wild lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night, 7-2, and immediately many wondered if it would be the last time we saw Mike Yeo behind the team’s bench.

It felt like rock bottom, the nadir of a terrible season. He had tried to fire up the team with a practice tirade to no avail. They looked listless, like pushovers. The blowout felt like the final straw.

That’s because, in our mind, it’s always darkest before the new dawn. We’ve seen coaches get blown out and then watched them carry a cardboard box out of the team’s practice facility the following morning.

Yeo was spared by the Wild, but it got us thinking: How badly do NHL coaches have to lose before they’re fired?

Tim from Another Stupid Penalty looked into it, and discovered the following about the margin of defeat in an NHL coach’s final game before being fired in-season:

In total, I found 41 coaches who have lost their jobs during the season. On average, in a coach’s final game, teams scored 1.78 goals and gave up 3.59 goals. In raw numbers, teams in a coach’s last game scored 73 goals while conceding 147 goals. Coaches had a cumulative in-season record of 567-644-158 at the time of dismissal.

Thirty-five of the final games were losses, 32 in regulation, 1 in OT and 2 in SO. In those losses, teams averaged 1.48 goals for and 3.94 goals against. Furthermore, of the 35 losses, twenty-two of the teams gave up 4 or more goals in their coach’s final game (62.86%). However, of the 35 loses, only 12 were by a margin of 4 or more (34.29%).

Here’s the coach by coach break down:

Check out the rest of Tim’s research here. Good stuff.

We’d agree that the final numbers are surprising, insofar as only having 12 of the 35 games qualify as blowouts (assuming, like, a 5-1 loss is a blowout). We figured there'd be a bit more 7-2 games. Maybe those were the penultimate ones instead.