Likability couldn't save Bruce Boudreau and Paul Maurice. Past success didn't rescue them either. This season's results appeared to rule the decisions in Washington and Raleigh.
Boudreau and Maurice were fired Monday morning. Dale Hunter is Boudreau's replacement in Washington, and Kirk Muller is the new guy in Carolina.
Coaches are invariably hired to be fired–two-thirds of the League's franchises have replaced coaches at least once since 2009–and there are other NHL coaches that figure to be feeling some heat about their job status, especially after Monday.
Here is a list of seven coaches currently on the hot seat:
If likability and previous success couldn't save Boudreau or Maurice, it won't work for Carlyle either.
McPhee saw 'tank was empty'
Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer It wasn't a slump, said the Washington GM, who felt his players had tuned out Bruce Boudreau and a coaching change was in order to get the underperforming Capitals going again. READ MORE ›
He's won a Stanley Cup, twice finished the regular season with more than 100 points and got to 99 as recently as this past season, but the Ducks are just a mess right now. Carlyle, who signed a three-year extension this summer, has been unable to find the answer, and it's led to Anaheim's current seven-game winless streak (0-6-1), plus veteran winger Teemu Selanne questioning the team's mental toughness.
Selanne's comments to the Orange County Register following Sunday's 5-2 loss to Toronto appeared to be pointed at the entire team, but they certainly can be seen as a star player sending a message to his head coach.
"A lot of talking. A lot of meetings. Really no answers," Selanne said. "It seems to me that nothing works. … I don't really see any bright sides. It's just unbelievable."
The Ducks have won just six of 23 games and are already 11 points out of the Stanley Cup Playoff race in 14th place. They have yet to win a game in which they have given up the first goal.
Anaheim is not getting nearly enough out of Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan, and is giving up more than a full goal per game than it is scoring (3.17 to 2.13). Jonas Hiller has won just five of 20 starts and has an inflated 3.22 goals-against average.
The Islanders showed signs of promise under Capuano last season, going 15-12-6 after the All-Star break. Today they're last in the Eastern Conference with only six wins and 16 points, including just one win in eight games away from Nassau Coliseum.
Capuano recently received an endorsement from GM Garth Snow, who told Newsday last week that he had no plans to replace the team's coach. But Scott Gordon was fired on Nov. 15 of last year after a 4-10-3 start, so a logical question is Capuano safe with a record of 6-11-4 through 21 games?
The Islanders' victory Saturday at New Jersey was just their third since Oct. 15. The team is last in the NHL in goals per game (1.95) and No. 27 in goals against per game (3.19). The Islanders rank in the bottom third of the League in both power play (No. 22) and penalty kill (tied for No. 22).
Star center John Tavares, a No. 1 draft pick, leads the team with 16 points, but he hasn't scored a goal in 10 straight or registered a point in the past five. Kyle Okposo and Josh Bailey, a pair of top-10 picks, have combined for 11 points and a minus-13 rating. Okposo was a healthy scratch for three straight games.
The Islanders have already used four goalies, and the star with the big contract, Rick DiPietro, has just two wins and a 3.44 GAA.
Calgary has already missed the playoffs twice under Sutter, and unless something changes soon it appears the Flames are heading for another long off season in 2012. It's fair to wonder if Sutter will stay behind the bench much longer.
Brent Sutter's Flames have only won nine of 22 games this season. (Photo: Getty Images)
The Flames have won only nine of 22 games this season, including just five of 13 in November. Sutter has ripped the team's work ethic, calling out its complacency and saying he is no longer going to ask for the players to sacrifice for the betterment of the team.
"I'm demanding it has to be done," he said last week.
Until Sunday's 5-2 win against Minnesota, it appeared Sutter's demands weren't heard. That can't continue if Sutter is to remain the coach in Calgary. More games like Sunday's win can turn down the heat.
Joe Sacco, Colorado
Sacco is in his third season, meaning it's time for the Avalanche to start building on the promise they showed when he was a rookie head coach in 2009.
Sacco got off to a faster start than anyone could have anticipated by making the playoffs as the eighth seed in 2009-10, but Colorado has sputtered since. While the Avalanche were bound to show improvement this season after their abysmal finish to last season, they haven't exactly done much to inspire confidence in Denver, especially at Pepsi Center, where they are just 4-8-0 this season.
Colorado is 5-11-1 in the 17 games since it surprised the hockey world by reeling off five consecutive road wins. The Avalanche have endured separate winless streaks of four games and three games this month. They've been shut out three times this season and held to one goal another six times.
Yes, they are still a young team with an average age of 26, but Sacco has reached the critical, and perhaps breaking point, of his tenure in Denver.
Credit Curtis Sanford for saving Arniel's job with the Blue Jackets. If it weren't for the goalie who wasn't supposed to be on Columbus' roster this season, Arniel may have been fired well before Boudreau and Maurice got their walking papers.
Sanford has helped make the Blue Jackets relevant again with a 1.38 goals-against average and .947 save percentage. He has made six straight starts and Columbus is 3-1-2. The Blue Jackets were 3-13-1 in the 17 games prior.
Arniel, though, is not out of the woods. Columbus is starting a four-game road trip Tuesday in Vancouver, then comes home to play five in a row at home against playoff contenders Nashville, Boston, Vancouver, Los Angeles and Tampa Bay.
He needs to survive the upcoming stretch to feel safe.
Jacques Martin, Montreal
Since guiding the Canadiens to a surprising playoff run in 2010, Martin's team has coughed up a two-game lead in a first-round series against against Boston in a seven-game loss, and is now off to a rocky 10-10-4 start. However, the Canadiens are 5-3-2 in their past 10, a record that has been good enough to preserve Martin's job, which appeared to be in serious jeopardy after Montreal's 1-5-2 start to the season.
Martin and Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier have a history together from their days in Ottawa. If Martin survived the early part of this season there's no reason to believe that Gauthier is planning his dismissal now, especially when you consider that Andrei Markov, the Habs' top defenseman, has not played yet this season.
Markov could be back soon, perhaps even on the Canadiens' West Coast trip that begins Wednesday in Anaheim. But, only five of Montreal's next 15 games are at home, including a six-game road trip to close December that begins with games at Boston and Chicago.
If Markov does return healthy and the Canadiens stay stagnant, Martin could be in jeopardy again.
Of the coaches we've already mentioned it would appear, at least on paper, that Murray has the least reason to worry. The Kings have 26 points, one shy of first place in the Pacific Division.
However, after making the playoffs in back-to-back seasons, Los Angeles is supposed to step up and be a real contender in the Western Conference this season. The Kings made some headline-grabbing splashes during the summer by trading for Mike Richards, signing Simon Gagne and giving Drew Doughty the big-money contract befitting a world-class defenseman.
As long as the Kings stay in the race for a high seed and home-ice advantage, Murray should keep his job. But if the Kings stumble and GM Dean Lombardi feels they're starting to free-fall, Murray might feel the temperature rising.