OUT OF JOHN STEVENS, JOEL QUENNEVILLE, MIKE YEO, AND TODD McLELLAN… WHICH FIRING SURPRISED YOU THE MOST?
TYLER YAREMCHUK: I have multiple answers to this. I didn’t think the LA Kings would start this bad, so in a sense, I was surprised that they have to can their coach as early as they did. Ditto for the St. Louis Blues. I figured if Joel Quenneville wasn’t fired over the offseason, they would hold onto him for the entire season, but I also understand why they did make the decision when they did.
I knew Todd McLellan was on thin ice but at the end of the day, the Oilers were still well within the playoff hunt when they canned him, so the timing of that one confused me the most. I though McLellan should have gotten until the end of this stretch of divisional games. So my answer, which doesn’t really answer the question, is that they all surprised me for different reasons.
WYATT ZIEGER: The writing was on the wall since last year that Stan Bowman was going to shoot Quenneville to save himself eventually. Mike Yeo has taken an above average roster and crashed the plane, although you could put a lot of blame on Jake Allen’s shoulders.
That leaves McLellan. I really thought that Todd would have a longer leash than he did but clearly Chiarelli is starting to feel the pressure and decided to make a coaching change. Hitchcock will come in and see what he can do with the roster that’s in front of him and he intends to keep Draisatl and McDavid together which is good news for Oilers fans.
IAN SHEPPARD: Joel Quenneville hands down. Sure, the Blackhawks have gotten off to a slow and disappointing start and they missed the playoffs last year but Quenneville has been one of the most successful coaches over the last 10 years.
With nine playoff appearances and three Stanley Cup Championships over the last decade, it seems to me Quenneville deserved than to be fired after 15 games this year. The team has some injuries this year and for a guy with his track record, I feel if the team was looking to move on the time to do it would have been in July purely out of respect.
WHICH OUT OF WORK COACH WILL FIND A JOB THE QUICKEST?
TYLER YAREMCHUK: The obvious answer is Quenville, but I’m not sure if he’s in a hurry to pick up a job in the middle of the season. If he waits until the summer, a more appealing job might open up and he would likely get to pick his own staff.
My pick is Alain Vigneualt. He has been unemployed for a decent stretch here, so one would imagine he’s itching to get back into the game. He’s a damn good coach who has brought two seperate teams to the Stanley Cup Finals over the last decade. He’ll be a great hire by whoever scoops him up.
WYATT ZIEGER: I’m going to go off the board and say Alain Vigneault whose been on the market since he was fired last April by the Rangers. He’s made the postseason in 11 of his 16 years coaching (11 of 15 if you don’t include the season he was fired 20 games in) I don’t think firing season is over either, you have to believe there’s a hot seat in Pittsburgh, Anaheim, Florida and New Jersey.
IAN SHEPPARD: The obvious choice is Quenneville, but something tells me he’s enjoying himself at Chicago Bears tailgate parties and may want to take the year off before getting back into coaching. So, my choice is McLellan and only because I think he will land a job as an assistant coach somewhere where he has ties.
Perhaps a reunion with Mike Babcock isn’t out of the question?
WHICH COACH WILL BE THE NEXT ONE FIRED?
TYLER YAREMCHUK: The Flyers have lost four in a row and play in a very tough Metro Division. If they keep slipping, they’ll need to make a change in a hurry to avoid falling helplessly out of the race. So my answer is Dave Hakstol.
WYATT ZIEGER: At this point its like cooking popcorn on the stovetop and guessing which piece is going to pop first, my point is there are about half a dozen coaches that are all going to pop.
If I had to choose a coach that I think should be fired though, that’s Randy Carlyle. Carlyle is the kind of coach that players tune out after a while hence why he’s been fired twice (once already by Anaheim in 11-12).
At 9-9-5 the Ducks can’t afford to keep losing games if they want to stay in the hunt and make no mistake, Anaheim is in the hunt only because of goaltending, primarily John Gibson. The Ducks need a new voice in the locker room and someone who will up their pace of play.
IAN SHEPPARD: I’ll think outside of the box and say Jeff Blashill. Not because of how the team is performing but because I think the time is looming where Steve Yzerman takes over for a retiring Ken Holland. Stevie Y will want his own guy behind the bench and perhaps a name like Quenneville or even an old assistant coach from the Wings glory days, like Todd McLellan peaks the fancy of the former captain.
Lot’s of hypotheticals to go with this pick need to play out but who doesn’t love the idea of Yzerman taking over the Wings front office and putting together a great young team? Talk about an amazing story!